Medically reviewed by Darshita Thakkar, Nutrition Training and Quality Manager for PAN India
Looking for PCOS and weight loss? Well, it is no secret that Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is on a rise among women of the reproductive age group in India. We don’t mean to alarm you but 1 in 5 women have this hormonal condition. The risk factors are obesity, poor physical activity/exercise, and family history.
Most doctors and healthcare professionals advise a PCOS directed weight loss to improve this condition. To fight a demon, it is necessary to know everything about it. This detailed post on what is PCOS will scientifically explain this hormonal condition in detail.
Why does Poly cystic ovaries cause weight gain?
Because of 3 reasons. High levels of male hormones increase weight gain and fat deposition around the tummy. Secondly, high levels of insulin (a classic factor in PCOS) makes weight gain easy. Lastly, women with PCOS have poor metabolism to fight off weight deposition.
A PCOS treatment plan with a doctor entails the use of metformin, the diabetes control drug; anti-androgen medication (to reduce the levels of male hormones); and birth control pills.
How Does Diet Play a Role In PCOS?
Two of the primary ways that diet affect PCOS are weight management and insulin resistance. Changes in your dietary plan will not only help you control your weight but will promote good insulin levels. Consult your dietitian to meet your nutritional needs.
What food to eat?
As there is no standard diet for PCOS patients, however, there are foods which are beneficial and will help people to manage their condition. Follow a diet which has high fibre, lean protein, anti-inflammatory food, and spices.
High fiber food has the ability to combat insulin resistance by slowing down the digestion process and reducing the impact of blood sugar.
There are plenty of options for high fibre food such as
- Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower.
- Beans and lentils
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach.
- Nuts including pine nuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios
- Spices such as turmeric and cinnamon.
Opt for lean protein such as tofu, chicken, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel.
Researchers have found differences in changing the diet plan. For example:
- People lost more weight with a diet which emphasized monosaturated fats rather than saturated fats.
- People who ate a low-GI diet improved insulin metabolism an lower cholesterol levels.
What food to avoid?
People who have PCOS should avoid the following foods as it is unhealthy.
- Refined carbohydrates which are present in white bread and pastries as they cause inflammation, aggravate insulin resistance.
- Fried and junk food
- Processed meat such as hot dogs, sausages.
- Sugary beverages such as sodas and energy drinks.
Looking for a natural treatment for PCOS? The one point answer is weight loss.
Can metformin (PCOS medication) help in reducing weight?
The answer is yes. It does so by increasing the action of insulin in the body. However, the pill is not the whole and sole answer to weight loss. It has to be followed by a healthy diet. Dropping 10% of the body weight can help regularize the menstrual cycle among women. PCOS weight loss diets needn’t be restrictive.
A qualified nutritionist with Possible can counsel you for the better, the first consultation being FREE Click to schedule an appointment.
However, we provide you with these 11 innovative ways to get your PCOS weight loss started!
1. Workout the first thing in the morning
Most of us get busy as the day drags on. Get your PCOS weight loss started by finishing a small half an hour of workout first thing in the morning.
That way, you strike off a duty on the daily to-do list and also slowly you inculcate a good habit.
2. Focus on being active throughout the day
Most of us, most of the time are sedentary. Working people dedicate most of their time on their chairs; whereas housewives also have their long sedentary spells like driving children to and from school with long traffic wait times to name one of them.
A simple PCOS exercise is to walk whenever possible. For those who are trying to get seriously physically active, here are some walking exercises that will make you huff and puff your way to weight loss.
3. Innovate and replace
A PCOS weight loss diet need not be something exotic that our taste buds are not used to. The key to eating healthily is to innovate and replace certain ingredients from our traditional foods.
How about replacing rice in idli, dosa, dhoklas with millets, quinoa, or other pulses? Possible has some of such innovative products. View them here: Superfood.
The new trend in the food world is to replace carbohydrates in our food with similar looking vegetables. Some examples include: using cabbage leaves in rolls, baked samosas as a replacement to maida layers; cauliflower as a substitute to maida in pizza base etc; thinly sliced zucchini in the place of noodles etc.
4. Spice your food up
Spices can greatly improve the satiety and feeling of fullness from the diet. Not just that, a great spice blend can make some of the most boring foods, tasty. So step into the shoes of a master chef and make your own spice blends that will make healthy eating, fun.
5. Eat mindfully
Eating mindfully means knowing and savouring the taste of the foods completely. This can happen when you switch off all electrical appliances. You will be surprised to know how eating at a table helps you concentrate on the food and lose weight as a result.
Yoga is a great tool to train your mind in mindful eating. Here are some more benefits of yoga for all of you to know.
6. Out with refined and in with the raw foods
The key to PCOS natural treatment is a good diet. They say you are what you eat. So if you eat processed foods that are cheap and easy, well you got the point! How to counter it?
Include superfoods like quinoa, oats, psyllium husk, whole grains, fruits and vegetables as they give fiber and micro-nutrients.
Most of the processed foods are bread, biscuits and takeaway foods. Replace them with healthier options like khakra, cookies, granola bars, and homemade foods.
7. Sweet tooth? Make them at home
Craving to eat something sweet? Then please do. Worried it may not feature in our PCOS weight loss diet chart? Nothing like that. We would say, eat the sweet of your choice but simply make them at home.
This helps you in many ways: You will use good quality ingredients; there is always scope for substitutions with healthier alternatives; and by the time you are done preparing, you will automatically eat fewer of them than before.
So the next time you feel like eating jalebis, make them with wheat flour instead at home and try sweetening them with honey! In case we didn’t stress it enough, eat what you would like but with an eye on the portions.
8. Stay away from liquid fattening agents
You have been careful with your diet and have not missed a single day of workout. So you decide to award yourself with a tall glass of fruit juice or soft drink. Believe it or not, you could have rather given way to your cravings and not worked out than downing that glass of liquid calories.
Losing weight with PCOS is very easy if you could simply control your urge to drink these beverages. Because 1 glass of a soft drink is equal to the calories you consume by eating a wholesome meal; without giving you fullness. Not to mention the pesticides you ingest.
9. Sleep tight every night
How come the PCOS weight loss diet tips mirror the ones for obesity control? That is because the trigger for both the conditions is the same. Lack of proper sleep can
- Affect the levels of the hormone that controls the hunger pangs
- Reduces the ability of the fat cell to let insulin work on them. PCOS is a condition which is any way characterised by insulin resistance or the inability of the cells to respond to the insulin hormone.
- Increase the risk of being genetically prone to obesity.
With a good night’s sleep spanning 8 hours, you can put all these complications away. Here are a few exercises that will help you sleep better, night after night.
10. Bust that stress
Stress might just come across as a strong feeling but actually is a complex hormonal cocktail that could jeopardize your health. Stress, over a prolonged period of time, can affect weight, immunity, heart health, sleep, and general happiness.
Hence stress relief and stress management are very important. Cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, promotes storage of fat in the body.
Additionally, it also increases the cravings for fatty and sugar-laden foods. If you are looking for a natural treatment to PCOS, then reducing stress is very important.
Here is some stress relaxation techniques are given by Mayo Clinic.
11. Make this a way of life
Now you know the secret to leading a good quality of life with PCOS. PCOS weight loss is one of the byproducts of a healthy and disciplined life. If you don’t believe us, then check out the story of Niharika who overcame major odds and conquered PCOS.
However, we strongly suggest you practice all the aforementioned point as a way of life rather than following it like a trend. We would love to hear from you if these points were useful!
For any assistance on how to deal with PCOS weight loss, you can reach out to Possible and avail of their free first consultation.