Taking Care of Yourself #PCOSAwarenessMonth

In the spirit of PCOS awareness month, I wanted to do a small post on 8 things you can do to take care of yourself. Especially when dealing with PCOS! I've been diagnosed for over 2 years now and still some days I have a tough time reminding myself why I fight so hard.

Women are like that though, aren't we? Always taking care of others. It's important to give yourself a break every once in a while. I pushed really hard this last month. Just had project after project. Training for a 10k, prepping for a long weekend away. I think it all finally caught up with me. So today, since I'm still trying to battle the mucous in my head, I decided to go on strike. I didn't lift a finger to anything besides hit the play next episode button on NetFllix. While part of me felt guilty, I know I needed it.

However, I also don't sit still every long and with family descending upon my house tomorrow I wanted to pick up just a bit.

Now that I've had some time to sit down and enjoy the day, and give my head time to think, I thought about the top 8 Tips I have for battling Insulin Resistant PCOS. While I admit, I have my cheat days...heck cheat weekends. (It's not scientific but I swear my allergies ARE WAY WORSE when I go all out on cheating on my diet.) I still know how to, mostly, take care of myself.

1. Get diagnosed. Find a doctor or endocrinologist who will work with you. Who will listen to you. It's your health. You're the boss. Be in charge of your own destiny, so to say. I went through two doctors before my reproductive endocrinologist finally told me what I had long suspected. Having the right doctor with the right tools can be very motivating.

2. Do your research. Even though I have a very vocal doctor, I still call to ask questions. While they sort of roll their eyes when I tell them something I've read recently and ask about, they still take it into consideration. Well, for the most part anyway. Some things they pass off and other things they said 'if you feel it helps, then do it.'. But it's still good to have an open relationship with your doctor.

3. Take your medicine. If you've been prescribed medicine. Stay on it. Take it to the point where it's like second nature. I was bad about taking mine after awhile. I would take most doses but not all, I would stop taking it all together sometimes for a few days. It was a way to help me feel in control, but the truth was I was only hurting myself, making my symptoms worse, and putting me at risk for all sorts of nasty diseases. I'm pretty vigilant about it now, if I don't take the metformin right away I'll make sure it take it as soon as I can. Haven't missed a dose in a long while!

4. Stay active. There are all sorts of recommendations for 30minutes, 5 times a week- some people say 7 days a week. I'm not a doctor, so I cannot tell you what to do, but I have found that the 30minutes 5x a week is probably the best. I may only workout about 4x a week but I usually hit 45minutes to an hour with most workouts. I LOVE HOW exercising makes me feel. Purged and cleansed. Empty, yet renewed. It's a powerful feeling to see what your body can do and it helps you build confidence.

5. Do you best to stay on top of a well balanced clean eating diet. Carbs, protein, and fat with each meal. When you have insulin resistant related PCOS it's important to keep your blood sugar levels at an even level. I have found that eating at least 5 x daily, helps me feel steady. I don't have physical highs and lows throughout the day. However, I do have emotional ones if I have too many high carb meals throughout the day. Clean eating, is the best way to go. For me that means whole home cooked meals, foods with minimal ingredients, monitoring my added sugar, no gluten, no soy, a very minimal to zero dairy. When I start to eat a lot of sugar I feel jittery. I had great success with weight loss doing the atkins diet, but in order to maintain my weight I switched over to a more Modified Paleo diet. Start here, with a clean diet. Staying on top of your diet will be one of the most used weapons in the arsenal against PCOS symptoms.

6. Nurture your faith. My faith has grown stronger during this journey. I've had some pretty dark days and some sunnier days. Through it all I've done my best to give a moment to God each day. I am stronger because of my faith. Whatever your faith may be, it's important especially now to remember where your strength comes from. I am stronger because of my faith in God.

7. Pamper yourself. Do your best to care of yourself. Whether it's getting a massage (to help manage stress and anxiety), facials (for the acne), taking an extra hour on the weekends to read your favorite book. Taking a walk through the park (It's getting to be that time of year where walks are going to be EXTRA beautiful with the fall weather.) Indulging in that first cup of tea in the morning before the day turns to chaos. Whatever you have to do to take a minute for yourself EACH DAY if you can, do it. You're worth it. You need it.

 8. SLEEP! I am the worst at this. I do not get my recommend 8 hours like I should. Sleep is SO important, without it your worn out, your immune system is lowered because your cells are not rejuvenating. Sleeping helps heal and repair your heart and blood vessels. If you continue to not get enough sleep you put yourself at risk for heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Check out Why Is Sleep Important? For more in depth facts and information.

Speaking of sleep,