AN irregular period is one symptom of PCOS. / photograph courtesy of manila med
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition said to be caused by a hormonal imbalance. PCOS can lead to infertility, a disordered menstrual cycle, weight gain, long-term complications like diabetes and an increased risk for ovarian cancer.
In the Philippines, it is estimated that about 4.5 million Filipino women live with PCOS. Unfortunately, its treatment is often costly (it can involve the surgical removal of one’s ovaries) and carries its own set of health risks.
The urgency of prioritizing PCOS as a top women’s health issue is why King’s Kitchen recently went on an Instagram live session with fitness coach Paulyn Quiza to discuss living with PCOS, the importance of living healthier and practical tips for easing into a healthy lifestyle.
The collaboration was a natural choice for coach Paulyn and Kim King’s Kitchen which has always advocated educating people about healthy living, and talking about women’s health is one of the best ways to do it.
IT is estimated that about 4.5 million Filipino women are living with PCOS. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF dietdoctor.com
Women’s health issues like PCOS affect more women than many of us realize. My own journey in advocating for a healthier lifestyle started after my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.
Then, in 2015, I had a cyst. These life experiences inspired me to learn more about eating and fasting for health, which I later used to get back into shape after giving birth.
Kim King’s Kitchen was launched to make the benefits of a fasting-based lifestyle more accessible than ever. We strongly promote the importance of taking a progressive approach in helping people reach their personal wellness goals, compiling customized nutrition plans and using only organic ingredients to help people eat healthier, lose weight, gain mass and boost their immune system. These activities helped coach Paulyn when she was pregnant and struggling with PCOS.
Turning the tide against PCOS
It’s often underestimated how much good a simple dietary change can do for one’s health.
About two years ago, coach Paulyn noticed the earliest symptoms of PCOS setting in such as bloating, an irregular period and an almost 25-pound weight gain. Though she was prescribed medication after consulting with her doctor, the symptoms only seemed to get worse.
Knowing that I also experienced PCOS, she contacted me to inquire about making changes to her diet and lifestyle. One of the first changes she had to make was cutting down on sweets, a task made all the more difficult by the fact that coach Paulyn had a sweet tooth. Gradually, we removed sugar from her diet by letting her switch to sugar-free cookies from Kim King’s Kitchen.
Second, coach Paulyn needed to prioritize getting quality sleep. As a personal coach, Paulyn’s day is spent mostly on taking care of her client’s needs. Juggling her coaching duties and office work regularly sends her stress levels skyrocketing. To make matters worse, PCOS exacerbated coach Paulyn’s stress and resulted in her only getting a few hours of sleep each night. Once she made it a point to get enough sleep, coach Paulyn saw a noticeable improvement in her condition.
KIM Kitchen’s Bone Broth helps alleviate PCOS symptoms. / photograph courtesy of KIM’S KITCHEN
Another misconception about PCOS is that having it means giving up on being physically active.
The truth is that exercise is possible, but the key is to avoid strain. Coach Paulyn eschewed strenuous exercise in favor of steady-state workouts. “It’s about stretching exercises, bodyweight exercises and core strengthening exercises,” she said. “Think also about complementing what your body does in everyday life. Go for workouts that incorporate squats, pushes and pulls.”
Of course, even the simplest of exercises shouldn’t be overlooked. Often, we recommend that clients who are just getting started on their fitness journey start with the simplest of exercises. Even just walking for a few minutes a day is a good start before moving on to more strenuous exercises. Though low intensity, coach Paulyn herself has found that just walking can be good for women with PCOS.
Life goes on
It’s important to note that adjustments to diet and lifestyle will look different for everybody. For example, coach Paulyn and I found that even small amounts of sugar trigger our PCOS. For others, it could be dairy. What’s important is understanding your body’s unique, respective triggers and making the necessary changes.
Even when she was pregnant and battling PCOS, coach Paulyn and I worked closely to ensure we understood what her body was trying to tell her. Fasting when pregnant is not recommended, so we focused on eating whole, nutrient-dense food. As long as there was an intake of the recommended extra 500 calories a day (all you really need when pregnant), we were free to cut back on the unnecessary parts of coach Paulyn’s diet.
For most women with PCOS, becoming healthier is not an easy goal. Yet coach Paulyn is living, breathing proof that this medical condition does not have to be crippling. More than anything else, what’s crucial is having the right mindset — PCOS is beatable when you believe it is and when you know that what you truly want is to become a healthier version of yourself.
A person with the right mindset will understand that sacrifices will have to be made and there will have to be long-lasting lifestyle changes, but their knowledge that the results will be worth it makes it easier to achieve their goals. At Kim King’s Kitchen, we believe that given the right support and resources, anyone can access a healthy lifestyle and become better. This mindset helps people like coach Paulyn against conditions like PCOS and do good work for women’s health overall.
Kim King, also known as “The Broth Queen,” is the beauty and brains behind Kim King’s Kitchen. She is a Certified Gut Health Coach and Skin-Nutrition Specialist with a Precision Nutrition 1 Certification from the UK, Kim launched the business in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown in the Philippines to share the benefits of intermittent fasting and organic bone broth with the rest of the world!.
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