So often, the conversation about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) revolves around the struggles women with PCOS face. And for good reason – PCOS can be difficult to diagnose and even more challenging to manage. As PCOS awareness spreads, the supportive community of women grows wider and stronger. It’s time to uplift each other, celebrate successes, and give hope to those struggling to manage life with PCOS.
We asked registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and other PCOS professionals, “What have been your clients’ biggest successes in managing PCOS?”
Most experts agree that the greatest successes involve mindset shifts, advocating for yourself, and setting realistic, attainable goals.
A shift in mindset is a huge success. PCOS experts agree that once women with PCOS focus on long-term lifestyle changes instead of quick fixes, good things follow.
Take it from Erika Volk, PCOS Personal Trainer, who states, “My clients who ditch the diet mindset and embrace the slow process of incrementally changing their lifestyle see the best results; they lose weight permanently, many conceive naturally, and most importantly they gain a sense of confidence and inner peace that they did not have before. The right mindset can change everything for a person living with PCOS!”
Angela Grassi, MS, RDN, LDN, founder of the PCOS Nutrition Center, shares, “I love when my patients learn that they can reclaim their life with PCOS without diets. Instead of focusing on weight loss, I help my patients understand PCOS and how their body responds to different lifestyle changes. Seeing their improvement in energy, fertility, and overall quality of life is so rewarding.”
According to Lisa Johnston, MS, RD, CDCES, owner of Nourish PCOS, “Mindset shifts have resulted in the biggest changes in PCOS management for my clients. Sometimes, life with PCOS can feel overwhelming, and it tempts women to try temporary and restrictive diets. After a few weeks, this becomes unsustainable. When clients change their mindset from short-term quick fixes and focus on being consistent in their behavior changes for the long-term, PCOS hormones can become regulated. After a few months of consistency, they start feeling more energetic, less hungry, and start having regular cycles. This motivates them to continue and avoid falling back into old habits or the overly restrictive diet cycle.”
Hillary Wright, RD, Director of Nutrition Counseling for the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health and author of The PCOS Diet Plan: A Natural Approach to Health for Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, adds her perspective: “In my experience, when women with PCOS really start to embrace that self-care takes time, [they] proactively budget space in each week to plan and prepare meals, fit in some consistent exercise, and start taking one day at a time. It can be a real game-changer. It’s a different mindset from unsustainable ‘dieting.’”
Nutrient Support for PCOS Management
Tallene Hacatoryan, also known as PCOS.WeightLoss on Instagram, is a registered dietitian and founder of The Cysterhood, the largest community of women learning how to manage and lose weight with PCOS. She shares how nutrient support with inositols has played a huge role in the success of women who follow her method.
“By taking Ovasitol [an inositol supplement], PCOS women have seen success in managing their symptoms. Inositol has been life-changing for many and clearly serves as one of the top nutrients for women with PCOS.
Thousands of women have found great success in finally losing weight after years of struggling to lose a single pound. Taking inositol has had a profound impact, specifically for achieving a healthy weight because of its ability to support healthy insulin levels. Many women who follow our method have actually found that they are gluten and dairy-sensitive, and by eliminating these foods, along with taking inositols, they have been able to target the root issues of PCOS and are better able to manage their symptoms.
The nutrient support of inositols along with a gluten- and dairy-free diet has shown to be key to the success of PCOS management in women who have found success in following our method.”
Robyn Srigley, also known as The Hormone Diva, shares how her clients transform from the inside out. “Beyond the amazing physical successes of conceiving a child and bringing back a long-lost period – the biggest success my clients have achieved is confidence. The outward and internal physical issues associated with PCOS are extremely hard on a woman’s confidence and self-worth. As my clients balance their bodies, they feel more in control and realize their worth is not defined by infertility, problem cycles, acne, or hair issues, but rather because they’re alive, and because they’re smart, incredible women!”
Greater Access to Healthcare
Everyone deserves access to health care – especially to providers familiar with PCOS who make you feel heard and respected.
Dr. Gretchen Kubacky, founder of PCOSwellness.com, offers her perspective: “Learning to advocate for themselves, seeking out the right supportive experts, and then implementing recommendations makes a huge difference in improving my patients’ wellness. Learning how to modify their programs as their bodies and needs change has also been critical to functioning optimally with PCOS.”
Julie Dillon, RDN, Eating Disorder Specialist and creator of the PCOS and Food Peace Course, encourages her clients to advocate for their access to health care. “…My clients have been pushed to eat less, exercise more, and lose weight for years, just to try to gain access to reproductive medicine, gender-affirming surgeries, or even to be seen by specialists. They have felt dismissed, discriminated against, and avoided going to the doctor because of the weight-based trauma. I love hearing when clients realize they are the health care industry’s customer, and they don’t have to settle for a doctor just pushing another diet to treat their PCOS. They deserve more! Through connecting with non-diet PCOS education, people with PCOS come together to help each other access care. Success only happens when everyone has more access!”
Judy Simon, MS, RDN, CD, CHES, FAND, and owner of Mind Body Nutrition, PLLC, shares what success looks like for her patients. “My patients share with me the joy they experience when they realize they are actually taking care of themselves rather than feeling out of control. Nourishing foods, joyful movement, blissful sleep, eating enough to feel satisfied instead of starving themselves to try to be thin, and connecting with their team to receive compassionate care. Success looks like regular periods, beating infertility, feeling stronger, enjoying new recipes, and feeling proud of their bodies.”
One Final PCOS Success Story
McKittrick states, “She had been to numerous doctors and dietitians and was always given restrictive diets (avoid gluten, dairy, go keto, no fruit, exercise more, etc.). She was getting more and more anxious, and her symptoms were only getting worse.”
With McKittrick’s guidance, she kept a journal, discovered that she did not have sensitivities to gluten or dairy, and was able to incorporate a wider variety of food into her diet while maintaining her weight.
Six months later, her client was flourishing. McKittrick states, “Her cycles went from 60 days to 30 days, she lost 5 pounds, and felt more at peace and empowered that she knew how to manage her PCOS.”
Success may not happen overnight, but with the right mindset, it’s right around the corner. If you’re struggling with PCOS, there is an abundance of PCOS resources and a huge community of strong women with PCOS ready to encourage and lift you up. It may be difficult now, but your story may soon become a beacon of hope for others.