What is PCOS?
PCOS is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones and this actually comes when you have cysts in your ovaries. No one female is going to have all the symptoms in one time, you are going to have different symptoms that may affect you. So the simplest way to explain it, is PCOS is hormonal imbalance in your body and it affects women starting from as young as 15, onwards all the way to whenever because that is just how it is with PCOS.
When and how did you realize that you have PCOS?
I found that I have PCOS about 2 years back (2015) and it was all due to my irregular period. Getting real with everyone body here, girl, we have our menses on a monthly basis. At some point, I was actually spotting in between, so I was spot in between my period, which mean it almost seems like as if I was having double period in a month. And that was when I went to the doctor to check my body condition. After finding out from the doctor, we did a hormone test, blood test and everything, that’s how the doctor assess and diagnosed that I have got PCOS.
As I think about it, it is a good habit to track your period. It is very important to track you period. I remembered that was one point in 1999, I was spot/bleeding for about 4 months. At such a young age, I don’t know what happen to my body until my mother brought me to the doctor to have further body check-up. So I think my PCOS problem start when I was a teenager. I only found out what is actually was 2 years ago.
When someone has PCOS, one of the most common symptoms is weight gain. And what are the other common symptoms?
There are a number of symptoms among them is like acne issue on the face, on the back, facial hair issue (facial hair thicker than usual) because when you have hormone issue, you tend to have more androgen (male hormones) and that causes the excess facial hair issue. On top of that, weight gain is also one of the symptoms of PCOS. It is harder for weight loss, and you’ll have irregular period, some people even have sleep apnea, where they will have difficulty in breathing while they are sleeping hence they don’t get a good night rest. Some people even have hair loss issue. So there are number of symptoms and no one person will always have all the symptoms.
How did you manage to go from being chunkier, struggling to lose weight to your amazing figure right now?
For those who is living with PCOS, it is not impossible and as I’ve mentioned, every single person has different symptoms. So for my symptoms, I won’t say that I’ve very bad weight gain because some girls I know it is very hard for them to lose weight. While losing weight is hard enough for most people, women with PCOS have an even harder time, probably because of their high insulin levels, which alert the body to store fat at all costs. High insulin also increases hunger and carbohydrate cravings.
For me, I am not terribly overweight because of my lifestyle. I was taking good care of my lifestyle. Towards my young adult life, I was already watching my food intake, exercise regularly, but I just didn’t know the right kind of nutrition and training for the body because everyone’s body is different. So for anybody who is having issue with weight loss for PCOS, DO NOT GIVE UP! It is something that you can manage.
For me, I manage it mostly with having a healthy lifestyle. I know it is so generic but it’s very basic, eating right for your body, getting a right amount of sleep, training, adding more weight training. Actually weight training is very good for ladies with PCOS.
In a typical week, what is your workout routine like?
During my preparation for Bikini Competition, I do strength/weight training for about 5-6 times a week, weight training is extremely important because weight training helps to build lean muscle mass and that’s exactly what I am aiming to do from now to the rest of my life. I want to try to get as lean as possible for my body at a healthy range. In a week, I usually do 5 to 6 days weight training, 1 or 2 days rest depending what my program is on.
What is your diet like?
For my food, to be honest, my food intake was pretty crazy but it’s meant for my body type. I manage it with where it’s really on high protein. Low carbs, medium fat and high protein, good amount of fibre and that is my diet. My diet is not very clean, I would say it’s a flexible dieting. Now I am off from competition, I am just maintaining, I am doing 80% and 20% dieting where 80% I am pretty much eating clean, eating nutritious and well-balanced diet and 20% I have my treats/cheat.
For someone that is watching this right now, to them it is like no matter what they do, no matter what they eat, no matter how much workout they do, they can’t seem to lose weight. What is your advice? How they can start to see result?
I would say the number one thing is, watch your nutrition. Nutrition is the key! You can’t outtrain a bad diet. The best thing you can do for your body to start, even for a least a week, try looking at the foods which are better, like no processed food, more foods that are high in fibre, good lean meat like chicken, fish, red meat and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Take out fried and processed foods and lessen on sugary drinks. Sugar will just mess your body up because for my body type, PCOS causes me to be insulin resistance. So, for me, I need to be very cautious with what I eat. The good thing is I can relax a little because I have a good amount of muscle on me and we know muscle will burn a lot of calories even when you are just at rest which is why I would say weight training is really important. You build quality muscle hence your body be able to burn more, and also burn fat more and hence it will not be so bad when you go ahead and start eating more carbs or you have treats for yourself but everything in moderation.
Do you think lifestyle has a lot to do with PCOS? Or it is genetic to begin with then manage by your lifestyle?
It is! PCOS is manage by your lifestyle. What I heard is PCOS can be hereditary but in my family, I do not know anybody that has PCOS. Mine become aggravated because when I was younger, I did not know how to take care of myself.
It will be good if our younger generation starts to learn a lot more about their body, nutrition and how to eat right and train right for that matter. I would say that, for me it was all because the lifestyle that aggravated it. The only reason it stops and my menses were regular because the doctor gave me birth control pill to balance out the hormones. For some people, they start using prescription drugs which I don’t recommend. I always feel that it is best to go on holistic point of you.
What kind of medication or supplement are you currently taking?
For supplement, I take multivitamin, protein powder when I need to, fish oil, magnesium and vitamin C. Pretty much the basic supplement that other people would take. I do not recommend at all to take prescription drugs or any kind or hormones.
How can someone detects if they have PCOS?
If you feel like you have those symptoms, do not diagnose yourself through Google! The best way is go and get hormone test and blood test. From there, the doctor is going to take a look at your progesterone level and estrogen level. When they look at that, then you will have a definitive answer whether you are affected with PCOS.
Hey ladies, don’t fret! This is not the end of the world. PCOS is just a condition and you can live with it, and you could learn to manage it. It could be a very great wakeup call for a number of people, female especially since this is actually on the rise because a lot of people don’t know they have PCOS. In Malaysia, it is reported more as an infertility issue. So this could be a great wake up call for a lot more people to start getting aware and adopt much healthy lifestyle.
Is there anything that scares you in regards to PCOS?
I suppose one thing that did scare me before at the beginner, it was the weight gain and now as I think further, it also affects the chances of getting pregnant one day. I will definitely want to have a kid at some point of my life. But I will try not to think about things that I can’t control. I don’t know what is going to happen down the line but it did scare me that the one thing that god gave me that I can’t do.
What can we expect from Linora one or two years down the road?
Well, I would like to do a bikini competition down the road, not sure when. Now I just want to take a break and rest. For now I would say it is just looking at work, focussing on how I can help reach out to female and guys who need to understand more about their body, that’s is one of my main goal. My mission in life right now is to get people to understand their body as much as they can or at least get them started to be aware.