I have only told one side to my weight/health story. I did not think I would need to share the other half. The other half that is embarrassing, extremely personal, and not what I want to be known for. I have reached a crossroad within my blog and realize that it is time to share the whole truth. As always, I am open, honest, and tend to over share.
Ok, so here it goes....
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS, as it is more commonly known. PCOS affects many aspects of a woman's body including but not limited to; facial hair, infrequent periods, weight gain, loss of hair, depression, anxiety, and infertility. I have it all. There is my truth. The other half of my story. Behind closed doors my body and I did not get along and it has been that way since 6th grade when the first sign of a mustache appeared.
When I was first told that I had PCOS it meant nothing. It was just letters that were supposed to explain why I was the fat girl with a mustache and rarely had a period. The hair loss, ridiculous sugar cravings (huge contributor to weight gain), infertility, depression, anxiety, and risk of diabetes, heart disease, and endometrial cancer where never explained to me by a doctor. I was handed birth control and out the door I went. I lived with my PCOS for years, not paying attention to it. I stopped taking birth control over time because I did not see the point.
I learned how to get rid of the facial hair in high school. I have had my routine for almost 15 years now, it is my normal. Not having periods became my normal, and I actually thought I was lucky. Binge eating sugary high carb foods was normal for me. It was nothing for me to pack away an entire box of anything when no one was looking. PCOS is not what made me 300 pounds, though it contributed. PCOS is not why I lost 125 pounds, though it was a small concern at the time. I lost my weight because I was tired of not being comfortable in my skin. I wanted to stop the war with my body. I learned what I needed to do to get the weight off and keep it off. I feel I have been lucky in that and when I have binged I have always managed to catch myself and get back on track before the buttons on my pants popped off.
|Engagement photo. The only picture found where my ponytail can be seen.|
It was not until I was 28 that the reality of what I have started to sink in. I had lost so much of my hair that I could not lie to myself anymore. The pathetic ponytail I clung to was driving me into depression. I remember the tear filled conversation I had with my stylist about needing to do something so that I can stop obsessing about my hair. So, with a few months to my wedding, my hair that was past my shoulders was chopped into my signature pixie cut. At first I struggled with the harsh reality that I will never have thick flowing hair down my back. Long hair is feminine, it is what makes a woman who she is, or so I thought.
|Cut it all off to spare myself anymore heart ache.|
The worst part about cutting my hair so dramatically was the constant comments asking why I cut it and why did I not wait until after my wedding. I was honest every time explaining that I was losing my hair and that I didn't want to look at my wedding pictures and see something I will no longer have; long hair. My answer caught people off guard and caused people to stop asking me why I was losing my hair, they just shut up.
I am a few years into knowing that PCOS is the cause for so much of the struggles I have with my body. I thought I just had to live with the symptoms. This is who I am and how my body is going to be. I was not given adequate information by doctors, just birth control pills and a sympathetic head tilt. I thought I would always be a sugar addict, binge eating on cake until I was sick and always struggling with my weight. Turns out I was wrong! I do not have to surrender to the effects of PCOS. I have recently been educating myself about PCOS and have taken charge of my body.
The websites and books have given me a wealth of information about how to take care of my body and have helped me to balance hormones, depression, and anxiety. Over the past few weeks I have begun a private healing journey with my body and mind. I have made changes in my diet, focusing on whole organic foods and little to no sugar. I have stopped eating desserts and refined carbohydrates. I no longer eat potatoes. I have said goodbye to coffee (and finally the caffeine
headaches) and switched to green tea. I do all this to help balance my body, help slow down the hair loss, and to feel the best I can feel.
A few of my dietary changes have made their way on to my Facebook page and I realized that without explanation these posts look like a "diet" food post. This is why I am talking about my PCOS and will be explaining my food choices openly from now on. I have changed my diet to nurture my body and care for it. I am no longer at war with my body. I am listening to what my body needs in order to be its best. It has taken many years to get to the point of appreciating my body and loving myself.
There is no miracle cure. This is not a fix it band aid. This is my new life style. It began as a struggle, especially with the sugar cravings (I will write about the sugar withdraws in another post), and now has started to balance out for me. I feel strong and healthy now, much more than I ever did before. I am moving forward with a new understanding about my body. I have made peace with things that are out of my control. Life is too short to spend it angry at what cannot be changed.
I have had to learn to embrace my body and mind. I have to be kind to myself and nourish myself with healthy foods and soul fulfilling activities. The openness that I have with my journey will continue with a new understanding that the picture was only half revealed and what I do for my body is not always about my waist line. I am not ashamed anymore. I know I am not the only woman who deals with PCOS. I will no longer treat myself like a broken woman.