I’ve never been one for ‘new year, new me.’ Maybe because as a child, I used to spend a lot of new years with my best friend, whose parents always allowed her to have sleepovers at her house for NYE, while they went out. A gaggle of us tweens would raid my friends parents alcohol cupboard (I think the idea was that they deliberately turned a blind eye, rather than just didn’t notice-I went there for NYE every year for 6 years and they never mentioned it,) and we’d sit, and make lists of our new years resolutions, most of which contained stuff like ‘get X to notice me,’ ‘get X to snog me,’ ‘find out if skirt trousers are going to be on trend for another year, and if so, get them in every colour known to man.’ (I’d love to know if skirt trousers were a thing across the country, or just the backward town that I lived in? This was around 1997-answers, or even better, pictures, on a post card please!
So, inevitably, X wouldn’t notice us, we wouldn’t become supermodels, and skirt trousers thankfully crawled back into whichever hole they crawled out of. They would be left as material to become immortalised on buzzfeed lists of the most hideous fashion mistakes the nineties gave us, and photographic evidence of them destroyed (although I’ve never seen them on such lists, which again reiterates my question above?) That was what initially made me realise that new years lists were a waste of time (although to be fair, those tween lists didn’t really contain high brow realistic content…) But, growing older and more mature, I did try to make targets and goals for new year, but they’d inevitably go up in a cloud of smoke and broken dreams at some point, so I just stopped doing them, to save myself the feeling of failure.
Now here lies the point to this post-this year, I have set myself a goal. It’s a goal that will take a lot of time, a lot of patience, and may even take me into next year to even get it established. But I haven’t felt such determination to achieve something in a really long time.
I’ve written before that I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome.) I’ve known about this since I was 15, when I was sent for a scan following persistent abdominal pain, and irregular and heavy periods. I took the diagnosis with a pinch of salt, because none of the things the GP was telling me could affect me, affected me at the time-weight gain (I was a normal weight,) excessive hair (hadn’t noticed anything along those lines,) infertility (I remember being unnerved by this one, because I knew I wanted a family at some point in the very far away future, but I was young enough that I just put it to the back of my mind.) And as you are aware, I have two little monsters that I conceived with no problems, so this didn’t end up affecting me either.
But-there is a massive but here, (which rivals the size of mine.) Since I’ve had the children, my PCOS has worsened, and I am now what would be referred to as a classic PCOS sufferer. Overweight (yes, by quite a bit.) Excessive hair (bikini line home to undiscovered forest tribes that nobody knew existed? I’m your woman.) I’m just so glad that I was what’s known as a ‘mild sufferer’ of the condition so that at least I’ve got my children, and don’t have to go through the devastating infertility that hits a lot of PCOS sufferers.
The thing is, with PCOS, there is still very little known about its causes, and how to treat it. I had one ludicrous thought one day, ‘well, I’ve got children, I’ll just have my ovaries removed, then I won’t have it anymore.’ But research told me that others had been there, and done that, and were still no better for it. PCOS is a whole multi-system endocrine/metabolic dysfunction, not just limited to cysts on the ovaries. From what I can gather, most PCOS sufferers are insulin resistant (I am, I’ve had this confirmed by the GP.) Put simply, this is where cells in the body don’t respond to insulin in transporting glucose from the bloodstream, into tissues. The body produces more insulin because it thinks that there isn’t enough, sending blood sugars soaring, and leading to weight gain. The weight gain worsens the hormonal imbalance that causes the hairiness (or hirsutism, if you want to proper name,) and other defining PCOS factors. But when you have insulin resistance, losing weight can be difficult to impossible. Thus a very frustrating cycle commences.
I’ve become obsessed with my PCOS. I’ve fallen victim to one of my own cardinal sins-googling the shit out of it. Don’t google the shit out of stuff-it will drive you fucking bonkers. The thing is, I want success stories. But the forums, and the PCOS support sites have very, VERY few of these. But, on a recent foray into throwing myself into an abyss of depressing information, I actually came across some success stories. A lot of people you find on the forums make very bold statements like ‘PCOS has ruined my life!’ I always thought that it was a bit of a defeatist and dramatic thing to say. But lately, I’ve been thinking back to the depressing post I wrote at the start of last year, and I’m still the person avoiding social events because of the way I look. I’m still looking at pretty old clothes of mine, and wishing I could wear something other than loose clothing. I hate having to check parts of my body every day for hair, where there shouldn’t be hair. I hate the impact the way I feel and look has taken a toll on my marriage and friendships. I won’t say that PCOS has ruined my life, but it’s certainly made the quality of it one heck of a lot poorer.
So this year, I am on a mission. I am going to be a success story. I am going to be one of the few who reverses insulin resistance (which, with careful nutrition, I’ve been told can be done,) and takes back control of their life. I am going to break the cycle of weight gain/increased resistance to insulin/further hormonal imbalance/increased inability to get my weight back to normal again-the normal I had known all my life until pregnancy made me insulin resistant.
By writing it down, I feel like I’ve totally put my money where my mouth is-but I think it will be a great motivator. Over the next year, there will be a new section on my blog called ‘Cysters Are Doing It For Themselves,’ where I will talking about nutrition, progress, what works and what doesn’t, and at the end of it, there bloody WILL be a success story, because I am not going to be a prisoner to this any longer! Being an overweight, neanderthal resembling, social avoider, is not fun, and I’m looking forward to saying ‘naff off,’ to that person.