PCOS body positivity

Learning How To Love My Body With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

The mental trauma of having an incurable disorder

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I had been at the gynecologist for about two hours that day going through ultrasounds and just waiting to see my doctor. My body had changed in the last few months, going from a weight I had been for a good part of the last few years to a heaviest I had ever weighed in my life. My mom and I cycled through several reasons why I may have gained so much weight in a short span of time before she suggested it might have been polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

When I heard it for the first time, I doubted it immediately. It sounded too weird for me to have, but I still spent the better half of a day looking up symptoms, causes, and treatments for PCOS.

The bottom line of the disorder is I have a hormonal disorder caused by cysts around my ovaries. This order causes an imbalance in my hormones and common symptoms of it are excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain, menstrual imbalances and possibly infertility. This disorder is incurable but treatable and the cause is linked to genetics overall.

I mentioned to my gynecologist that I wanted to check if I had PCOS and she agreed to run through some tests since I was describing symptoms that aligned with PCOS. A month later, I was in the waiting room for my doctor to confirm or deny my worries.

The words I was expecting that day were, "You're perfectly normal, you just need to lose some weight with more exercise." Instead, the words that echoed through my mind for the rest of the day was, "your ultrasound show PCOS symptoms." She proceeded to show me the ultrasound, pointing to all the cysts around my ovaries. To give you an idea, imagine an oval lined with various size circles around it.

I had never felt so disgusted with an image. My first thought was, this is a cool prank, but I'm ready to see my ultrasound. There was no way I had those inside of me, yet here they were being shown to me. I thanked my doctor for helping me, packed up my stuff and got in my car.

I cried for about 10 minutes before I started driving again. There was this inescapable feeling of frustration and disgust growing in my chest because of what I saw. The worst part was knowing that it wasn't my fault, but the fault of genetics. I was just dealt a bad hand.

What scared me the most was the possibility of not being able to have kids. Being someone who acts as a mother to a lot of my friends and has always been fond of children my whole life, the idea of not being able to have ones of my own terrified me. It made me feel less of a woman, but I know that I am not only defined by my capability of making a new life.

I'm learning to love my body one step at a time. PCOS occurs in about 5-10% of women in the United States alone. This means about 5 million women are suffering the same disorder I am, so I'm not alone in this. They may share the same feelings that I initially did, but I'm learning to be ok with it.

My body is my normal, and I will learn to love it even with my issues.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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I Went From Losing Weight To Lifting Weights, And Now I'm In The Best Shape Of My Life

How a change in my fitness goals changed my life.

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I am in the best shape of my life...or at least I think so, and that's what truly matters.

I look in the mirror and feel confident.

I finally feel comfortable wearing crop tops, and I'm even starting to show visible abs. But getting here has been such a difficult journey filled with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and other physical and mental struggles that hindered my ability to achieve my goals.

I have been on this health and fitness journey for many, many years now. I've been a size 00, a size 12, and every size in between.

Through it all, I have learned so much about myself, as well as fitness and nutrition in general. My biggest takeaway that led me to overcome all these obstacles was learning to let go of my perfectionism. When I'm old, I don't want to look back on my life and realize that I spent it all trying to lose weight. So, I changed my mindset.

My new focus was to be as strong as possible—to lift the heaviest weights, rather than losing the most weight. If you too, want to be in the best shape of your life but have struggled for so long, read my tips below.

1. EAT MORE

I know, it sounds crazy. As women, we are constantly told about diets and cutting calories. If you just want to be skinny, you can do that. But if you want to be strong, you need to eat to be able to put on the muscle.

2. ALLOW YOURSELF TO HAVE CHEAT MEALS

If you have struggled with eating disorders like me, satisfying your cravings will prevent you from having major setbacks.

3. LIFT WEIGHTS

Get your butt off that elliptical and into the weight room.

4. DON'T WORKOUT EVERY DAY

Again, especially if you want to build muscle, you need rest days. These are the days where your muscles are "actually" growing.

5. DON'T RUSH IT

You will not see abs overnight. It takes a long time. But if you want sustainable results, you must treat your body right.

I hope these tips are helpful. With positivity and patience, you can achieve anything.

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