No Funny Business
links I love:
"Hello, my name is Kadee and I have an endocrine/reproductive disorder."
Not usually how you start any conversation. For many reasons, this topic and my experience with it are something that even some of my closest friends and family members know nothing about. So...allow me to elaborate?
What is PCOS?
PCOS is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I could go all technical on you, but you can WebMD it for the dirty details (come on, we all do it). The reader's digest version is this:
My cells don't respond to the insulin my body produces (insulin resistance). Therefore, my body creates more insulin (high insulin). Then this causes high levels of all the wrong hormones to be produced (too many androgens). This causes ovarian cysts and irregular or absent menstrual cycles (possible infertility), and a slew of other things.
Symptoms and risks include but are not limited to:
-weight gain / difficulty losing weight
-hirsutism (excess hair growth)
-higher stress levels and/or anxiety
-higher risk of endometrial cancer, miscarriages, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.
I started having irregular periods when I was in the 8th grade. I've been on birth control to regulate my periods and hormones since I was 13 years old.
When I was first told that I had PCOS this is what my doctor sounded like in my adolescent mind, "Hormones....insulin... pre-diabetic...for the rest of your life...eat better...exercise." I was 13 years old and completely overwhelmed by this thing that had all of the sudden taken over my world, something that I absolutely did not understand.
I've been fighting a battle with my weight for nearly a decade. It's a battle that for the most part I felt I've been fighting totally alone- partially by choice, partially by circumstance and misunderstanding.
It's frustrating because people give me the attitude of, "Just start eating right, and work out- it's not that hard..." But here's the thing, 30 pounds to a woman with PCOS is like 50 or 75 pounds to you. It sounds ridiculous because there really is no accurate comparison.
I can eat no sugar and work out hard core for an hour or more a day and my body says, "Oh, that's nice...imma keep doing what I'm doing."
It just doesn't respond. Oh, I have also failed to mention that because of the insulin resistance we crave CARBS, of course, because it's the one thing we should absolutely avoid. Talk about an internal battle! People around us just don't understand, for crying out loud- we don't understand!
Our bodies fight it 100% of the way. They never seem to think they're getting insulin and our hormones just start to take over our world! Our bodies and minds go haywire on us. In short, "my ovaries explode and I gain a billion pounds".
For me, it's a constant battle to simply maintain my weight, and to mentally and emotionally prepare to wage the war on losing weight is such a giant feat. Especially when you feel like you're facing it on your own.
So, I don't talk about it, and here's why...
1) I have this enormous fear that people will think that I'm justifying my weight. It's a MASSIVE fear, and it's the last thing I want. I'm full of pride in this regard. Yeah, it pretty much boils down to pride.
2) I fear judgement of those who may think that I should be doing more about it than I am, or that they will think I'm lazy because I'm not doing more. Pride again...
I've heard, "If you would just lose 20 pounds I bet you'd look really good..." one too many times.
Let's be real, I know there's always more I could do. But I think that for me personally, I need to get a handle on things emotionally and mentally before I tackle them physically. It's hard to fight the fight physically if you're battling inside your own head.
My life has been a constant struggle for me to love myself. I think that until I can face this emotionally, I won't be motivated physically. I need to do it for the right reasons, not because I care what other people think. When I can rise above this because it's what's best for me, I think I'll see more success. The fact of the matter is, I'm just not there yet. But you guys...I think I'm getting close!
Why I'm Sharing
First of all- PCOS effects nearly 10% of women.
That's 1 out of 10. That's a lot of women.
The sad thing is, most of us aren't even diagnosed until...well, until we want to get pregnant and we realize that we can't. I was one of the "lucky" ones.
Second- I'm sick of people thinking that if someone is "fat" or "overweight" that the are lazy. I hate the stigma, and reality check: it does not typify the human race. I'll toot my own horn for a second and tell you that I'm one of the least lazy people that I know.
And last but certainly not least- I'm fed up with the body shaming. Must we continue to act as if "fat" is the worst thing that a person could possibly be?
It's absolute hell for someone to feel tortured or unloved in their own body. For years I've wanted simply to love myself- almost on the verge but constantly hearing messages from society telling me that I can't possibly love myself if I look the way that I do.
That's a lie. I'm sick of telling myself that something is wrong with me and that I need to change in order for someone to love me. That's another lie.
What in The World are We To Do?
It's time for a paradigm shift, because quite frankly, I'm sick of all the false pretenses. I am who I am. My struggles are my life-long burden to bear. You have yours, and I have mine.
I don't want to come off all angsty, but the point is this:
I want women around the world, with or without PCOS to love themselves. You have so much to offer the world, and if someone can't see past the way you look to recognize that, then that is their loss.
We are all striving to be our best selves, and that's what really matters. I'm not here to fit society's ever-changing mold of perfection, or to be flawless and "show ready".
I'm here to improve, day by day, and step by step. Rejoice in what you have to offer the world, and then give the best of yourself.
Give yourself permission to love you. Right now. As is.
You'll be beautiful inside and out.