This hack to a healthy life is for EVERYONE but most especially made for all the women who have PCOS like me. Or if you know someone with PCOS;
- an office mate
- or your neighbor
This post will help fight this syndrome and hack our way to a healthy life. Because who doesn’t want to be healthy, right? As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, in spite of all the bad that comes with having PCOS, the good news is that the condition can be treated if we’re fully committed to living a healthy life. So today, let’s make a decision to live a healthy life, if we haven’t already.
Some of the steps we can take to hack our way to a healthy life include:
- Eating whole food or unprocessed food
- Not smoking
- Limiting caffeine
Note that there are more ways to be healthy, but these four are the ones I’ve tried and they are working for me. I don’t smoke so that’s an easy one, but if you do, I encourage you to stop now.
I have also started limiting my caffeine intake a few years back, so I don’t have a problem with these. If you want to understand why caffeine is bad, this research on Caffeine and PCOS might help you figure out what it does to our body. If you live on coffee, this article on the negative effects of coffee might convince you otherwise.
Exercise alone without eating healthier foods can only help a little bit. Eating healthier without exercise works the same. For the best results, we should do both.
We don’t have to do it all right away, if we’re not comfortable with it. But we can start with choosing an exercise regimen that we actually enjoy doing and do it one step at a time. And then list all the bad food in our daily (or weekly or monthly) diet that we should start getting rid of. The key is to start and start somewhere.EXERCISE
The movement will help us battle any depression issues we might be having, and it will also help those who need to lose some weight. Shedding a few kilos of fat can make a huge difference when we’re trying to regulate our hormonal levels.
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I had an accident where I got a finger injury. Because of that, I haven’t worked out for a few weeks. Even then, I’ve tried to walk, hike, and do some light exercises that don’t need much from my hand (or finger). So let me encourage you to not only work out but to work out consistently.
Even if we are tired (and PCOS will make us tired!) or injured, we have to get up and move. Try to walk for 10 minutes in the morning or after your lunch break and another walk after dinner. Squeeze in 30 minutes to ride your bike after work or go up and down the stairs a few extra times.
Try to gradually increase your activity level each week and you will undoubtedly have more energy. Plus, you will notice a change in your body with less joint pain and fatigue.
EAT HEALTHIER WHOLE FOODS OR UNPROCESSED FOOD
A healthy whole foods diet, according to Texas Tech University School of Medicine, controls the intake of refined sugars or flour and encourages intake of whole, unprocessed food. It allows our nutritional needs to be supplied naturally like getting sugar from a fruit.
No bread. No pasta. No rice. No WAY! I was raised on rice! I wasn’t completely sold out on cutting the carbs. But what I did was minimizing the rice one meal at a time. I also tried eating gluten free meals and avoiding sugar as much as I could. And then I observed how my body reacted.
Surprisingly, I have survived three straight months of not eating rice every single day (or every single meal) and still feeling good and alive. I actually feel so much better, hormone-wise. I haven’t eaten bread or pasta too. If I can do it, so can you.
Less carbs isn’t an issue since our bodies are designed to operate on a lower amount of carbohydrates than what we’re used to eating. When there is an absence of carbs (which is how we’re USED to operating), our body will take stored fat and burn THAT for energy in a process called ketogenesis.
Carbs still serve a purpose in our diets, but they’re not essential. I prefer to get my carbs from vegetables, sweet potatoes, and fruit. Why? These foods are naturally occurring in the wild and don’t need to be processed in any way (unlike grains) in order to be consumed.
The other great thing about vegetables is that you can eat as many of them as you like and you’ll never get fat. They’re incredibly nutrient dense and calorie light. A single serving of pasta (and NOBODY eats just one serving of pasta) has 200 calories and 42 grams of carbs.
As mentioned by Steve in this blog post, that if we cut out the grains, and almost all processed foods, then we’re left with only things that occur naturally such as these:
- Meat – GRASS-FED, not grain-fed. Grain causes the same problem in animals as they do in humans.
- Fowl – Chicken, duck, hen, turkey…things with wings that (try to) fly.
- Fish – Wild fish, as mercury and other toxins can be an issue in farmed fish
- Eggs – Look for Omega-3 enriched eggs.
- Vegetables – As long as they’re not deep-fried, eat as many as you want.
- Oils – Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil – think natural.
- Fruits – Have natural sugar, and can be higher in calories, so limit if you’re trying to lose weight.
- Nuts – High in calories, so they’re good for a snack, but don’t eat bags and bags of them.
- Tubers – Sweet potatoes and yams. Higher in calories and carbs, so these are good for right after a workout to replenish your glycogen levels.
He added a tip, “Pick any of the things from that list, and eat as much as you want of them (with the noted exceptions). You’ll feel better and be healthier.”
Many women who have been diagnosed with PCOS have discovered that by working with a dietitian to come up with a PCOS meal plan goes a long way towards helping them lose weight, and also balance the body’s hormonal levels. Staying away from starches and heavy carbohydrates and gluten in particular will have the biggest impact on the way we feel.
Take note that if we’re not careful, a healthier whole foods diet can be expensive. Sad to say, it’s cheaper to eat unhealthy processed food than it is to eat real food. However, farmers’ markets often have well-priced meats, eggs, fruits, and vegetables that are locally grown and incredibly healthy. Even if we’re spending a little more money than before, when we factor in our overall health, spending a few extra bucks on healthier food now is a wiser investment than thousands later on costly medical expenses.
We don’t need to eat every three hours or so too. Ever since starting with this diet, I maintained the philosophy of eating when I’m hungry, not when I’m not. Sometimes, it’s even okay to skip a meal or two, as long as you don’t go berserk and eat 7 pizzas because you’re so hungry afterward. Going back to our evolutionary history, we didn’t always have the luxury of going to a vending machine or drive-through window to pick up food. Sometimes we’d go all day long, or even days at a time, without finding any food. Luckily, we’re designed to use our excess fat stores as energy in these situations.
I’m on a mission to live a healthier life with exercise and eating healthier whole foods, not only for me but also for my husband and so I can bring forth children into this world. I know that living healthier is a little more complicated than just cutting off rice from our meals, watching what we eat, or working out. It’s a commitment.
When I found out I have PCOS, I was still based in the Philippines. I knew it concerned my husband as much as it did me, so we did our best to talk about our (specifically, my) health. If I was going to do this, to accept this mission of changing my lifestyle, I needed to be fully committed and he was giving me his full support.
Let’s not give up hope or feel doomed to a lifetime of taking prescription drugs. PCOS is a terrible disease, but it doesn’t have to ruin our lives. We can overcome our PCOS symptoms and hack our way to a healthy life with exercise and eating healthier whole foods or unprocessed food.
Let’s start cutting off rice and all processed food from our diets today. If you still have uncooked rice in your house, just use that up and don’t buy again. As long as there is rice in your house, one way or another you will be tempted to go back to eating it.
Also, encourage the people in your household to start eating healthier. And avoid eating fast food or any processed food from now on. Let’s do this for us and for the future.
I still have PCOS, but doing these four things;
- Not smoking
- Limiting caffeine
- Eating healthier whole foods or unprocessed food
has helped me put my symptoms under control, have regular menstruations, and get rid of depression.
So to all of us, whether you have PCOS or not (most especially if you do), NO MORE EXCUSES. Let’s be healthy now!
I hope that this post helps you hack your way to a healthy life. If you’re already living a healthy life even though you are perfectly healthy, would you care to share why you decided to do so? And what hack are you doing to stay healthy?
Do you have PCOS? What steps are you taking to fight back and regain your health? Or do you know anyone with PCOS? Do you know what they’ve been doing to hack PCOS? Let us know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your stories.