Almost every woman must have contended with weight gain at least once in their lifetime. But for women with PCOS, it’s on a whole different level. More than half of the women with PCOS are overweight or suffer from obesity.
If you are one of them and have tried several crash diets to lose weight, you’re getting it all wrong! Slow, steady and committed is the only way to lose weight with PCOS. This blog takes a deep dive into some of the most effective PCOS weight loss tips!
What Is PCOS?
PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition in which the ovaries produce an increased amount of androgen, a male sex hormone that is usually present in very small amounts in women. An excess of this hormone in women can cause a hormonal imbalance with symptoms such as irregular periods, balding, facial hair growth, weight gain, etc.
So, how does PCOS make it harder to lose weight? PCOS makes your body resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose (your body’s main source of energy, and a sugar) present in your bloodstream to enter your cells where it can be used as energy. With PCOS, your cells become resistant to insulin, prompting the pancreas to produce even more insulin.
These excess amounts of insulin promote fat storage, or in simpler words, weight gain.
Women with PCOS are also at an increased risk of developing several conditions associated with weight gain, like:
Cardiovascular (heart) diseases
Sleep apnea or inability to breath during sleep
Endometrial cancer or cancer that begins in the womb
Yeah, scary! Let’s look at some ways to shed those extra kilograms.
Some Effective Tips That Work
Here are six helpful tips for losing weight with PCOS:
Eat Enough Protein
By increasing your fat storage, PCOS keeps you constantly hungry for more grub even after a full meal. Eating meals high in proteins help stabilize your blood sugar levels and increase feelings of fullness. This in turn, reduces your food cravings.
Try adding healthy and high-protein items to your routine diet like eggs, almonds, nuts, dairy, meat and seafood. They can also aid with weight loss by helping you burn more calories making it one of the best foods for PCOS weight loss.
Get Plenty of Fiber
Food high in fiber keeps you from hunting for junk food, you stay full and satisfied after a meal. In a study, higher fiber intake was associated with lower insulin resistance, total body weight and lower body fat in women with PCOS.
Beans, broccoli, berries are some of the foods high in fiber, you can find plenty of foods high in fiber if you go looking for it and you can make recipes that suit your tastes.
Eat Fermented Foods
Emerging studies have shown that adding probiotics (healthy bacteria easily found in fermented foods) to your diet can help with weight loss.
Women with PCOS have less healthy gut bacteria than women without PCOS. This might be another reason why women with PCOS struggle with weight gain. As such, adding foods high in probiotics or fermented foods to your diet can help. There are many fermented foods around you like yogurt (dahi), lassi, dhokla, idli and dosa, etc. You can even try fermented foods that are gaining popularity in India these days such as kimchi.
Reduce your caffeine intake
A caffeine high might help your brain during stressful times but it sure doesn’t agree with your lady parts. Caffeine can have a huge impact on your hormonal levels and can interfere with ovulation, in turn affecting your menstrual cycle. They can also increase your stress hormones and throw your body into fight-or-flight mode. Giving up coffee might be hard for you, we understand, so you can start with limiting the intake.
Eliminate added sugar
Sugarrr... NO, please! (Sorry Adam Levine). Every diet for PCOS weight loss must completely eliminate foods with added sugars. Foods with added sugars raise your blood sugar levels considerably and make your cells insulin resistant, both of these are linked with obesity. Worse yet, they can also increase your hunger hormones and cravings.
If you can’t control your sweet tooth, have a fruit that’s high in fiber to balance out its sugar content, like apples and bananas.
Regular physical activity
Physical activity and exercises along with these other tips will help you reach your weight and fitness goals faster.
Cardio exercises like jogging, cycling, swimming and brisk walking can be very helpful in losing weight with PCOS. Any physical activity that has your heart racing is good for your weight loss, heart and your overall health.
- The Bottom Line of PCOS and Weight Loss
Losing those extra kilos can be a long-winding struggle for women with PCOS. Following some PCOS diet plan to lose weight alone is not enough, regular exercise, stress management and adequate sleep are also of utmost importance.
Dealing with PCOS can often feel isolating. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help from friends and family, join online communities of people who are going through similar struggles, try not to equal self-worth with your looks. And lastly, take care of yourself!