Gaining weight is one of the many symptoms of PCOS. PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome occurs during the childbearing age in women. The hormonal disorder caused by this condition makes it challenging to lose weight. However, weight loss is crucial in regulating the menstrual cycle and preventing other health issues such as diabetes or heart conditions.
What Causes Weight Gain with PCOS?
The primary cause for weight gain in PCOS is the inability of the body to use insulin properly. This condition, which is called insulin resistance results in sugar levels increasing in the bloodstream. It also leads to an increase in a hormone called androgen. As a result, women with PCOS tend to have other symptoms like increased body hair growth and irregular periods.
The sugar is stored as fat. Due to the increased levels of androgen, this fat is deposited in the abdominal region. Increased fat levels in the abdominal region make weight loss harder. It leads to several other health issues like:
- High cholesterol levels
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
- Heart diseases
- Type 2 diabetes
- Endometrial cancer
Following a good PCOS diet and adequate exercise is the best way to shed the added kilos and lead a healthy life.
Why Should You Lose Weight if You Have PCOS?
By losing only 10% of the body weight, women with PCOS can regulate their menstrual cycle. It also reduces insulin resistance in your body. The other symptoms and health risks are also mitigated once you begin to lose weight.
How to Lose Weight If You Have PCOS?
There are some measures that you can take to speed up weight loss if you have PCOS:
- Visit your doctor: This is the first step. Regulating hormones is vital to help you start losing weight. There are several approved medicines for PCOS like anti-androgen medicines, birth control pills and Metformin. These medicines also regulate insulin consumption in the body, reducing fat deposits.
- Start an exercise program: Studies show that 35-60 minutes of cardio thrice a week can help lose 2.3% body fat within 12 weeks. However, weight training is highly recommended that you try weight training. It is known to reduce testosterone levels, increase lean body mass and reduce belly fat considerably.
- Eat healthy: A PCOS diet plan recommended by your doctor or nutritionist is crucial in the weight loss process. Not only do you have to eat the right kinds of food, but you also need to ensure that you do not under-eat. The latter can also contribute to increased abdominal fat.
- Consume Vitamin D supplements: Most women with PCOS suffer from high vitamin D deficiency. Consuming these supplements can help maintain hormonal levels in the body and reduce several metabolic risks like weight gain, increased cholesterol levels and insulin resistance.
PCOS Diet Tips
Here are some critical PCOS diet plan tips that aid faster weight loss:
- Reduce the intake of carbohydrates: Reduced carb intake helps manage blood sugar levels in the body. Studies show that a diet comprising of about 40% carbohydrates is best suited for women with PCOS.
- Eat a lot of fibre: Fiber helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. Additionally, it lowers insulin resistance, as well. The recommended daily intake of fibre is 25 grams per day, for best results.
- Consume ample protein: Protein also keeps you satiated for longer. A high protein diet, comprising 40% protein, helps burn calories faster and reduces food cravings.
- Increase good fat intake: Healthy fats like Omega-3 are known to reduce the body’s fat content. They reduce food cravings and overall calorie consumption throughout the day.
- Try seed cycling: Seed cycling is a natural remedy for issues like insulin resistance that lead to weight gain in women with PCOS. It involves consuming dried and powdered pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds in different phases. In phase 1, consume pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds for two weeks, starting from the beginning of your periods. Follow it up with sunflower seeds and sesame seeds for the next two weeks.
Make sure that you stay hydrated when you are following a strict PCOS diet and exercise plan for maximum benefits.