My Top 5 Tips to Manage Your PCOS Without Dieting

Are you or is someone you know affected by PCOS? I have some bonus episodes for you! Listen now for the second bonus episode all about my top 5 tips for managing your health with PCOS without dieting.

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This episode is brought to you by my online PCOS and Food Peace course.

Product links may be affiliate. If you click and make a purchase, there’s no extra cost to you.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • Did you miss the first Love, Food PCOS Bonus episode? Check it out now!
  • You’re not a failure! You’ve been given the WRONG tools to help manage your health with PCOS.
  • Most people with PCOS are given a pamphlet that gives a one-size-fits-all solution… but this doesn’t work with PCOS! PCOS affects EVERY cell in your body, which means that a holistic approach to management is crucial. It can affect your mental health, hormone levels, and SO much more! It’s complicated!!
  • There’s really a lack of research around PCOS out there, and most healthcare providers have NO CLUE how complicated PCOS can be. That means you need to be your best advocate!
  • Solutions to your health shouldn’t be agonizing! They shouldn’t hurt!! That’s why I don’t recommend dieting, and I promise you that my solutions will NOT make you feel miserable.
  • I didn’t always know that diets don’t work. It took me working in the field and digging in the research for YEARS before I really got it. Diets predict weight GAIN, not weight loss, and people with PCOS are even MORE likely to experience that weight regain (this has to do with insulin levels, testosterone, and inflammation… listen to the show to get the details on the science!).
  • Pursuing weight loss should NOT be the primary treatment for PCOS! I’ve learned so much over the years working with women with PCOS (including Whitney Way Thore of My Big Fat Fabulous Life), and I have the training to help people manage the condition WITHOUT diets.
  • My top 5 tips to take charge of your health with PCOS:
    • Stop being a slave to the scale.
    • Put diets on the back-burner. The diets just increase inflammation and make you feel AWFUL! It’s time to put them down.
    • Don’t ignore your cravings, mood changes, or weight gain (AKA the symptoms of PCOS)! Say hello to them, and consider that they’re trying to tell you something important.
    • You are the expert of your body!
    • Explore self-compassion. Get rid of the should’s and rewrite them to support you!

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.

I have to diet with PCOS…right?!? Let’s explore PCOS + Food Peace.

What is Food Peace™ in the context of struggling with PCOS? Listen now to hear my PCOS and Food Peace Manifesto.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my online PCOS and Food Peace course.

Product links may be affiliate. If you click and make a purchase, there’s no extra cost to you.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • What IS Food Peace™ and PCOS anyway? What if we’ve been told to eat this, not that, in order to manage our PCOS? How do we move away from that kind of thinking?
  • Do some of us end up engaging in anorexia nervosa trying to manage our PCOS? Yes! Especially if we’re in larger bodies.
  • People in larger bodies are urged to practice eating behaviors that we diagnose as disordered in smaller bodies… this is a problem! It also points to how fatphobic our society is.
  • Dieting increases inflammation, which is one of the biggest issues with PCOS.
  • At least one in ten women suffer from PCOS, but there’s minimal research funding for it. We need to get more information on this condition!
  • So what’s Food Peace™? Food Peace is coming to terms that diets don’t work for you, and understanding that diets are the failure, not you.
  • It’s time to find a new way to eat, and listen to your bodies for the answers! Women with PCOS have a different kind of communication with their body, and it’s my job to guide you through learning that mode of communication.
  • If you’re in a place where you’re struggling to manage your PCOS, you may feel like you’re ALWAYS hungry. The Food Peace process is about reconnecting with your intuitive self and learning what that feeling of being always hungry really means.
  • Dieting predicts weight gain and eating disorders, and intuitive eating leads to positive health outcomes. So really, which one is better for our health?
  • Here’s my PCOS and Food Peace Manifesto:
    • You didn’t cause your PCOS!
    • Diets failed, not you! Diets are a form of restriction, so it’s no wonder you feel like you can’t control yourself around food.
    • Your weight doesn’t define your health or your worth.
    • Your PCOS has its own language.
    • Notice what helps energize you, and what doesn’t.
    • Self-care matters, and so does advocacy.
  • 25% of our health is due to behaviors, and 75% of our health are determined by social determinants of health and our genetics… this means that stigma and discrimination have a HUGE impact on our health! Specifically, weight stigma contributes to inflammation and poor health due to the fight or flight response.
  • There are SO many of us out there ready to help you fight weight stigma in PCOS healthcare. Come join us!

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.

Inflammation’s role in your PCOS

This article was written by my previous Nutrition Grad Student, Kimmie Singh. She is a fat woman of color who experiences PCOS. You can find out more information about her work now as a dietitian here.

Ever wonder why you feel so much more tired than your friends without PCOS? This is just one side effect of chronic inflammation. Understanding inflammation can significantly impact your PCOS and your life. Kimberly Singh, dietitian-in-training, has dug into the research to help us understand more about it. —Julie

Your body is a complex system with many awing processes. It has strong defense mechanisms that are trying to protect you at all times and healing mechanisms that respond to an attack in the form of an injury or infection. Inflammation is a crucial part of the body’s defense!

I know inflammation usually gets a bad rap, but it plays a major role in the healing process after an injury.

Take a moment to remember an accident that left you with a red, swollen, painful lump.

Maybe it was falling off your bike as a child or a silly fall that left you with a great story as an adult. I’m a bit clumsy, so too many examples come to mind! After that fall or accident, you may remember the place of injury getting hot, red, swollen, and painful almost immediately. This is your body’s natural process of responding to an attack.

I know that feeling is far from fun, but a lot is going on to heal and protect the area from further injury.

Talk about tough love. 

This process is called acute inflammation. It happens suddenly usually in response to an injury or infection, and it doesn’t stick around for too long.

Chronic inflammation is a little different. Instead of suddenly popping up after an injury or infection, it’s less intense and lingers around. Chronic low-grade inflammation is common in a variety of health conditions, including PCOS.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Grab a FREE download from Julie here.

So now that you know how helpful inflammation can be, I should tell you why it has such a bad reputation. Chronic low-grade inflammation increases the risk for developing conditions we are told we do not want. They include:

  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke
  • insulin resistance
  • irritable bowl syndrome
  • chronic pain.

These may sound particularly familiar because they are also common in people with PCOS.

Knowledge is key here: reducing chronic low-grade inflammation can reduce the risk of PCOS comorbidities. 

Stay tuned for posts that discuss how to combat some of the effects of chronic inflammation. Here are some quick tips to reduce chronic inflammation:

  • Be sure to eat enough. Regardless of your size, dieting will increase inflammation.
  • Enjoy foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Be sure to get enough vitamin D, so soak up the sun and grab your favorite yogurt.
  • Enjoy movement and avoid over exercising. Find ways to explore movement that you love.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Manage stress with therapy, meditation, yoga, etc.
  • Enjoy your favorite fruits and veggies. I find it helpful to experiment with new recipes to make veggies a bit more exciting.

Want to explore more non diet options to help manage your PCOS, promote health AND healing?

Click here for details on Julie’s PCOS and Food Peace course.

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References

Akiho, H. (2010). Low-grade inflammation plays a pivotal role in gastrointestinal dysfunction in irritable bowel syndrome. World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology, 1(3), 97. doi:10.4291/wjgp.v1.i3.97

Barbosa-Da-Silva, S., Fraulob-Aquino, J. C., Lopes, J. R., Mandarim-De-Lacerda, C. A., & Aguila, M. B. (2012). Weight Cycling Enhances Adipose Tissue Inflammatory Responses in Male Mice. PLoS ONE, 7(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039837

Bauer, B. (n.d.). Buzzed on inflammation: From the Editors: Mayo Clinic Health Letter. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://healthletter.mayoclinic.com/editorial/editorial.cfm/i/163/t/Buzzed%20on%20inflammation/

Beavers, K. M. (2011). Effects of lifestyle interventions on inflammatory markers in the metabolic syndrome. Frontiers in Bioscience, S3(1), 168-177. doi:10.2741/s142

González, F. (2012). Inflammation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Underpinning of insulin resistance and ovarian dysfunction. Steroids, 77(4), 300-305. doi:10.1016/j.steroids.2011.12.003

Lasselin, J., Kemani, M. K., Kanstrup, M., Olsson, G. L., Axelsson, J., Andreasson, A., . . . Wicksell, R. K. (2016). Low-grade inflammation may moderate the effect of behavioral treatment for chronic pain in adults. Journal of Behavioral Medicine,39(5), 916-924. doi:10.1007/s10865-016-9769-z

Mangin, M., Sinha, R., & Fincher, K. (2014). Inflammation and vitamin D: the infection connection. Inflammation Research, 63(10), 803-819. doi:10.1007/s00011-014-0755-z

Mullington, J. M., Simpson, N. S., Meier-Ewert, H. K., & Haack, M. (2010). Sleep loss and inflammation. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 24(5), 775-784. doi:10.1016/j.beem.2010.08.014

Repaci, A., Gambineri, A., & Pasquali, R. (2011). The role of low-grade inflammation in the polycystic ovary syndrome. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 335(1), 30-41. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2010.08.002

Petersen, A. M. (2005). The anti-inflammatory effect of exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(4), 1154-1162. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00164.2004

Publications, H. H. (n.d.). Foods that fight inflammation. Retrieved July 03, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation

Slavich, G. M., & Irwin, M. R. (2014). From stress to inflammation and major depressive disorder: A social signal transduction theory of depression. Psychological Bulletin, 140(3), 774-815. doi:10.1037/a0035302

What is an inflammation? (2015, January 07). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072482/

Food Experiment: Chia Seeds

I love trying new foods and dietitian job perks include being able to learn about new nosh-able foods. I am on the look out for high omega 3 foods to suggest to my clients affected by PCOS. Adding more omega 3s can help decrease inflammation and help heal the source of PCOS. As a strict rule, I only recommend foods I have tried AND taste good. Now you know why I don’t suggest kale.

Everything I used in this experiment.
Everything I used in this experiment.

I have heard about chia seeds for decades. First, as the perfect Christmas gift (Ch-Ch-Chia!). A few years back I noticed them instead sprinkled on salads or added to restaurant chicken breading. I can’t say I liked them though because I didn’t experience them…I couldn’t really taste them. They were just kind of there and annoyed me later when flossing my teeth.

I recently learned about soaking the chia seeds to make a tapioca pudding like consistency. I was intrigued and decided that was going to be my food experiment this week. Here’s what I did:

1/4 cup chia seeds mixed with 1 cup milk

I stirred it and placed in the fridge. I am not known for my patience and checked about 5 minutes later. I noticed it needed a good stirring again to help the chia seeds STAY PUT and not settle.

After about an hour I checked and what a difference! The mixture was now more like a lumpy gel. I appreciate this doesn’t sound too appealing yet when I tried it, I found it to be pleasant. It was a warm spring day, warmest one yet, and the cool texture was comfortable.

The chia seeds were completely neutral tasting and I knew in order to enjoy this food I needed to add something. I wanted blueberries yet when I reached in the fridge I realize we had nada a blueberry. Darn kids and their blueberry obsession! I had to settle on strawberries. I sliced them up and drizzled a bit of honey and stirred them into the chia pudding.

Chia Seeds: let me know if your experiment is favorable or not.
Chia Seeds: let me know if your experiment is favorable or not.

My taste rating: Yum! If you enjoy yogurt or cottage cheese, this would be a fun alternative. Chia seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, omega 3s, iron and calcium.

My satiety rating: Quenched and energized. I noticed about 15 minutes after eating the above mixture the food felt very satisfying in my stomach. I was more awake and energized. I will try them again to see if have this experience every time.

Future Experiments: Soaked chia seeds can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for about a week. You could throw this mixture in a smoothie or add granola with the fruit. After this experiment, I made a mental note to have more soaked chia seeds during those hot summer months when I have to part the humidity as I walk. Will be refreshing and energizing while I am trying to tolerate the summer heat. Watch out, I get grumpy!