Throughout grade school, I always felt different from my peers. My menstrual cycle started in sixth grade but never occurred monthly. I didn’t know when it would come next. It could be 8 times a year or as few as 3 times a year. I was told, “you’re still young; it will eventually regulate itself.” I was self-conscious about the dark hair growing over my lip. My mom got me a bleaching kit, and I would trim the hair with scissors to avoid shaving. As I got into high school, my acne worsened. This was attributed to teenage hormones. Then came the hair under my chin and side burns in high school. I knew my friends didn’t have anything like that. I waxed and plucked the hair to fit in. It was not uncommon for me to spend an hour in front of the mirror every day plucking. If I was at a sleepover, I tried to get the darkest hairs quickly so my friends wouldn’t see. My doctor didn’t seem phased by these symptoms.
It wasn’t until college that the hair growth worsened and my weight skyrocketed. I turned to Google to search for female facial hair causes and came across PCOS. So many symptoms listed were those I had struggled with – ones I thought were random and unrelated. I visited an Endocrinologist at the prestigious Duke Hospital who confirmed my self-diagnosis and that I was pre-diabetic with high cholesterol, but prescribed that I eat better, exercise 30 minutes a day, and take birth control to regulate my period and acne. If I wanted to have children, she said I’d better start trying before age 25. That was terrifying for a 21-year-old college student to hear. Birth control made me nauseous. I knew there must be a reason why my body kept rejecting them. I decided to take her other advice and research for alternative medicines. I began eating healthy, by our society’s standards: low/non-fat, whole wheat or whole grain, more servings of grains/bread per day than any other food group, and of course dairy for calcium. I ate fruits and vegetables, but didn’t emphasize it over other foods. I was doing cardio 30 minutes a day on the recumbent bike. After a year of this, I had only lost about 10 lbs and one pant size. I felt sluggish all the time. I slept for 8-9 hours every night and still felt like that wasn’t enough. During this time is when the photo on the left was taken.
Fast forward another two years, I had been doing a lot of research and was incorporating more whole foods and produce in my diet. I dropped another 15 lbs or so, but was still considered obese. My migraines were worsening. I was getting 2-3 every week that could only be alleviated by vomiting. This caused capillaries in my face to burst. My period was still abnormal after all these years.
I finally came across PCOS Diva’s Discover Your PCOS Diva Jumpstart Program. Her protocol has changed my life. I felt the biggest difference, mentally and physically, when I chose whole foods over processed, made a conscious effort to stop eating wheat, ate lots of healthy fats, practiced self-care, and pursued weight lifting and yoga as my frequent exercises. I dropped 50 lbs and 5 pant sizes effortlessly in 6 months and have kept that off for 2.5 years now. I am at a healthy weight. My blood work is superb, and I have not had a migraine since the last day I consciously ate wheat. There have been a few times of accidental consumption in a hidden form, and I can tell within about 20 minutes because of the brain fog/slight headache it produces. I am a firm believer in non-celiac gluten sensitivity no matter what nay-sayers say. The pain doesn’t lie. Since these changes 2.5 years ago, I have had a period every single month and know the day it will begin. I am excited to know I may be able to conceive even though I’m past age 25. I am healthier than most people I know now and fully attribute that to having a thriving lifestyle to overcome my PCOS symptoms. Amy’s knowledge and teachings are the reason for this.
I have now learned that family members on both my maternal and paternal sides have PCOS symptoms and now my younger sister is showing signs. I am excited that Healing PCOS will provide Amy’s proven protocol in book form so all ladies with PCOS can begin living healthier, more satisfying lives. Many may not have access to an online Jumpstart program, so having this resource will provide another outlet. I hope doctors will take this book seriously.
I wish I had been given this book instead of a prescription to birth control and a vague suggestion to “lose weight.”
Thank you, Amy!