Weight Loss in PCOS is nothing short of a nightmare. PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is an uphill health battle which some women in their fertility age have to face. If and when you are diagnosed of PCOS, there is immense pressure on you to manage your weight, eat healthy and exercise regularly. You may need to watch out for any signs and PCOS symptoms increasing. In this article we shall discuss some of PCOS Symptoms & Treatment Plans, Weight Loss in PCOS – Diet Plan for PCOS, Best Workout Routine for PCOS, Herbs for PCOS and much more.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal condition that affects many women of reproductive age. Women having PCOS may have abnormal or extended menstrual cycles. There can also be high production of male hormones – Androgen. The ovaries develop a number of tiny fluids collections called follicles and fail to release eggs regularly.
PCOS Symptoms –
There are several PCOS Symptoms in Women which become evident at puberty or late teens –
- Missed Period, Light Period or Irregular Period.
- Ovaries which are large in size.
- Cysts in the Ovaries.
- Hirsutism – Excessive Body Hair on Face, Arms, Chest, Back and Legs.
- Increased Weight Gain in the Lower Abdomen.
- Oily and Acne Prone Skin
- Breakouts, Pimples and Rashes
- Thin Hair, Hair Fall and Balding Patterns
- Increased Infertility and difficulty in getting pregnant.
- Excess skin on the neck or armpits (Skin Tags)
- Thick and Dark Skin Patches on the Back of the Neck, Under the Breasts and under Armpits.
How to Diagnose PCOS?
PCOS can be Diagnosed in Two Ways –
- Ultrasound – Ultrasound is a test which is done in a laboratory. This test uses the sound waves and a computer to create images of organs, tissues and blood vessels. Ultrasound is used to determine the size of the ovaries and check if they have any cysts.
- Blood tests – Blood tests are a way of checking high levels of androgens and other hormones. Your doctor may also check your blood glucose and insulin levels. In addition, you may also have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked.
Causes of PCOS in Women:
Although there is no concrete reason which leads to PCOS in women, it appears to be tied to hormonal imbalances. The ovaries in women produce the hormones – estrogen and progesterone.
Androgens are commonly referred to as ‘male hormones’ yet they are also produced in small quantity by the female body. If higher quantity of Angrogen is produced in the female body then it leads to PCOS.
Women with PCOS also have insulin resistance. Insulin level builds up in the body which causes higher androgen levels. This can result in weight gain and obesity.
PCOS is genetic. If your mother or aunt has it, its best for you to get tested!
PCOS Statistics Worldwide:
PCOS is a hormonal condition that affects women during their fertility age. It affects around 26.7% of women in this age category (which have been diagnosed).
Most women suffer PCOS but are unaware of it. In one research, up to 70% of women with PCOS had not yet been diagnosed. Many women are still unfamiliar with this disease. As a result, there is no sufficient awareness of this condition. Some women live their whole lives without being diagnosed of it.
Weight Loss in PCOS
Weight Loss in PCOS is a mighty challenge. Different aspects of a healthy weight loss routine need to be established and followed vigorously. From a well planned Diet Plan for PCOS to a good workout routine for weight loss in PCOS to taking the Correct Herbs for PCOS – all are vital for managing symptoms. Cheat days are a strict NO! You need to understand that one has to put in three times the effort that a normal individual puts in to lose the excessive weight.
1) Diet Plan for PCOS –
Reduce Carbohydrates –
Carbohydrates have a direct impact on insulin levels. Reducing carbs in your diet plan for PCOS may help in losing weight as well as managing insulin levels. Avoid Potato, Canned Fruit, Processed Cereal, Soda, Doughnuts, High Sugar Fruits like Mangoes and Banana, Cookies, Popcorn, beans, break, pasta and full fat milk.
Increase Fiber Content –
Eating a high fiber diet promotes weight loss, lowers blood sugar levels and helps fight constipation. Fiber rich food is left undigested in the stomach and is passed on to the colon. There they feed the gut friendly bacteria leading to a number to health benefits. You can include – pears, strawberries, apples, avocados, carrots, beetroot, broccoli, lentils, kidney beans or rajma, chickpeas or channa, quinoa, oats, almonds, chia seeds, sweet potatoes and dark chocolates.
Increase Proteins –
Proteins are made up of tiny building blocks called amino acids. There are 9 essential proteins which are required by our body but not synthesized within. Hence, we need to add these proteins in our diet plan for PCOS. Eating a high protein diet helps a great deal in losing excess weight. The current daily dietary recommendation is 0.8 gms per Kilogram of body weight. So, if you weight a 100 kgs, you shall need 80 gms of protein daily. Protein rich food include – Eggs, Almonds, Chicken Breast, Paneer, Greek Yogurt, Milk, Dal, Fish, Quinoa, Pumpkin Seeds and Peanuts.
Go for Healthy Fats –
Unbelievable as it may sound, some saturated fats are also good for your health and go a long way in your weight loss routine. However, they should not be more than 10% of your entire daily calorie intake. Include Food such as Avocados, Whole Eggs, Cheese, Dark Chocolate, Nuts, Fatty Fish, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Chia Seeds and Full Fat Yogurt in your diet.
Add Some Fermented Food –
Fermented foods have a variety of health benefits like improved digestion, increase in immunity and speeding up weight loss. They boost the number of probiotics or healthy bacteria in your gut. These include – Mean, Fish, Dairy, Legumes, Soybeans, Fruits and Cereals.
One should go for a Diet Plan for PCOS which they can follow for a long time. Starvation is not the solution to lose healthy weight. Eating small meals at short intervals also helps in Weight Loss in PCOS.
2) Workout Routine for PCOS –
A good Exercise and Workout Routine for PCOS is essential if you want to manage the disease. Even if you control your diet but do not work out, it will lead to weight gain. This is because the hormones play up and insulin resistance builds up leading to worsening of PCOS Symptoms.
Women with PCOS should engage in at least 150 minutes of physical exercise every week. This equates to around 30 minutes per day. Physical activity is essential for your overall health and well-being. Below is a basic Workout Routine for PCOS –
A good cardio workout is recommended for every person who aims to lose weight. Cardio exercises in the gym include – treadmill, cross trainer, cycling, rowing, stepper and any other machine which increases your heart rate. Twenty minutes of Cardio at the start and 10 minutes and the end of your work out is a must.
Swimming or Water Aerobics
Swimming or Water Aerobics is an incredible and fun way of weight loss. If you enjoy being in the water, then there is no better way to manage Weight loss in PCOS. Doing regular laps or some group water aerobics goes a long way in managing PCOS Symptoms.
Dancing or Zumba
For those who do not prefer the monotony of a gym, dance or zumba is the perfect form of Workout Routine for PCOS. Getting a good dance or zumba instructor who understands your weight loss demands is essential. It is always advisable to start at a slow pace and then increase momentum keeping your knees and lower back in mind.
Light or Medium weight lifting with higher number of repetitions is recommended for Weight Loss in PCOS. Do the repetitions till failure. Strength training mixed with a bit of cardio like jumping jacks or Spot Running will be good for those women who fear developing muscle while lifting weight.
Functional Training or HIIT
Functional Training is one of the best forms of exercise for Weight Loss in PCOS. Using your body weight to workout can be tough, but is very effective. This includes compound exercises like Squats, Lunges, Dead lift, Core Exercises like crunches and Sit ups, Plank, Pushups and more. HIIT includes Burpees, Mountain Climber, Russian Twist, Kettlebell Swings and more. These can burn up to 500 – 600 calories in an hour.
3) Natural Remedies & Herbs for PCOS
Natural and Herbal Remedies play a vital role in maintaining a healthy body and a sound mind. Below are some natural remedies and herbs for PCOS which will promote weight loss. You can make a tea from these herbs for PCOS and sip it during the day –
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fenugreek or Methi Water
- Spearmint Tea
- Plum Juice
- Raspberry Leaf Tea
- Cinnamon Tea or Water
- Coconut Oil
- Flax Seeds
- Maca Root
- Holy Basil
- Licorice Root
- Shatavari Water
These Herbs for PCOS play a big role in managing your Symptoms and Promoting Healthy Weight Loss. Most of these Herbs for PCOS are available at your local supermarket or at Online Grocery Stores.
More Ways to Manage Weight Loss in PCOS
1) Get Enough Sleep:
If you have PCOD, you may have sleep problems. These include daytime drowsiness, sleep apnea, and insomnia.
Lack of sleep increases hunger hormones such as ghrelin and cortisol. This leads to you to eat more during the day. In fact, lack of sleep is proportionate to an increased chance of being overweight or obese.
2) Manage your Stress:
As stress is a risk factor for rapid weight gain. Cortisol is a hormone that increases in response to stress. High cortisol levels over time have been related to insulin resistance and weight increase.
Chronic stress also raises your chances of gaining abdominal fat. As a result, belly fat causes inflammation. This ultimately leads your body to produce more cortisol, creating a vicious cycle. Focus on stress management techniques to reduce cortisol levels.
3) Medicine for PCOS
Although there is no complete cure for PCOD, several drugs can help control PCOS symptoms. Medication is generally most effective when combined with other lifestyle modifications such as exercise and good food. Among the most regularly given drugs are –
Blood Sugar Medication:
Patients with PCOD are more likely to develop pre-diabetes which can progress to Type 2 Diabetes. Metformin is the most common blood sugar-reducing medicine for managing PCOS Symptoms if your blood sugar is high.
Oral contraceptives can help balance hormones. It reduces irregular period and excessive facial hair growth. They will not stimulate weight reduction, but the proper birth control pill can be part of a comprehensive treatment approach for PCOS.
Even though much has been said and written about Weight Loss in PCOS, women generally feel lazy in adopting these lifestyle changes. Due to work and family responsibilities, we tend to ignore our bodies and health till it is too late. It is really not difficult to take our an hour a day for yourself to workout or to order Herbs for PCOS Online.
My only two bits of motivation here is to ‘Get Up and Start Today’. Get in touch with a personal trainer or a lifestyle coach if you can manage one and set a ‘Three Month Target’ to reduce the troublesome 10 kgs! Once you are on the path… there will be no pulling you back! 🙂