Real experiences – Charlotte’s PCOS story

“I feel like I have finally been able to take control of my life by taking control of what I eat” – Charlotte B – age 34.

Charlotte’s PCOS Story – in her own words:

I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 32, 2 years after giving birth to my second child. I immediately read about the condition and suddenly my whole life slotted into place.

For years, I had struggled with extreme mood swings, what mental health professionals had labelled as periods of anxiety and depression. However, it didn’t seem to matter how much therapy I had and how much positive thinking and relaxation I did, the emotional outbursts persisted.

My life seemed like an emotional roller coaster on a daily basis and it really was exhausting.

As you can imagine, the diagnosis of PCOS, therefore, came as a great relief as finally my whole life and all my struggled and strains made sense, particularly through a lens of insulin resistance.

Coming to terms with the fact that I am insulin resistant was a major turning point for me, as I finally realised the implications of the diagnosis and the important relationship between what I ate and my PCOS symptoms.

I started to see how my mood really was effected by the food I ate and how sugar, in particular, affected me.

One time, I ate a Mars Bar and a few hours later I was uncontrollably ripping my bedroom door off its hinges as my two young boys looked on in horror. I felt like a female Incredible Hulk, I felt out of control, and as a mental health professional myself, (yep it’s true), I had to get this condition under control, for the sake of my family and for my own sanity.

“I have been able to step off what has been an emotional roller coaster for 34 years and have Annabel Boys to thank for giving me the tools in which to do this successfully”

I approached my GP, describing all my symptoms from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and excessive bloatedness, to headaches, blurred vision and dizziness, symptoms which all seemed to correlate to the type of food I ate.

I was trying to restrict my diet to foods that would keep my insulin levels down but it felt like a failing battle. Therefore, I asked to see a dietician but the GP was unsure if I fitted their criteria, which seems completely absurd to me when you consider the direct influence food has on PCOS symptoms.

She eventually agreed to the referral but I never heard anything more on this front so, instead, I decided to take things into my own hands. I looked on the Verity website, which is the national support charity for women with PCOS and here I discovered an advert for Annabel Boys “PCOS-friendly Eating Kick-Start Programme” for women just like me.

Although I would never normally spend money on something like this, I felt desperate and had come to the conclusion that I needed some professional guidance and I am so glad I made that decision as it turned out to be the best investment of my life!!!

“(Annabel’s) approach was great because she did not put any pressure on me, instead it was up to me to put the work in and do it at my own pace”

During the course, Annabel taught me how to integrate vegetables, protein and carbohydrates into my daily intake of food. She taught me to think about the quality of the food I was eating and gave suggestions on what foods to eat to maintain hormonal stability. A great tip was to avoid refined and processed food and to aim to eat well at least 90% of the time.

veg heart

Her approach was great because she did not put any pressure on me, instead it was up to me to put the work in and do it at my own pace within the parameters of my own lifestyle demands and capabilities.

I found Annabel to be a great support who was always there for encouragement. I found her a true inspiration.

By cutting down on bread, potatoes, refined and processed food, symptoms such as bloatedness and IBS, more or less disappeared straight away. 2 weeks into the programme, I had a period, which felt quite unexpected, as I experienced hardly any premenstrual tension (PMT), a condition I struggled with a lot beforehand. I also felt my period was a proper one, for the first time in a very long time.

Probably the most significant benefit of doing the course was the stabilisation of my mood. It has given me the opportunity to feel more relaxed in my everyday life. I am able to be a better mother and partner, as well as a better friend and colleague, as I am no longer consumed by negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours brought on by surging insulin levels.

I feel like I have finally been able to take control of my life by taking control of what I eat. I have been able to step off what was an emotional roller coaster for 34 years and have Annabel to thank for giving me the tools in which to do this successfully and so to her I will be eternally grateful.

Thank you Annabel x.

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