PCOS + Carb Cycling = A 9 Pound Miracle!


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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine system disorder that affects between 5-10% of women of childbearing age. Many of the ladies we work with on Extreme Weight Loss suffer from PCOS, and from what I hear from many of you on a regular basis, it’s affecting you too. If left untreated, PCOS can cause menstruation issues, infertility, excess hair growth, acne, and even diabetes and heart disease.

PCOS can manifest itself through a variety of symptoms, so it’s so important to work with your healthcare team for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Some things you can do to help reverse PCOS are maintain a healthy weight (lose weight if necessary), eat a healthy diet (lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains), and exercise regularly. Sounds a bit like Carb Cycling! 😉 And again, please work with your healthcare team—they are an awesome resource to help you navigate the PCOS maze so you can not only reverse this disorder, but also achieve any goals in your life that are being negatively affected by PCOS.

Since dealing with this disorder can be so frustrating, I have an awesome PCOS success story to share with you today featuring one of my most favorite people in the world—Extreme Weight Loss season 2’s Jacqui McCoy. Jacqui’s #1 dream was to be a mom, but this dream wasn’t becoming a reality due to her obesity and PCOS. I am so thankful she was willing to share her struggles and triumphs with all of us, and the end of her PCOS/transformation story is actually the best beginning to a new story for her and her family! Hopefully Jacqui’s experience and words of wisdom can help all of you who are struggling with this disorder or who know someone who deals with PCOS on a daily basis.

Heidi: When did you first realize you had PCOS?

Jacqui: I was diagnosed with PCOS after college in my early twenties. At the time I thought of it and its symptoms as an annoyance, and I didn’t realize the toll it would take on my body or my fertility moving forward in my life. I got married in the summer of 2004 and was very excited about the future and starting a family, yet years later my husband and I were still trying for children with no success. I met with my doctor, and after testing my hubby and me, he said that my issues likely stemmed from PCOS.

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H: Oh my…that must have been devastating! So how did you get from that low point in your life to where you are now?

J: When I researched PCOS more, I saw that weight loss (if overweight), nutritional changes, nutritional supplements, and exercise could greatly increase my chances of reversing PCOS. And you know what? Because of this, my desire to change my life had never been stronger. My PCOS and infertility battle were actually a blessing in disguise! I had accepted being unhealthy and overweight as my lot in life until I saw it might take away my greatest dream of starting my family and being a mom. So I applied for Extreme Weight Loss with Chris & Heidi, and I had the great honor of being chosen. Chris taught me his carb cycling program, and it really clicked with me because it was more balanced and didn’t completely eliminate certain food groups like most plans I had tried before the show. I started to enjoy exercise and made it a part of my everyday life. As seen on the show, the weight came off, and I eventually lost 207 pounds in one year!

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H: Your transformation was beyond amazing! So how did all of that hard work you put in during that year affect your dream of becoming a mom?

J: It is important to note that I didn’t get pregnant right away after this weight loss, but I had greatly improved my PCOS and my chances of pregnancy because of my weight loss. I continued to work on my health after the show ended, and never gave up on the dream of being a mom. Three years after my initial weight loss I became pregnant with my miracle baby, and I know that getting healthy was the key to unlocking this lifelong dream. My baby girl Everley was born on September 2, 2014, and I’m continuing on my journey and working hard to be a healthy mom and a good example for my sweet daughter.

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H: Chris and I are so, so excited for you, Shawn, and baby Everley! The day I found out you were pregnant was one of the best days ever! Do you have any advice for those who think they might have PCOS?

J: If you think you may have PCOS, see a doctor who is familiar with PCOS to evaluate your symptoms. And don’t wait to see your doctor. The earlier you are diagnosed and start taking steps to combat PCOS, the better. 

H: What about those who are already suffering from PCOS—do you have any words of wisdom for them?

J: I sure do! If you do indeed have PCOS, here are some suggestions:

  • Get educated and read as much as you can about PCOS and how to reverse it.
  • Connect with others who have PCOS through online support groups.
  • Evaluate your lifestyle and form a plan to make healthy changes. Above all else, don’t give up, and never lose hope—the journey isn’t easy or a quick fix, but it is so worth it!

Thank you, Jacqui, for sharing your experience with all of us! Chris and I wish you, Shawn, and baby Everley the best, and we know your story will help so many others who struggle with PCOS.

For further information on PCOS, please visit these websites:

Want to connect with Jacqui?

And if you missed Jacqui’s amazing transformation episode, you can watch it on YouTube.

Related posts:

I Can’t!
Transformation Inspiration: Jacqui McCoy

 

Originally Posted September 21, 2015


38 Comments

  1. Jennifer F. - October 28, 2016

    Love this! We were roommates in college back in 2000. Love this dear friend! She is a hard worker. Thank you for working with her and featuring her in your blog. God is good!

  2. Kristine K. - October 28, 2016

    Having pcos myself I can relate! Beautiful story!

  3. kate - September 3, 2016

    i was unable to bear children and i discover a testimony through the internet and now i am happy because on facebook i found the man who help me for good and now am eight months pregnant and he told me that antelope give birth without losing a child, on facebook (Oduduwa Ajakaye)

  4. BlushandPearlsBlog - August 2, 2016

    I too suffer from PCOS and struggled with infertility for almost 2 years. I was able to get a regular period after losing weight through working with a dietitian. I had a baby girl in 2014 and am working on baby #2 (fingers crossed). I talk about my PCOS and the weight loss techniques I use to manage it on my blog.

  5. Emily - February 18, 2016

    In tears as i stumble across this. Battling fear of the unknown as i prepare for a doctors visit…a doctors visit that scares me as we begin to look at why we arent getting pregnant. Pcos was first diagnoses when i was only a 6th grader with an ovarian cyst. Battled with weight continually and fighting hard now to help get this weight off once again finding myself at one of heaviest points of my life. A mama is a lifelong dream and so this is a journey i can relate with and desire to see. Thank you

  6. Joseph - January 27, 2016

    I just watched Jacqui’s episode last week and was blown away. She is a fighter and such a beautiful woman. I am happy to see her and her husband have started a family. So precious.

  7. Sarah - January 17, 2016

    I was diagnosed with PCOS about 6 years ago after having ovarian pain and other symptoms. I have to say that we were surprised to get pregnant 8 months after saying I DO. After the birth of our daughter June 1, 2011, my Ob tried me on metformin and spironolactone for high free insulin and testosterone levels. Unfortunately I had to be taken off both in less than a month as the spironolactone caused me to start lactating again (I had stopped nursing abiut 1 yr when I started these meds) and the metformin caused my sugar to drop to low and I’d blackout. Now I’m currently 7 months pregnant with baby #2 after being told it was impossible due to how severe my PCOS had gotten. 2 wks after we were told it was impossible we found out we were pregnant. I am currently battling severe hypoglycemia, dizzy spells, and we were told our baby has an EIF. We have been blessed to be able to get pregnant without intervention but I can’t wait to be done with this pregnancy and start trying harder for weightloss. My hubby works out with a local team (Team Blacksheep) and I’m hoping to finally be able to see results. In college I was in ROTC and weighed 175lbs, got up to 20lbs while pregnant with #1, dropped to 194lbs, and now at 7 months I’m already up to 208lbs. Hoping for great results after the arrival of baby #2. Heidi and Chris, thanks for being an inspiration to so many.

    • Team Powell - January 18, 2016

      Congratulations on both babies! That’s amazing! Thank you, also, for sharing your story with all of us. We wish all of you the best! ?

  8. Michele - January 8, 2016

    I saw Jacqui show last night and she is amazing. Is it realistic to think I can lose 90 pounds in 90 days without Chris or Heidi Powell moving in with me? Or should I lower my expectations?

    • Team Powell - January 8, 2016

      Hi Michele: We recommend a goal of 10% weight loss for your first 90 days. Good luck – you can do this!

  9. Cassey - October 23, 2015

    This post is wonderful. I appreciate those who share the experiences.Thank you for this post.

  10. Lani - September 22, 2015

    I hadn’t heard of PCOS until I saw Heidi’s tweet and read her blog post. I appreciate those who have shared their experiences. This little bit of awareness is valuable in helping me better support and relate to women who live with this or any other difficult condition. What intelligent, thoughtful comments many of you have posted. My heart goes out to you all, and my prayers will be for you tonight.

  11. Angel - October 12, 2014

    Thank you for shedding light on this condition. There is so much that is unknown, and it seems that so many women with so many different symptoms are being lumped into an unknown bubble labeled PCOS. I hope more research can be done in the near future to find answers for us, especially those who are struggling with fertility. Luckily, I did not have trouble with conceiving, but some women are constantly in agony as they face hardships with trying to have a baby.

  12. Lisa - October 4, 2014

    While attending high school I weighed 125lbs, I was at that weight for 5 years. I couldn’t gain or loss weight. Then when I was in my late teens my doctors never put 2 and 2 together. My highest weight was 235lbs. They kept telling me that I had to lose weight. I was never a big or heavy eater. I found out I was 43 years old, so when I moved to Florida an found a new doctor, she had just looked over my medical records that I gave to her. In a 15 minute appointment, is when it was brought to my attention that I had PCOS. We need more doctors’ like her. But it’s so hard to loose the weight, I can’t get pass 190lbs. I’ve changed my diet and I’m more active. My new doctor says that I need to get down too 130lbs.
    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that is suffering from PCOS.

  13. Shari Starkey - October 2, 2014

    I was diagnosed with PCOS in April of 2014. I am 39 so past my child bearing time (by choice). I do have two children and have suffered a miscarriage. I had been overweight all of my life. I recently began working an endocrinologist and have made drastic lifestyle changes. It is amazing how much better I feel. I read the book Food Over Medicine and I am convinced the majority of our illnesses can be cured or minimized through what we eat. Don’t give up. Change your lifestyle. Eat clean and healthy. Move more. Make one small change each week. You can control this. It does not control you. Good luck to you all. Thank you for the amazing post and sharing your story!

  14. Jenny - October 2, 2014

    what version of carb cycling did she do?

  15. Kerry-Ann - October 2, 2014

    I have just recently found out that i have PCOS, and i agree with Michelle that the comment made by Raynosa Feldy that your is highly offensive. Just because you have had it easy doesn’t mean anyone else hasn’t. When i was 19 i had a miscarriage, not knowing i have this condition. I get basically all the symptoms of PCOS, which you clearly will never understand. I found out 3 months ago i have this condition, my fiance and i have been trying to have a baby for about a year now, something we both so badly want. I cried when i was told exactly what my condition means, and the fact that the gynae said that it was by chance that i fell pregnant when i was 19, i’m 26 now, and yes i was given the choice of fertility treatment, but I can’t afford it as the cost is incredibly high and even if i do have fertility treatment it doesnt mean it’s even going to work. I also know someone that has an even worse condition than myself and even with IVF her body keeps rejecting the fetus. You will never understand that kind of pain so how can you be so insensitive? That just angers me. ALl i have ver wanted was to be a mother, not everyone is as fortunate as you. So, i think you should rather think before you talk in the future, you never know who you could be hurting in the process by your words.

    • Nancy LeVey - October 5, 2014

      My husband and I tried for 10 years to have a baby.. Dr after Dr,. fertility treatments, tests.. nothing worked. Through tears, resentment, anger, self doubt – we finally realized God had other plans for us. We went through Catholic Social Services and adopted two beautiful boys. Being a mother doesn’t always mean biological.

  16. Brooke - October 1, 2014

    Thanks for bringing awareness to this topic. Like many others I’ve struggled with PCOS since my early twenties. Although I’m blessed with 3 beautiful children, I’ve struggled with infertility, obesity, acne, and excess hair growth. Your story gives me a boost of motivation I need to tackle this disease.

  17. nicole - October 1, 2014

    I have pcos and It’s extremely painful. I went from 17 and anorexic to 18 with a baby. Fwd 8years And still had/have a pesky baby weight that I just can’t get off no matter what I do. Was told i might have cancer….. ect. I gave up ;-( . Until just recently I found a new doctor that knew everything about polycystic ovarian syndrome. And with his help I been dropping weight like crazy. . I only pray that I continue to lose weight and keep it off for the rest of my life.

  18. Samantha - September 30, 2014

    I am 26 and 50 pounds (at the least) over weight. I have read that grains are not all that great for PCOS? Mainly because of Inuslin Resistance?

    I want to be pregnant so bad; this inspired me.
    I have been trying for five years. Thankfully I do not have Insulin Resistance, just a thyroid problem, kinda healthy, I guess.

  19. Mary - September 30, 2014

    This story got me. I like jacqui suffer from PCOS and have a dream to have a child. It is something that I constantly forget I have until kindly reminded every so often by some crippling stomach cramps. Carry cycling is something I have wanted to try for quite some time but have continued to put off because my motivation sinks after a couple of days or weeks and I just do not want to fail again because each time I just sink lower and lower and the weight goes higher and higher. The two things that annoy me most about these conditions would be the facial hair growth and the acne. Talk about the skin of a teenager and not in a good way.

  20. reynosa feldy - September 30, 2014

    Congrats on your baby!! Could someone, anybody please explain to me what is is so painful about this condition? And how does one suffer from PCOS? I self diagnosed myself as a young teen, and it was confirmed in my 20’s, but I am serious about my question? Chris wrote those words and well the only suffering I did was having to do IVF to have my twin boys. Not that I suffered through IVF, that was a cake walk, and other than having trouble getting pg, what can be so painful about that? Is Chris talking about the emotional or the physical side of things?? To me I had no idea PCOS had an awareness month. Do we really need to make folks aware of this condition? I can’t really think of anyone other than my parents (well maybe just mom), my ex husband, and maybe a girlfriend or two may know that I have PCOS. Obviously I do not advertise this issue I have, I mean what is the point? Please could we not concentrate on another medical issue that could use more attention?? Like brain tumor awareness, ALS , (and please no more ice bucket challenges, people got hurt, just send money) or some childhood disease that needs more awareness!!! Someone please get back to me and explain why this is getting an awareness month, and what makes this painful and suffering? Thanks!!!

    • Team Powell - September 30, 2014

      PCOS affects so many women, and makes it difficult for many to have children, besides the other not-so-fun symptoms. Heidi tries to target many issues that affect people, and it can never hurt to bring awareness to any health issue. And as with many issues, they can affect each person differently. Many women do suffer pain from PCOS, so you can consider yourself lucky! 🙂

    • R.m - September 30, 2014

      I have pcos. I was diagnosed at 17 (I am now 23). I haven’t had a period since I was 15. I suffer from excess hair growth, luckily it isn’t on my face like many women’s is.

      I got told if I lose weight the symptoms would disappear and my periods would start again. I was 15stone (210 lbs). Over two years I have lost 4stone (56lbs). The symptoms haven’t reversed and I still have not had a period. I want children when I am older but unfortunately that’s isn’t a possibility.

      You are extremely lucky to have been blessed with two beautiful children. However I do not think you can be so blasé about it. It is extremely emotionally painful (and sometimes physically). As well as not having periods, my boyfriend has to regularly help me to shave areas I cannot reach (especially the back of my legs).

      I think it is amazing there is an awareness month. Many women may not be aware they have it, and unlike me, their symptoms may be reversible. Even if the awareness month makes one lady go to her doctors and get treatment to be blessed with the children you have, surely you have to agree it is worth it.

    • Michele - October 1, 2014

      I don’t think you realize how hurtful your comment is. Just because your experience with PCOS was not physically painful does not mean it isn’t painful for others. And did you even see the list of possible symptoms?! Acne, obesity, diabetes, excess body hair, & fatigue…yeah that sounds fun. Add in the heart-wrenching emotional pain that comes with infertility and I would say PCOS is pretty horrible. Is it as bad as bone-eating cancer or ALS? No, but for those who have it, it’s pretty damn not great. What you said in your comment was extremely insensitive to those whose battle has been long & hard and may be far from won. Yes those other diseases/disorders/cancers need attention. Yes it’s not likely that most women with PCOS are looking to announce to the world that they have it, but the the issue itself could use some more exposure. Please consider others before making such insensitive, haughty, & basically ignorant comments.

    • Cindy - October 1, 2014

      I, like Jacqui, have suffered from this disorder since college (when I too was officially diagnosed). I’m now well in my 30s and still struggle with the symptoms of it. Besides the infertility battle, the last thing any woman wants to deal with is the side effects of a hormonal imbalance. The constant, continuous battle with horrible acne, extra facial hair and insulin resistance (easily gain weight that is very hard to lose) in particular is enough to erode any woman’s self esteem on a daily basis. Like the Powell Team said, awareness on any disease is worth it. As much as I too hated the ice bucket challenge, it bought awareness to it. Having a close friend that died of ALS, I can appreciate the fact that I now don’t have to explain it every time I mention him.

    • ashley - October 1, 2014

      I too have PCOS and have for many years. I am trying my hardest to reverse it now. I did fertility to get pregnant with my daughter. It is painful and alot of women suffer. I have had horrible painful monthly cycles, cysts in my ovaries as big as a grapefruit and as many as 20-30 pearl like cysts in each ovary. This causes back pain and side pain. So, yes it is painful. There is also the mental pain of infertility and obesity. Alot of women may not know they have it so I do think it is wonderful to bring awareness to it.I know several women who suffer from it .

    • Alli - October 1, 2014

      I hope this answers your questions, reynosa feldy. I’ve struggled with PCOS since I was 16. It was around that time that I went from being a normal, beautiful teenage girl to being an overweight teen wolf. I was growing long, dark, course hair so quickly on my face, neck, chest, and back that no amount of bleach could help me. I eventually started shaving my face every day and wearing clothes that covered me up to my neck and wrists, despite being overheated. Because of the acne caused by PCOS, my daily shaving routine caused ingrown hairs and scarring. Being insulin resistant, I still struggle with my weight daily. Worse, my husband and I have struggled with infertility for years (and it doesn’t help that I still have more hair than him). To be honest, I don’t think ‘awareness months’ do anything for anyone. But maybe by educating ourselves, we can help the other young ladies in our lives catch the signs early and change the course of their life. Beyond that, when I see a childless woman struggling with male-pattern baldness, facial hair growth, a large belly, and acne scars on her face, I don’t wonder what’s going on anymore – I completely empathize with her.

    • Candace King - October 1, 2014

      I have PCOS and I personaly have struggles with physical and emotional pain. I’ll give examples of both.

      Physical: headaches/migraines, constipation, fatigue, abdominal pain (from occasional enlarged cysts on my ovaries), and severe cramps associated with prolonged and heavy periods enough pain to cause nausea and vomitting.

      Emotional: depression, embarrassment from other less painful physical symptoms associated with PCOS (excess hair growth, acne, dark skin patches), guilt from feeling like I’m doing this to myself because I can’t lose weight, hopelessness because I’m always too tired to move, and maybe the biggest emotional hurt…the inability or extreme difficulty of getting pregnant, and if you do get pregnant and lose the baby due to side effects of having PCOS (like not enough Progesterone) to carry the fetus to 12 weeks when the placenta starts making its own Progesterone…then you experience the painful emotions of that loss or losses AND the painful physical symptoms of miscarriage such as abdominal pain, contractions, nausea, vomitting, etc.

      If I had known about this disorder sooner, I could have possibly prevented so much physical and emotional pain that I went through, and my family with me. I only went to the doctor after a few years of trying to get pregnant with my husband. I always knew being overweight probably made it more difficult but I didn’t realize how much of a toll it was taking on my body.

      I think awareness of this disorder is essential for inspiring young women to get to a healthy weight and see their doctors when things don’t seem right. I believe it has remained relatively unknown because talking about the female reproductive system for any reason has been a touchy and private issue. It is more uncomfortable to discuss than brain tumors or ALS but it is more prevalent and increasing as the epidemic of obesity is increasing.

      If you haven’t experienced these physical or emotional pains despite having PCOS then you are fortunate. Unfortunately, many women, like myself do experience pain. We want awareness. We want an end to the pain.

      Just sayin…

    • Missi - October 2, 2014

      PCOS is a huge thing. Some of us can’t get pregnate even with IVF, and that is devestating. Also can cause unwanted hair growth, acne, facial and body hair, and irregular and painful periods. I ended up in the hospital with blood transfusions because mine were so bad. PCOS deserves to be recognized and more research done on it. I’m glad you were able to get pregnant and are not having a hard time with it, but many of us are not so lucky.

    • Shari Starkey - October 2, 2014

      I am really happy for you not to fully understand the suffering -mental and physical – many of us have gone through. I would really wish it on no one. Losing a baby at 2, 12 ,16 or 35 weeks is both mentally and physically painful. Not to mention the awkward androgynous some people have with PCOS. I can imagine trying to be a “normal” 20 year old dating would be difficult and sometimes awkward. Please try to show respect what you can not understand. Again, I am happy you do not understand this issue.

    • Kirsty - October 12, 2014

      as you have probably seen from previous posts it’s obvious how little you know about PCOS and its effects on women, as an endocrine disorder it affects people differently and there’s a long list of possible symptoms which may be worth looking up so you have a better understanding of it, some people may get the whole lot while others may get nothing obvious!

      I was diagnosed at 18 and have struggled with weight loss, hair loss, extreme menstrual pain (as I very rarely get a period), mood swings, pelvic pain due to cysts and the obvious infertility issue. I was lucky to get pregnant naturally after 2 yrs of fertility treatment including ivf but I was emotionally a mess to the point that had I gone to the Drs I would probably have been diagnosed with depression.

      You have been very lucky that you haven’t suffered but you need to think of how others may suffer before making a comment like that as we have it to varying degrees.

      Although few people know I have pcos (mainly because I still feel it’s my fault and that I’m broken and ashamed of it) i do believe there should be an awareness as there is no cure, little is still known about it (that’s why Drs say “lose weight and everything will be fine”) and I have known people being bullied for excess hair and being overweight which could be reduced with a little more understanding, also there are other effects of pcos not covered in the post which include endometrial cancer, high blood pressure & heart disease, all things which are pretty serious and people should be aware of this and get checked out, with more research there may even finally be a cure so none of us suffer

    • Dr. Ritika Sharma - December 13, 2015

      I m suffering frm pcos n its symptoms since last 6 mnths n a pineal gland cyst since 5 yrs.
      n i can definitely say dat both r equally stressful condition for me. its nt about hw big or small d disease is its about hw much it affects u emotionally n physically.

      i think pcos is nt such a big problem like brain tumors ALS etc but its symptoms can lead you to some life threatening problem. i m suffering from obesity due to this n trying hard to lose wt because i know d consequences. obesity n insulin intolerance leads to early diabetes heart diseases, n d major emotional part of dis is inability to conceive which is extremely painful for a women.
      d irregular menses r so much difficult to handle wid your normal life u r always live in uncertainty for your periods your pregnancy.

      its not about hw u experienced dis condition its about hw millions of women do. n i think everybody here r very much appreciating dis step of Heidi to share such a thing which suffers a million of women n discussed by no one.

      applauds to all d ladies who r actively shares dere experiences here because it is educational for some n helpful to others.

  21. Jessica - September 30, 2014

    I love this post. I, as well, suffer from PCOS and an currently on medication to help manage it. It took us 3 years to conceive our second child (our first was a surprise and unplanned) after having multiple miscarriages. I am definitely going to try carb cycling now as I struggle with losing weight on a daily basis. It is very discouraging to exercise and eat healthy everyday and not lose a pound!

  22. Cassandra - September 30, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your journey with the world. Such an inspiration!

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