Nutrition practitioner Angelique Panagos has dealt with eating disorders, hypothyroidism, PCOS, infertility, conception and miscarriages. Through it all, she learned valuable lessons about herself and being grateful. And now, she is finally a mother to a baby girl. Life may not always be easy, she explains, but she has learned to be grateful. She is thankful for being able to get pregnant naturally with PCOS and being able to finally reach her goal of motherhood. She has learned to find the beauty in her struggles through her journey to healing.
At age 38, I’ve had a long and difficult health journey. I’ve suffered two miscarriages, struggled with eating disorders, an autoimmune condition and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Luckily I didn’t give up, and I was eventually able to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby in February. My health conditions and even my PCOS didn’t prevent me from achieving my lifelong dream of having a child! What helped me was being grateful for what I had, even when it didn’t feel like much, and having faith in the power of food and lifestyle to heal. I am thankful that I was able to get pregnant naturally with PCOS. And looking back, I realize that my health issues are what made me who I am today and what inspired me to become a nutritionist and work to help others. I hope I can inspire you to stay strong as you deal with your illness or chronic condition.
Learning To Be Grateful
Miscarriages are emotionally stressful times that take a horrible toll on the body. When my heart was broken during my first painful miscarriage, I wracked my brain, desperate to find out what I had done wrong, even though my doctor told me it was not my fault. I knew that inside but all I wanted was a baby—a healthy baby. Eventually I realized that when things like this happen, there are two ways to move forward. You can either turn angry and downtrodden or you can look at the situation and feel grateful. Grateful? Yes, grateful.
I am grateful that with a past history of two miscarriages, eating disorders, hypothyroidism and being 35 years old at the time, I was able to eventually get pregnant naturally even with PCOS. Grateful that my body knew what to do when something was wrong during my miscarriage and that my body did an amazing job handling it.
I am so grateful for all these things, and a loving husband who is my rock, my amazing family—without them I wouldn’t be me—and super supportive friends who have walked this journey with me. The overwhelming support of my loved ones is what helped me become who I am today and what gave me strength to keep going and eventually get pregnant naturally with PCOS.
Bodies Are Resilient
My journey into nutrition (and where I am today) wasn’t one of having been super healthy my whole life. No, on the contrary, it’s been a journey of self-sabotage, healing and discovery.
I was very fortunate to have been born into a family that has always been aware of health, naturopathy and nutrition, so from a young age I had a good foundation.
But it all went south for me starting around 18. I ate badly, drank loads of alcohol and put on a lot of weight, and I’m sure I had insulin resistance. My periods, which had never been regular, were really out of whack.
By age 20, I was the heaviest I had been and decided to lose weight, but not in a healthy way. I developed bulimia and anorexia, exercised twice a day and lost so much weight that my periods stopped for six months. I weighed around 100 pounds and I was ill. I didn’t feel or look good!
My totally unhealthy relationship with food, over-exercising and the stress and strain on my adrenal glands (along with a genetic disposition for hypothyroidism) led me to develop autoimmune hypothyroidism.
Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. In my attempts to get better, I decided to start eating again, but then I didn’t know when to stop. I overate and overate and put on a lot of weight, while at the same time I carried on exercising obsessively. Thinking back to the stress I put my body through, I marvel at its resilience!
Healing, At Last
My parents took me to a nutritionist, and I finally took control of my weight and health. With her help, I began to take baby steps to change my habits and beliefs around food. I became so passionate about food and nutrition that I embarked on a four-year study journey to become a nutritionist.
When I was subsequently diagnosed with PCOS, I learned how stress and digestive well-being are major players in thyroid health and that our health begins in the colon. I realized that only I could make changes to improve my stress levels and digestive health. Once I did that, I lost about 40 pounds and started menstruating regularly, which was a massive improvement for my health. Through diet and lifestyle changes, I was able to get my weight and autoimmune condition under control.
It wasn’t easy, but I haven’t looked back since. But my health issues are what led me to become interested in nutrition and try to help others. Today, I draw on my own life experience when working with my clients. I am a true believer in the healing power of food and nutrients. What we eat affects every cell in our body. It can make the difference between feeling “all right” and feeling “great.” In addition, I recently wrote a book with a hormone balancing plan and healthy recipes, which I hope inspires others in their own journeys.
My healing journey is not over. I am not perfect and I don’t claim to be, but I have so many blessings to be grateful for. I am so thankful for being able to get pregnant naturally with PCOS and have my rainbow baby. I hope you can get inspiration from my journey, and know that even if you are struggling with a chronic condition or PCOS, there is always hope.
Angelique Panagos is a Nutritionist dedicated to helping people improve their overall well-being through nutrition, life changes and supplementation.
Order Angelique’s new book The Balance Plan to read about her 6 step plan to balancing your hormones and optimizing your health.
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