Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Diet, exercise and stress...

To truly come to grips with PCOS, you need to do three basic things: improve your diet, get more exercise, and reduce stress. Here are ten essential tips for making these changes.

Tip #1: Improve your carbs.

Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, pastries, candy, breakfast foods, bagels, and other refined grain products. These are "bad carbs" that create insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is thought to be a primary cause of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Refined, manufactured foods in general tend to cause you to gain weight, especially around your middle.

Better carb choices are fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, and some whole legumes.

Tip #2: Increase protein.

Many PCOS women consume too much refined carbohydrate and not enough protein. High-quality protein helps you to keep your hormones normalized. The best protein sources are fish, poultry, eggs, wild game and extremely lean meat.

Tip #3: Change your fats.

Some fats and oils make your PCOS symptoms worse while others improve them. In excess, supermarket vegetables oils such as corn oil or man-made fats such as "trans-fats" can cause cells to not function properly. Saturated fats found in fatty meats and some dairy products are also undesirable.

Better choices include virgin olive oil, flax oil, cod liver oil, and fish oil.

Tip #4: Eat more veggies.

One of the most important things you can do is to eat more whole vegetables. Try to have at least five vegetable servings a day. Eating a significant quantity and variety of fresh, whole vegetables is a cornerstone of self-help therapy for the many health problems associated with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Tip #5: Control your meal portions.

Americans consume excessively large meal portions. The more you are served, the more you will eat. Trim the size of your meal servings. Eat slowly and enjoy a meal. Wait for 20 minutes. If you are still hungry, then you can go back for another portion.

Tip #6: Have salad or soup at the beginning of some meals.

Medical studies have proven that eating a big salad at the beginning of the meal will result in fewer total calories eaten at the meal. Soup is another excellent food to help you feel full without consuming too many calories. Having soup or salad with a meal will cause you to eat fewer calories and improve your ability to lose weight.

And don't forget, fewer calories will help you lose weight and improve your fertility.

Tip #7: Exercise daily.

We often feel that we're too busy or rushed to exercise. However, not exercising is a luxury you cannot afford. PCOS women in particular must exercise more than the average person. Regular exercise has been shown to improve polycystic ovary syndrome and improve fertility.

As a minimum, try to walk or do other exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. More is better. Try a variety of exercise. For example, you might alternate aerobic exercise with weight lifting.

Tip #8: Control stress.

Chronic stress from any source -- your job, your spouse, your family, your finances -- disturbs your hormone balance, and causes you to gain weight around your midsection. Do what you can to improve any situation that is continually stressful for you. You can also work on changing your attitude towards a situation you perceive as stressful. In addition, be sure to take time for relaxation and restful sleep.

Tip #9: Join or form a PCOS support group.

Isolation is not helpful. Find other women who are going through the same thing you are and communicate frequently to give each other support and encouragement.

Tip #10: Consult with a knowledgeable health professional.

PCOS is a complex disease that is difficult to treat. Find at least one doctor who fully understands what PCOS is and has some innovative ways of treating it.

In conclusion, remember that eating the wrong foods -- and living a sedentary and stress-filled life -- will delay or prevent your return to good health. If you follow these Ten Tips, you'll be amazed at how much control you have over PCOS and infertility.

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