Tuesday, February 11, 2020

My Journey with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

Before we begin, let me just remind you that I am not a doctor, nor in the medical field. What I’m about to share with you is just my personal journey, my doctor’s advice, how I dealt with it, and how I won the battle against it. In no way am I promoting products in this blog post, as I just want to share with you this life changing journey that made me believe that everything’s possible through genuine body love, hard work, and discipline.

Okay, let’s start!

First of all, let’s start with “what is PCOS,” for those who are not yet familiar with it:

PCOS is short for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is a hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. Women with it may have irregular menstrual periods (either skipping months or prolonged) or excess male hormone levels (which is why some women with PCOS have more hair growth in some areas like the legs and upper lip). What happens inside is that the egg may not develop as it should, or it may not be released during ovulation.

The first time I found out I have PCOS was at age 15. I kept from my mom that I’ve been having my period for a year, non-stop, and when she noticed how frequent I used pads, she took me to the doctor, had me undergo an ultrasound, and voila! As it turns out, I have PCOS.


My doctor advised me to lose weight and take pills. Well, at least, that is how my mom interpreted things to be. But that is, basically, what I did. I was taking pills since I was 15 years old. My mom also tried to help me go on a diet to lose weight (because I’ve been overweight to obese since I was young) and even enrolled me to a gym.

Did it work? It kind of didn’t, because I just didn’t care. I was too focused on my studies and extra-curricular activities at school to deal with the long-term implications of having PCOS. I mean, I was a kid. Why would I worry about not getting pregnant and all that at 15, right?


3rd Year Highs School Field Trip, I'm the one at the right (2005)

4th Year High School Graduation (2006)
4th Year College (2010)
 I did yo-yo dieting during my teenage years. I would be super fat, then go on a crash diet because I would feel insecure about how I look so I’d lose weight, and then get hungry, go on a binge, gain a lot of weight again, and the cycle goes on and on and on. You know how it is. There was no concern about my health, as it was all about how I look and all. I still continuously took pills, and again, I never cared about the repercussions of living with PCOS and all. All I know is that I keep losing and gaining weight, and it just seems like an unavoidable cycle.


Radio guesting (2010)

TV Guesting in Unang Hirit (2011)

Work-Related Travel (2012)

Unhealthy Weight Loss (2013)

Unhealthy Weight Loss (2013)
When I reached my 20s, that’s when I found out about how a lot of women also suffer from PCOS. That is when I started researching about my condition and found out that obesity can cause PCOS and vice versa. It can also make it hard for a woman to get pregnant, and it is also linked to different diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, depression and anxiety, and other things. So I tried to lose weight, but it was in an unhealthy way still. I was still more concerned in looking good, rather than being healthy. During my late 20s, it eventually got worse as I gained more weight and then I needed to get a biopsy and restart my PCOS treatment once again. That’s when my doctor hit me hard with her only advice. She said:

You really need to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and be active if you want to get better. No matter how religiously you take your pills, it will only help with your period and not with the other concerns of PCOS.

At around 220 lbs. (2018)

I didn’t immediately take action. I blamed my PCOS for everything that’s been happening to me. My mood, my obesity, my pre-diabetic condition and high triglyceride… IT WAS ALL PCOS’ FAULT. Until I started feeling insecure again about how I looked and went on another crash diet, and this time leading to an eating disorder. I stopped eating eventually and friends were telling me that I smelled like the hospital. Because of how hungry I was inside, the scent of the acid from my stomach crawls out of my breath and pores. Yikes! But the real turning point was when I fainted at home. Apparently, I’ve gotten so weak and hungry inside. That is when I realized that I needed to really start working on changing my lifestyle because I’m killing myself.

Starting wasn’t easy. When I finally accepted my eating disorder, people would tell me, “you should eat, you know it’s not right if you’re starving yourself…” And to be honest, I got more triggered because I ALREADY KNOW THAT WHAT I’M DOING ISN’T RIGHT, BUT YOU CAN’T JUST FORCE ME TO IMMEDIATELY EAT. I JUST CAN’T AND I DON’T KNOW WHY. It was a slow but steady progress because despite of all the negativity surrounding me, I started loving and accepting my body more, so I was determined to take care of it.

My First Hike (2019)

CrossFitter and Powerlifter (2020)

After fixing my diet to one that is healthier and focused more on consuming whole food, a friend of mine invited me to workout. I started with doing just Zumba, and then eventually doing the usual bakal gym workouts. I got bored though, so I looked for a more challenging one and stumbled upon CrossFit Cabalen. I was, initially, scared with CrossFit because I’ve heard of stories about how hard it is. But, hey, I’ve been doing CrossFit for a year now and I’m loving not just the sports, but also the community. It actually feels great to be surrounded by people who are determined to be stronger, fitter, and healthier. It’s just the perfect sports and community for me.


Strong Girl at 2020. Finally seeing them gains!
If someone would ask me how to win the battle against PCOS, I would have to say that it is all about a holistic lifestyle change and nothing else. No amount of pills, medications, herbals, etc., can help you overcome it, but just live a healthier and active lifestyle.

According my last vaginal ultrasound, my doctor said, “it’s like you never had PCOS! All clear.” It was one of the happiest moments in my life. Aside from that, my blood fasting sugar (ideal is 70-105mg/dl) went from 124 mg/dl to 93 mg/dl; while my triglyceride (ideal is < 200 mg/dl) went from 182 mg/dl to 54 mg/dl.

I feel better, I am stronger, my skin looks clearer, and a lot of people mistake me to be 24 even! And, hey, I’m already 30. Not only do I feel good inside, I also looked better outside. It’s not even about the weight loss, but more of the glow I exude because my body feels happy and healthy.

Keep in mind that there is NO SHORTCUTS in being healthy. Discipline, determination, patience, and hard work played big roles in my journey toward winning the battle against PCOS. A total healthier lifestyle change is the only way, but you can do it.

Go girl! :)

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