Maintaining a healthy weight for PCOS sufferers can be incredibly difficult. As well as excess body hair, irregular periods and fertility problems, weight gain is one of the most troubling symptoms of PCOS. Becoming overweight or obese can then lead to a higher risk of serious illnesses, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.
What Causes Weight Gain with PCOS?
PCOS causes women to suffer from insulin resistance, which means insulin and sugar build up in the blood stream. The high insulin levels in the body then cause an increase in the production of androgens, a male hormone. This is what causes women to gain weight, grow excess hair and suffer from acne.
Ways to Manage Weight with PCOS
Losing weight, and maintaining a healthy weight is important for women who suffer with PCOS. As well as helping to regulate the menstrual cycle and increase fertility, it also reduces the chances of developing other more serious illnesses. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic weight loss, either - as little as 5% can have a positive impact. There are several ways to tackle weight gain if you suffer from polycystic ovaries:
Eating a Healthy, Balanced Diet
The best way to manage weight gain if you suffer from PCOS is to take a look at your diet. Eating and drinking the wrong things is the quickest way for weight to become a problem, so making some simple changes is always a good idea. It might be tempting to crash diet, but studies have shown that long term calorie restriction actually slows down metabolism.
Eating a low-carb diet helps to reduce insulin levels, so start by cutting out starchy foods like white rice, pasta and bread. You should also try to avoid sugary drinks and snacks such as biscuits and cakes - if you’ve got a sweet tooth, opt for fruit or yogurt instead.
Packing your diet full of protein, healthy fats and fresh vegetables is the quickest way to manage your weight. Foods such as vitamin rich leafy greens, fatty fish and and legumes, nuts and seeds are also great additions to your intake.
Getting Regular Exercise
Having a regular exercise routine should be part of your life if you suffer from PCOS. Not only does it help to maintain a healthy weight, it can also boost fertility and stabilize your mood.
The best form of exercise to battle weight gain is strength training, as it can reduce insulin resistance and increase your metabolism. A routine with exercises such as squats and push ups is ideal, and combining them with cardio moves can help you to achieve a healthy weight.
Tackle Stress Levels
The stress hormone cortisol is also responsible for weight gain, so tackling stress and anxiety levels can help with weight loss.
Exercise is a great stress reducer, particularly gentle yoga. The stretches help with weight loss and core strength, while the breathing exercises encourage relaxation and mindfulness. Other complementary therapies such as meditation, aromatherapy and acupuncture have also shown to help with anxiety and stress.A good support network will also help boost mood and mental wellness. Making sure you’re spending time with family and friends can help to boost mood and alleviate some of the stress associated with PCOS.