I knew I had PCOS years before I started experiencing pregnancy losses. Like many women, I was given two options when I was diagnosed: “You can take birth control to fix your period or come back when you want to get pregnant.” I took birth control for a very short time, but it just wasn't for me. I developed anxiety and depression while on it, but when I shared my concerns with my doctor, he dismissed them saying I was a hypochondriac and that it was all in my mind.
I quit the pill anyway and decided like so many other women with PCOS to just suffer in silence. I remember there would be times when my stomach would be so swollen that I would have to take Provera to have a medically induced cycle. And I remember thinking that this was normal – that some women just don't get their periods regularly but that it wasn’t a problem. I now think it’s so important for other women to know that our menstrual cycle is the ultimate indicator of our hormonal health.
While working in the NICU, I picked up a part time job as a case manager for women with high-risk pregnancies. I started to learn a lot about hormonal health at that time and to do my own research on lifestyle changes that could help PCOS. I tried going dairy free and vegan at one point. I tried keto. I had amazing results, but I realized it was hard to sustain a lot of these changes long term.
So, I expanded my research and began studying habits, personal development, and mindset. I wanted to understand how changing the way I think every day could help. I started focusing on my micro habits, like the time I wake up in the morning, how much time I was spending on social media, and my mental health. I noticed my health starting to change.
With my mindset changes in place, I began to address my nutrition again. I became certified in different nutrition courses, and I started finding hormone nourishing ingredients that could be the focus point of recipes. For instance, raspberry leaf tea is great for strengthening your uterus and your ovarian function. So, I made beautiful lemonades with it. I was determined to make foods that were both good for me and my hormones and that tasted good. I documented everything on scraps of paper: my period dates, my cycle length, how often I slept, how many cups of water I drank a day.
I was dedicated to changing my life because I understood that if I couldn't get healthier, I was most likely going to become diabetic. Plus, in my heart, I really wanted to become a mom.
I felt like my doctors were so focused on my weight that they couldn't see anything else about me. I was able to lose a lot of weight, but it didn't help my overall symptoms. But when I started to focus on my other biometric indicators – my sleep, anxiety levels, nutrition, macro and micronutrient deficiencies, and what quality supplements I was taking – I started to notice positive changes. I started quantifying these changes and spending a lot of time trying to bridge the medical and lifestyle solutions.
I really wish my story was easy, but the truth is it took me a very long time to find solutions that worked for me and that eventually led to the birth of my two beautiful children. Even when I was going through my darkest days, I always knew that one day I was going to share my experience and what I was learning with others. After my first miscarriage, I remember praying to the universe, “If I could become a mom again, I will support so many women.” And I’ve been able to do that with Love Served Warm, my PCOS hormone health coaching business.
Every single day, I work on supporting my clients and my Instagram followers to make changes that support their health while also working with their lifestyles. For instance, I host a PCOS hormone happy hour where I teach my clients how to create hormone-friendly versions of their favorite drinks as well as how to request those drinks at a bar.
I also built an app where I quantify my client's health efforts. I'm monitoring what they're eating every day, how much they're sleeping, what their skin looks like, how their mood is, and how many steps they're taking. I'm looking for patterns. My goal is to break those patterns and help them identify the habits that are holding them hostage so that they can create new habits that are beneficial to their hormone health. Managing PCOS is truly a lifestyle change that involves everything from movement and nutrition to clean beauty.