by Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
Healing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) requires us to Think, Eat, and Move like a PCOS Diva. Eating like a PCOS Diva means eating lots of nutrient-rich and anti-inflammatory whole foods like fresh produce, clean protein, healthy fats, and complex, gluten-free carbohydrates. It can be easy to plan meals and snacks (especially if you have my PCOS Diva Meal Plans or my book, Healing PCOS, to help). Finding the time and energy to prepare delicious tasting, healing meals may be a bit more of a challenge. That said, I think that the hardest part of Eating Like a PCOS Diva is learning to tell hunger from cravings and managing the difference. PCOS and cravings go hand-in-hand, but many of the cravings that we think are for particular foods are, in fact, not food cravings at all!
After working with tens of thousands of women with PCOS (and being one myself), I find that it isn’t always the lack of healthy meals that prevent us from finding balance and healing, it is caving into to cravings and looking for food to fill an empty hole that is unrelated to food.
Yes, having PCOS can cause dysregulated hunger hormones which can make decoding our body’s hunger signals more difficult, but we can still work on developing the inner wisdom to understand that while food can be very pleasurable and fill you up, food can’t fulfill you and substitute for say, love, adventure, or spirituality.
Mastering Your PCOS Cravings: What am I really hungry for?
Next time you are about to cave in to cravings for something not on plan, mindfully step back, breathe, give yourself 10 minutes, and notice the type of food are you craving. In my experience, there are two broad categories with two broad answers.
Sweet, creamy, smooth, and/or light texture
If you are craving something like ice cream, cheese, cookies, bread, or cake what you may really be craving is: FULFILLMENT
Are you hungry for a way to express your creativity? Have you been taking care of everyone and everything else, but are neglecting yourself? Do you deny yourself fun and pleasure? Do you need some excitement and adventure in your life? Are you lacking intimate relationships? Are you running on adrenaline and just need some rest? Are you looking for a way to reward or indulge yourself?
Then instead of eating the bowl of ice cream or block of cheese:
- Do something creative
- Take time for self-care
- Give someone a hug
- Do something pleasurable
- Get some rest
Crunchy, Spicy, Salty, Savory
If you are craving crunchy, salty foods like potato chips what you are really craving is: CONTROL
Do you feel frustrated at work or in a relationship because you are just a cog in the wheel? Do have big dreams for yourself and things you want to do but are afraid to get started? Does your life feel chaotic and your home life feels like a mess? Are things spiraling out of control?
Then instead of eating that bag of potato chips, take action.
- Stop procrastinating and take one step forward
- Move your body – go for a walk or a workout
- Clean a cabinet or drawer
- Make a decision
Healing PCOS is a journey. It offers us the opportunity to become the best version of ourselves. When we can pause and start understanding what we are truly hungry for, we not only heal our bodies but our souls as well.
Want to learn more? Check out:
- 6 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Have a Craving
- Friend or Foe? The Surprising Truth About Your CRAVINGS
- Managing Sugar Cravings & PCOS [Podcast]
Amy Medling, best-selling author of Healing PCOS and certified health coach, specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill, and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet, and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.