One of the biggest misconceptions is that you can’t lose weight with PCOS. If you are someone who has been diagnosed with PCOS, this article will demystify some of the myths you’ve heard about PCOS and your ability to shed those pounds. Read this article to help you or someone you know struggling with losing weight and PCOS.
PCOS and losing weight
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause a hormonal imbalance, irregular periods, insulin resistance, inflammation, and/or small cysts on one or both ovaries. This can make it difficult to lose weight. A small amount of weight loss can improve insulin resistance, hormone levels, and menstrual cycles.
What Should I Know Before Trying To Lose Weight?
- Understand insulin resistance (also called metabolic syndrome): Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. You can’t say you have insulin resistance just by how you feel. Insulin resistance leads to a group of problems like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 Diabetes.
- High protein breakfast: Protein helps stabilize blood sugar and increases feelings of fullness. If you consume protein for breakfast, it will not only help with insulin resistance but also suppress cravings later in the day. If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough protein; you can supplement your meals to increase the protein proportion or choose high-protein snacks. Foods like meat, fish, eggs, greek yoghurt, tofu, legumes, and lentils are high in protein.
- Level up on whole grains and fiber: Whole grains are excellent sources of fiber and are packed with nutrients including protein, vitamins (especially B vitamins), antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). Grains are the major source of complex carbohydrates, which provides satiety. Thus initiating weight loss and reducing blood sugar spikes which in turn reduce the symptoms of PCOS. Remember that fiber plays a crucial role in health. An adequate amount consumed has shown benefits, such as protecting against Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Found in vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, fiber also plays an essential role in weight control, inflammation, insulin resistance, lipid metabolism, and hormonal imbalance.
- Vitamin D power: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for many bodily functions such as promoting healthy bone development, regulating renal functions and dental health, and reducing obesity. Vitamin D is formed in our body through direct exposure to sunlight, though that isn’t the only way to get it! It not only reduces androgen levels and inflammation but also may improve fertility.
- Omega 3: Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fat that the body needs but can’t produce on its own, which means you must get them from your diet. The benefits of using Omega-3 supplements when managing PCOS is that they increase insulin sensitivity, reduce painful menstrual periods, and reduce high triglycerides. Supplements may be helpful, but incorporating foods with omega-3 fatty acids into your diet like replacing red meat or poultry intake with fatty fish, is generally recommended.
Strength training, such as lifting weights or bodyweight-focused exercise, can help improve many PCOS symptoms, including insulin resistance and slow metabolic rate. Strength training also helps to build muscle mass, which can increase the body’s metabolism during workouts and at rest. Remember to give your body time to rest in between strength training sessions to ensure adequate repair and recovery of muscle tissue.
Cardiovascular exercise has many benefits, but when it comes to PCOS management, it can be counterproductive. Cardiovascular exercise includes running, jumping rope, and cycling. Too much cardio may raise certain hormone levels, including androgens and the stress hormone cortisol. When these hormone levels are elevated, the body responds by releasing extra insulin, making it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels. The idea is to not overdo it and always make sure to balance cardio with other forms of exercise.
Say No to Smoking
Smoking is considered extremely bad for PCOS as it is associated with multiple health risks that may negatively impact this condition. Smoking is a major risk factor for developing diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and impaired glucose tolerance. That’s because smoking and nicotine have been shown to directly decrease insulin sensitivity. Therefore, smoking increases the risk of insulin resistance. Women who smoke are twice as likely to experience fertility problems as it hurts hormone production, the reproductive system, as well as, the eggs and DNA.
Foods to Avoid
People on a PCOS diet should avoid foods already widely seen as unhealthy. These include:
- Refined carbohydrates, such as mass-produced pastries and white bread.
- Fried foods, such as fast food.
- Sugary beverages, such as sodas and energy drinks.
- Processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausages, and luncheon meats.
- Solid fats, including margarine, shortening, and lard.
- Excess red meat, such as steaks, hamburgers, and lamb.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians, medical practitioners, or industry experts, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Gaggler.