It is recommended that women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome lose weight in order to make their BMI normal. However, many find it challenging, because the changes in your body that PCOS brings make it harder to get rid of extra pounds. Here is how it works and how you can manage it.
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What is PCOS? From pears to apples
The abbreviation stands for the name of the disease, polycystic ovary syndrome. It is a hormonal disorder which manifests itself in such symptoms as excess hair (both facial and body), weight gain, abnormal periods, acne, and difficulty trying to get pregnant.
The disorder is due to having more male hormones called androgens than there should be. It is supposed that PCOS is due to several factors, which include the genetic one. Besides, environment is also believed to affect it.
One of the commonly seen symptoms is weight gain, and these extra pounds are usually difficult to get rid of, because most women with PCOS are also resistant to insulin, or their sensitivity to insulin is reduced. Since insulin plays an important role in the processes of energy management, and the male hormones are elevated, such women often have more abdominal fat.
Is there a way to lose weight if you have PCOS?
Yes, definitely. However, it will take all your willpower and more sweat. Difficulty losing weight is explained by disrupted biological processes, but if you stick to a set of rules, you are likely to lose weight, which is one of the first things recommended by doctors in case of PCOS. If the woman is fit, she is likely to have normal periods again. Also, losing weight can help reduce risks of many diseases, and it makes you more sensitive to insulin.
Consult your GP
Ask your doctor how many pounds you should lose. She/he will calculate your BMI and give advice on what weight should be maintained. Blood analysis can also provide valuable information, because you will have to follow a special diet and avoid certain kinds of food. In some cases, medications can also be prescribed: they can help make periods normal, and reduce the level of androgens.
In order to control glucose levels, it is recommended that women with PCOS eat six times a day instead of eating 3 large meals. Such an approach can help you stabilize your blood sugar level.
Including food rich in fiber in your menu is a good idea. Avoid sugary products and processed food, as well as food which is packed with fats. Healthy fats, such as those found in salmon and olive oil, can help you maintain normal fat intake. Your meals should consist of vegetables, fruits and the most beneficial grains, i.e. whole grains. It was reported that women with PCOS can benefit from low glycemic index diets and diets designed to stop hypertension.
Strengthen your willpower
Insulin switches the processes in the body to fat storage mode, and women with PCOS often report irresistible urges to eat. Such cravings are common among this group of patients, and it takes great efforts to strengthen your willpower and stop eating everything you can find in your fridge. Eating small servings often can help you keep your body satiated. And again – avoid sugar, as it works as another appetizer, which makes you want to get another burger.
Another case where your willpower will come in handy is exercising. Regular exercising is a must, and lack of physical activity leads to aggravation of the situation. Obstructive sleep apnea is another thing that strikes women with PCOS and can result in weight gain, elevated blood pressure, sleepiness, etc. Keeping fit can help you alleviate the symptoms and prevent other complications associated with weight gain, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other conditions and diseases.
Losing weight is one of the key parts of PCOS treatment, so don’t neglect it – those miles you run or cycle are likely to benefit you in many ways.
Effects of Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension diet on androgens, antioxidant status and body composition in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomised controlled trial – Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Relationship of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome with Cardiovascular Risk Factors – Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Lifestyle changes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome – Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov