I once weighed 200 pounds. My skin, from my face down onto my back, was covered in painful cystic acne. My period would only arrive twice a year, and I was depressed, sleepless, and exhausted. From the age of 15, I became progressively worse, and despite seeking medical attention, no one could tell me what was happening to my body.
After seven years of miserable symptoms and much personal research, I discovered that I had a hormonal imbalance called polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.
At 22, when I finally sat down with a gynecologist who confirmed my self-diagnosis, the news was heavy to hear. I had a very severe version of PCOS, and the picture my doctor painted of my future wasn’t pretty. There was no real cure, and the treatments weren’t particularly effective. She told me that I’d never be able to conceive on my own, and maybe not even with IVF. My prognosis included the risk of a number of health issues, from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and cancer.
I felt like I was at a fork in the road. I could either accept this fate, or I could go down a different path. I chose the different path.
I often think back to that moment, and to why I made that choice to trust my body, despite what the authority figure was saying. Why didn’t I just immediately follow the prescribed treatment plan of birth control pills, metformin and spironolactone, and prepare myself for the fate laid out for me by my doctor?
It all comes down to my three beliefs about medication, food, and the body. And I’d like to share them here so that you, too, might find your way back to your body sooner.
1. I believe medication is optional.
I don’t think one should take medication if it doesn’t fix the cause of the illness permanently. For example, if you have a bacterial infection, taking antibiotics can make a lot of sense. But if you have hormonal imbalances, taking hormones doesn’t enable your endocrine glands to make the right amount of those hormones. It just further enables the dysfunctional glandular behavior.
Like so many other women, I saw that medication could not cure the root cause of my hormonal problems, and what I wanted was to truly heal — not to simply mask the symptoms temporarily and have to deal with them at a later time when they were worse.
2. I believe it’s my job to eat for my health.
I know that my body is brilliant by design and that it functions on a daily basis to stay balanced and vibrant. But I also know that it’s my job to ensure my diet promotes natural hormonal function.
If I eat properly, I trust my body will do its self-healing procedures best. Since I grew up eating garden to table and freshly made foods all my life, using food as medicine really felt like coming home.
3. I believe a prognosis is only a suggestion.
Like a prediction about the weather, I believe your health prognosis can change. After all, it’s only a suggestion on how things will likely go if things remain as is. But if the wind changes direction — as in you make real diet and lifestyle changes — your future can change as quickly as the weather.
So, after my diagnosis I switched careers, studied functional nutrition and endocrinology and developed a protocol that rebalanced the function of my entire hormonal system.
My skin cleared, the weight fell away and my periods starting coming every month. I also became very invested in making sure I could get pregnant when I wanted to. Though I wasn’t ready to start a family until recently, I just gave birth 8 months ago — and I truly believe that I was able to become a mother thanks to my diet and what I’ve learned over the past 20 years.
I changed my own hormonal destiny, and these days, it makes me so happy to help women all over the world do the same.
Feel “Hormonal”? 3 Things You Need to Do For Your Health
It’s not easy for anyone’s ovaries in the world right now. Chemical exposure is at an unprecedented high in our foods, products and environment. Not surprisingly, hormone and fertility issues are growing exponentially.
Even without a PCOS diagnosis, every woman needs to learn how to navigate this hormone-damaging landscape and how to protect herself, her fertility and her long-term health.