Having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is often synonymous with struggles associated with weight. Many women start gaining weight rapidly as their hormones start to take a turn for the worst, and as if losing weight was not hard enough for the average person, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can make losing weight even more difficult for anybody who is struggling with the condition.
While difficult, it is definitely not impossible, and many women who lose weight with PCOS end up improving various symptoms. Losing weight has even helped many women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome become pregnant after struggling with infertility.
If you are dealing with PCOS symptoms, you probably already know that it is an uphill battle. Managing PCOS requires that you take the time to figure out what kind of diet and lifestyle structure will suit you best. Figuring out how to lose weight is often the first step.
If you have a little extra padding, losing weight can help improve your symptoms. Perhaps losing weight is already one of your goals, and you thought that the main reward was the way you are going to look in a crop top at yoga or spinning class. Well, it also doubles as a PCOS treatment.
Even just losing 10% of your bodyweight can help bring your period back to normal. Although the result might be different for you, and you might need to lose more to see significant improvements. Having to lose a few extra kilogrammes is worth the clear skin and well-behaved ovaries.
Here are a few easy tips that you can follow when you want to lose weight with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
Reduce Your Intake of Carbohydrates and Sugar
This is probably not what you want to hear, but one of the biggest causes of weight gain and PCOS symptoms is high insulin levels. When you eat sugar or other sources of carbohydrates, they get converted into glucose for energy. As glucose levels increase, insulin is released to allow the glucose to enter the cells.
However, when insulin is high in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it triggers the ovaries to produce more testosterone. Excess androgen (male hormone) levels are what actually cause various PCOS symptoms, such as acne, hair loss, or weight gain.
Having too much glucose and insulin in your system will lead to fat gain, especially around the midsection. The excess glucose is what is converted into fat.
Therefore, it is recommended that you reduce your intake of foods that will spike your blood sugar levels. Your doctor has probably suggested that you eat a low-GI diet, but honestly, that is simply not enough for many women with PCOS.
A low-carb diet, whether a high-protein or high-fat diet, is one of the best diets that you can follow with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. If your intake of carbohydrates is low (between 20g and 70g per day), your insulin levels should improve, which will help you lose weight and manage other symptoms.
Never Eat Carbs Alone if You Want to Lose Weight
If you do give in to carbs, never eat them alone, but pair them with protein, fat, vinegar, and green tea. These all help lower the glycaemic impact of your food, which means that the food is digested at a slower rate, and your blood sugar levels will not increase as much.
Reduce Stress if You Want to Lose Weight with PCOS
Cortisol is another contributing factor to PCOS weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Cortisol is the main stress hormone, and when levels are elevated, fat gain is triggered. To lose weight with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, you need to find ways to reduce stress. A few great ideas that you can try are:
- Do breathing exercises throughout the day. Just breathe in deeply for a few counts (I like four), and out for a few while driving, sitting behind your desk, walking, painting, taking a bath, etc.
- Meditate. This might be a bit difficult for some people to do, but you can listen to guided meditations, do walking meditation, or any kind of movement meditation if it is too hard to sit still and quiet your mind. Using mantras and affirmations can also keep your mind busy. You can try: “My body is healing one day at a time”. Meditation is one of the best things you can do for weight loss, as it also helps you become more mindful, which will benefit you when it comes to decisions around food. Being more mindful can also help you enjoy your food more and feel more satisfied when done.
- Dance to your favourite song. If you feel stressed, tell yourself you are just going to dance around for one song. It can help give you a physical release.
- Just moving is one of the best things you can do when stressed or anxious. When your body is in a fight or flight state, your natural response should technically be to run or fight, as this response is there to protect you from danger when faced with a lion or in a fight.
- Make a list of other things that help you relax, such as talking to a friend, reading a book, looking at puppies online, etc.
Eat Less than You Burn to Lose Weight with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Even with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, the basic rule of weight loss is that you need to burn more calories than you eat in a day, otherwise, your body will not need to burn your fat to compensate for the energy deficit. Increase the amount that you move in a day, and watch your portion sizes. Reducing meal frequency, and sticking to two or three meals a day, should also help reduce your calorie intake.
If you want to be very specific, using a food tracking app can help make it easier to know how much you are actually eating.
These are just a few guidelines on how to lose weight with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. To learn more, download my free eBook by filling in the form below.