For 18 Years I Thought My PCOS Symptoms Were Something I Just Had to Live With
Dec 1 ★ 5 Min Read
If you could go back in time and give your younger self some advice, do you know what it’d be?
For me, I’d want myself to know that I needed to look beyond what my doctors were telling me. That if I really wanted to take back control of my health, I had the power to do so.
I’m Kym Campbell, the creator of the free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge, a live, online event, attended quarterly by thousands of women who want to use evidence-based dietary interventions to manage their PCOS.
My battle with PCOS started when I first got my period as a twelve-year-old. It was never “normal”. Months would go by without me even noticing, and then a couple of times a year, I’d get hit with heavy periods that hurt like crazy and caused terrible mood swings. I gained weight easily around my stomach and I had uncontrollable acne. From my teens and into my 30’s I suffered from chronic digestive issues, low energy, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and depression.
It was pretty horrible a lot of the time.
Looking back now, I know that health was always the last thing on my mind. I was a total sugar addict. Most meals (not just breakfast) consisted of either Pop-Tarts, Lucky-Charms, or Eggo Waffles. I also LOVED soda, but who doesn’t when you grow up around it?
The fact that I never learned to cook properly, even when I was living on my own, was another major liability. The closest I‘d ever get to making myself a real meal consisted of either a sandwich or pasta – hardly the sort of thing you’d be bragging about on the Food Channel.
And then I married David and we couldn’t get pregnant…
We spent almost five years doing unsuccessful fertility treatments which ended in several miscarriages. I was demoralized, I was devastated, and I was depressed.
It was during this time that I was diagnosed with PCOS. I finally had an explanation for all the symptoms I had grown up dealing with.
Fortunately, during this same period, I was able to convert my ever-growing sense of hopelessness into getting serious about taking care of myself. Desperation can be very motivating. I gave myself permission to discover what self-care truly means, and I took the time to learn and implement the diet changes that eventually saved me.
Given where I was starting from, adopting a “PCOS-friendly diet” seemed like a momentous challenge.
There was (and still is) a lot of conflicting information. Then even after I knew what I was supposed to be doing, actually putting things into practice was surprisingly difficult. To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement.
Thanks to the guidance of a couple of highly-respected physicians, and many hours reading paper after scientific paper on PubMed, it became pretty clear what I needed to do.
Cutting out gluten, and dairy completely was the first place I started. I then dropped my sugar intake to as low as I possibly could. I switched to a high fat, low carb, moderate protein diet, and swapped out processed foods for whole foods.
For someone that didn’t know anything about cooking, and who quite frankly hated it, those first few months were a steep learning curve, fuelled entirely by grim determination.
After five months of grizzly kitchen battles, my cutting boards were scarred, and my skillets were seasoned.
I also started getting a regular 30-day period for the first time in my life and I stopped having all the endless health problems I’d become so used to dealing with.
My acne had totally cleared up, my acid reflux was gone and my previously bloated digestive system was finally happy. With so many demons defeated, it wasn’t surprising that my mood swings also finally disappeared.
I rediscovered what happiness actually feels like, and I had the energy to truly enjoy it. On my birthday in 2016, I found out I’d fallen pregnant naturally while “on a break” from IVF.
My mind was officially blown.
I had a healthy happy pregnancy which was honestly the most amazing thing that ever could’ve happened to me. Even during that first trimester, I’d never felt so excited to feel so darn awful.
This experience changed me.
Not only did I learn firsthand how difficult it can be to overcome lifelong habits, even when we know they’re not good for us, but I also learned that transformative change is always possible no matter how bad things might seem to be going.
The scientific data showing how the right diet can dramatically alter a PCOS diagnosis is fairly conclusive. This is equally true regardless of whether you’re trying to get pregnant like I was, you want to lose weight, or if you’re just looking for better health outcomes all around.
But while scientific data is super useful, the thing that really gets me excited is seeing the exceptional results of the women taking part in my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. Their ongoing successes never cease to amaze and inspire me.
These women show that beating PCOS isn’t just for a few privileged or “lucky” individuals. As I’ve seen through helping literally tens of thousands of women with this disorder, vibrant health and fulfilling wellness are things we all can have when we put our minds to it.
This is the message I’m trying to spread and you’re exactly the kind of person I love to talk to about it.
Regardless of where you’re at right now, make no mistake that if you embrace the power of a PCOS-friendly diet, you too can overcome this disorder.
Back when I was first coming to terms with this new way of eating, a lot of “healthy” recipes and diet recommendations weren’t specific enough for the nuances of PCOS, while many PCOS-specific resources were often poorly done.
This meant I was largely on my own, learning everything the hard way. I wanted to share my experiences so I started blogging about my journey. From this humble start-point, I eventually created my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge, a unique online event that’s now been attended by over 100,000 women.
As well as the weekly meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists, this free Challenge includes video lessons, and daily mindset exercises, all within a vibrant and supportive community environment. If you’re looking to implement a PCOS-friendly diet, this resource makes it as easy as possible. You’ll learn in record time what makes up a PCOS-friendly diet, and you’ll have the tools and community you need to make home cooking as easy as possible.
I run this free Challenge four times a year as a live event, but if you’re feeling especially inspired and want to get started right now, then I recommend downloading my 3-Day PCOS Meal Plan. This 15-page free ebook includes a collection of some of my most popular PCOS recipes with an accompanying shopping list and further information about how to use food to beat PCOS.
If you give me a chance, I’d love to provide you with all of the information and support I know I wish I’d had when I realized it was finally time for action.
Or grab this free 3-Day Meal Plan and get started on a PCOS-friendly diet today.