Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Life with PCOS

As told to Malkie Schulman

On the outside, I looked like a typical obese woman — someone who people assumed just couldn’t control herself. Whenever I ventured out to run errands with my toddler, I could feel judgmental eyes darting in my direction. Inside, I was a woman struggling with an incurable disorder and infertility. And while it was true I was overeating, nobody knew about my out-of-whack endocrine system and how it was creating chaos in my body.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I grew up with a health-conscious mom who was a registered nurse, and a dangerously overweight dad. As a child and into my early teens, I was quite hefty; at one point, I weighed 145 pounds at five feet tall. I was one of the heaviest children in my class and I remember feeling freakish about it. I didn’t have many friends, and although my mother tried to teach me healthy eating habits and even brought me to nutritionists, nothing worked until she hit upon the idea to pay me a dollar for every pound I lost. I made a nice chunk of money that year and, thankfully, by ninth grade my weight was healthy. I married in my junior year of college and had a baby around a year later, with zero complications. But not long after birth, I became depressed. I had stopped school, so I had nothing to keep me in a healthy routine. And we didn’t live in a Jewish neighborhood at the time, so I had no friends nearby. Because I was home all day, I was around food constantly. In college, I had no time to eat, but now I found myself making hourly trips to the fridge. At the supermarket, I’d see my favorite candy bar and it would be like, “Oh, it’s on sale! Good!” And I’d stock up. I just kept on buying and bringing stuff into my house and eating it. I would think, ‘I’ll just have a little something in the morning, then a little nosh in the afternoon.’ But at a certain point, I lost control. I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes. I had to go out and purchase everything in size extra large. The more weight I gained, the more depressed I got, which made me want to eat more — it was a vicious cycle. Even when I got a job as a guidance counselor, I continued to turn to food: If I was stressed, the food would relax me. Though eating a candy bar would make me feel better in the moment, my reliance on food — and all the weight I was gaining — made my low self-esteem plummet even lower. When I eventually ballooned to 190 pounds (normal weight for me is 100 to 110), I felt so worthless that I threw out many of my old clothes believing I would never fit into them again. The weird thing is, I didn’t realize how incredibly overweight I really was until I didn’t recognize myself in a picture. I put myself on a regimen, but to my dismay, after months of strict dieting, I found I’d only lost two pounds. It was also around this time that I began to notice I was growing body and facial hair that was coarse and stiff, similar to a man’s. All I could think was, “I’m fat, hairy — what else is going to go wrong with me?”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War.
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchak Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript.
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child.
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
Zivia Reischer and D. Himy "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"