PCOS is a condition that affects 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age and can cause some unpleasant symptoms including painful and irregular periods, excess hair, infertility and increased appetite.
There is a strong link between PCOS and weight loss. Women diagnosed with the condition often have trouble losing weight, due to being resistant to insulin.
PCOS affects our reproductive hormones, oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, as well as those responsible for your blood sugar balance, fat storage and appetite.
Weight gain is a major problem for many PCOS sufferers and making changes to your diet and lifestyle can really help with managing the symptoms and losing any excess weight.
1. Balance your blood sugar levels
Keeping blood sugars balanced helps to balance out your insulin levels, and this helps our body to burn fat and lose weight.
– Ensure you eat regular meals and snacks, every 3-4 hours, to stop the blood sugar dip which causes the cravings and for us to reach for the nearest sugary snack
– Eat protein with every meal, to help promote satiety and reduce the release of glucose into the bloodstream
– Eat plenty of fibre to reduce the transit time of food being digested and therefore keeping blood sugars stable
2. Ensure key nutrients are at optimal levels
When your body is deficient in certain nutrients it can make the symptoms worse for PCOS sufferers and make it difficult for your body to release excess weight.
Vitamin D3, known as the sunshine vitamin. Most people in the UK are deficient in this essential vitamin and its linked to many conditions including insulin resistance, issues with menstruation and your cycle, low mood, hirsuitism and weight gain. Sound familiar? All symptoms that are linked to PCOS.
For maintenance levels the recommendation is to be getting a minimum of 15 mins of sunshine a day but this isn’t always easy.
Myo-inositol, a naturally occurring substance in the body, has been strongly linked to helping reduce the symptoms of PCOS. It helps our insulin receptors to work properly so our body doesn’t produce too much insulin which in the long term can lead to insulin resistance.
Myo-inositol also helps to boost progesterone levels, lower testosterone and induce weight loss. Taking a supplement to increase levels of this nutrient can help with managing symptoms of PCOS and weight loss.
B vitamins are responsible for sugar and fat metabolism in the body, which when not working properly can lead to weight gain. They also support the thyroid function and hormone balance and when your body is deficient, which is common with PCOS, can make it difficult to lose weight.
3. Avoid foods that exacerbate symptoms
Avoiding high GI (glycaemic index) foods such as refined carbohydrates and sugar can help with PCOS and weight loss, as your insulin will be better regulated. It is also advisable to avoid dairy produce as it has been shown to increase testosterone levels, which in PCOS sufferers are already too high.
4. Make some lifestyle changes
Although food changes are essential for PCOS and weight loss, lifestyle changes can also make a real difference. Making sure your stress levels are kept to a minimum helps reduce cortisol levels which can exacerbate symptoms of PCOS.
Exercise is also very important in helping to rebalance reproductive hormones and aid weight loss. Try a combination of aerobic and strength training and make sure you take time to relax and recharge regularly.
By making these changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can lose weight and manage the symptoms of PCOS.
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Sandro Torres