Even if you don’t make formal resolutions for the New Year, it’s a great time to reflect on this last year and focus on making positive changes for the next one. It’s a time to think about how we want to live our life and how we can change our actions to get there. Here are a few suggestions that everyone, not just women with PCOS, could focus on for the coming year.
• Focus on your diet
Beyond losing weight, we could all probably stand to make a few positive changes in our diet — from finally giving up the soda habit, to cutting back on alcohol, or even adding more green vegetables to our daily diet. Taking these small steps can go a long way toward improving our health and even possibly losing weight.
Need another idea? Try preparing more of your meals at home. It can be easy in our fast paced lives to turn to the drive-thru or prepackaged meals when we’re in a rush or tired. But take-out and processed foods are significantly higher in fat, calories, sugar and other bad-for-you stuff. When you have a little time on the weekend, whip up a few meals that you can throw in the freezer or save for later in the week. You can even try to prep a few of the meals ahead of time — think chopping your veggies for a weeknight chili or stir-fry when you have a few minutes on Sunday night. It doesn’t seem like much, but reducing the number of things you need to do during the week will make meal prep seem that much more manageable.
• Move more
Exercise is a huge part of staying healthy. And there’s no need to follow a strict regimen or spend hours in a gym. In fact, that’s probably more harmful then helpful, because let’s face it, that can be pretty boring and isn’t sustainable. You’re better off making small steps toward a more active lifestyle overall.
There are a ton of things you can do to be more active: start walking with friends or your partner each day, try walking to the store instead of driving (if possible), join an adults sports league, take a fun yoga or zumba class. Even just taking the stairs more or spending less time sitting at your desk can be a good start.
• Get your health in check
Women with PCOS are at risk for a number of complications. Make this the year that you fit in all of your check-ups and doctors’ visits. See your primary care doctor to have your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol checked. And if you don’t usually, see your gynecologist for your pap smear and a full exam. Bring a list of questions with you so you get everything answered.
• Manage stress
Stress can be a killer. It can lead to poor eating habits, poor sleep and even physical problems like high blood pressure or heart disease. Getting stress in check is especially important for women with PCOS because having PCOS puts you at a higher risk for developing depression. Make this the year that you find effective and healthy ways to manage your stress. Bonus points if it’s something physical like a yoga class or exercising.
Other methods can include taking up a hobby, venting to a friend over the phone or even spending time with loved ones (unless they are the source of your stress, of course!). The point is that it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it helps you deal with your everyday stressors.
• Give yourself a break
Most importantly, don’t forget to give yourself a break. As women, we tend to be much harder on ourselves then we are on anyone else. You wouldn’t come down on your sister or best friend if they cheated on a diet, right? Well, you shouldn’t do that to you either. Remember that we all make mistakes, and instead of beating yourself up over it, move on and learn from it.