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How to Lose Weight With PCOS – Strategies & Tips for Success
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone-related endocrine condition. Hormones control various body functions that affect weight, including hunger, how our bodies use food for energy, strength, stress levels, and more.
Patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS frequently have a more challenging time losing weight than those without the condition, and acquiring weight is much more straightforward. Individuals with PCOS have issues of irregular or no period at all. They also experience chronic inflammation.
However, If you have PCOS and are attempting to lose weight, you may be upset because you’re doing everything right, yet the scale doesn’t move. Why is it so hard to lose weight with PCOS, and it usually happens pcos weight gain? Take a more profound read to learn more!
Why Is It Hard to Lose Weight With Pcos – Understanding the Complexities
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a complicated hormonal disorder that impacts 6 to 10% of women of reproductive age globally, according to research conducted by Bozdag et al. in 2016. It’s characterized by hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction, and polycystic ovaries. There’s a significant association between PCOS and obesity.
About 40 to 80% of females with PCOS are plump or obese.
However, it’s important to note that losing weight with PCOS is particularly challenging. Let’s delve deeper into the reasons behind this.
- Firstly, it’s crucial to understand that PCOS can lead to insulin resistance, where the body’s cells don’t respond as well to insulin, the hormone that helps convert sugars and starches from food into energy.
Insulin resistance leads to higher insulin levels to keep blood glucose within a normal range. According to a study, almost 50-70% of women with PCOS have some insulin resistance. Higher insulin levels cause the ovaries to produce more androgens, such as testosterone. Excess androgens can lead to weight gain, particularly around the waist, further exacerbating insulin resistance- a vicious cycle.
- Next, women with PCOS have altered the function of certain hormones that regulate appetite. This can lead to increased hunger and potential weight gain.
As an illustration, a study in the European Journal of Endocrinology uncovered that females with PCOS have more elevated levels of ghrelin, often called the “hunger hormone.” Ghrelin stimulates appetite and promotes fat storage, making it more problematic for women with PCOS to lose weight.
- Stress and inflammation also play a role in weight management issues in PCOS.
Women with PCOS usually have expanded levels of inflammation, which is associated with difficulties losing weight. Additionally, dealing with PCOS’s symptoms and psychological impacts can contribute to higher stress levels and changes in eating behavior, potentially leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
- Finally, many medications used to treat PCOS can have weight gain as a side effect.
For instance, certain hormonal contraceptives, often prescribed to manage menstrual irregularities in PCOS, can lead to weight gain.
So on, losing weight with PCOS is a complex issue beyond the simple equation of calories in versus calories out. It involves hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, inflammation, and stress, all of which can work against weight loss efforts.
Insulin Resistance Pcos: Causes, Symptoms, and Effective Management Strategies
Insulin resistance is a significant characteristic of PCOS. It happens when the body’s cells don’t react normally to insulin, resulting in high insulin levels in the bloodstream.
Otherwise, insulin resistance means that cells are less effective in responding to insulin’s function of transporting glucose from the bloodstream into muscle and other tissues.
Consequently, the body needs higher insulin levels to help glucose enter cells. This elevated insulin level, or hyperinsulinemia, has several effects on the body, including increased production of androgens by the ovaries, which can exacerbate PCOS symptoms.
Causes of Insulin Resistance in PCOS
The exact causes of insulin resistance in PCOS are not fully understood, but several factors contribute to its development.
Women with PCOS often have higher levels of androgens (male hormones), such as testosterone. These elevated androgen levels disrupt the normal functioning of insulin signaling pathways and contribute to insulin resistance.
The precise mechanisms through which androgens affect insulin sensitivity are still being studied, but research suggests that they interfere with the insulin receptor and downstream signaling molecules in the cells.
Studies have indicated a genetic component to PCOS, with the condition often running in families. Specific gene variants have been associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of PCOS.
Obesity and Adipose Tissue Dysfunction
Obesity and excess abdominal fat deposition are common in women with PCOS and can exacerbate insulin resistance. Adipose tissue, or fat tissue, is not just a passive storage site for energy but also an active endocrine organ.
In obese individuals, adipose tissue undergoes structural and functional changes, releasing pro-inflammatory substances called adipokines. These adipokines interfere with insulin signaling, impair insulin sensitivity, and contribute to insulin resistance.
Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation
Chronic low-grade inflammation is often observed in individuals with PCOS, which is believed to play a role in developing insulin resistance.
Furthermore, adipose tissue can secrete inflammatory substances that contribute to systemic inflammation, affecting insulin sensitivity.
Not being physically active and sitting for prolonged periods have been linked to a higher chance of developing insulin resistance.
A poor diet that causes pcos weight gain characterized by high consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugars, and saturated fats can worsen insulin resistance in PCOS.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance in PCOS
Insulin resistance in PCOS can manifest through various symptoms, including:
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
Insulin resistance can make it challenging to maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight.
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
Women with insulin resistance may experience irregular or absent periods due to hormonal imbalances.
- Acne and skin issues
Insulin resistance can contribute to developing acne, oily skin, and skin tags.
- Excessive hair growth (hirsutism)
Insulin resistance can cause excessive hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen, or back.
- Dark patches on the skin
Insulin resistance can lead to dark patches on the neck, armpits, or groin area, a condition called acanthosis nigricans.
- Fatigue and low energy levels
Insulin resistance can disrupt the body’s energy balance, leading to persistent fatigue and low energy levels.
Effective Management Strategies for Insulin Resistance in PCOS
Managing insulin resistance in PCOS typically involves a multifaceted approach. Typically, the initial course of action consists of changing one’s lifestyle.
1. Balanced Diet. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Consider consulting a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice.
2. Regular Exercise. Regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercises, strength training, and interval training, can enhance insulin sensitivity.
3. Weight Management. Losing a modest weight can significantly enhance insulin sensitivity, mainly if you are overweight or obese.
4. Medications. In some cases, medications such as metformin may be prescribed to manage insulin resistance in PCOS. These medications help lower blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
5. Stress Reduction. Chronic stress can worsen insulin resistance. To manage stress effectively, try practicing mindfulness meditation, deep breathing techniques, or participating in activities that bring you joy.
6. Sleep Quality. Hold an invariant sleep schedule and create a relaxing sleep environment. Make sure to prioritize good sleep hygiene.
How to Lose Weight With Pcos Naturally
Losing weight while having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can be difficult because hormonal imbalances can lead to weight gain and make it tougher to rid pounds. However, you can effectively manage weight even with PCOS by combining dietary modifications, physical activity, and exact natural remedies.
Maintaining a Balanced Diet Is Crucial for Weight Loss With Pcos
- Low Glycemic Index (GI) Foods: Foods that have a low glycemic index (GI), like whole grains, legumes, certain fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins, are processed slowly by the body, leading to a gradual increase in blood sugar levels. This can help manage insulin resistance, often associated with PCOS, and thus aid weight loss.
- Reduced Intake of Processed Foods and Sugars: Reducing the consumption of processed foods and sugars can decrease inflammation and improve the overall dietary profile. It’s important to read food labels to avoid hidden sugars.
Regular Physical Activity Is Essential in Managing PCOS Symptoms and Promoting Weight Loss
- Aerobic Exercise: Running, walking, cycling, or swimming increase heart rate and helps burn calories. A study found that regular aerobic exercise can be beneficial in managing PCOS symptoms.
- Strength Training: Strength training, or resistance training, increases lean body mass and helps to boost metabolism, making it a helpful method for weight loss and management in women with PCOS.
Natural Remedies and Supplements May Support Weight Loss in Women With PCOS
- Inositol: Inositol, a carbohydrate found in many plants and animals, may help improve insulin resistance, a common problem in women with PCOS. It could also assist with weight loss.
- Vitamin D: Many women with PCOS are deficient in vitamin D. Though research is still ongoing, some studies tell that vitamin D plays a position in weight management and hormone regulation in women with PCOS.
- Probiotics: Probiotics can be beneficial in managing PCOS and supporting weight loss by improving gut health and reducing inflammation.
Mental Health and Stress Management Are Crucial in Managing PCOS
- Chronic stress may contribute to hormonal imbalances and weight gain in PCOS, so stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can be beneficial.
How to Lose Weight With PCOS Fast
As challenging as some of these statistics about PCOS and losing weight fast may appear, there are strategies to achieve your goals. Below are some of the essential tips to keep in mind:
- Increase Your Fiber Intake
The majority of individuals consume insufficient fiber, mainly in fruits, veggies, legumes, spinach, broccoli, and whole grains. These foods help with glucose circulation in the bloodstream; In PCOS, studies have associated higher fiber consumption with weight reduction, reduced tummy fat, and improved insulin sensitivity.
- Do More Physical Activities
Insulin sensitivity helps with improvements during workouts.
Not only will moving for more extended periods with more intensity and variety enhance insulin sensitivity, but it will also burn more calories, condition the heart and other muscles, and improve stability, balance, and stamina.
- Always Eat Breakfast
A high-protein, healthy fats and breakfast containing a lot of fiber can help you have a more consistent blood sugar level regulation throughout the day. However, so many women are under-fueling during the day and then wonder why they have afternoon and evening cravings and binge eating. Always eat your breakfast.
- Cut Down Added Sugar
Added sweets make blood sugar balance more difficult to obtain, aggravating insulin resistance. However, according to reliable recommendations, added sugar should account for no more than 10% of daily calories.
- Ensure Snacking On Healthy Snacks
Having some healthy snacks in between meals help you maintain your metabolism and combat your body’s natural tendency to store fat. In addition, snacks are an excellent way to increase your intake of lean proteins and healthy fats.
Also, read – Can Changing Your Diet Change Your Period?
Metformin Pcos Weight Loss – This Medication Can Help You Shed Pounds and Improve Insulin Sensitivity!
PCOS is usually associated with insulin resistance, which affects how your body uses insulin, leading to elevated blood glucose levels and potential weight gain.
Metformin, a medication commonly prescribed for type 2 diabetes, has been found to help people with PCOS lose weight and improve insulin sensitivity.
Metformin reduces the glucose your liver produces and increases your body’s response to insulin. This process can help lower blood glucose levels, improve the body’s insulin sensitivity, and promote weight loss, making Metformin a beneficial medication for many people with PCOS.
A study demonstrated that Metformin treatment reduced insulin levels, improved insulin sensitivity, and promoted weight loss in women with PCOS1. The study indicated that women treated with Metformin lost an average of 9.24% of their body weight over six months.
Note: Weight loss isn’t the only benefit of Metformin for women with PCOS. It can support regulating menstrual cycles and reduce androgens (male hormones) levels, which are common issues in PCOS.
Women with PCOS who combined lifestyle modifications with Metformin treatment improved weight loss and insulin sensitivity more than those who only made lifestyle changes.
It’s also worth noting that Metformin, like any medication, can have side effects. Some common ones include nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea. These are usually temporary and decrease over time as your body adjusts to the medication.
How to Lose Weight With PCOS and Thyroid Problems
Losing weight with PCOS, a hormone-related disorder, and thyroid is not easy!
First, you must change your lifestyle and adopt a healthy way of living. The following lifestyle change will help you lose weight fast with pcos and hypothyroidism.
- Millets and porridge
- Less sugary meals
- Ghee and the right amount of rice and ice cream
- French fries
- Enough sleep
- Physical activities(workouts)
How to Lose Weight With Endometriosis and Pcos?
Endometriosis & Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are two different conditions that can affect women’s reproductive health. Both can make weight loss more challenging due to hormonal imbalances and inflammation. However, managing your weight effectively is possible with the right strategies and support, even living with both conditions.
1. Research suggests that endometriosis is linked to chronic inflammation. Thus, a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish, berries, leafy green vegetables, and nuts may help manage endometriosis symptoms and promote weight loss.
2. As in the case of PCOS, low GI foods, including whole grains, legumes, certain fruits, and vegetables, can help manage insulin resistance, often associated with PCOS, and thus aid in weight loss.
3. Regular physical training can aid in keeping a healthy weight, reduce insulin resistance (common in PCOS), and reduce inflammation (joint in endometriosis). Combining both cardiovascular exercises and strength training can be a practical approach.
4. Mind-body practices such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can reduce stress and positively impact endometriosis and PCOS symptoms.
PCOS and Intermittent Fasting: Nutrition Strategies to Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals
If you have PCOS and want to achieve weight loss goals, there are other nutritional strategies besides intermittent fasting that you can try.
- Low Glycemic Index (GI) Foods: As mentioned before, low GI foods can help manage insulin resistance, often associated with PCOS, and thus aid in weight loss.
- Balanced Meals: Maintaining a balanced intake of protein, fiber, and healthy fats in every meal can contribute to stable blood sugar levels, vital for managing PCOS and achieving weight loss goals.
- Hydration: Drinking plenty of water supports overall health and can help manage hunger and maintain energy levels, which can benefit weight loss.
Also, read – Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Your Period?
PCOS Body Type
Below are examples of some of the PCOS body types:
Thyroid Body Type
People with this body type typically develop drop weight all over their body, not in a specific part. It is a result of too much estrogen level in the body.
The Liver Body Type
This body type is common in men, although it can also be found in women. Individuals experiencing this PCOS body type are usually seen with protruding stomachs or a pot belly. Consuming a small quantity of protein and many veggies is best if you have this body type.
The Adrenal Body Type
Adrenal body type is expected with a saggy belly. This happens due to a hormone called cortisol which causes a saggy stomach. People with this body type are advised to eat foods low in protein and more vegetables.
PCOS Ovary Body Type
Individuals with this body type weights are around their heads and beneath the belly button. Those with an ovary body type benefit from support from estrogen balance in the body. People with this body type should eat more cruciferous vegetables and hormone-free diets.
What Is Pcos Belly: Causes and Solutions for the Stubborn Belly Fat
One of the critical characteristics of PCOS is a tendency to carry excess weight, particularly around the abdomen, often referred to as the “PCOS belly.”
The cause of this stubborn belly fat in PCOS is multifactorial and is mainly related to insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances, which are common in women with PCOS.
Insulin Resistance and Abdominal Fat
Women with PCOS often experience insulin resistance, meaning their cells become less responsive to insulin. This can induce an upsurge in fat storage, especially in the abdominal area, when insulin levels are high.
PCOS is also associated with an imbalance of sex hormones. Women with PCOS often have higher levels of androgens (male hormones), which can disrupt the normal distribution of body fat and promote fat accumulation around the abdomen.
Solutions for “PCOS Belly”
While losing belly fat with PCOS can be challenging, it’s not impossible.
- Dietary Changes: A diet rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-glycemic index carbohydrates can help manage insulin resistance and promote weight loss.
- Physical Activity: Regular exercise, particularly resistance and high-intensity interval training, can improve insulin sensitivity and help reduce abdominal fat.
- Manage Stress: High-stress levels can affect hormonal balance and contribute to weight gain. Techniques like mindfulness, yoga, or deep breathing can help manage stress.
- Medical Treatments: In some cases, medication like Metformin may be recommended to manage insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight With Pcos?
The timeframe for weight loss with PCOS can vary widely depending on factors like the degree of insulin resistance, diet, exercise habits, stress levels, and the overall approach to weight management.
In a clinical setting, losing 5-10% of your body weight over six months is considered a realistic and health-promoting goal.
This rate of weight loss is more sustainable and healthier for the body than more drastic losses. It can significantly improve insulin sensitivity, hormone levels, and menstrual regularity for women with PCOS.
Also, read – How to Lose Weight During and After Menopause
Prioritizing Pcos Self-Care – Tips and Strategies for Nurturing Your Mind, Body, and Hormones
Symptoms like weight gain, irregular periods, hair loss, and mood swings can be challenging to manage, but self-care can go a long way in nurturing your mind, body, and hormones.
Let’s explore critical tips and strategies for prioritizing self-care when living with PCOS.
- Healthy Eating
Maintaining a balanced diet with lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-glycemic index carbohydrates can help manage insulin resistance, a common feature in PCOS.
- Stress Management
Mindfulness-based stress reduction practices, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing, can help manage stress levels.
- Hormone-friendly Lifestyle
A lifestyle that supports hormonal balance can be helpful. This includes balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, managing stress, and avoiding hormone-disrupting substances like certain plastics and personal care products.
- Regular Medical Check-ups
To effectively manage your PCOS symptoms, it’s essential to have routine check-ups that monitor your hormone levels.
The Bottom Line
Finally, ibs and pcos are challenging, but you can lose weight if you follow a healthy lifestyle, work out, have consistent hydration, and have enough sleep.
We are an Inspired team of writers who are passionate about writing on the topic of a healthy approach to Nutrition and Wellness. We are guided in our writing by our knowledge and experience as well as open official medical and health sources.