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COACH NUSH ON ADDRESSING POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME ANUSHREE MAHAJAN - MPH, CHC, RYT

and over-exercising for the purpose of weight-loss which most often puts a large amount of stress on the body, causing an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, leading to an even greater hormonal imbalance.

MY STORY WITH PCOS

I’m a certified Health and Life Coach focused on addressing PCOS in a natural and holistic manner through sustainable diet and lifestyle change. My background is in Public Health and I am also a 200-hr registered yoga teacher. I’ve been interested in optimizing health through diet and lifestyle for several years now and have reversed all of my own PCOS symptoms naturally where traditional medical approaches have failed. Now, I am on a mission to help other womxn with PCOS do the same.

WHAT IS PCOS? PCOS/PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome/Disease) is a hormonal and metabolic condition that impacts 1020% of womxn worldwide at varying degrees. Certain genes can predispose a womxn to developing insulin resistance (lower tolerance for metabolising carbohydrates and sugar) and increased levels of androgens (male hormones) which is the root cause of the majority of PCOS symptoms. However, these genes must be turned on first and can be triggered by certain lifestyle factors or a stressful event. Even though PCOS is so prevalent, most people have never heard of the condition largely because many consider it taboo to talk about due to it’s oftentimes embarrassing symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, facial hair growth, hair loss, acne, fertility issues, weight gain - just to name a few. Unfortunately, traditional medical approaches to PCOS have proven ineffective and cause more harm than good in the long run, exacerbating symptoms. Some examples are the long-term use of hormonal birth control pills which can lead to greater disruption in hormonal balance and in some cases, has even been shown to cause PCOS. Another example is the recommendation for extreme dieting

I was first diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 15 because I hadn’t had a period for over six months. My doctor was familiar with the condition and because of the few other telling symptoms I had such as weight-gain, acne, and hairloss, he knew to test for PCOS. Once I received my diagnosis, I was told to take hormonal birth control and metformin/ glucophage (a pre-diabetic medication used to help manage blood sugar, commonly prescribed for PCOS) and to work on losing weight. I was also told that I will probably face difficulty conceiving in the future but not to worry about that for now - “just come back when you want to have children”. This was a devastating and overwhelming diagnosis to get at the age of 15 and I felt very helpless about how to move forward and address it. I wasn’t given any guidance or hope that there could be more done to alleviate my condition and due to that I ignored my symptoms as best as I could and took the birth control for 10 years. At the age of 25, when I decided to work towards a healthier lifestyle by practising yoga regularly, improving my diet, and getting off my medication - I saw significant results and improvement in my PCOS symptoms. I did all this through years of research and trial & error. When I realized I had uncovered a method of addressing PCOS naturally, I made it my mission to share this knowledge with as many womxn as possible. That is when I began my work as a PCOS Coach, Educator, and Advocate.

MANAGING PCOS Since PCOS is a lifestyle disease it can only be appropriately managed through sustainable diet and lifestyle change. PCOS cannot be cured, however, one can reverse their symptoms and balance out their hormones by addressing their nutrition, movement, sleep, stress, supplementation, and mindset. By doing so, one can live symptom-free with the condition. However, that doesn’t mean that the symptoms won’t come back when one falls out of balance in their diet and lifestyle. Hence, PCOS can be reversed but not cured. There’s no quick-fix or magic solution to managing PCOS - it’s a long-term game and requires complete physical, mental, and emotional well-being as all 3 of these things impact your hormonal balance and metabolism. Hence, it is important to focus on addressing your health holistically:

Nutrition - eating whole foods, minimising processed and packaged foods, eating nutrient dense foods like fruit/high-quality dairy, getting enough high-quality protein from eggs and animal meats.

Movement - strength training to build muscle (for insulin sensitivity), yoga to connect with one’s body and for relaxation, walking to get your body moving and blood flowing. It’s important to be mindful of overexercising when you have PCOS as that puts a lot of stress on your body and can cause an elevation in stress hormones.

Sleep - getting enough sleep and good quality sleep is essential.

Stress Management - practises that help you lower stress levels on a daily basis are so important for balancing hormones. Meditation, deep breathing, yoga, walks, self-care practises, dancing - whatever it is that gets you to destress.

Supplementation - taking the RIGHT supplements for PCOS can be helpful in providing your body with nutrients it’s missing. However, supplements cannot out-do a poor diet and lifestyle.

Mindset - it’s so important to address your relationship with your body when you have PCOS. Oftentimes, we think our body is against us and we are waging war with it. Diet culture perpetuates this and causes us to want to control our body. When we learn to love and trust our body and give it the resources it needs everything changes.

Each of these aspects of health can look different for everyone, and so a one-sizefits-all approach will never work. One has to discover what works for them and their body - that is EXACTLY what I help you do as your PCOS Coach. When seeking care for PCOS, it’s so important to work with someone who has expertise in PCOS or experience with working with womxn who have PCOS. It’s also important to work with someone interested in a more holistic root cause approach versus just treating symptoms. There is a MASSIVE lack in these kinds of professionals which is why I am dedicated to doing this work as a PCOS Coach, Educator, and Advocate. I share free information about PCOS via instagram (@coachnush) to raise awareness and to provide evidencebased practical advice to womxn who need help managing their symptoms. I also work with clients one-on-one to not only reverse their PCOS symptoms naturally through diet and lifestyle change but ALSO to significantly improve their quality of life. nush@coachnush.com www.instagram.com/coachnush/ www.linkedin.com/in/coachnush/

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Brilliant-Online | Women's Health | May 2021 Issue  

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