I tried it. Three times. It just didn’t seem to fit. This was the 5th t-shirt in a month that I had struggled fitting into. I blamed this sudden weight gain on my eating habits. However, this seemed to be a fairly repetitive pattern, and I sensed something was amiss. Though my lifestyle remained fairly similar, the weight didn’t seem so. And soon, my hair fall increased and periods became irregular. This was a wake-up call for sure, and one visit to the gynecologist confirmed my doubts. I got diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) sometime in Feb 2017. But that’s not the interesting part. My story on walking for PCOS and the difference it made to my life is where all the action lies.
My Wake-Up Call: Lifestyle Changes Are A Must To Fight PCOS
What followed my PCOS diagnosis was a heavy list of restrictions. Don’t do this, don’t eat this, don’t be this. All of these only stressed me out further, and I kept dodging the necessary lifestyle changes. I did start exercising once a while, but found it hard to keep up with the discipline and gave up. Then I did not get my periods for 60 days straight and this freaked me out.
I never made health a priority until I was diagnosed with PCOS. I headed out for a stroll that day and ended up walking for a good half an hour. On my trail, I was struck by the idea of heading for walks every day for 30 days.
It seemed doable and exciting. I was advised to exercise, and brisk walking could easily help me manage PCOS. However, I decided not to limit myself to just walks and spread awareness about the role of lifestyle changes in dealing with PCOS.
And thus began my challenge of walking for PCOS — 5 kilometers every day for 30 days. It was 2nd December 2017, when I started and then I walked the rest of the month for my well being and happiness. Motivation doesn’t come to you easily, particularly when you are working on things alone. Hence, I made my cause public on social media. There were two reasons for this:
- To keep myself in check through the support of friends and family.
- To create awareness and build solidarity for others on my timeline who may be suffering from PCOS but have no clue and seek help at the earliest.
Walking For PCOS: How It Helped Me With Weight Loss & More
My walks have been liberating to say the least. Every day I would look forward to it with enthusiasm. I tried multiple ways to make this an entertaining experience and not let the monotony set in.
It’s also made me more aware of my body. Exercise in any form releases endorphins, commonly known as happy hormones. That’s why you feel charged and cheerful after a workout. Every day, I’d come back home happy and pumped. I would sleep well at night too because of sweating it out earlier in the day.
Some days I walked in parks, some days on footpaths, some days in the morning, some days in the evening. I was so keen to not default on my goal that I ended up walking even in the airport lobby one evening. Barring a couple of days, I managed to pull it through.
And it showed. I lost 3 kgs as a result. The weight loss has put me in a happier, better place today. My stress has alleviated too and I am focusing on doing more things that make me happy.
As for the periods, the 60-day gap has reduced and I am on the path of a more regular cycle. My eating habits have changed too. I am conscious of what I eat. I avoid sugar and processed food as much as I can and eat home cooked food largely. Now that I have done walks, I’ll probably take up some other form of exercise soon. You can read more about my escapades here.
Tips For Fighting PCOS From Personal Experience
For those of you who are reading this now, here are a few things that can help you tackle PCOS:
- Get yourself diagnosed for PCOS first if you suspect it. Symptoms of PCOS can vary from unexplained weight gain around the torso, acne, hair fall, excessive facial hair, nape darkening, and of course irregular periods.
- Try to follow some form of exercise as this can help you with weight loss as well as with fighting other symptoms of PCOS. Choose something that you will enjoy and it will be easier to pursue. Walks worked for me. Perhaps you like swimming, Zumba, plain skipping or even dancing. Do what makes you happy, just do it. Remember it’s easier to achieve small, measurable goals than big, audacious ones.
- Restrict sugar intake and processed food as much as you can. Eat local, fresh, and home-cooked food to a large extent.
- Do not fret too much about PCOS. It’s a lifestyle-based condition that can easily be controlled through certain modifications to diet and lifestyle.
- And most importantly, remember you are not alone in this. A lot of women around you are actually dealing with it. Support each other through it.