—Michelle LaRowe Conover, 34, author and mother of 2, Hyannis, MA
"In high school, I began having heavy periods, my hair started to thin and I was gaining weight even though I played three sports and was drum major of the marching band. I felt hopeless. I was on diet after diet and nothing worked. After being told to lose weight to feel better, I did some research and sought out a top-notch reproductive endocrinologist in Boston. He advised a low-carb diet and prescribed metformin, a drug that increases your body's response to insulin, since many women with PCOS experience insulin resistance, which keeps your cells from getting the fuel they need." "Before learning how to eat right, I felt hopeless because PCOS made it nearly impossible for me to lose weight. Now, I am in control of my weight and feel good about myself. Because women with PCOS can't process sugar efficiently I do everything I can to stay away from simple carbs, processed foods and white sugar. I never eat a carb alone; pairing a protein with a carb keeps blood sugar stable, reduces insulin spikes, reduces sugar cravings and lowers my risk of diabetes. So, for example, I always pair a complex carb like a baked potato with a protein, like a chicken breast. On the average day, I eat every three hours. Breakfast is two slices of 35-calorie light wheat bread with either egg whites or peanut butter. Then I have either an apple or berries and 15 almonds for a mid-morning snack. Lunch is a salad with chicken or turkey and vinaigrette dressing or sometimes a six-inch Subway chicken teriyaki sub. Dinner includes a lean meat with broccoli and a baked potato or sweet potato. In the evening, my snack consists of cottage cheese and berries. I stay away from dairy because it's so high in fat, drink only water or Crystal Light and have one cheat day per week—on Saturdays! I feel like I've made a real lifestyle change and that I've found something that works for me."