Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is one of the growing health concerns among females worldwide. PCOS is normally characterized by either “irregular periods” or “no periods” at all. Females suffering from PCOS normally overproduce a male hormone i.e. androgen and due to which they have multiple cysts in their ovaries.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women suffer from other health issues due to PCOS. Obesity or being overweight is one such health disorder that about more than 50% of women with PCOS suffer from.
Some of the common PCOS symptoms are:
- Excessive facial hair
- Male pattern baldness
- Irregular or no periods
If women suffering from PCOS, fail to manage their symptoms, they are at greater risk of anxiety and other health concerns such as:
- Endometrial cancer
- Gynaecological cancer
- The high blood pressure issue
- Heart diseases
- Interstitial cystitis
- Uterine fibroids
- HIV/Aids etc
However, research has shown that the risk of these other medical health conditions is greatly reduced by a proper PCOS diet plan. Women if they follow a proper PCOS diet along with lifestyle management can easily lose excessive weight.
Effect of Diet on PCOS
Before we get into the PCOS diet plan for weight loss, I am sure you would have questions in your mind such as how to lose weight fast with PCOS? Diet for PCOS patients? Or how the diet would affect PCOS? Right?
Well, women who suffer from PCOS have a higher level of insulin in their body. The blood sugar level rises when our body doesn’t produce enough insulin. However, in case of the insulin resistance, i.e. normal level of insulin is not produced. Owing to this, when the level of insulin is high in the body, it triggers the ovaries to overproduce the androgen hormone.
The weight of the body is increased than normal when you are insulin resistant. Due to insulin resistance, women with PCOS often suffer from obesity and can’t lose weight easily. So if women suffering from PCOS, consume excess starchy foods, refined carbohydrates and sugary food, this leads to insulin resistance and eventually obesity.
PCOS Diet Tips to Lose Weight
As I have mentioned above, PCOS can lead to obesity and other health complications. Therefore, it becomes very important to lose weight to improve the lifestyle with PCOS.
Here are 10 PCOS diet plan tips for weight loss. So let’s get started.
- Increase the Intake of Fiber In Your Diet
The best Diet for PCOS includes a fiber-rich diet. Foods rich in fiber are among the best PCOS diets as it helps in reducing the sugar level in your body and coping with insulin resistance. Various studies have shown that fiber-rich foods make you feel full after a meal thus helps in weight loss.
Some of the major fibre-rich foods good for PCOS are:
- Veggies such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, red leaf lettuce, cauliflower, arugula
- Red and green peppers
- Beans and lentils
- Sweet potatoes etc
Other power foods for the PCOS diet plan include chicken, tofu and fish.
- Reduce the Intake of Carbohydrate in PCOS Diet
One of the most important tips in the PCOS diet plan to lose weight is to reduce the intake of carbohydrates. The level of insulin in the body is affected by the carbs you take. More than 70% of the women suffering from PCOS suffer from insulin resistance. The diet which has low carbs helps to reduce the insulin levels in women suffering from PCOS. This, in turn, helps them in weight loss.
- Add Protein to Your Diet
Adding protein to the PCOS diet plan not only increases the feeling of fullness after a meal but helps in stabilizing the sugar level in the blood. The protein in your diet also helps in reducing the craving for food and managing the hunger hormones. Protein can even help your body burn more calories.
The results of one study even reported that women who had high protein in their diet had lost at least about 4.4 kg of body weight. So, if you are a female who suffers from PCOS, no need to worry. In your PCOS diet, you can easily add high-protein snacks such as eggs, nuts, seafood, dairy and meat products.
- Opt for Fermented Food in Your PCOS Diet Plan
If you are making a PCOS diet plan to lose weight, don’t forget the fermented food products. Yes, fermented food products such as yoghurt, kefir etc have “live bacteria” in them. These live bacteria are very helpful in maintaining healthy gut bacteria.
Women who suffer from PCOS may have lesser beneficial bacteria in their gut. Adding fermented products is not only good for improving gut health but the immune system as well. The healthy bacteria in your gut play a major role in maintaining body weight and metabolism as well. The probiotic strains in these fermented products have a positive impact on weight loss.
If you want to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut, don’t forget to add either yoghurt, kefir or sauerkraut to your diet.
- Healthy Fats in PCOS Diet Plan is Must
If you want to feel full and satisfied then add healthy fats to your diet. In order to tackle the PCOS symptoms and weight loss, plenty of healthy fats is a must in a PCOS diet plan. The reason is that the fats are naturally rich in calories. Therefore, when you have fats in your diet, you feel less hunger as fats expand the stomach.
Combination of a protein and fat diet together has a fulfilling effect after the meal. Best sources of healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, nut butter and coconut oil.
- Limit the Intake of Processed Food and Sugar
For the PCOS diet with the goal of weight loss, you need to cut down the intake of unhealthy food products. If you consume synthetic sugar and processed food products, you’ll be increasing the risk of obesity and insulin resistance. The level of blood sugar level in the body increases along with the chronic inflammation. Both chronic inflammation and high levels of sugar level are common in women who suffer from PCOS.
For women who suffer from PCOS, the sugar in their body is processed differently than other women. Due to PCOS, the blood sugar levels in the patients are normally high. Therefore, minimizing the processed sugar intake along with the processed food items.
- Opt for Mindful Eating in PCOS Diet
Women suffering from PCOS, unfortunately, suffer from eating disorders more. They even try different types of PCOS diet plans. In this situation, one of the best solutions is “Mindful Eating”. From an improved clue of body awareness to the feeling of fullness and hunger, mindful eating has all the answers.
Mindful eating also helps resolve the issue of emotional and binge eating. The studies further suggest that practising mindful eating also helps in weight loss.
- Avoid Under-Eating
With the word “PCOS diet” most people think it would be about skipping diet. No, that’s not. In fact, you need to be more mindful about what you eat. In fact, if you cut down your calories and essential nutrients, you are slowing down your metabolism. This may seem for the short-term but over time, this restriction would make you gain weight.
Your hormone and appetite are negatively affected if you are eating too few calories. In order to achieve weight loss, instead of cutting calories, you need to cut unhealthy food products. Reducing the intake of refined sugars, refined grains and processed sugars help in promoting weight loss without restricting the intake of calories.
- Get Enough Sleep and Exercise Regularly
When we talk about the PCOS diet, we think that it only includes the food we eat. Little did we realize that adequate sleep and exercise is a must part of our routine. The trend of exercise among the females of Pakistan is less as compared to the west. The same goes for adequate sleep. This is an alarming situation especially for women suffering from PCOS. Due to PCOS, sleep disturbance, insomnia, sleep apnea and excessive sleep during the daytime is common.
Lack of sleep not only causes eating disorders but hormonal issues as well. Insufficient and lack of sleep is actually linked with obesity. Therefore, at least 8 hours of sleep is a must for the body to function properly during PCOS and in general. Adequate sleep further helps in providing the time for your body to heal properly.
Now coming towards exercise, it is one of the best strategies for weight loss. Studies have shown that women who suffer from PCOS, can significantly improve their insulin sensitivity and weight loss after opting for exercise. In fact, weight training can further improve weight loss among women who suffer from weight loss.
- Manage Your Stress
Last, but not least, one of the common and neglected factors for all illness is stress. Stress increased the level of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is linked to obesity and insulin resistance. Chronic stress not only triggers the production of cortisol in your body but increases the risk of inflammation and other serious health complications.
Therefore, stress management is necessary as it leads to stress and depression. You can opt for various exercises, spending time in nature, adopting a hobby etc, there are in short many ways to manage stress levels. Being mindful of your mental peace and proper work on your lifestyle can help you in managing stress.
Weight loss can be a real struggle for women who suffer from PCOS. A balanced PCOS diet is a must, which includes healthy foods and the elimination of processed food.
Managing lifestyle should also not be forgotten. Adequate sleep, exercise and stress management are the key ingredients for weight loss. These tips can surely help you if you suffer from PCOS.
Try these tips and you can see the results. Remember you need to be focused and persistent and there are no shortcuts. In case you have any other health issues and concerns especially about PCOS, never feel shy and contact your gynecologist. Remember, there is nothing more precious than your health.