PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is referred to a condition in which cysts develop on the ovaries. Between 4-20% of women in their reproductive phase of life may suffer from this condition. This condition is characterised by hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, inflammation, etc. All these together can make weight loss difficult, especially for those women who also have thyroid disorders. PCOS is also the leading cause of infertility in women.
Following are some tips for losing weight with PCOS:
- Reducing carbohydrate intake
PCOS is often associated with insulin resistance (35% to 80% cases). In insulin resistance, the cells of the body are unable to absorb glucose from blood in normal amounts, leading to high blood sugar levels. This in turn can lead to higher conversion of sugar to fat in the body and weight gain. Reducing simple carbohydrates intake can directly lead to lowering of insulin levels, thereby reducing carb conversion to fat. At the same time, consuming a low GI (glycemic index) diet reduces insulin resistance and fat storage around the belly area.
- Increase protein intake
Protein intake has been shown to improve blood sugar management by giving a feeling of fullness for longer. In addition, it also helps in losing weight. But remember that total protein intake should not exceed more than 40% of total calorie intake, as very high intakes can cause increased stress on the kidneys.
- Include nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are powerhouses of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals like omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, iron, selenium, etc. Seeds like pumpkin, sesame, flax and sunflower have been shown to bring about a balance between the reproductive hormones.
- Reduce sugar consumption
Refined sugar, jaggery, honey all are high calorie foods with high glycemic indices and thus should be avoided. Added sugars also increase weight and insulin resistance. Research also shows that women with PCOS have higher blood sugar spikes on ingestion of sugar as compared to women without PCOS.
- Get physically active
Exercise has been shown to help at multiple levels; be it weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, better hormonal health, etc. Therefore it is important to invest at least 30-40 minutes daily for exercise.
- Get adequate sleep
Inadequate sleep increases levels of hormones like cortisol and ghrelin, that increase the feeling of hunger. It also leads to increased inflammation in the body. Our bodies carry out repair of damaged muscles and detoxification while we are asleep. Thus getting enough sleep is an important part of not just your weight loss, but also your health journey.
If you have PCOS and would like to lose weight, or improve your fertility, and are looking for help in planning and meal prep ideas, contact Kanupriya Khanna, one of the best Dietitian and Nutritionist in Delhi.