at a glance
How to Approach Holidays, Travel and Special Occasions with PCOS
Table of Contents
Mindset is Everything with PCOS
Remember you are human. Celebrating is a part of the human experience. Let’s forget your diagnosis of PCOS or your fertility journey for a day. One day of celebrating isn’t going to make your PCOS go crazy or stop you from getting pregnant.
I believe if you approach the holiday knowing it is a time of celebrating with family and friends then you can make the distinction in your mind. The trouble I see people fall into is that they feel bad or wrong for eating a meal that doesn’t have enough protein or veggies. Then the shame makes them feel guilty and they approach the rest of the vacation or holiday with an attitude like “I’ve blown it. It doesn’t really matter what I do next.”
The thing is, it does. Your next meal or snack has the opportunity to be balanced. There is no guilt in having dessert, drinking some eggnog, or having a glass of wine with dinner. It’s a holiday, celebrate without guilt or shame.
Holidays don’t last forever – they are a finite period of time
Holidays, celebrations, birthdays have a finite beginning point and end point. I know a lot of people act like the holiday’s start at thanksgiving and end at new years. They treat every day as a holiday, have a lot more opportunities for social gatherings, make a daily trip to Starbucks for a holiday drink, and all of a sudden you have a month long binge. I recommend not approaching the holidays that way. Enjoy the day or weekend and then get back to your routine.
I know many people that treat their birthday as a whole month long celebration. Hey, do it sister. However, you don’t need to celebrate with food, dessert and drink. Go for a hike with a friend, take a day drive and look at a different view of the countryside you live in, enjoy a massage or body treatment. Let’s get creative and use experiences instead of just food to create memories around special occasions.
Traveling with PCOS – Tips for Feeling Great
If you are traveling pay extra attention to hydration, mineral status, and movement. It’s super easy to end up constipated or catching a cold while traveling. Staying hydrated is helpful, drink more water on travel days. Water alone won’t do it though, make sure you are also getting potassium and salt. You could use an electrolyte drink or you could just ask for water with a splash of OJ on the flight and sprinkle some extra salt on your food. The minerals help the extra water get into your cells.
Extra fluid and magnesium can also keep you regular on travel days. Consider drinking something like the Needed Hydration Mix. My favorite flavor is grapefruit. It has potassium, magnesium and sodium. You’ll stay hydrated and give your bowels a boost to stay regular.
Make sure you keep your body moving. This doesn’t mean you have to find a cross fit gym or pilates studio where you are going, if that’s the normal type of workout you enjoy. Can you incorporate a walk? If you have a 3 hour layover, give your friend or partner your luggage and do a few laps in the terminal to get your blood moving. Find some open space in the terminal and do some stretching. Apply principles like this wherever you are going, I remember staying in a 4 story house in Lake Tahoe one thanksgiving and going up and down the stairs from something from my suitcase was a literal workout. Do the things, climb the stairs, go for a walk or hike with family – just stay moving.
Don’t forget to take your supplements. I like to pack mine in my carry-on so I can actually take them on my travel days and also if something happens to my checked luggage, I still have them. Prenatals, myo-inositol, and fish oil are all non-negotiables for me while traveling. I find I’m more energetic when I keep this part of my routine normal.
Choose Your Favorite Foods and Drink
It’s okay to not eat everything at a party. If you don’t love stuffing, save your carbs on the plate for more mashed potatoes. Did everyone make pies and you aren’t a fan, cool – save your sweet fix for something later on in the weekend that really does it for you. My favorite holiday dessert is actually a holiday joe joe cookie from Trader Joes. Really. I’d rather have that than pumpkin pie. So – that’s what I do, without shame.
I like to usually choose between alcohol or dessert at a celebration. Especially if one of the options isn’t in a category of something I love. This is especially helpful for me the next day. I’m not recovering from a poor night of sleep and a sugar-hangover. My favorite wine to drink is something from Dry Farm Wine. They are lower in alcohol and have no added sugar. I feel great after drinking this wine and can have half a bottle without any hangover. Such a win at a holiday meal.
Balance Your Plate the Best You Can
Focus on still finding protein at every meal and snack. When someone puts a plate of fruit, cheese, and crackers, make sure you focus on the cheese. When someone puts our chips and dip, see if the dip options have protein, like hummus. I find starting the morning off with protein ends up being the thing that “makes it” or “breaks it for me.” This is really a non-negotiable.
The other main thing to focus on is getting your veggies in. That can keep lots of colors and antioxidants coming your way. It also has fiber to keep your bowels regular. If someone serves a breakfast of eggs and waffles, ask if they have any raw veggies in their fridge like bell peppers, carrots or cucumbers. Slice some up and eat them on the side. You won’t be “weird” and you may even teach your hosts something about having veggies at meals even if it doesn’t really “make sense” with what they are serving. I left my sisters house a few weeks ago and grabbed a bell pepper from her fridge. She commented as I left, “are you going to eat that like an apple”?. I said , “yes” and hopped in the car. We stopped for chick-fil-A that night and I was glad to have some veggies to put on the side of my spicy chicken sandwich.
See, it’s all about balance. Find protein, find veggies. Add them to your plate versus focusing on what to take away from your plate.
Focus on Family, Friends and Memories
My wish for you on celebrations is that you can have a lovely time, enjoy great food, enjoy great times with loved ones. I hope you can leave the body consciousness at the door and just make choices that help you feel good: body, mind and spirit.