What no one knew and even myself, was that I was battling Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Yup, one of those pesky reproductive issues that most women these days just expect to suffer from at some point. Over time the Syndrome can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
PCOS can be silent, until or unless symptoms appear. Mine certainly did. My menstrual cycle was unpredictable, and when it did arrive I would spend most of my time sitting on the toilet passing blood clots as large as my fists. Very scary. Being at work caused another problem, because needing to change a pad every 10 minutes would prove to be difficult when you are seated for 60 minutes presenting a live television show. Then, after years of being admired for my flawless skin, I developed terrible acne. Again another hamper to my television career (no more camera close ups).
To combat the heavy menstrual flow, I simply sat on the toilet and took days off from work. The acne, I spent hundreds of dollars on harsh antibiotics with the warning from my dermatologist to refrain from getting pregnant due to possible birth defects from the drugs. The thing was, my husband and I were ready to have a baby. And we were never not trying to get pregnant, which is what led me to my gynecologist. This visit confirmed my PCOS. Oh yeah, it can also cause fertility problems.
My disappointment was that the medical fraternity has no cure for PCOS but can only treat the symptoms. Take the pill to regulate menstrual flow, antibiotics for the acne, try to eat a balanced diet and exercise for the weight gain (hopefully it will shed). This wasn't good enough for me. I needed to know why I had PCOS in the first place.
Google searches confirmed there was no medical cure. But when I changed my search to holistic or natural remedies, a whole bunch of websites popped up! PCOS is a problem in which a woman's hormones are out of balance, these sites pointed fingers at foods pumped with hormones- meats and dairy mainly. So after having animal protein at every meal, I took the plunge and began practicing a vegan (plant-based) lifestyle, adding a few recommended herbal supplements to my diet and joined my first crossfit class.
The change came quickly. I got my first period on schedule in almost 6 years. And the flow was medium! I finally started to lose weight...after I was convinced I had a slow metabolism because I was older. The acne disappeared and I felt healthier and stronger than ever before. And yes, in 6 months...I was pregnant! We were in disbelief. I swore I took at least 3 at home tests, one at the doctors office, a blood test and not until we saw the ultrasound were we convinced.
You're probably wondering what does this have to do with fitness? Have you ever heard "abs are made in the kitchen, not gyms"? I've proven to myself that what I eat has a major affect on my overall health. So I encourage you to look at what you're consuming at meal time. In no way, am I suggesting to go on some crazy diet, cutting out half the food chain. What I am suggesting, is looking at your food and being confident each item on your plate is of high nutritional value, it is harvested or produced safely, is satisfying and your body reacts positively. Once you've done this, 80% of the battle is already won!
Have you changed your eating habits? What has worked for you? Feel free to share below.
Samantha is a tv and radio broadcaster. Her career spans over 15 years. She is also the Founder of Baby Babble Network and a mother of 2 boys. Samantha is a passionate 'green mommy', fitness enthusiast and id constantly researching and practicing alternate methods of positive parenting..