If you have ever tried to lose weight, you know how frustrating it can be when you fail. You do everything the experts recommend and still no luck. Trying to lose weight if you have PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is 10 times more challenging.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormone imbalance disorder, and females as young as 11 can develop this. Women with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones and many tend to be overweight or obese. Lots of women with PCOS have excess body hair, acne, irregular periods, and weight gain specifically in the abdomen. Instead of the traditional female pear shape, those with PCOS tend to have an apple shape.
In addition, and maybe most importantly, women with PCOS are less sensitive to insulin, which is often referred to as an “insulin resistance”. This imbalance of insulin typically leads to a build up of glucose in the bloodstream, which makes you more susceptible to several medical conditions like high blood pressure, infertility, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and heart disease to name just a few.
# 1: Skip the Diet and Just Eat Healthy
This particular tip could work for everyone. The word “diet” has some bad karma attached to it. You’re on one and then you’re not. Some work, but then you regain the weight. This yo-yo dieting trend is not healthy, and can in fact increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Instead of searching for a quick fix, focus on choosing foods with anti-inflammatory properties like nuts, avocados, olive oil, fish, and green tea. Much like the Mediterranean style of eating, these calculated decisions about your food may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Eating smaller meals several times a day often works better for many ladies, not just those with PCOS. This method can also help you shed the pounds.
# 2: Eat the Right Carbs
No carbs or low carbs? The answer is the right carbs, and those that contain whole grains.
Choose sweet potatoes, yams, corn, brown rice, quinoa, vegetables and fruits, beans, lentils, and peas. A balanced meal should always contain some portion of these healthy carbohydrates.
# 3: Get Enough Sleep
Most normal adults need from 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. Women with PCOS should aim for this amount of rest at a minimum, or you likely will become overweight and can develop obstructive sleep apnea.
This sleeping condition causes you to stop breathing periodically at night. Scary, right? In addition, sleep apnea makes women with PCOS more susceptible to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Plan out a routine for going to bed with calm music, a darkened room, and cool temperatures.
# 4: Reduce Your Stress
Easier said than done, as we all know. It becomes a vicious circle as we make poor choices, get stressed, and then make more bad choices. Cortisol, a major stress hormone, is particularly prevalent in women with PCOS. The result of this added stress is that we store more fat, which usually ends up around the stomach.
Try some yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or writing in a journal on a regular basis. Whatever you do, it is important to create a peaceful and stress-free environment, as women store less fat when relaxed and calm.
# 5: Exercise
Women with PCOS should exercise at least a few times a week to help fight diabetes. Lifting weights is an especially good way to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance and weight.
# 6: Speak with a Specialist
If you continue to struggle with your weight, it is important to remember that you do not have to continue this journey alone. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a life-long condition, and even if you manage to control and maintain your weight for a while, it may not always be easy.