Becca Babb: Ambulatory Services Rep II, Memorial Villages Campus
When she was 17, Becca was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which caused numerous chronic health challenges. But she refused to accept that her condition was a life sentence and learned how to manage it through diet and exercise. Today, she’s down 78 pounds and off medications.
What was it like being diagnosed with a chronic condition as a teenager?
I was always chunky in high school, even though I was actually pretty active. And then all the hormones started coming in and I was seeing facial hair. I was having a bit of difficulty learning because of “foggy brain.” Right around graduation, I was diagnosed with PCOS and put on Metformin, Levothyroxine, and several other medications. I was told I’d have to be on them for the rest of my life.
They found a cyst on my thyroid at one point, which was benign, but it had to be monitored every six months. So, at 17, when I was looking forward to experiencing the world, I was having to go to a bunch of doctor visits and be sure I was taking the medications. I was definitely a little upset.
At what point did you start focusing on diet and exercise?
I started working at a gym and began talking with some personal trainers who told me that what you eat has a huge effect on your hormonal balance. So, I started doing my own research and made some diet changes. I also talked to them about fitness and learned about high intensity internal training (HIIT).
What changes did you make?
I learned that your body is 80% about what you put into it and 20% what you do in the gym, so I first focused on my diet. I started leading a more plant-based life. I cut out red meats and heavily processed foods and started eating more vegetables and fruits. I ate five small meals a day and incorporated high protein to help boost my metabolism.
After I lost about 40 pounds just through diet alone, I started incorporating exercise. I started with just walking, but as I built up more endurance, I started doing HIIT training on an elliptical.
I also decided to bring in some weights because I learned for every pound of lean muscle you gain, your body burns 100 at rest. I started doing Body Pump and Body Attack classes. I also did CrossFit training.
What changes did you start to see in yourself and your health?
About a year ago after I started working at Kelsey-Seybold, I made a doctor’s appointment to get established with a new endocrinologist. I had already lost quite a bit of weight and my energy was up, but I figured they’d do my labs and tell me I still needed to be on medication.
To my surprise, all my labs came back normal. The doctor told me I didn’t really need to see him or be on any medication. His words were, “You healed yourself with diet and exercise.” Those were words I never thought I’d hear. I’ve now down 78 pounds and counting!
What’s your advice to others struggling with weight and health issues?
You really have to choose to sacrifice other things to prioritize your health. And once you get that discipline down, it becomes routine, it becomes a lifestyle. Your body will reward you if you treat it right. I firmly believe it can happen for anyone.