PCOS Is Not My Friend: The Weight

I started off with the obvious symptom I'd experienced with PCOS: my out-of-whack and barely there menstrual cycle, if you can call it that. Now, we're moving on to the weight gain that comes with the syndrome.

You know my struggles with weight gain - if you need a refresher, you can read about my journey here and here.

So what's the deal with the weight gain & PCOS? This website states it well when it describes it like this:

"Another telltale symptom of PCOS is steady, significant weight gain — even with reduced caloric intake. Some women report that they’re gaining weight no matter what they do. It’s not unusual for patients with PCOS to tell me they’ve recently gained 60 or more pounds in less than a year, despite dieting all the time and exercise. This weight usually accumulates around their middle. Why do some women with PCOS gain weight at such alarming rates? The research is showing that PCOS is strongly linked with insulin resistance."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I've always struggled with my weight, for as long as I can recall.

Little did I know that after spending years of complaining about how heavy I was, that I was actually prone to weight gain thanks to the joy that is borderline insulin resistance. Now, I'm not going to say that I have always eaten a perfectly healthy diet, because that would be a lie. I've always been a fussy eater, too quick to jump at the fast option and never really able to switch off and just say 'no' to hefty potions. But what I didn't know was that I was pre-disposed to put on weight at a much faster rate than most others, thanks to the hormonal imbalance and problems with insulin resistance that come hand in hand with PCOS.

I put on the majority of my weight during university. In January 2007, I hit an all-time high of 97kg. The only reason I remember that, is because it was the weight they had scrawled on my hand when I was being weighed in for my bungy jump and canyon swing on our New Zealand holiday. I had never been more mortified to have my weight announced to everyone like that, but it was the kick up the butt I needed to start seriously losing weight. In 2007, I lost around 17kg and got down to my lowest weight of 80kg. I had also completed the Couch to 5k program and was running almost every other day, until I developed severe shin splints, that plague me even now!

When I moved to London, I was back up to around 85kg, but looking and feeling better than I had in a very long time. People warned me about the Heathrow Injection, but I wasn't that worried - I was moving in with Jase who is quite possibly the most health conscious boy on the planet, and I had big plans for joining a gym, walking around & loving life over here! That happened, for the most part. We hardly ate out (and still don't now!) and I was working out quite a bit, and enjoying walking around the city while exploring. Unfortunately while I was doing all of those lovely things, I was gaining weight at the same time.

It's always frustrating when you're putting on weight. What is MORE frustrating is putting on weight when you're still doing all the right things. By the time we moved flats last year and despite me joining the nearby gym and working out five days a week, it had just gotten worse. When I started the portion controlled diet in July, I had hit 100kg. Again with the mortification. I felt like a whale. I felt like a disappointment.

I'm down 10kg since then and am now weighing in at 89.9kg. I'm SO pleased with this {you have no idea!} and I'm still going, still aiming to shift as much of this weight as I can before we get home. Because of the insulin problems, I'm trying to follow a low GI diet. That means goodbye to my favourite things like potato, corn, white bread and pasta. Of course, I'm still having carbohydrates, but just in smaller portions and in wholegrain options if possible. We made little switches, like using brown rice, wholemeal bread and wholewheat tortillas. We don't buy potatoes. We never really drank sugary soda here at home, but we've made sure to switch to sugar free cordial and snacks, where we can. Little things, you know?

But what scares me is what will happen when the weight loss slows down, which it almost always does. What happens when I continue eating right and exercising right, but when I get stuck? Or worse, what happens if I start putting things back on again? I've mentioned before that the one thing I'm afraid of with weight loss is a mental barrier I have: it's one of disappointing people. I don't want Jase to always think of me as a big girl. I don't want to be dreading my wedding day because I know I'll look at pictures and be disappointed in not being pretty enough, or thin enough. I don't want to be an overweight wife who struggles to get pregnant, and if lucky enough, carries a baby in an unhealthy body. I don't want to be that mum, who was overweight when she started the journey and continues to be overweight, and then some, after the birth. I'm sick of being in this cycle!

Ah, but I digress. {Having a blog is great for venting, sometimes.} The weight gain part of PCOS, well, to be blunt? It blows. It's not bad enough that you're not ovulating properly and are at risk of infertility, but to also feel and look fat and frumpy at the same time? It's really awful. I really feel for those women out there who have PCOS and similar symptoms, because I know from personal experience, just how degrading the whole process is.

It's not over yet, folks. There are even more symptoms to come. I had some amazing emails and messages come through after the last blog post which I really appreciated, so feel free to share your support in the comments.

19 Comments • Labels:  


Jade said...

Thanks for sharing such a sensitive topic with us again, Aly.


Leslie said...

I'm so sorry you're battling this. You're right, it most certainly does BLOW. Is the diet you're following pretty much the same as one a diabetic person would follow? The reason I ask is because having a relative with type 2 diabetes (which is basically insulin resistance) and seeing how her sugar levels are SO directly related to her weight, I wonder if the same thing applies to PCOS? I wonder if keeping track of your blood sugar would help? Just thinking out loud....
Sending you lots of love and hugs!

Ashley // Our Little Apartment said...


I cannot even imagine how difficult this would be to deal with. I wish I could offer something - but I just have sympathy. :(

I'm sorry! I hope someone figures out how to kick PCOS's ass! ;)

Karen said...

I understand how you feel, and I totally feel the same way. Especially with the kids thing, I really do NOT want to be the mom who (even subconsciously) teaches her bad eating habits to her kids.
But I must admit, I did not know you were gaining weight over the past few years despite eating right. I just always assumed you were like me in that regard, snacking a little too much here and there. I know exactly why I gained weight when I did. That has got to be so frustrating, I cannot even fathom.
I hope that your medication will also help you in that regard that your metabolism will start working the way it's supposed to.
And I believe that you can do this. Even if your weight loss slows down (which it hasn't at all yet, right?) I think the most important thing is not to give up. Even if you only lost half a pound a week, that's 25 pounds a year. And I'll always be here to support you. I may have it a little easier in that regard that my weight loss is as 'simple' as eating fewer calories than I burn, but I will support you in any way I can. xoxo

terra said...

Glad you're sharing this. I can't relate and I don't have any advice, but I think it's really important that you share your journey with PCOS, both for yourself and for others who might find it and who will be able to relate. (hugs)

Megan said...

There's no right diet for everyone: sometimes you have to experiment to figure out what's right for you. I had a lot of success with counting calories (I lost 65 pounds and have kept them off for three years) but I also know people who did well by cutting out processed foods or using Weight Watchers.

You can do it.

Lara said...

Support, support, support! :)

~Mum~ said...

You've done so well baby girl - it's hard enough to lose weight at the best of times - but having the PcOS to contend with must be horrid.

You are doing SO WELL - just think of it as getting HEALTHY too - so even if you do stall - you still know you are putting the 'right stuff' in your body to make you the healthiest you can be.

I'm so proud of you - you are looking GREAT in your latest photos
(but I still want to lose more than you for the wedding LOL)

Angela Noelle said...

How incredibly frustrating. Thanks for sharing your story. I really didn't know anything about PCOS before reading your posts.

Kate said...

PCOS really does suck- I have a fair few family members with it, and I can imagine how difficult it is.

Congrats on keeping at the weight loss despite the frustration- I'm not in the same boat as you, but I know how it feels to feel like you're doing everything you can and it's still not working! Even if the weight loss is slow, a low GI diet should at least make you feel fantastic.

Becky said...

Ugh, I am so so sorry you have to deal with this. I can see why you don't want to be a disappointment, but let me assure you, you are the only one who would ever see yourself this way. Jase is totally head-over-heels can't wait to spend the rest of his life in love with you and (as most vows say), that's for better or for worse, so whether you're the fittest you can be, or because you've gained because of this a-hole condition he's going to be there and he's going to love you.

I know that doesn't make dealing with this any easier, but know you ARE doing what you can, and on your wedding day know that all that other stuff will fall away. The brides that "glow?" It's because they know they have an incredible partner. You're definitely going to be glowing.

Thank you for bringing such a strong voice to this condition and continuing to share it with us.

Fuzzy Cert said...

You're my BFF no matter what, dude. You can't disappoint me.

Jess said...

I don't have PCOS, but oh can I relate to the tendency to put on weight, the great success early in the diet followed by the plateau that's made even more upsetting by the fact that you are still doing everything right. But hopefully this time your diagnosis and treatment will make the difference in helping you move past that former plateau!

Anonymous said...

A girl I went to school with (and a friend on FB) has PCOS and over the past year has lost 3 and a half stone and has gone down 4 dress sizes or something silly like that. She documents everything in about a million FB status updates a day, but it's fun to read them. Anyway, just wanted to give a little bit of hope. If you wanted some tips, I'm sure she would be happy to offer support.

Stephen K said...

I'm not going to pretend I know what you're going through. What I will say is that from what I've read, you've a massive resource of inner strength and the wisdom to accept that which you cannot change, or however that goes.

To be all cliche (though know it's coming from a good place, not a patronising place), stay smiley and stay as healthy as you can, I think you'll find everything will come out in the wash :)

Emily Jane said...

I think it's incredibly brave of you to share this with us, and I hate that you have to go through this. I have to echo what Stephen said - you ARE a massive source of strength and wisdom, and I know you will get through this <3

Chantel said...

Hi Aly, I'm finding your posts about POCS facinating. I'm sorry that you are going though this :-( But its getting me to continue to think about what's going on with me. I was tested for insulin resistance and I got a reading of 30 then months later I was tested again with a high reading and yet no one mentioned POCS to me.. hrmm.

*hugs* I just you know will lose this weight. Hang in there mate x

steph anne said...

I'm one of those who didn't lose enough weight before I got married so I'm afraid that when I do lose weight I won't really think my wedding pictures are beautiful anymore.

I'm afraid I can't get pregnant too when the time comes. We're not all perfect and we're bound to go through some struggles in life. We can only make the best out of it! You're beautiful and I hope you know that!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I came across your blog via Vineyards, Veils & Vows and just wanted to tell you how similar our stories are (crazy similar - read my Backstory on my blog). I want you to know that you are not alone and you can achieve anything you put your mind to. I'm currently down to 76kg - I never thought this would EVER be possible. I still have some ways to go but I am immensely proud of how far I have come.

Hope to see you around!


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