‘A Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Diet Helped Me Lose 80 Lbs. From PCOS’

My name is Michelle Demarco Amato (@girlwiththefakeredhair), and I’m 30 years old. I live in New Jersey, and I’m the founder of a company called Chronic Confidence Academy, dedicated to mentoring women who struggle with hormonal/metabolic illnesses (like PCOS and Hashimoto’s disease, two that I have as well), food fear, and self confidence. When I started making good-for-me-foods and exercise fun (by baking my own low-carb, gluten-free bread and hula-hooping to workout), I was able to lose 80 pounds naturally.

When I was younger, I was always bigger than my classmates. I’ve had Type 1 diabetes since I was seven, and Hashimoto’s disease and PCOS since I was nine (though I was formally diagnosed as a young teen). This made it really easy for me to gain weight and very difficult to lose it. I spent my life either restricting and barely eating or binging after a while. Every doctor who saw me assumed I lacked self control (they always told me “eat less and move more”), when sometimes I’d only be eating very few calories a day for weeks at a time.) I was so self conscious, so I would poke fun at myself and use humor as a defense. I figured if I acted like nothing bothered me and I was mean to myself, maybe others wouldn’t be so mean to my face. My mental health was deteriorating behind the scenes.

I don’t have many pictures of myself before losing my PCOS & Hashimotos weight.[?] [?] I dreaded pictures and never thought anything I’d do would actually work anyway. So I avoided taking them or immediately deleted / untagged myself.[?] [?] Who can relate?[?] [?] It felt like my whole life was trying to lose weight – it was what every doctor pushed as the “cure” for all my problems.[?] [?] I got sold on some insanely expensive “medical” weightloss program that cost $250 each time I visited the office, for a 30 minute appointment, where they’d try to get me to buy more injections, supplements, meal replacements. I gained 3lbs after 3 months of eating 800ish calories a day (mostly provided by liquids)[?] [?] I resented the fact that my friends didn’t have to deal with that – and then felt guilty for even feeling that way. I didn’t want people to struggle… I just didn’t want to struggle anymore either.[?] [?] When I created my system and figured out how to balance my lesser-known hormones, reduce inflammation, and make specific changes at certain times… I lost 80lbs and kept it off. Deliciously. Happily. Not filled with dread and kale.[?] [?] Because what’s the point of being skinny if we’re hungry and miserable? That’s not life.[?] [?] It is possible to have both – to see your body change in ways you never thought possible… while ALSO caring for your emotional and mental health.[?] [?] I’ve been changing peoples lives like I changed my own, for over 2 years now. It’s been the biggest sense of accomplishment and pride knowing I can be there for these ladies in a way I wish I had. Every pregnancy announcement, every milestone, every new wardrobe, every binge that didn’t happen, every new relationship, every day filled with energy, every new job…. every new opportunity I have to help someone else see all they’re capable of?[?] [?] It makes every tear, breakdown, minute of research, and long day 100% worth it. YOU are worth it. I’m proud of you! [?]

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I also have a number of other diseases including colitis, mixed connective tissue disease, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, psoriasis, asthma, and Raynaud’s disease. I got to the point where I just wanted to be pain-free and not hate myself every day. The weight “was what it was” at that point. I wanted a life. I was my heaviest in 2015 at approximately 220 pounds. I remember thinking that I would focus on feeling better and being happy with myself, and if I lost weight, then that would just be an added bonus. I had also left a job I loved that had become toxic for my health. I didn’t want life to pass me by. I didn’t want to die a negative, lonely, bitter young person. So I formatted a plan to baby-step my way to progress.

Omg my bald little head! [?] [?] On the left, I was battling my pcos & hashimotos symptoms. My blood sugars were out of control. My cholesterol was off the charts. I was angry. I was hungry. I was inflamed. I was self loathing. I barely ate from day to day.. and felt the world would never believe that.[?] [?] On the right, I’m enjoying life. Enjoying food. Enjoying far less symptoms even with far less medicine, eating much more delicious food, and not basing my self worth on being a certain size or how much hair I have.[?] [?] On the left, I would restrict and portion everything I ate… until I got frustrated at myself or my lack of results and binged the first chance I could, with “comfy foods”. I would dress it up as “I’m really in the mood for ___ – [?] I’ve been good lately”… but really, I was just giving up.[?] [?] On the left, I’d beat myself up for days and over restrict even more to make up for it.[?] [?] On the right, I learned about “negotiating the terms” whenever I wasn’t able to be “perfect”…and to make happy food choices that I looked forward to eating… rather than feel I didn’t deserve to want yummy food because I was too fat.[?] [?] On the right, I figured out how to do all of that even though I’m a business owner who’s constantly working/a workaholic by nature who won’t stop to eat until they wanna eat everything in sight/close reach.[?] [?] Sound familiar?[?] [?] So. No. Nope. My PCOS Cysters and Hashi Hunnies, It’s 2020. Enough is enough! You can make it happen this year. It can become the debut of your new normal.[?] [?] You don’t have to carry the physical and emotional weight of feeling stuck! [?]

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I needed to make changes in foods that were affecting my hormones and inflammation, but I was determined to make it fun this time.

I wanted to replace anything I ever craved with hormone-friendly things. I wanted to love food again. So I pulled from my background as a trained pastry chef and started creating substitute breads, cakes, and all the other stuff I genuinely loved but never felt “allowed” to have. I eat low-carb for my particular type of PCOS (which is 30-50 grams per day), high-protein, gluten-free, and sugar-free. I really love veggies, so I willingly eat a lot of them.

Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.

Breakfast: I wait two hours after waking up to eat or drink anything besides my glass of water + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + meds.

Lunch:A special low-carb, gluten-free bread I make stuffed with feta cheese, eggs, and avocado or an egg crepe with a big salad and a peach.

SLIDERS! * Gluten free, low carb, delicious![?] [?] I’ll say it a million times: IF THE FOOD YOU EAT ON YOUR DIET SUCKS, IT WILL FAIL. You shouldn’t have to eat sad, soggy, boring food just because you’re trying to relieve your pcos & hashimoto’s symptoms.[?] [?] TO MAKE THEM [?] I took a handful of ground sirloin and made a little patty (gently), salt and peppered each side, threw on a very hot skillet and charred both sides real good before reducing heat and letting them cook til all sides were opaque. Then I put on a plate with butter to rest. Threw it on some of my famous #glutenfree and #lowcarb yeasted slider rolls with sliced pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayo. We’re also warming up my (not watery) garlic mashed cauli that takes 10 mins in the microwave. SO FRIGGIN GOOD![?] [?] Full recipes will be up in my Pudge Page recipe group on fb tomorrow! Join in my bio link

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Snacks:Cucumber slices with olive oil, boiled eggs, homemade trail mix, stovetop caramelized walnuts.

Dinner:Pesto meatball sandwiches (on more of my low-carb, gluten-free bread), burrata mozzarella + tomato salad, string beans.

Dessert:There are so many great brands to choose from when looking for easy, gluten-free, sugar-free mixes or pre-made items…but if I don’t have any of those on hand, I love making sugar-free cocoa whip (heavy cream + powdered erythritol + cocoa powder whipped together) with sliced up strawberries!

I haven’t made gluten free, sugar free donuts in forever! . After a client asked for my PB&J Donuts the other day, I’ve been craving them ever since! [?] . Having Pcos & hashimotos does not mean saying good bye to crave-worthy desserts! . so. Tell me, What’s your favorite type of dessert? . (Recipe is posted in my free recipe group on facebook: The Pudge Page. Link in bio!)

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Exercise was tricky. I was in pain and lacking energy most of the time. I also have had disc replacement surgery in my neck and have very sensitive joints. I started off just trying to stretch for 10 minutes a day. As I lost weight, balanced my hormones, and reduced inflammation, my energy increased and I was able to be more active. Now, I still modify activity. I use a weighted hula hoop every day between each of my client calls. It’s fun and doesn’t feel like working out. Plus, it really does amazing things for the waist! I adore hula hooping and actually look forward to it.

[?] My pcos cysters and hashimotos hunnies… I know I’m not the only one who’s been here before! [?] [?] Attn: I’m looking to help 25 women battling pcos and/or hashimotos-related weight gain, women who want to finally lose that weight as their other symptoms also improve… and looking to help them do it without it sucking.[?] [?] 25 Women who have tried everything already, who are desperate to learn how they can stop letting weight run their lives… will get a whole hour with me in a free virtual webinar![?] [?] Women who need support and compassion through craving and binge struggles… who have been treated fat, dumb, and lazy for far too long… oh yes, these women won’t have to feel alone anymore![?] [?] This is not for those unwilling to hear my advice and be coachable – if you’re looking to argue and you know better, you must not really need the help. And that’s ok! I just ask that the 25 free spots are left for those who are open to being coached and haven’t found the support they need yet.[?] [?] This is not for those who don’t feel like it can be a top priority. The webinar will be a free hour of my time… I’m more than happy to give it, but I want to make sure those who don’t absolutely need it leave space for those who do.[?] [?] This is for those who are at the end of their rope… they feel losing weight is the absolute necessity missing for their future… and the reason I’m emphasizing this is because the need for weight loss above all else means there’s definitely room for education and mindset growth.[?] [?] Weight gain is a symptom of pcos and hashimotos, like any other… it’s ok to want it to go away… but if your entire self worth is attached to what the scale says… we need to help you. You don’t need to carry THAT weight too, girl.[?] [?] I used to feel these illnesses robbed me of a life… or at least, the life I wanted. I felt this way solely due to my weight (even though I felt like physical shit) and now that I’m 80lbs down… I can honestly say I wouldn’t have even lost it if I didn’t change that mindset. [?] [?] (Details on how to be one of these 25 women in the 1st comment!)

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These three changes have also made a huge impact on my overall weight loss.

Change 1: I understood that weight loss is not the same for everyone.

When I tried to lose weight like everyone else, I failed. When I tried to make my life enjoyable and healthy, the weight took care of itself. Just because someone else loses 1-2 pounds a week living on kale, doesn’t mean you should (or need to) as well.

Change 2: I stopped trying to be thin.

We need to stop teaching little girls that they need to be thin to be accepted. Even if you don’t say it, they pick up on it. I see it with my clients–their 6-year-old daughters will actually ask if they’re “too fat to wear this.” My clients used to ask their mothers the same. It’s a cycle that needs to STOP, and that will only happen if we allow children to witness their mother LOVING her own body.

Change 3: I found ways to ENJOY my food.

No one will continue doing something that sucks forever. If you dread the way you live and eat, even if you do get results–they’re gonna be temporary. Invest time in learning how to make whatever you do enjoyable because then it’s a no brainer!

PEPPERONI STUFFED PIZZA CHAFFLES !! . 30 Min cooking time to prep 9 of them. Low Carb. Gluten Free . Ps. These freeze REALLY well and make AMAZING chicken parm sandwiches using my low carb / gluten free breaded chicken! *** Chaffles: (Makes 9) 2 cups shredded mozzarella 8 tbsp almond flour (or 8 tsp coconut flour) 4 eggs 1 tsp baking powder *** Sauce: 1 container Pomi strained tomatoes (or any of your choice) 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp garlic salt 1/2 tbsp dried basil 1/2 tbsp dried oregano *** Extras: Pepperoni to stuff with Extra basil and oregano for topping Mozzarella to top the waffles with Garlic salt to sprinkle before closing the iron Spray for the iron *** To make the chaffle: – Literally just mix all chaffle ingredients together. – Spray the HOT mini waffle iron (I recommend the mini dash from amazon, it’s the best $10 I’ve ever spent) – Put a few pieces of pepperoni down on the iron then top with a tablespoon of chaffle batter, a few more pepperoni pieces, and sprinkle with garlic salt. Close the iron and press down (be careful, it’ll be hot!) – Let cook for about 4 minutes or until very cooked and brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter. *** To make the sauce: – Heat the olive oil and spices together in a small saucepan on high heat. – Add the tomato carefully and stir well. – Fill the pomi container a quarter of the way with water and add to the pan. – Stir and once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover for about 30 mins (occasionally stir it) *** To assemble: – Place chaffles on a wire rack on a pan. – Add about a tablespoon of sauce to the tops of each and spread it so it goes into the groves. – Top with shredded mozzarella and more seasoning. – Broil on high until the cheese is bubbly and brown *** I’ve dedicated my life to finding yummy substitutes that are easy, delicious, hormone friendly, and low energy enough for flare days. . . So what do you think PCOS cysters and hashimoto hunnies…. could you get down with eating like this?!

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Overall, I have lost about 80 pounds.

When I first started this journey, I threw out my scale. I hate the scale. I’ve been up and down about 15 pounds within that 80 pound mark over the last 2.5 years, and I’m very casual about it.

Hi. My name is Michelle, I have pcos as well as hashimotos and a ton of other autoimmune illnesses. *** I believe in having fun with food at any size. I believe in loving ourselves at any size, even if we’re trying to lose weight. *** Because while you don’t HAVE to lose weight for anyone else but you… wanting to lose weight doesn’t make you bad either. I know it’s a confusing world out there these days in Instagram land. *** You can do whatever you want, actually. You CAN balance your hormones. You CAN make a lasting change in your life and body without living on a restrictive diet or clobbering yourself in the gym. *** You can try to change your body and symptoms and love your stretch marks, your facial hair, your pimples along the whole slow ass journey (bc it is what it is, it will take a while [?]) *** In fact, you SHOULD. Stress about your body and life will continue to worsen hormonal imbalance over time….So. You see? It’s literally counter-productive to hate yourself [?]. *** I lost over 80lbs. I say “over”, because I haven’t weighed myself in forever. Last I checked, it was 80lbs. I didn’t starve. I didn’t cry. I didn’t binge. I didn’t need 639 Tupperware and hours of my life to meal prep. *** I LOVED MYSELF even when it took 6 months to lose my first 15lbs. Even when I’d gain a pound for no reason. Even when i watched friends lose double the weight I did, in half the time. I loved myself [?]. *** Because honestly, answer me this… why the HELL would I make myself miserable on purpose when I already feel like shit? . . . It’s an easy method that’s hard to make an intuitive lifestyle… that’s where I help. Link in bio for the application. Fill it out if you’re tired of going it alone [?]

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I am an advocate for balance and not for living to stay thin–frankly, I don’t give a damn about the scale. There is so much BEAUTIFUL life available for you to live once you open up all the space taken up by hating your own body all these years. Make peace with yourself and start viewing your body like a complicated machine and less like an arch nemesis. Every day, we decide the threshold of our happiness. Don’t let that threshold be a pant size.

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