Tales of a Tiga Suku – BCOS? PCOS!

[important]Tiga is my girlfriend and a long suffering supporter of my work here. I post some of her articles here because she likes it when people read her work and when they offer messages of support.[/important]

I have recently been cutting back on my food intake. A number of reasons have spurred this on.

1. I have PCOS – weight management is essential in this condition

2. I have been feeling rather unwell as I’ve developed hypertension (high blood pressure) due to the PCOS I’ve got.

3. I am tired of my fluctuating weight and want to give this diet thing one last go before I resort to something a bit more permanent. 

4. I can not let weight overwhelm me like those people in ‘My 600 pound life’. Granted, I’m nowhere near that but hey, it’s gotta start from somewhere. 

5. I would really like for my partner to be able to look at me and go ‘god, she’s hot,’

6. I have had enough of prejudice given to me because of my size. 

7. I’m a doctor wannabe, I would like to display some sort of discipline into the health management of my own life. 

8. I would really like to feel good about myself once again. Recent events have been horrible.

So the priorities are really not in that order. Well #1 and #2 are accurate but everything else is all over the place really. 

So how do I intend to do this?

I’ve recently downloaded a calorie tracking app. I’m unable to exercise in these next 2 weeks but I will be able to after exams are done with for 4 weeks before I return home to KL. Before I return, I would like to be noticeably skinnier as it would be a nice surprise for family back home as well a good self-esteem boost. I intend to carry on my exercise back home in KL during my break and stick with this calorie counting.

I have done this before in the past without said app and have managed to lose a grand total of 2 stones within 2-3 months. That is a LOT of weight shed. Also? My exercise technique wasn’t great then and I wasn’t being accurate about my calorie uptake. It was really a bit of a miss here and there. Yet even then I lost quite a bit of weight. So i can only imagine what it will do now.

The nice thing about this app is that it throws in a bit of optimism that I find encouraging: it tells you how much you can lose based on your current height, weight and daily intake with your exercise factored in. Now this is basic cardio exercise and not at all inclusive of weights. (although I’m sure some apps with take that into consideration). But it’s a decent idea to keep a food diary because before when I never did this, I had no idea about how much was really not being looked into.

For example, I never used to take into consideration the amount of coffee I’ve had. Or sugary drinks that are the worse contributors to weight gain as you don’t get full from them and they just pile on the unnecessary calories.

I’ve also started noticing some other changes in my eating habits. I look for foods that are deserving of the calories going into my system. Ie, if it’s going to be calorific, it really shouldn’t be letting me go hungry just 3-4 hours after my meal. It’s reasonable to be hungry after a salad with no dressing and some grilled chicken but not at all reasonable if there’s pasta and mayo in it bringing the ‘salad’ calorie content up to a grand total of 1021 calories. That’s nearly all the calories I can afford in a day!

Yesterday, I was below my calorie content and the app told me I needed to be eating a wee bit more because I could go into starvation mode which will slow down my metabolism instead of bringing it up. Another good idea to encourage weight loss its to ‘Atkinise’ your diet. Bring on the meat, not fatty ones of course! Like throw the fried chicken out of the window and go for tasty marinated grilled/roasted meats instead. If I’m truly craving some carbs, I have some healthy wholemeal bread of a low calorie content and have it as a health sandwich with low caloried-fillings. Tuna is fatty, so is egg, surprisingly. And things like bacon or turkey breast turn out to have much lower calorie contents than the first two! I would have assumed otherwise.

It is rather enlightening to look at calorie contents in packagings. It is also important to note the weight of said foods and measure calories according to it’s weight. For example, the calorie content could read: 52 calories in 100g when a serving size is 350g. So naturally, your calorie content increases accordingly.

At any rate, I have been trying. Modifications I have made this week have been somewhat like this:

1. Breakfast – banana and a glass of milk (if I do have breakfast)

2. Lunch – choice between a salad with chicken/pork/fish or health sandwich with courgettes and hommous

3. Dinner – fish/chicken/prawns either grilled or roasted with a side salad finish or chunky soup (250 calories at most) 

My daily calorie intake for expected weight loss is 1220. That isn’t very much but since I’m not exercising yet, it shall have to be that for now. I’ve noticed myself already feeling lighter and less sluggish. I am better in my movements and feel better on the inside. It’s Day 5 now.

Here’s to hoping I can keep this up till my body gets used to this and I see some progress. Wish me luck people!

I’ve lived with PCOS for 6 years now. Throughout these 6 years I have gained and lost weight in a fucking yo-yo-like pattern. These are basically just some of the symptoms I struggle with.

1. I have awful skin

2. My weight isn’t a small secret

3. I get hypoglycaemic attacks from putting myself on a low-carb diet due to the insulin resistance

4. I get insane cravings for carbs, sugary and unhealthy things

5. My moods are ridiculous. But it is the depression that bites the most.

I have no idea what to do about it. I have tried diet, exercise, supplements. I’m reduced to eating like a diabetic person to help manage my glycaemic and weight condition. 

People aren’t aware that PCOS is a disease. An annoying syndrome. It doesn’t go away and your symptoms only cease when you lose weight. When the weight gets back on, it comes back again. Weight maintenance is so necessary.

My self-esteem is tied heavily to this. And I must admit, it’s been taking pretty heavy blows lately. Recently I’ve looked myself in the mirror and thought – oh dear lord, if only I looked like a different person. Never in my life have I wished for that.

I guess what I’m trying to say in this post is that, I would really like a drastic fix for my PCOS. I would like to be rid of this weight once and for all. I am considering things like surgery so it never comes back to taunt me in my older years with things like diabetes and cancer. People with PCOS are at risk for both of the 2 and high blood pressure – something I have already developed at 26 years of age.

I once laughed at a friend for going for that, I thought it was a drastic move. But then, I wasn’t big then and probably didn’t appreciate that at her size and level, it was definitely necessary. I’m nowhere near as big but I can already see the appeal in never having to worry about weight gain  ever.

Maybe it’s time I took some drastic steps.


  1. Camas says

    I have PCOS – have had it since entering puberty. What helps me manage the symptoms is eat well (avoid simple carbs – do brown rice and whole grains help your carb issues?). I exercise at least 5 days per week and I take metformin to manage my insulin resistance. That has helped me a lot.

  2. says

    I’m a huge fan and (totally unpaid) promoter of fitocracy: http://ftcy.me/YraNhw
    It’s about tracking exercise rather than food, and there’s a lot of emphasis on weights. There’s an app, but the website is less buggy and easier to use. The community is so warm and encouraging, and there’s groups for lots of interests. One of my friends there has PCOS. Many people track food in many ways elsewhere, you might get some helpful tips even though that’s not the focus.

    There is quite a lot of interesting recent research on the benefits of weights & HIIT vs ye olde lots and lots and lots of cardio. Some even suggest that constant cardio is actively bad for women but I’m not sure of the merits of the science. Start here if you want: http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/women-running-into-trouble/

  3. Brad says

    I don’t have PCOS (no O’s), but I’ve been tracking calories since late february and am down 20-some pounds doing the same thing. Only real advice i can give is something Steve Novella mentioned in passing on SGU, figure out your basal metabolic rate (there’s calculators online) and from that derive your daily caloric needs for your target weight (and activity level) and work you consumption down to that amount. You’ll run a calorie deficit and “gradually” approach your target, same way anyone who gained weight in adulthood ran a calorie surplus and gradually gained weight toward a weight that maintained on your intake.

    Finding satiaety is good for keeping your sanity, but the bottom line, as you know, is calories in – calories out. Your plan will work, and I’ve found that the mere act of tracking intake helps cut down consumption.

  4. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    You should eat breakfast … if you don’t, you are basically starving yourself over half the day. And you are starting your day with no food and no energy.

  5. says

    I think you’re doing well and you have a great plan of action! I also have PCOS and write a blog on all of the research that I do to help me manage my own condition. My only meal suggestion would be to watch out for dairy. It causes a big rise is testosterone levels and could make your symptoms worse. I have an article on it on my blog: http://www.pcosdietsupport.com Good luck!!!

  6. says

    Tiga, please consider going vegan. Plant foods are less calorie-dense, and a lot of meat and dairy are contaminated with hormones, which (although I’m no doctor) probably isn’t helping the PCOS. Here is one cite by an MD:


    Plus, if you’re having skin problems, giving up the dairy often clears that up.

    The best guide to going vegan is Eric Marcus’s ebook, Ultimate Vegan Guide ($8 paperback, $1 Kindle). It’s short, fun, smart, and to-the-point.

    There are also a zillion people who can help you, including me if you email me (hillary@hillaryrettig.com). also, I don’t know where you live, but there is almost certainly a veg group near you and meeting some new people may help with the depression.

    Beyond that, my next book is about overcoming procrastination and perfectionism related to dieting and weight loss. If you (or anyone reading this) would like to read the first couple of chapters, please email me.

  7. says

    Been reading along, just wanted to drop a line of support from California.

    And second what Tsu said about eating breakfast!

  8. Sercee says

    Tiga, I don’t have PCOS but I did the yo-yo thing for a while until a couple years ago when I just settled on being big. I had no idea I was actually obese, but considering our society that’s not a surprise… Anyway, 3 months ago I got hooked up with a dietician through my work benefits, right about the same time spring came and that final resistance in my head snapped and I definitively decided that I wanted something better.

    I’ve been running and using my calorie counter app (my fitness pal, linked to runtastic) since then and following a very Atkins-like eating plan since then, checking in weekly with my dietician. I’ve lost 18 lbs, can now run (not continuously, but run/walk intervals with more run than walk) over 10km. My energy levels are amazing, and my self confidence has (literally) never been better. I’ve got a long ways to go to get to my “ideal” goal, but I know I’m doing fantastic… and I’ve gotten so happy with my progress and found some delicious foods, easy routines, that on those days that I “slip” or “treat” myself? I only have a little bit because that kind of food isn’t even appetizing to me anymore.

    The point is, I think you’re on the right track. Healthy, lean, flavorful proteins (I have lots of fish, chicken, eggs, and almonds), an adventurous array of vegetables and fruits, and a small portion of quality whole grains with a commitment to exercise and physical activity. (We learn this in grade school… why is it so hard for us to remember?) It won’t take you long, and you won’t find yourself wanting (craving, sure, but just remember that it’ll be there tomorrow, you don’t need it today!)

    I know Avi already lets you know you’re beautiful, but fyi you are! As you better and better at making health management a positive lifestyle habit you’ll feel even more beautiful. Good luck, and congrats all at once!

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