September 22nd, 2015 (actual date written)
September is PCOS Awareness Month. PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS is a genetic, hormonal, metabolic, and reproductive disorder that affects at least 1 in 10 women. I have had cysts on my ovaries since I was a teen, and was diagnosed with full blown PCOS in January 2012. Awareness of this disease is so important to me and can be treated and prevented if you are patient and educate yourself. Little did I know that 7 years ago when I was going super low carb and working out insanely that I was doing more harm to my body then good. Don't get me wrong, I was the leanest I have ever been, but the damage I did to my hormones was quite the mess, and I paid for it. During 2012 to late 2013, there were days I truly hated my body and how I looked and felt. I could only focus on the negative and not see any positive. I was so appearance-focused I could not even wrap my mind on how to heal naturally until a good 6 months into the diagnosis. It made my job super challenging given I am a personal trainer, and the one thing I need to do is love the skin I am in and exude confidence.
Fast forward almost 4 years later and I am constantly learning about my body and PCOS, how to heal and repair my hormones naturally, and to love the body God has given me. It has been an uphill struggle, but I have learned so much along the way, and I can relate with so many women on a completely different level. Now let's celebrate! This year I have had 3 menstrual cycles! Maybe it's TMI for some of you, but for all you ladies who battle irregular menstrual cycles and/or PCOS, this is major exciting news given I had no menstrual cycle for 5 years! I have not had blood work done in 3 years, which is on the top of my priority list to see how my body is repairing. I feel better in my own skin and now try new nutrition plans, supplements, training, and sleep schedules to see how my body best responds. Newest on my radar is Carb Cycling. I am reading up on it and seeing how I can fit it into my lifestyle, especially given most of the reading I come across shows women need a higher carb intake to not mess up their hormones. Stay tuned for more on this.
Currently, one of my favorite podcasts is The Paleo Women with Noelle Tarr and Stefani Ruper. Stefani battled PCOS and healed her body naturally. Her website and research is by far the best I have found. I finished up listening to 2 of their podcasts today, and the key points are absolutely fitting with today's blog post.
Body Image Truths:
1. You do not have to be a certain weight, shape or size for you to love your body.
2. You are worthy, right now – in this moment, with the body you have.
3. There is no correlation between improvements to outward appearance, and becoming more lovable.
4. Numbers that represent the physical space you occupy ARE JUST NUMBERS.
5. Happiness is not a body shape or weight.
6. You can be a variety of weights, and still be healthy.
7. You are not more or less of a person based on the foods you choose to eat. (No correlation between what you eat and your self worth or morality!)
8. No correlation between the movement you do and your self worth.
9. Your body is always on your side always trying to be healthy--- MY FAVORITE!
10. The number of things your body does right outweighs everything else. It is capable of amazing things.
11. Every society has beauty standards that are wildly different from other societies. Beauty standards are arbitrary. (Sometimes incredibly unhealthy.)
12. Everyone is and can be sexy if they choose to be. But you do not need to choose to be in order to be happy.
All in all...Love yourself. Hug someone who has PCOS. And, DO THE DAMN THING.