Saturday, 26 September 2015

Periods, Mothafu****

So what is the biggest, biggest problem with PCOS? Periods. Yeah! Aunt Flo is always angry when you have PCOS. For some women, she is hyperactive and for the rest… she prefers not to visit them often. Who am I? I used to be the one who was visited by her for 3 days in a 28 day cycle. She did not bother me a bit and went as easily as she came. Everything was cool. Now, we have developed a love-hate relationship. She visits less often and makes sure that she gives me some real painful and irritating time all the while. 

So without going into further details, let us discuss what you can do in order to make your dear Aunty visit frequently and also make her stay more bearable. Remember, no medications, no playing with the hormones and no unnecessary BS. Follow these simple rules for the beginning. They would prime your body for a better period and would also help to regularize them. Let’s get started. 

·         M2 Tone Syrup

this is an ayurvedic syrup that would work like magic in making your periods more regular. Have used this syrup and it seriously works. Though M2 Tone is also available in tablet form, the syrup is always the better choice. You would find it in any ayurvedic medication store and even general drug stores keep it. The syrup needs to be taken 2-3 times a day (one spoonful). I would suggest you start with 1 spoonful, twice a day after meals. 

The syrup was suggested by an ayurvedic doctor, who has been practicing for 40 years now and he was so right about things. Your cycles would become regular and you would notice visible changes in your periods within 3 months only. Consume for 6 months straight for good results. I was not able to continue for more than 3 months in a row last year. However, this time, I am quite determined to continue for 6 months. 

·        Vajrasana

Vajrasana is done after you have had food. Vajrasana after the breakfast, lunch or dinner for as long as you can maintain the asan would be a great choice. This asana is very simple. You just have to sit with your knees bent (quite the way you see Japanese people sit at their homes, watch Doraemon to see how Nobita’s mother sits while calculating the bills to get an idea or just watch a Youtube video). It is simple, but it is quite difficult to sit in that position for long in the beginning. Don’t worry, practice would make you perfect. Vajrasana would not only help with digestion but would also help in your periods. 

These two tips would help you get started. So make sure that you start inculcating these two things in your lifestyle. You would soon start getting great results for sure. Try it at least for one month to get the best results. I will discuss the rest of the tips later. Don’t consume too much information and just follow these two tips religiously. They would really help you.

A 1000 Times More Beautiful

It happened very long ago and I suddenly remembered the incident that was buried in my heart for all these years. I was not intending to remember it but my heart is not too good at building a dam on hurtful things that I have heard till date. Keeping it buried for too long would have hurt me more so this needs to come out. 

So a very long time ago, I knew this guy. I would not go into the details of how I know him and why he said what he said but whatever he suggested confused me. It hurt me for sure but it confused me more. He told me that he was seeing a girl who was ‘a 1000 times more beautiful than me’. My response was a cold and confused ‘oh!’ It did not come with a sigh. My mind was blocked completely after he uttered these words. I do not remember what he said next. I don’t remember how and when I hung up the phone. I kept thinking for a few minutes, lying on my bed and staring at the fan, quietly rotating above my head. Then I buried those words, forever, so I do not find them for a lifetime. 

So what was I thinking for those 10 minutes? 

He said that she was a 1000 times more beautiful… a 1000 times. So, on a scale of beauty, if she stood on a 1000, I was… I scored a mere, meagre, small and insignificant 1. Just 1. Oh! So that was the thing. I was not beautiful, not even close to being beautiful. Did he say it on purpose? Did he wish for me to feel humiliated? Was it just a chance remark?

I knew that I was not one of the prettiest faces around but I thought my face was good enough. Not that bad, just average if nothing else. The shape of my face, the complexion of my skin, the way my lips pouted just a little naturally and the way my hair was neither black nor brown, neither straight nor curly… I thought these things were unique and even if I don’t appeal to people’s beauty standards, I would at least not be overlooked. I was not ugly. 

But a score of 1? It all starts at 0 and I scored just 1. Why? I could have scored better. How does she look? Now that he has told me my score, I know what 1 looks like. I want to know what a 1000 looks like. Maybe she is… I don’t know. 

I started rating women and girls I knew… 

What would her score be? Maybe 10. And what about that girl…? Umm… maybe a 100… no maybe 200. Yeah! She is so strikingly beautiful. She just drives men crazy. No… No… she must be a 500. I am wrong. 

Strange, he was using my face as a standard of beauty. Like I was a Lego brick. He had to keep 999 more of ‘me’ to define that 1 girl because she was a 1000 times more beautiful… yes, a 1000 times. 

Shame! Just 1? I should have paid more attention to myself. I should have read beauty magazines instead of literature. I should have worked hard on my body instead of working hard on ‘being someone’. I am a girl. No one cares if I have a career or if I am successful but people do care about my beauty. I should have paid attention. How could I do such injustice to myself? How could I ignore it? Why do I not apply mascara? Why are my eyes adorned with large nerdy glasses instead of beautiful and thick lashes and some beautiful kohl to make those eyes… those eyes look more beautiful…? I could have scored at least a 100. 

What is strange about this? Nothing. Suddenly, I heard someone knocking. It was the courier boy. He had brought some books. Oh! I finally got a coffee table book about Hindu Gods! Not that I am super religious, but I find mythology interesting. My brain started processing his remarks as ‘junk’ while I was busy checking out the books and see how I remember these things now…

Sunday, 20 September 2015

PCOS Hair Loss- Eliminating Loss

There is no doubt that PCOS makes your hair become frizzy and more prone to breaking. A lot of women simply start losing all their hair. Everytime they comb their hair, they find hundreds of innocent strands that were uprooted from the scalp without much ado. I have faced the same problem. While the hair is growing gracefully and not showing a sign of lack of strength, it is the hair on your scalp that faces one issue after the other. When you have an enviable mane, it feels quite inadequate to find that you are left with merely a third of what you used to have a year ago. It is frustrating as hell. Whether you wash your hair or comb it, you will find nothing but strands falling out. Even lightly running fingers through them would mean trouble. 

So what did I do?

As frustrated as I was with my medications and depressed schedule, I thought about giving my hair a second chance. This meant that I have my hair routine a careful thought and then started with a another, sane routine that genuinely helped me grow a nice mane again. You can try this too. Hope they will help. 

1. Oil your hair- regularly

When I was in school, oiling was a regular thing. It happened almost every other day and my hair remained as good as you can imagine. Even if I had a haircut that I knew I would regret, it did not bother me much. Simply because the hair used to grow so fast that one would easily forget how I looked about a month ago. Well, school ended and so did the oiling routine. 

So, I brought back the old habit. My hair is now being oiled fairly regularly. Of course, I do not do it every second day, but I do it at least twice a week. Meanwhile, I massaged the scalp for as long as I possibly could. I massaged each and every part of the scalp, especially the places where I used to lose hair the most. Then, I tried to show some love to the hair strands as well. My hair quality became very poor and it was quite dull, dry and frizzy. It used to look very rough as well. So these strands also needed a lot of conditioning. Therefore, I massaged the strands as well, right till the ends. This meant that my head was always covered in oil but then the hair was liking this routine. So, I did not complain about it. 

The result- silkier, thicker hair with less hair fall. Just make sure you show some love and don't massage like you hate your scalp. Take a little oil on your palm and rub it gently for about 10 seconds before application. Then use the tips of your fingers to massage the oil into your hair. The palms should be used to oil the length of the hair. You can use any oil that you like- coconut, olive, almond, amla (gooseberry) or even sarso. Whatever suits your hair would do. The safest choice could be coconut oil. Olive oil and sarso oil is really heavy but works like wonder while almond and amla oils are lighter. A great product I came across was Biotique's Bhringraj Oil. Coconut oil could be parachute, but Vatika coconut oil comes enriched with other ingredients which is quite a nice thing to apply to your hair. 

2. Avoid chemicals

Yes, I mean that you should not opt for straightening or coloring your hair. Avoid any kind of chemical hair treatments. However, there is something more harmful that you need to stay away from. Shampoos and conditioners along with leave-on treatments could be very harmful for your hair. Hence, you should always use mild shampoos. As a person who is habitual of washing her hair every day (I mean it!!! when you bathe, you wash your hair or you don't bathe at all :P). Okay, so I ditched all the shampoos that graced my bathroom closet and brought in the good ol' Clinic Plus. Now, this is not a shampoo that people recommend to each other, but trust me it works. It is a very mild shampoo and would not harm your hair as much. They also have a nice conditioner which makes your hair quite smooth. 

I have experienced more frizz with Tresemme Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner than I felt with Clinic Plus. It is mild enough for everyday use and so far, I have not found a single reason to throw it out of my house. So maybe you can try this shampoo. If not, find something milder. There are a ton of Ayurvedic Shampoos around. I tried the one from Patanjali (Baba Ramdev's venture) and it was the most baffling thing I had used in my lifetime. My hair became pathetic. It was dry and frizzy and most importantly, it looked dirty. So, even though I am very fond of dreadlocks, I did not want a shampoo to do this to me. 

There are many more hair care tips that I have to share but not right now! First, you need to try these two tips for at least 2 weeks. I can guarantee that they would work. Once done, we will go ahead. Keep yourself updated with new artice

Thursday, 17 September 2015

From 96 to 82- A PCOS Weight Loss Story

There is probably nothing that can make a woman so miserable in the society than being called 'fat and ugly'. Of course, they would not dare to call this to my face, but they would certainly speak this behind my back. It looks like nothing I have done, achieved and won makes any sense unless I am slim. Why? I do not understand. I never intended to lose weight. I have always been the chubbiest in my circle. Short and chubby... yeah! That is how you define me. They wanted me to do what they wanted- drink green tea thrice a day, exercise in the gym for hours and look more miserable while hopelessly trying to lose a few pounds. One of the most heartbreaking things that I have gone through.

So am I just another fat girl?

No. I have a little business of my own and I employ a lot of 'slim, fit and attractive' people. I have never felt that I was not attractive enough. I had no reason to. Applying lipstick was not my way of being attractive. I thought my wit, humor and intelligence mattered more and as long as I have these three, I would keep swimming the tide, for or against, and keep winning. I have still not budged and inch from this value. I believe in it completely. So even when I am surrounded by the most attractive ladies and gents, I prefer to flash a big, broad smile instead of standing there in the corner, quietly wishing that nobody notices me while clicking cool pictures. That is just not my personality.

How did I gain weight?

Well, as I said before, I was nothing short of a chubby or plump girl since childhood. My size was a little bigger than other girls my age and I was totally not concerned with it. Not to mention that weight was never a problem for me. I was a fairly active girl and even played cricket (Six A-Side, just for fun in school). You could make me run a mile or two without me complaining about it. I could run, I could walk and I was still left with some energy to hop 4 km to my home from school, just because I liked solitary walks around that peaceful neighborhood.

Then came PCOS and the weight gain, which was quite subtle and reasonable all through the years became a huge issue for me. I was an adult girl, working day and night on a dream. I enjoyed the occasional indulgence in the best foods in the best restaurants around town, but maintained a rather homely and simple diet still. I was already quite stressed because of the odds of establishing a business from scratch and then I was a patient of a syndrome that does not let you live in peace. I have spent countless days and nights in extreme pain, both physical and emotional, while trying really hard to be someone.

However, all that I tried was making me go in the wrong directions. The medications made me a couch potato (yeah! Seriously). I could hardly walk a 100 meters and even climbing one flight of stairs to my room on the second floor was a pain. Still managed and struggled with it all, until one day when all my clothes started to grow tighter. They were no longer a good fit and I could no longer go and shop, anything that I wanted for myself, without being embarrassed about my size. That night, I could hardly sleep because I was becoming what everyone hated 'a fat and ugly girl'.

The next morning, I checked my weight and it was a number I only loved in my school papers -96 kilograms. Damn! When did I grow so fat? I am FAT. I am ugly. Nobody loves me. After almost a couple years of consuming all sorts of medications to lose weight and manage PCOS, I was left with a miserable cycle and an even worse number of the scale. Who could have imagined such a stupid thing to happen to me. I had already stopped consuming any medications, about 5 months ago. It was a reckless decision of a girl who was fed up of everything in her life except work. I was feeling much better after those medications went straight to the dustbin. I was emotionally stable now and thought that I had more energy than I had all through these 2 years. I was just happy about my decision. But this excessive weight gain made me more concerned. I thought my body was going to explode.

What did I do?

Nothing, to be honest. You must be waiting for me to tell you a great diet plan and an exercise routine that would make you lose weight quick. I am sorry. It is nothing like that. Exercising was like losing whatever energy I had to survive through the day and dieting (basically starving) was not my kind of a thing. So what did I do?

Here is the secret- it is called natural and holistic living. My 14 kg weight loss happened within a sport span of merely 7 months. On an average, I lost about 2 kg per month. That was a great thing. It is easier to lose the initial few pounds. However, if you want to live a healthier life, you have to make some genuinely healthy changes instead of following fads your doctors and other 'well-wishers' are feeding you with. This is what all I did. I hope that if you girls include these steps in your life, you would also be feeling much better. I can certainly guarantee a better life and I promise that your quality of life would improve manifold. These steps are simple and we all know about them, but forget too easily. So try them.

1. Drink fluids- I have binged more on water than on my beloved 'barfi'. I used to drink close to 5-6 liters of water in a day. I don't know why I did that. I was just habitual of sipping water all the time. If you drink too less, you will be dehydrated and that would be just too much. However, for a person like me with a very sedentary lifestyle, I thought 5-6 liters were way too much. So I curbed the intake to about 3 liters in a day. I was still well hydrated, but maybe this time, I was not losing out on any essential vitamins that were simply being lost in urine before they were absorbed. I must have lost a lot of water weight too, because of which things were quite motivating in the beginning.

2. Sleep on time- I have a habit of waking up between 5 am to 7 am. I do not remember a day when I opened my eyes past 7 am (exceptions are less in number, way too less). I sleep around 10 pm. It sometimes goes up to 11 but never beyond that and try to wake up by 6. I am an early bird so waking up early in the day is not a problem for me. The more I stuck to this simple schedule, the more energy I had and the more weight I lost. It is crazy, but your body needs rest and all those hormones that have gone terribly wrong also need some time to come back to normal. So sleep your way to weight loss.

3. Eat healthier- prefer green veggies. I already love oranges and pineapples so they have become a staple in my diet. Vitamin C is helpful in losing weight and it did the trick on me. White flour or 'Maida' was completely eliminated from the diet and I also stayed away from all 'white' foods including dairy and poultry for about 2 months.

4. Eat till you are full- this works better than anything else. Don't eat less because that would help you lose weight. Instead, eat more and fill your tummy. That would help you avoid stupid snack binging. Never leave home without a breakfast and ensure that it is a filling and healthy too. Opt for whole grains whenever you can and ensure that your tummy is full. I am very, very serious about this. Being hungry does not make you healthy. So choose nutrition over calories and eat for heaven's sake. Starvation always goes wrong.

5. Nutrition is important- your body needs a lot of macro and micro nutrients. Alas! The micro-nutrients, though important, are always given less importance. I will talk about essential micro-nutrients in later posts. At this moment, you should be focusing on getting nuts, oatmeals and indigenous grains in your diet. My region has a special flour made known as 'koda'. This golden-brown flour is not just healthy, but also filling. Moreover, it is plain delicious. Sabudana, for example, is made of Tapioca and you can easily replace white rice with it. Indigenous varieties of rice (wild rice, usually reddish brown in color' is also a great option that can be used to make your diet healthier. Smaller quantities of these grains are more filling, satisfying and full of micro-nutrients as well.

Roasted or plain nuts are a great option for you. If you want to have pasta/noodles etc. someday, don't consider this a sin. You can certainly have what you like. However, make sure that you include as many veggies in these dishes so that you can get some nutrition boost as well. Avoid overcooking the food. Undercooked food is also a pathetic choice. Ensure that you do not re-heat food.

6. No processed foods- I swear they are bad as hell. So no processed foods as at. Ready-to-eat meals, instant noodles etc. are all a big no. Chips and cookies? No way. No matter how healthy all these foods proclaim to be, they are simply not. So make sure that you don't eat them. Colas, sodas and other drinks are also not allowed here. They simply don't work in your favor. Use lemon water or coconut water if plain water is not for your taste buds, but don't binge on these drinks.

7. A little movement- yes! even if you are not on a massive exercise routine, you can lose weight. Just bring some movement to your life. Walk the stairs someday, walk around the neighborhood someday, buy your groceries yourself someday and just walk around the house on the other days. Dancing is cool too. Try to stand up after an hour or so of sitting and take a small walk, even if in your own cabin or room. Stretch a bit and then get back to work. Stand while talking on the phone or walk. You can find movement in any way you like. Just start doing it.

8. Be happy- come on! be happy. You would never do anything good or positive unless you remain happy. Remove unwanted people and things from your life. Clear the clutter and find a confidante who can help you get rid of emotional baggage. Our emotions trigger our physiological reactions as well. So staying a gloomy, sad and depressed girl will never help. Get up and get going. Hang out with your friends, have some fun. Stress, guilt and feelings of loss have never done anything good for anyone. Remember, a disease or a syndrome always starts with your brain (or emotions). So why not clear your foggy brain that is trying to find a way for the future through the cobwebs of your past. Stay happy and you will be healthy.

There could be scientific explanations as to why I was able to lose weight and be generally healthy because I adopted such a lifestyle and I honestly am not the right person to explain these things to you. However, I express what I have done and experienced. This is only the tip of the iceberg. I would continue to share thoughts, insights and experiences with you. My weight came down from 96 to 82 and it was an amazing experience, not because I was able to lose weight, but because I was able to do it without pushing my body to the limits.

At 82, the weight loss became a little more difficult. With another new idea that was coming to life, life became hectic and stressful. Still, I am trying to stay calm and also trying to maintain my schedule. I am glad that I did not gain weight and have been able to maintain it. At present, I weight about 80 kg. Have included selected pranayama and exercises in my schedule. These things and some herbal remedies will be discussed in later posts so that you all can benefit from my experiences. In the meanwhile, I wish you all a very happy and healthy life. If you have any questions related to PCOS like medications, home remedies, lifestyle solutions, diet and exercise, stress relief etc., then talk to me on Twitter @nehajoychauhan or mail at