Written by Nicola Salmon, guest blogger
As I was sat across from my doctor the most unexpected words came out of her mouth, “You’ll never be able to have children.” At 16, I just thought that my irregular periods were down to growing up but after three years and several different investigations, I was given the diagnosis of PCOS (a metabolic and hormonal disorder), given the contraceptive pill and sent on my way.
It’s funny where life takes you, after suffering from PTSD later in life, I had acupuncture and it turned my life. I decided to study acupuncture as it intrigued me so much and as I was studying I learnt about lots of different ways I could look after my body. Not just with medicine, but with food, movement and other natural remedies. Throughout that journey I made tiny shifts and tweaks to my lifestyle, which over time improved my health and menstrual cycles.
My 3 lifestyle tweaks
I switched away from drinking tap water after I found out that it contains small amounts of oestrogen. With my hormones as imbalanced as they were, I decided to help it out by trying to reduce external sources.
This also led me to choosing organic grass fed meat and dairy when I could afford it as cheap cattle and other animals are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones which again affect hormones in our bodies.
The third biggest shift I made was reintroducing fat in my diet. I was absolutely shocked to discover that fats are the building blocks of hormones. Being on a low fat diet since I was about 13, it was no wonder that my body struggled to create the right amounts of each hormone. Healthy fats such as dairy, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado and nuts are such a great was to eat healthy and tasty food.
My story has a happy ending.
We had no troubles conceiving our 2 boys despite my constant worry and fear that having children would be so difficult for us.
In the end it was those tiny tweaks and shifts that helped my body heal. It wasn’t a complete diet overhaul. I didn’t suddenly start running marathons.
The problem is that these tweaks won’t work for everyone. We all have unique bodies, environments, histories and mindsets which means that you need to find your own tweaks to your optimal health. Sounds really hard right?
I promise it is really simple. All you have to do is listen.
Your body has all the information. Every sign and symptom is a sign post to tell you where to look. You can start right away by grabbing a pen and paper. Write down:
- your sleep (when, how much, what was the quality)
- your food and drink (no calories counting! What you ate, when you ate and how you feel)
- your energy throughout the day
- your mood throughout the day
- your movement throughout the day
- where you are in your cycle right now
- anything else your body is telling you (aches, pains, dizziness, dry skin etc)
Then the fun begins. Over time you’ll start to notice patterns. You’ll notice how your sleep affects your mood, or if you have a coffee after 3 you’re wired til midnight. Maybe you’ll notice that you get bloated 3 hours after eating bread or that when you don’t drink enough water your eyes get sore.
Really get curious about how your body works and you’ll be amazed by what you find. Then you can experiment. Start trying to do things a little different and notice how your body responds.
If you want a quick guide to get started with fertility journaling, you can download my free 7 day nurture fertility journal here.