Polycystic Ovary Syndrome otherwise referred to by its initials PCOS, is a hormonal disorder that affects many women causing fertility problems, weight gain, male-pattern hair growth, acne, and water retention. This is due to the ovaries producing higher than average amounts of the male hormone, androgens, interfering with the ovaries’ production of eggs.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown and the symptoms, intensity, and time of discovery is different for each woman. For many, they will find out that they have the condition in their teens while others will learn they have the condition well into their 20s or 30s.
While there is no one reason for PCOS, some researchers think that it may be caused by high insulin, the hormone that controls sugar production. This is because when too much insulin is produced, the body releases extra male hormones. These androgens also make weight gain easier for many women while abdominal fat decreases responsiveness to insulin. This causes a vicious cycle of knowing that weight loss is important to help the symptoms of the condition but not actually being able to lose weight because of the characteristics of the disorder.
We know this struggle is real therefore here are 5 helpful tips to lose weight with PCOS:
- Exercise Regularly. Exercise is always a vital part of healthy living but for PCOS it is surprising to note that while any exercise is great, strength training is particularly helpful for reducing fat and improving insulin resistance. More so, with increased muscle mass, your metabolic rate will also be faster and as such you will lose more calories when your body is at rest.
- The Diet. The Keto diet is all the rage nowadays and it is for good reason. Unlike a traditional carb-rich diet, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb way of eating. This way of eating switches the body’s energy source from glucose to fat. When the body becomes keto-adapted, the body uses the fat from food first as energy and only then starts burning through the body’s fat stores.
In addition, by reducing the number of carbs in your diet, you will be less tempted by foods that trigger insulin resistance. You will also feel full faster and longer, as it takes the body longer to digest fat than carbs.
- Sleep Well. Sleep is one of the most important yet underrated attributes to living a healthy lifestyle. If one does not get enough sleep, there can be serious health risks and it can truly deter weight loss. More so, sleep deprivation can have an effect on the body’s hormones. In addition, many medical studies have found that sleep deprivation reduces the ability of fat cells to respond properly to insulin. When one is suffering from PCOS it is important to do whatever necessary to have balanced hormones and control over insulin levels. Therefore it is important to get the necessary 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep your body needs.
Here are some tips on getting a good night’s sleep:
Keep the lights off and have very little light showing through the windows or doors.
Have your bedroom be a place only for sleeping. Reserve computer or tv time to another room only.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily. Make it a routine.
- Reduce Stress. Stress is everywhere. Whether it’s due to work, family or marital relationships, about one’s work status, or physical appearance. Due to this stress, sometimes androgens are elevated as a way of trying to protect the brain from stress’ harmful effects. In addition, when we are stressed it is easier to make poor food choices. Therefore, it is important to monitor your stress level and try to reduce your stress on a daily basis. Find some activities that relax you and try to add them to your schedule!
- Lifestyle Change. Losing weight is not just about being thin or one’s physical appearance. It is about health and protecting oneself from PCOS-related complications like infertility and diabetes. The goal of losing weight, getting in shape, and forming a healthy lifestyle will have great benefits for years to come, so focus on making small and meaningful changes and get on your way to the life you dream of!