Hormonal disorders are like a mixed bag of tasteless cookies. Some are just tasteless while others are extremely bitter and can’t be swallowed. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is one such bag of problems. It is not fatal but its effects can neither be accepted nor overlooked. Weight gain is one of those side-effects of PCOS that is not easy to manage. It needs special guidance because the usual methods may not be as effective as you need them to be.
Reasons For Weight Gain Under PCOS
PCOS is characterized by imbalance of reproductive hormones. Studies have proven that women who are medically overweight are more vulnerable to this problem. High amounts of androgen production by ovaries increases the odds of weight gain leading to a vicious cycle. Women with PCOS tend to gain more weight around their waist which brings down the resistance to insulin. Lower resistance to insulin further increases the odds of more weight gain.
This explains why women suffering with PCOS find it hard to lose weight. Their fat burning process is slow because their faulty systems call for saving energy. However, there is a silver lining to this situation. Losing weight may be hard but not impossible even for ladies suffering with PCOS. All you need is right guidance and a systematic plan devised by professional healers. Here are some useful strategies that are recommended by doctors:
1. Low-Carb High-Protein Diet:
There is no fixed diet plan for women with PCOS because the key lies in commitment to the plan. You need to stick to the diet plan your doctor devises for you. Keeping that in mind, you can always go for low-carb diets as they are insulin resistant. When your carb intake goes down your insulin levels go down as well. Instead of carbs you need to fill your bowl with protein. It is suggested that for every kilogram of your weight you diet should have 1.5 grams of protein. Eat as many green leafy vegetables you want along with 2-4 servings of fruits. But ensure that you are away from sugar-based fruit juices.
2. Give Higher Priority To Exercise:
It is mandatory to exercise before every meal if you are suffering with PCOS. The imbalance of hormones slows down your metabolism and directs it to save all its energy instead of burning it. Regular exercise slowly trains the body to consume the extra glucose stored in your system and keep the insulin levels under control. High intensity interval training and cardio are considered best for utilizing extra fats in the body. If not, they will lead to abnormal weight gain.
3. Fibrous Food Is The Key:
The goal is not just to reduce carb intake but to keep your stomach filled for a longer period. High-fiber carbs are low on calories but stay in your system for long, thus you don’t get random hunger cravings. It is crucial to intentionally increase your intake of fibrous food. It is directly related to reduction of abdominal fat. Your best options are legumes, pulses, sweet potatoes, leafy vegetables, and fruits with mild sweetness.
4. Give Fermented Food A Chance:
There are many studies that prove that women with PCOS have a lesser number of healthy bacteria in their digestive system. This is one of the primary reasons for weight gain. You must make efforts to increase the presence of healthy bacteria in your body. Women adopting ayurvedic treatment for PCOS are often instructed to eat higher quantities of yoghurt and other fermented foods. The best way is to add one fermented food item per day in your diet.
5. Stay Away From Added Sugars:
Added sugars are responsible for substantial increase in blood sugar. High blood sugar results in sudden drop in blood sugar and worse hunger pangs. This happens with everyone, however, women with PCOS experience much higher insulin levels which means they will feel hungrier and would consume sugar at a higher rate. So, a rational solution is to stay away from high sugar products. If you really feel like having something sweet, go for a slice of some sweet fruits or some dry fruits.
6. Control Your Caffeine Intake:
Caffeine is the biggest culprit of hormonal disturbances. Anyone who consumes it in more than required quantities has to bear its consequences sooner or later. For women, a high intake of caffeine means disturbance in ovulation and enhanced production of stress hormones. Whether you are suffering with PCOS or not, it is advised to stay away from higher intakes of caffeine. And if you still can’t resist its lure try to take it with something healthy.
7. Never Go Hungry:
All these directions are to help you develop a mindful eating habit. None of the above strategies mean that you should stay hungry at any point. If you restrict your calorie intake too much, your body will be compelled to release a hunger hormone called ghrelin. This will make you consume more calories especially at night. Also, staying hungry for long slows down our metabolism and disturbs the normal working procedure of hormones. Whatever be your weight reduction strategy, your daily calorie intake must not go under 1200 calories.
The above given strategies are assimilation of what doctors across various medical streams suggest. Although, there is much more that can be added to this list, we have tried to restrict ourselves to most general strategies. But it is a must to consult your doctor before you adopt any diet plan. Whether you are taking allopathic or homeopathic or ayurvedic treatment for PCOS, always speak to your doctor before you start with any diet plan.