If you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning, you are well aware I have been fighting weight gain my whole life. Even as a child I was a girl who “kept her baby weight.” (Which is adult speak for, “she’s chubby.” You’re not fooling anyone.) While the childhood chubbiness was more probably not the result of a hormonal imbalance I went to the doctor, got all sorts of tests run, and found out that is the reason now. I could not understand how for some people just eating well and working out works like a charm, but for me, I was on the verge of starving myself and couldn’t get below 200 lbs. I was restricting myself to a 1300-1600 calorie diet. Starving is anything below 1200.
Now, before this gets twisted, I’m not saying how I was and am eating was wrong or unhealthy. If you want to lose weight, you have go to below what is a “maintaining your weight” caloric intake. I was doing the right thing for the results I was/am going for. The problem is I wasn’t getting anywhere. Yeah, I dropped some weight but seriously, not anywhere near where I should have been.
So I went to the doctors, and got lots of tests done. It came back that I was most likely to have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and after an ultrasound, it was confirmed.
(Men, look away, it’s about to get raw and gory, and unless you’re interested, just skip the next paragraph.)
How is it that I’m about to turn 31 and this was only now diagnosed, you ask? Well, thats because the symptoms aren’t ones that the medical field is generally told to be worried about. The only time women with PCOS are usually diagnosed and treated is when they are trying to get pregnant and are not able to. I have three kids, so PRESTO, chango, no problem there! Right? WRONG. The other symptoms are; heavy and irregular periods (check), adult acne around the jaw line (double check), ridiculously hard to lose weight, but super easy to gain (UH YEAH, CHECK), hairy chin and legs and more (I thought that was an Italian thing. Hm.), thinning hair (not yet, oh god, really?) and more. More than that, PCOS leads to diabetes, and heart disease if not monitored.
What kills me the most is that I’ve brought these things up to my previous doctor (of ten years) and this possibility never came up. I heard things like, “well, you do have three kids,” and “yeah, that happens.” Most women if they know about it aren’t even advised to take medication or monitor it unless they want kids. Because let’s face it- fat, acne filled, hair losing women just aren’t a medical priority.
This is where I want to pull my hair out. Crap. There would be the thinning hair, though not a direct symptom. Kind of.
How is it that we go around using five million different hair treatments, different weight loss products, and different acne medication, when one pill (did you hear that, JUST ONE) will actually fix the direct problem that is causing these issues? How is it that a *massive number of women* suffer from this and yet there’s not a whole ton of research on how?
What we do know is that if you have this you are likely to have a higher blood sugar level. It may not be in the “danger zone*” yet, but it should be monitored. Also, you most likely have a higher level of testosterone, causing the hair issues, and the acne.
There’s more but for the sake of keeping this short for today, and keeping me writing tomorrow I’m going to stop here. At the end of it I think it would suffice to say that ladies, we need to keep track of our health and often times try to look for the root of our health issues with earnest. I’ve said to myself too many times that I was just destined to be fat, or it was genetic. Well, it’s genetic, but I don’t have to live with the guilt that it’s just me and my bad decisions, that are usually pretty normal decisions and don’t affect “normal body chemistry” the way it affects mine. I still have to own that I have made many poor eating decisions and own that I haven’t worked out every day of my life. That’s on me. But it feels good to also know that my body has also been working against me, and so now with that knowledge, I can move forward and keep working it off in a productive way.
Ladies, listen to your bodies. Only you know if something is off. Don’t let the world tell you that your lack of success is solely your fault. Sometimes we work our asses off, only to still have quite the sizable ass. And that’s ok. Keep working, keep doing your best, and make sure your body is on your side.
*Cue song. I totally did. My scatter-brain is showing, Noel, get it in check.