PCOS weight loss, as many sufferers of the condition will agree, is often a major concern.
Although most women will have to contend with weight gain at some point in their lives, women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome will find losing weight something of a constant battle.
According to the Yale University Fertility Center, around six in ten women who suffer from PCOS will also be overweight or obese.
There is some good news though, it isn’t completely impossible for women to win the battle against PCOS weight gain.
Following a specific PCOS diet and making a few positive changes to their lifestyle, will help many women shed the extra pounds while also reducing the severity of other symptoms linked with PCOS.
Why Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome Causes Weight Gain
The Insulin Level Goes Through the Roof
Polycystic ovary syndrome interferes with the way a woman’s body uses the hormone insulin.
This condition, commonly referred to by doctors as insulin resistance, can cause a build-up of sugar and sugar-glucose in the woman’s bloodstream.
High insulin levels cause the natural production of male hormones, known as androgens, to speed up, causing symptoms such as irregular periods, excess body hair and of course – weight gain.
Following a sensible PCOS diet to achieve weight loss is important because there are serious risks associated with PCOS weight gain.
In fact, PCOS weight loss is the first thing a doctor or specialist will concentrate on when attempting to treat this common syndrome, this is so these risks are reduced.
Some of the more common risks associated with polycystic ovary syndrome weight gain are:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnoea
- Type 2 diabetes
These conditions also have potential risks of their own, such as cardiovascular disease, strokes and other serious illness.
According to information provided by Yale University, the risk of a woman with PCOS having a heart attack is four times greater than a woman who doesn’t have the condition.
PCOS disorder weight loss treatment is therefore an important part of the treatment plan organized by doctors and specialists.
Some experts also believe that the weight gain associated with PCOS also makes other symptoms worse – especially issues such as delayed or absent periods.
Achieving PCOS Weight Loss via a PCOS Diet
It is common for many women suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome to feel trapped in a vicious circle.
While on one hand their condition is causing them to put on weight, they are constantly being told to lose weight in order to reduce the symptoms of that condition.
Fortunately there is hope for PCOS sufferers. According to The University of Chicago Medicine, losing just ten-percent of the body’s total weight will help relieve symptoms and encourage the menstrual cycle to regulate.
Following a PCOS diet will also stabilize the women’s production of insulin, which in turn slows down the production of testosterone.
This will almost immediately alleviate some of the more embarrassing physical symptoms caused by PCOS, such as excess facial and body hair, as well as thinning of head hair.
Visiting a doctor should always be the first step women with PCOS take, before starting any kind of diet or changes to their routine.
A doctor or specialist will not only take note of current weight and BMI, he will advise on an appropriate PCOS disorder weight loss treatment.
Because polycystic ovary syndrome affects sufferers differently and to varying degrees, there isn’t a particular one-size-fits-all PCOS weight loss diet. Much of it will rely on trial and error to discover what works for the woman and her experiences of her condition.
It is also possible that a doctor will prescribe medication, again depending on the individual and the severity of her side effects.
However, many medical professionals agree that medication alone is not a suitable treatment for this condition. Changes in diet, sensible lifestyle changes and then medication, if needed, is the best course of action in all PCOS cases.
PCOS and Low Carb Diet
Carbohydrates are widely found in most foods today, from breakfast cereals and rice, to pasta, fruit and milk. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar, or glucose, by the body once they are digested. This, in turn, stimulates the release of insulin.
Because PCOS is associated with insulin resistance, the body cannot handle the sudden upswing of this hormone, which causes the pancreas to release more insulin still.
Weight gain is then unavoidable, as insulin is a fat-storing hormone.
The best diet for insulin resistance then is one that is significantly low in carbohydrates.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend people looking to follow a low carb diet should reduce their carbohydrate intake to under 50-percent of their overall calorie intake.
However, a PCOS weight loss plan will need to contain even less carbohydrates, to account for the woman’s insulin resistance.
Therefore, it is generally recommended a woman following a PCOS diet should restrict her carbohydrate intake to less than 40-percent of her overall calorie intake.
For example, women following a diet consisting of 1500 calories per day, should not eat any more than 150grams of carbohydrates.
In extreme cases, where insulin resistance is a serious problem and side effects are severe, a doctor or dietician may recommend the woman eat no more than 50grams of carbohydrates per day – however, this is by no means the norm.
Due to the complicated numbers involved, women should follow the advice of their doctors.
Because of the effect carbohydrates have on a person, it is not hard to see why following a low-carb diet is the most effective way to achieve PCOS weight loss.
Healthy foods to include on a PCOS diet include, among other things:
- Leafy greens
- Small fruit servings
- Lean meat
- Seeds and nuts
PCOS Weight Loss and Lifestyle Changes
While women with polycystic ovary syndrome will be advised by medical professionals to follow a low-carb diet to achieve PCOS weight loss, there are also a variety of other lifestyle changes that will help relieve the symptoms of the condition.
While three square meals a day may be the mantra spewed forth usually, women following a PCOS diet should ignore this advice where possible.
Eating four to six small-portion meals a day will have a much better effect than three larger meals.
It will also help the body stabilize its blood sugar levels.
Missing meals, such as breakfast, should be avoided at all costs. This encourages blood sugar to dip, making binge eating on high-carb foods to compensate much more likely.
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Even women who have never had any real problems with their blood pressure or cholesterol should have them regularly checked by a doctor when following a PCOS diet.
PCOS and diabetes have always had a common link because of the woman’s insulin resistance.
Because carbohydrates can have an effect on both cholesterol and blood pressure, it is important they are tracked to ensure the woman’s good health is maintained.
Regular check ups will also ensure the woman is receiving the most appropriate PCOS disorder weight loss treatment.
Firstly, taking light exercise is a great mood lifter, so women can banish those “dieting blues” with a short walk or jog around the block.
Women following a specific diet to achieve PCOS weight loss should aim for around 30 minutes of exercise a day, according to information provided by Yale University.
Women can gradually build on the amount of exercise they do, but as long as for at least half-an-hour a day, seven days a week light exercise is observed, most women will begin to notice a difference relatively quickly.
Give up the Vices
Women with PCOS who smoke, will be strongly advised to give up the habit. Women who do want to give up smoking should speak to their doctor, who should be able to advise them on how to get about it, as well as ensure they receive all the necessary support.
Alcohol intake should be reduced to no more than two units a week, this is roughly two standard glasses of wine or one pint of beer. This is because alcohol is full of sugar, which will not be helpful to women following a low-carb diet.
Introducing healthy habits into their lifestyle can only be advantage for women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome.
According to the American Dietetic Association, women with PCOS who also have a fairly stressful lifestyle will struggle to follow a PCOS weight loss plan more than sufferers with less stress in their lives.
This is because when a person is stressed, they are more likely to be drawn to foods that make them feel good.
Unfortunately, this tends to be starchy and fat-rich foods that are not recommended for people following a low carb diet.
Obviously, in a lot of cases stress is unavoidable, especially as it is a common element of many jobs these days.
Therefore practising stress reliving practices such as meditation or Tai Chi, is highly recommended for stressed-out PCOS women.
Dealing Infertility Problems May Not Be as Difficult as You May Think
Maybe the most concerning side effect of polycystic ovary syndrome is the increased risk of infertility problems.
It is important to note that being diagnosed with PCOS does not automatically make a woman infertile.
In fact, there is probably not a doctor or specialist in existence who would tell a women she is completely infertile because of PCOS – instead they are much more likely to say she will have trouble conceiving naturally or will experience fertility problems. Both of which are very different to being diagnosed as infertile.
Because PCOS is known to cause irregular periods, or in some cases completely absent, menstrual periods, this can make it difficult for a woman to conceive.
Excessive weight and obesity can also cause interruptions in periods, meaning women with PCOS are at a greater risk of suffering fertility issues.
Therefore, as well as reducing other PCOS side effects, losing weight can also help improve a woman’s fertility.
As mentioned above, the best diet for insulin resistance and women with PCOS is one which is low in carbohydrates.
According to a study issued by the American Dietetic Association moderate activity, when coupled with a low carbohydrate diet, will increase a PCOS woman’s chances of improved fertility.
In fact, by following a low carb diet and regular exercise routine, women with polycystic ovary syndrome should start to notice an improvement in their symptoms within eight weeks.
Ignoring the Quick and Dirty Unhealthy Fad Diets
When someone is desperate to lose weight, whether it be for health, medical or self-esteem purposes, it is often hard to ignore the seemingly hundreds of fad diets available.
A fad diet is one of those diets that assures the person following it that they will lose a large amount of weight in a relatively small amount of time – usually with very little effort.
Many people will be familiar with the “Cabbage Soup Diet” a radical weight loss plan which, following the consumption of nothing but cabbage soup, offers the chance to lose as much as 12-kilos in ten days.
While it may sound like most people’s worst nightmare, people who are desperate to lose weight are usually willing to try anything.
In order to achieve PCOS weight loss that will eventually improve the polycystic ovary syndrome-associated symptoms a woman’s dietary changes need to be much more sensible.
A fad diet is a temporary measure, whereas healthy eating is a permanent change to a diet and lifestyle.
PCOS weight loss is easy enough to achieve, especially if following a specific PCOS diet, however, the harder part is maintaining that weight loss.
According to the Chicago University of Medicine, people, regardless of whether they have polycystic ovarian disease or not, are five times more likely to regain weight lost on a fad diet than they are following a healthy balanced diet.
Managing weight loss is just as important as losing the weight and the only way PCOS sufferers will see a more stable improvement in their PCOS symptoms.
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