How To Manage Weight With PCOS
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders among women. PCOS is closely linked with obesity and weight gain, which are of major concern among women. Diet and lifestyle changes, with some medications is necessary to manage PCOS symtoms.
Making changes in diet and lifestyle can help manage the symptoms of PCOS. Consulting with a registered dietitian for a proper diet and fitness plan is advised to manage and reduce the severity of PCOS.
The Relationship Between PCOS and Weight
According to a study, about half of the women suffering from PCOS are overweight and as high BMI is linked with many health issues, women with PCOS are at an increased risk of fatty liver, high cholesterol, hypertension, and other diseases. Controlling weight is very important to manage symptoms of PCOS and reduce any health risks in the future.
Weight Gain: One of the Symptoms of PCOS
While weight gain is one of the biggest and most common problems associated with PCOS, other symptoms like excessive body and facial hair, acne, infertility, irregular periods, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance are equally troublesome.
Insulin resistance is one of the causes of weight gain among women suffering from PCOS. Insulin resistance occurs when some cells in the body do not respond to the insulin produced in the body. This is when the pancreas produce more insulin to maintain normal blood sugar which leads to production of more androgen, thus, weight gain. Further, this can also increase the risk of diabetes. Thus, it becomes important for women with PCOS to lose weight or maintain their body weight.
Risks Associated with Weight Gain and PCOS
Due to insulin resistance, the body is not able to absorb glucose or sugar, and it starts building up in the bloodstream. This causes an increase in the level of insulin in the body which further leads to excessive production of androgen (male hormone) by the ovaries. The high level of androgen production brings up unwanted changes in the body. These changes are often characterized by facial hair growth, irregular periods, acne, and weight gain specifically around the abdomen.
Women with PCOS, generally, tend to have apple-shaped bodies due to the fat around the abdomen. This can lead to further health risks. Some of the risks associated with PCOS and weight gain are:
1. Type 2 Diabetes
Due to insulin resistance, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases among women with PCOS.
2. High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is found in some women who are fighting PCOS. However, cholesterol can be controlled with a proper diet and exercise. Consulting a registered dietitian or nutritionist is advisable.
Being overweight affects women’s fertility to an extent. The hormonal imbalance among women with PCOS causes infertility, but with proper guidance, medication, diet, and exercise, pregnancy is possible.
4. Endometrial Cancer
PCOS results in excessive production of the hormone estrogen which raises the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Tips for Women with PCOS
While there is no cure for PCOS, a healthy diet and fitness plan can help with weight management, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and improve other health conditions.
Following these tips suggested by Jyoti Pachisia, Diet and Nutrition Consultant would help you manage the symptoms of PCOS and help you reduce the risk of other diseases.
1. Track your portion sizes
Eat in portions. You should not overeat at any meal. All the meals should be portion-controlled and make sure you intake healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Preparing a meal plan would be beneficial for you.
2. Added Sugar
Try to avoid sugar as much as possible. Do not take sugar in your milk, tea, or coffee. And if you have a sweet tooth, try to swap your cookies and cakes for fruits or dark chocolate. Plan your meal in such a way that you do not crave sweets. You can decrease your sugar craving by drinking more water, eating fruits, and eating protein and fiber-rich foods.
3. Eat a Balanced Meal
A well-balanced diet is one of the key factors to remain healthy. You can fill half your plate with salad, a quarter plate with lean protein, and another quarter plate with good carbohydrates like brown rice and whole wheat bread.
4. Limit Added Salt
Try to eat home-cooked food as much as possible because the most sodium intake comes from processed or restaurant-made foods. You can go to restaurants on your weekends but try to choose low-sodium foods even while eating outside. Try to limit salt in your food as well, instead use more onions, garlic, herbs, and spices.
Lose Weight When Diagnosed With PCOS
Women with PCOS face difficulty in losing weight but losing even 10% of body weight would help in regulating periods, improving fertility, and helping manage other symptoms as well. However, before starting with any diet routine, consulting a doctor and a dietitian is important.
Following these tips would help you lose weight:
1. Reduce Your Carb Intake
Carbohydrates impact the level of insulin in the body and keep the level of insulin at a normal range, it is important to follow a low-carb diet and low-glycemic diet. Exclude wheat from your diet, and try to eat more millets like jowar and ragi. These two millets are rich in dietary fiber, protein, and calcium. Also, avoid sugar to follow a low-glycaemic diet.
2. Eat Fibre-Rich Foods
Consuming high-fiber foods help you stay full for longer, hence, lower hunger pangs and cravings. This will lead to a reduction in insulin plus aid in weight loss.
3. Intake of More Protein
Eat healthy proteins like eggs, nuts, lentils, beans, and other plant-based proteins. These will help you control your cravings, and you will be satiated for a longer time.
4. Consume Healthy Fats
We often hear that eating fat will increase your weight, but we do not focus on healthy and unhealthy fats. Consuming healthy fats like avocado, olive, coconut, etc. can help in losing weight. Consult your dietitian before opting for any type of diet or diet plan.
5. Practice Meditation
Meditation helps us become more aware of ourselves. We tend to keep a check on what we eat, how we eat, and how the food will benefit us. Practicing meditation also leads to mindful eating which promotes eating without distraction. Thus, we tend to eat more healthily. This further reduces binge eating and stress eating as well.
6. Do Not Eat Less or Undereat
Losing weight does not mean you eat less. You need to eat the right food in the right quantity at the right time. This is why you need a diet and nutrition consultant to guide you in eating the healthy way.
7. Exercise and Workout Regularly
Workouts like cardio and weight training would be effective in weight loss plus reducing insulin sensitivity among women with PCOS.
8. Manage Stress
Stress tends to increase the hormone, known as, cortisol in the body which further increases insulin resistance, hence, weight gain. Thus, managing stress and anxiety is related to weight loss.
Weight gain can be managed if you make a few dietary and lifestyle changes and start leading a healthier life. Following a set routine, every day would give you the desired result plus improve your health.
Act before it gets late!