Diva to Diva: 3 Tips to THRIVE with PCOS
by Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
The heart of PCOS Diva is the community of people who come together to support each other, celebrate successes, and offer encouragement and strength when things don’t go as planned. I recently asked the PCOS Diva community to share what part of the PCOS Diva Protocol has been the most useful for them. As you can imagine, the answers were as diverse as our community, but it all boiled down to 3 main ideas.
So, here it is, the 3 best PCOS tips to THRIVE from thousands of PCOS Divas to you.
PCOS Tip #1: What and how you eat matters.
“Diet has been key for me. All the supplements and prescriptions and other modalities couldn’t fix what my poor diet was creating.” – Katie M.B.
There is not a “PCOS Diet.” There is no list of foods to eat and avoid that works for everyone. Likewise, Intermittent fasting, Paleo, Keto (*insert diet here) works for some, but not all. In fact, permanently over-restricting what you eat can lead to a feeling of deprivation that is unhealthy and dooms any diet to failure. The key to success with the PCOS Diva protocol is to find foods that cause inflammation (the underlying cause of most of our symptoms) and crowd them out with others that fuel your body. Listen to your body. It has a lot to say once you learn to speak its language. I love the way Amanda B. explained it, “Learning there’s no “one size fits all” approach to healing your PCOS was a game-changer for me. There is no magic pill. It’s all about what works for you. Learning to listen to my body has been an invaluable tool to my protocol. I control my PCOS – it no longer controls me.”
Elimination of inflammatory foods looks a little different for everyone. For many, gluten and dairy are the big triggers. I suggest eliminating them to start, see how you feel, and make changes accordingly. Similarly, processed sugar is a common inflammation culprit. Sugar addiction can be hard to break, but if it is causing your symptoms, giving it up is easy when you see how much better you feel without it. Finally, if I had a dime for every time someone is told they must give up all carbs, I would be an extraordinarily rich PCOS Diva! For most, this is unnecessary and often leaves us still hungry. Simply crowding out simple carbs (pasta, etc.) with whole grains (quinoa, etc.) is a swap that will likely reduce your inflammation and have you feeling better (and sated) in no time. You may also consider food sensitivity testing. It short-cuts a lot of the process, and I have found it personally helpful. The important part is that you listen to your body’s signals and nurture it with foods that give you energy and fuel your body. Is changing what you eat easy? No. But you cannot expect improvement if you keep doing/eating the same thing.
Another diet tip that came up over and over was planning and preparing ahead of time. Nicole M. explained it well: “The most important PCOS Diva protocol I have followed for the past 6 or so years is to prep ahead of time. I would be lost if I didn’t batch cook and ensure I have healthy PCOS Diva friendly soups, granola bars and GF muffins in the freezer. I have always had cut up vegetables ready to grab in the fridge for snacks throughout the week and portioned out homemade trail mix. There are so many prep ahead ideas through PCOS Diva and I am grateful for them all. Always be prepared, for it will save you in moments when lack of time, temptation and frustration are leading the charge.” I totally agree with Nicole. I try to prepare for the week ahead and stash snacks in my purse, car, and desk so I am never desperate. Check the website for great tips on planning and preparing your meals and snacks ahead. It’s a lifesaver. I was thrilled to hear from so many people that the PCOS Diva Seasonal Meal Plans help with this too. Renee S.C. summed up many of the comments received, “The meal plans have been a God-send. Having go-to recipes that not only taste yummy, but are PCOS Diva friendly, make life so much easier. My family has picked their favorites, and we rotate those thru our meal plans.”
“I learned that what we eat is a powerful tool and can make all the difference in how we feel. To quote Amy, “Nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels.” It’s so true! Once you experience how much better you feel removing foods and behaviors that cause you inflammation it makes you think twice about going back!” – Veronica S.
PCOS Tip #2: The PCOS Diva Mindset offers perspective, strength, and healing.
“My biggest takeaway is learning to think like a PCOS Diva. Instead of feeling defeated by PCOS, I now feel like I have tools to thrive with PCOS.” – Dawn D-N
There are several facets of the PCOS Diva Mindset, but one idea rang true for many responding PCOS Divas. By far, most people agreed with Sarah H. and Vanessa S. that our mantra, “Progress not Perfection” guided them through difficult moments and days. The idea that you are not required to eat, think, and exercise perfectly every moment of every day allows for grace and is freeing. As one PCOS Diva put it, “My Big Takeaway: I can control how I feel! But it is still okay to “cheat” or do what I want to do without feeling guilty… whether that is eating out, sleeping in, etc.”
PCOS Tip #3: Exercise and movement are sometimes the last thing you want to do but are as critical as everything else.
“Exercise- it really changes my mood when I am cranky in addition to all of the other amazing benefits.” – Silvanna K.T.
Finding the right exercise or movement for you is a lot like finding the foods that make you feel good. It is unnecessary and, for many, counterproductive, to beat yourself up at the gym or run miles and miles. The act of moving in a way that brings you joy and encourages your body to grow stronger and more flexible is the important thing. There is no “best exercise” for PCOS. When choosing exercise, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this feel good?
- Do I feel good when I am finished?
- Does this bring me pleasure?
I encourage you to try new things. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) works for many people, so do Barre, walking, dancing, biking, and tennis. Find your joy in movement and go for it!
That said, I suggest yoga for just about everyone. Many respondents including Miranda E. and Elisa W. agree that yoga is excellent for relaxation, body awareness, and stretching. Really, it goes way beyond that. Research indicates that yoga can help with hirsutism, improving menstrual frequency, improving glucose, lipid, and insulin values as well as weight loss, hormone balance, and reducing anxiety.
Thank you to everyone who responded to my call for support in gathering these PCOS tips. I wish that I could fit everything in. I didn’t even mention detoxification and the value of a supportive community during the Jumpstart or Sparkle courses and beyond. Maybe next time!
PCOS Diva Resources:
PCOS Diva Website – Visit for tons of free information and recipes
PCOS Diva Blog – Find articles on a wide range of PCOS-related topics
Discover Your PCOS Diva Jumpstart Program
Healing PCOS – My best-selling book is available in hardcover, paperback, and audiobook (& free at the library!)
- PCOS Labs Guide
- Smoothie Guide & Recipe Book
- PCOS 101 (An introduction to PCOS basics)
- PCOS Supplements Guide
Seasonal Meal Plans – PCOS-friendly menus, shopping lists, and recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
- PCOS Diva on Facebook
- PCOS Diva on Instagram
- Private Community on Facebook
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.