Disclaimer – This is my personal approach towards living a balanced life and dealing with PCOS in general. There is no medical science fact backing up this idea. This is something that just works for me, it might not be for you but I am sharing this anyway in a hope that it helps those who are looking for a sustainable lifestyle change and not just some quick fix.
A few years ago I wasn’t the same person I am now. I was extreme in all of my approaches, I would go out of the way while picking up a diet or exercise regime and would finally end up in a loop of giving up, going back, giving up, you get the picture. Looking back, it does make me realise of all the unnecessary stress it brought along with it. You must wonder why on earth am I sharing about my philosophy of life with you but it’s important because that’s how my journey started.
I knew I was struggling with my health even though it all looked okay on an outside when I would feel breathless while climbing 2 flights of stairs which was routine as an intern in hospital or how I would feel tired waking up even after 12 hours of sleep. You see, that’s the thing about ‘health’, you just know something is not right even if others may find everything okay from outside. It’s either feeling tired all the time or having a disturbed sleep pattern, not having the energy or relying on junk, are all the little signs that we ignore whereas the truth of the matter is ‘if you are feeling any of those things, your body needs a reality check and soon.
Self-care is something that all of us take very reluctantly but that was a wake-up call for me personally so I will get straight to how changing my whole lifestyle and attitude towards ‘prioritising myself’ helped me find an answer to most of my quest related to PCOS.
The concept of ‘everything in moderation’ isn’t a rocket science, we all know it but don’t follow it or more often than not, don’t know how to follow it. The way I define it is ‘when you neither deprive yourself of anything nor go on to the extreme to endow it’. It’s all about finding the right balance and that balance can be completely different for you than what it is for me. Now, I am not talking in strict terms here but it’s not like you can keep on hogging what you like and call it a moderation, what I mean by moderation is ‘you don’t deprive yourself of little rewards for eating well or exercising as a way to seek motivation’.
The concept of moderation can be tricky, a lot of people who are also emotional eaters may use it the wrong way and that is why this concept has been criticised among a lot of nutritionists but you chose your own struggle, find your own path. The cravings in PCOS can be horrible, NOTHING HELPS, insulin resistance is a killer when it comes to cravings so this concept has helped me a tonne even though at the time I was completely unaware this whole process was called moderation. I just did what I felt was right for me. Now it may have been something to do with the fact that I don’t have much of a ‘sweet tooth’ or that I inherently rely on plant based food for most of my nutrition because I like it not because I have to, so take anything that benefits you from the list below and happily leave the rest, here’s what I have learned so far about moderating my lifestyle :
- Set your own rules – When dealing with PCOS, there is no ‘one size fits all’. You have to try and find out what works for you. I can stay away from sugar for as long as I want but if that’s not you, it’s completely cool, balance it out by cutting on carbs or limiting yourself only a certain amount per week. Whatever works!
- Be 100% honest with those rules – Setting your own rules does give you a certain amount of freedom but it doesn’t mean you can modulate them according to your preference as and when required. Once you set out on something, follow it wholeheartedly otherwise you might as all go back to your previous lifestyle right?
- Be careful about the words – Words like deprivation, strictness, difficulty, should be out the door the moment you decide to pick up ‘moderation in diet’. When we remind ourselves we are depriving of something, the brain automatically catches on that particular thought and makes it difficult for us to follow it for long. Tell yourself every now and then ‘I can have it whenever I want but I am chosing not to’.
- Don’t expect a quick-fix – Moderation in itself is a slow process. You have to give it time because it’s not the matter of a month or two. You need to stick to this for a long time to come so why not take it slow and steady because doing it is not important, doing it consistently is.
- Start slow – Don’t go overboard on day 1. If you do that, you are breaking the first rule of moderation. If you are habitual to taking 2TBS of sugar in your coffee every single day, start by reducing it to 1TBS the first few days and then go on to alternatives gradually. The similar concept goes with other things – carbs, unhealthy/trans fat, soda, oil, etc. Start slowly so you have a better chance of maintaining it.
- Do not rely on weighing machine – And this especially goes for my ‘cysters’. You have to accept that losing weight is 3 times more difficult for you than others because of the whole disturbed physiology in PCOS. A tonne of you give up midway saying ‘I am not losing weight in spite of working hard and eating nothing’, It’s not your fault, your body won’t respond to all that all too soon so stop judging yourself based on weighing scale. If someone else loses 4 kgs in a month, you would lose the same amount in 2 or 3 months, accept that and learn to be okay with it. We are all in different phases of our journey, don’t compare yourself with others but only you!
I hope this gave you some idea about living life in moderation, if you have any questions related to it, you can always get in touch with me. 🙂
Images used in the article are not my own. They have been downloaded from google and are used for informatioon purpose only. No copyright infringement intended.