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My PCOS Journey: Routine Building

My PCOS Journey: Routine Building 

Building new routines can be exhausting while going through a new diagnosis. I feel like I have seen many Instagram or Facebook posts outlining easy ways to set new goals or build new routines, especially in the New Year. People make it look so easy on social media! However, it is a different story once it is time to do it yourself.  

Women diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome struggle with a variety of symptoms, one of which is weight gain. When a woman has PCOS, their body has trouble using insulin correctly, which can cause an excess amount in the bloodstream. The excess insulin triggers an increase in the body producing male hormones, which causes symptoms such as body hair growth, irregular periods, acne, and weight gain (Web MD). 

The male hormones produced cause women with PCOS to carry this weight primarily in their abdomen. This fat is considered dangerous, as it can increase the chance of conditions such as heart disease. This weight gain can also cause type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, among other conditions. 

Intrauterine Device

It turns out that there is no “cure” for PCOS, but the symptoms are manageable. The doctor explained that I am already on the right track by using birth control to manage the issues tied to menstruation. Because I am unable to take an oral contraceptive for birth control, I use an intrauterine device, otherwise known as an IUD. Currently, I am on my way to clearing up my acne issues.

The one I have yet to tackle is weight gain.   

If you read my last blog, you will know that weight gain is something I have struggled with over the past couple of years. After the multiple shutdowns and isolation periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my weight has significantly been affected. It’s hard to sit down with a doctor and talk about weight, and it is an experience I would rather not go through again.  

On top of talking about weight, the results from my blood lab came back stating, “Suggested HbA1c monitoring of diabetics: One test per 3 months.” This was less of a surprise for me. Type 2 diabetes runs in my family, but it was still hard to read. 

These results come with some major lifestyle changes. They are all for the better, of course. Working out more? Sounds great! Healthy eating? Done! Finding the energy to do these things while I am on medication that lowers my blood pressure and I’m tired all the time, yet I’m only sleeping 4-5 hours a night? Less ideal. Finding the time while I work part-time to support myself, all while going through full-time school? This is starting to feel a bit too overwhelming.    

Here are the tips I have found for creating new routines with the help of this blog: Guide to creating routines and health habits. Currently, I am setting a specific goal, and creating a routine for it. I am forming mine as SMART goals.

These goals are: 

SMART Goals

1. Specific

2. Measurable

3. Attainable

4. Realistic 

5. Timely

When I sit down to start making goals, it feels like there are too many of them to tackle at one time. The first is to start eating healthier because diet is more than half the battle in losing weight. The second is getting to the gym a couple of times a week because working out helps with my mental health. The third is to practice some self-care because this process is extremely overwhelming. So on, so forth. 

Around this time last year, I was in a very solid routine with going to the gym. I know I can get back to that, especially since my friend and I motivate each other to go. The first goal I want to tackle is eating healthier. But with PCOS, I don’t know if there are certain foods to avoid and certain foods that help. So, I am committed to making a goal this week to research this.  

An example of my SMART goal for this week: 

  1. Specific: Research foods that help, and foods that I should avoid. 
  2. Measurable: Find three items of food that help, and 3 to avoid. 
  3. Attainable: Finding six food items is attainable given my current schedule. 
  4. Realistic: Seven days is a realistic time frame to reach my goal.  
  5. Timely: Spend no more than 15 minutes per day researching after work hours. 

This is all extremely overwhelming. I am an impatient person; I want to be able to add in all of the goals and routines I have in my head immediately. But, I know that will only backfire, and that I will burn out faster than I can create a routine.  

While I am overwhelmed, living a healthier lifestyle is also exciting. I am excited to see if my body will start feeling better. I am excited to see if my mental health improves. I am almost equally excited as I am overwhelmed by the upcoming months. To find out more, or to follow my journey, check out Zamplo’s Instagram at: @Zamplo_app.