Not all health coaches and fitness trainers have a history of clean eating and regular workouts. Some of them are shaped by conflict—years of eating junk food, a sedentary lifestyle, life-altering accidents—something which eventually weighs them down to a breaking point. I am one of them.
As a certified nutritionist and transformation specialist, I am a staunch believer in staying fit while eating clean and exercising regularly. As I retrace my weight loss journey and everything I had gone through, it dawned on me that I am not alone in this fight. There are thousands of women out there who are battling the same demons as I once did. I gained a lot of weight, which is natural after pregnancy, right? What was not normal was the problems that came along with it. With everything I went through, I decided to extend the same helping hand that I wish I had received during the lowest point in my life.
Post-delivery, returning to my previous lifestyle aggravated my PCOS. With it came postpartum depression, excessive hair growth, irregular periods, lethargy, mood swings and so much more.
I thought that it was okay to put on a little weight after I got married. Then my husband and I decided to have a baby and the severity of my pre-existing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) hit me. Conceiving became really hard because of my weight. I weighed around 65 kgs at 5 ft 7 inches. Ovulation and fertility issues from uncontrolled PCOS made my conception difficult and it was quite the nightmare from a ‘carry to term’ perspective. After 6 months of trying to conceive, I went to multiple gynecologists, most of whom dismissed me every time, saying that it would be nearly impossible to have a normal conception.The birth of my healthy baby boy was a blessing after months spent in agony, as I grappled with self-doubt. I got through my pregnancy, having faced multiple issues, complications and gestational diabetes.
As my self-esteem plummeted, I began avoiding social gatherings and continued binge-eating. But my weight and lack of strength soon began affecting my back. One day I just collapsed and could not move. I was alone with my three-month-old baby when this happened. The doctors diagnosed a bulged disc and a degenerated disc. The pain was so excruciating that I was forced to crawl around the house for a week. But since I was still feeding, I was unable to take muscle relaxants. Sitting beyond 30 minutes would cause my back to freeze. I couldn’t even sit down for dinner. The aggravated PCOS coupled with a bad back pushed me to get my act together. I got into a regular fitness routine, started eating better, and in general, taking control of my life. I resorted to dieting, which, with my limited knowledge, meant ‘eat less’. I lost a little weight, but nothing noticeable.
I went back to doing it the tried-and-tested way: strength, cardio and a sensible nutrition plan, with Sunday being a rest day. At first, it seemed like too much food, but I persisted in eating balanced, healthy meals and snacks spaced out all through the day and avoided carbonated beverages, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, fried stuff, refined flour and packaged food. Additionally, I quelled the guilt I first felt at taking two hours away from home and my baby and was diligent about working out. I lost 4 kg in the first month. In five months, I dropped four sizes and 23 kilos. With my transformation, the PCOS corrected itself, and now I have no back problems. From not being able to sit through a movie, I now go rock climbing. Now, I have realized how far I have come, and how important it is to be fit and not skinny. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to treating PCOS. Every single case is different.