Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a common disorder in adult women in the reproductive age group. This disorder is due to hormonal imbalances, which cause irregular periods and secretion of excessive male hormones like androgen. Individuals with PCOS become obese and develop small cysts in the ovaries, which affect their reproductive health. It is not easy to lose weight with PCOS and one of the essential requirements to keep PCOS under control is reducing weight. Thus, it becomes a standoff. But, weight loss with PCOS is an achievable target if you choose the right method without falling for myths and marketing gimmicks.
Even a small decrease of 5% in weight produces useful outcomes. The women’s fertility and overall life quality improve drastically. Let us look at some practical techniques that assist them.
Low carb diet can induce weight loss with PCOS
More than 70% of women with the disorder have insulin resistance. Their sugar levels and energy system becomes unmanageable. Also, the body accumulates more fat molecules when the insulin level is down. Experiments prove that a low carb diet with fixed protein content can be useful.
A 40% carb with a 45% fat diet lowered insulin levels by 30%. This result was in comparison to those who had 60% carbs and 25% fat diet. A lower glycemic diet over 12 weeks improved insulin usage compared to a 12-week, regular diet.
Protein-rich foods for weight loss with PCOS
Eggs, meats, dairy, seafood, and nuts have rich proteins. Including them in snacks and meals is very useful. The proteins lower both food cravings and blood sugar levels. They also burn calories and effectively manage the hunger hormones.
Some women lost 4.4 kg or 9.7 pounds after a 6-week protein-rich diet. They received 40% and 30% calories from protein and fat, respectively, whereas the standard diet only delivers 15% protein and 30% fat. The meal or snack rich in protein also keeps them full without the guilt of overeating.
Good fiber content is necessary for weight loss with PCOS
Women only eat 15 to 16 g of fiber on average. If they increase it to around 25 g, then the insulin levels decrease, reducing fat accumulation. High-fiber foods like oatmeal, fresh fruits, beans, nuts, etc. also bring down the total body fat. A high-fiber diet can reduce the abdominal region.
Fermented foods are effective
Women with PCOS have low levels of healthy gut bacteria. Consequently, their metabolism and weight management become problematic. But, fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, etc., can help. These probiotic items also reduce body weight. They support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Healthy fats with proteins make for fulfilling snacks and meals. They also reduce cravings and assist in weight loss with PCOS. Items like avocado, nut butter, olive, and coconut oil are very healthy. They keep you full and help you eat fewer calories in a day. Studies show that women with PCOS lost belly fat with a diet of 40% fat, 41% carb, and 19% protein, compared to a low-fat diet with 55% carbs, 18% protein, and 27% fat, which only lowered the body mass.
Avoid processed foods
It is best to avoid cakes, candy, cookies, and fast food. Such items have refined carbs and added sugars. They raise blood sugar levels and resistance to insulin. Studies also show that fresh and natural foods with minimal processing ensure a healthy body weight.
Mindful eating is good
The gut can have a substantial impact on the woman’s mind. Due to the disorder, she worries about what to eat and what to avoid. This anxiety leads to binge or emotional eating sessions. It also disturbs the hunger and fullness cues. The solution is to cultivate a mindful eating practice with awareness. It will improve internal cues for eating and help to avoid overeating.
Undereating is just as bad as binging on snacks and processed sugars. Too few calories in the body harm hormone balance, appetite control, and metabolism. Yes, the calorie restriction can assure short-term weight loss. But sustaining such a diet is untenable and unhealthy. So, the better alternative is to eat whole foods and fresh vegetables with discipline.
Try to reduce inflammation
Women with the disorder develop chronic inflammation, which leads to obesity. Sugar and processed foods worsen this situation. In a study, an intake of 75 g of glucose showed higher blood markers for inflammation. The solution is a diet comprising of fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. Whole grains and fatty fish with omega-3 also reduce inflammation.
Regular exercise induces weight loss in PCOS
Physical activity improves fitness levels and insulin usage. Cardio exercises can assist in weight loss with PCOS. A 45 to 60-minute workout three times a week can lower body fat by 2.3%. On the other hand, weights training for three days a week for four months is also effective. It lowers testosterone, blood sugar levels, belly fat, and body mass.
Set a sleep quota
Healthy adults should sleep for 6 to 8 hours every night. They are at a 12% higher risk of adding belly fat by reducing their sleep period. In contrast, one hour of extra sleep lowers body mass index by 0.35 kg per sq. m. Also, the lack of sleep can lead to stress eating, which leads to hormonal imbalances, sleep apnea, insomnia, daytime sleepiness, etc. Set a daily sleep quota to avoid such disturbances. There are several mobile apps for managing your sleep cycle.
Stress management can be useful
Increased stress leads to higher levels of an adrenal hormone called cortisol, which leads to insulin resistance and weight gain. Chronic stress increases the risk of increased abdominal fat, which leads to inflammation and cortisol production. Avoid this dangerous cycle by managing stress levels. It would be beneficial to take up yoga, meditation, long nature walks, or other stress management methods.
Vitamin supplements and meat-based amino acids like carnitine are efficient in reducing weight. You can improve insulin usage by consuming Myo-inositol. However, it is best to choose natural solutions instead of supplements and medicines. If you believe supplements would speed up the weight loss process, talk to your doctor to learn the right supplement, brand, and dose.