Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Holy Crap I Quit Sugar: A PCOS Love Story

Image by Ashkiel

Ugh. So, who has PCOS? This girl! Yup. It's been confirmed, there are cysts all over my ovaries. This pesky little nuisance began back in 2001 while I was a sophomore in high school beginning with dark hair showing up on my chin and eventually resulting in massive weight gain around my middle section, excessive body hair everywhere, constant depression, fatigue & an insatiable craving for bread and sugar to the likes of which were not known to mankind.

Of course, back then my parents thought I had A.D.D. and/or was depressed. I'm not sure about what causes PCOS but I have some theories & while this really isn't a health blog, I feel like my life has been massively impacted by this syndrome and deserves some of my virtual attention. 

So, PCOS is something only women can be diagnosed with because its poly (multiple) cystic (cysts) ovarian (on/of the ovaries) syndrome (the collection of signs and symptoms that are observed in, and characteristic of, a single condition). What really sucks is the syndrome part. It's really just a group of symptoms leading to the causation of cysts forming on the ovaries. Resulting in more symptoms. And honestly, the results can be life ruining. 

Some women have an issue conceiving a child, some women rarely get their periods (me) which might sound like a blessing but a woman's body is meant to shed its inner uterine lining once a month. I don't care how bad your cramps are, not getting your period can be disastrous to your hormonal health and therefore the rest of your body. Some women grow thick, dark hair all over their bodies in places men don't even have it. If it's not controlled by diet (aka not eating what the rest of America does) it'll usually result in massive mood swings, depression and find its way into every aspect of your life. Most of the time, you also are prone to gaining weight, specifically around the mid-section of your body. 

I found out I had PCOS when our lactation specialist was over at our home 2 days after I'd given birth to my little mermaid. I was not producing breast milk and we couldn't figure out why. After explaining everything I was going through she asked me a series of questions and nodded, saying "dude, you have PCOS". A couple of weeks later I had an ultrasound done to confirm it and she was right. Wow, massive mystery solved. The question is how it's been impacting my life all of these years and what I can do to control it. 

There are a lot of routes (of course). Some of them pharmaceutical and some of them somewhat cyclical. But in all of my research and of course listening to my instincts, I know that high levels of oxygen (exercise) and what I eat are my medicine. PCOS can't be cured, but it can absolutely be controlled and let me just tell you, the standard american diet does NOT line up with what it means to keep that shiz under control.

There are two huge struggles when it comes to keeping your PCOS in check: the first one is quitting sugar or foods that turn to sugar (complex carbohydrates) in your bod. Yep, there's no way around it. many women with PCOS have tried several "diet" plans with little success. It can be very frustrating, especially since many of popular diets do not really address issues of insulin resistance, which is the main underlying cause of PCOS weight gain.

You absolutely had to remove simple/refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white pasta, potatoes (I'm bad about this one and still looking for a loophole), sugar, desserts, and sugary beverages as these have a high GI ranking and will cause a sudden rise in blood glucose levels and insulin production. I would usually just say reduce and I think that that's the ultimate goal because moderation is key. But sugar (and these foods) have a nasty little habit of being addictive.

Your body craves them, needs them for all of the reasons that it does. So, I believe that if you don't cold turkey that shit, you won't be able to truly detox and sort of reset that internal exposure. Have you ever noticed that if you eat these foods, even a little bit, that you find yourself craving them between the next meal? That's how addiction works yo. You eat a small amount of bread or cookie, a chemical is released in your brain of euphoria temporarily and once that chemical starts to retreat physical signs of craving begin making it really hard to say no to another bite.

It's been 1 week since I cut the sugar out of my life and here's what's changed:

  1. I got my period. Yep, it's been 3 months and it showed up on day 4.
  2. I don't need 30-45 minutes to get myself out of bed in the morning.
  3. I don't feel hungover until noon.
  4. My focus levels are much better and I'm finding the time and energy for things that felt impossible a week ago.
  5. I'm being nicer to myself, not so irritable.
  6. I'm looking forward to movement even if its just walking upstairs from the car.
  7. I can see the cookies and organic peanut butter cup and not buy it.
  8. I'm craving healthier foods like arugula & kombucha.
  9. My eyes are brighter.
  10. My skin looks much better, especially my chin.

I have struggled but most of the misery lasted for a very short time. On day 2, I got a migraine that could only be equal to Athena springing from Zeus' head. It was really bad and could only be controlled by acetaminophen which honestly, didn't help much. By day 3, the migraine was gone and things started to get easier. Eating out has been a challenge but I've been really deliberate in choosing where we eat. My best options are eggs, omelettes, mixed vegetables, salads (without sugary dressing) & corn (tortilla chips) and salsa. I've been having some local honey in my coffee instead of refined sugar, here are my reasons. I've been cooking a lot at home and spinach omelettes have been my go-to in emergency situations.

I am really excited to say that it's been over a week and I've quit sugar with no intention of going back. I continue to keep a journal around my emotions and my PCOS symptoms and am hoping to see a steady consistent change in other symptoms lessening. Specifically the dark hair growth everywhere. It's a stress that has impacted my life and continuously causes me problems. I'm also feeling ready to have more movement in my life including but not limited to curvy yoga and some weight training. Finally, there's some energy there!

Thanks for listening to my story, and if you think you might have PCOS, try to figure it out. Sometimes just putting the puzzle pieces together can be such a relief.


  1. As a sign of gratitude for how my wife was saved from PCOS, i decided to reach out to those still suffering from this.
    My wife suffered pcos in the year 2013 and it was really tough and heartbreaking for me because she was my all and the symptoms were terrible, she always complain of heavy menstruation, and she always have difficulty falling asleep . we tried various therapies prescribed by our neurologist but none could cure her. I searched for a cure and i saw a testimony by someone who was cured and so many other with similar body problem, and he left the contact of the doctor who had the cure to pcos . I never imagined polycystic ovary syndrome. has a natural cure not until i contacted him and he assured me my wife will be fine. I got the herbal medication he recommended and my wife used it and in one months time she was fully okay even up till this moment she is so full of life. polycystic ovary syndrome. has a cure and it is a herbal cure contact the doctor for more info on on how to get the medication. Thanks admin for such an informative blog.

  2. Nice article.Really you write wonderful stuff.

    Quit Sugar