Q: I have been diagnosed with PCOS but I think it’s only mild as I have regular periods. My partner and I are thinking about trying for a baby in the next year. At the moment I do very little exercise.
Can you advise me of where I should start to get rid of the pounds and what I should aim to get down to in order to be the right ‘healthy’ weight to give me the best chance to conceive and be fit enough for a ‘healthy’ pregnancy?
Personal trainer Wendy Powell, of No More Excuses! specialises in fitness training for pre- and post-pregnancy.
She advises: ‘The best thing you can do at this point is to make the commitment from NOW, that you are going to get your body into top shape for conception & carrying a baby.
You should address your nutrition – your goal should be to keep your diet as CLEAN & UN-PROCESSED as possible. Check your labels – if you can’t pronounce the ingredients – you don’t want to eat them!
Go organic where possible (I strongly believe that reducing the amount of pesticides, chemicals & hormones we consume through our food has a definite positive effect on our health), buy your meat at least free range (if not organic) & cut out as much of the processed & sugary foods in your diet as possible.
Increase your intake of fibre and make sure you’re getting your omega fats – these fats are called ESSENTIAL for good reason!
Grind up flax, pumpkin & sesame seeds in a coffee grinder & sprinkle on your cereal or in a smoothie, snack on nuts (not salted or roasted) & seeds and/or take a good quality omega supplement.
Walking: keep it brisk & think about your posture, & pulling ‘belly button to spine’ (don’t hold your breath) as you walk. You could do this outside or on a treadmill at the gym & increase your walks – go faster, stride up some hills, then add in a walk/jog.
Walk for 3 minutes, then jog for one, & walk again – keep increasing the distance OR the speed OR the duration of the runs (don’t try & increase everything at once!).
You’ll quickly see an improvement which will motivate you to keep going! Go with the ‘talk test’ – you should be able to hold a conversation as you exercise. If you are gasping for breath, slow down, if you can sing… you could work a little harder!
Try some simple body weight (ie you don’t need equipment) exercises like lunges, squats, press-ups (don’t be daunted, just start from all-fours, keep your shoulders over your hands & lower your chin to the floor – push back up & repeat 10 times).
The important thing is not to feel daunted by the process.
All of the above will help ease symptoms of PCOS too. I was also diagnosed with PCOS & have 2 beautiful children – it just means it’s harder to predict ovulation, not necessarily that you’re not ovulating at all.’