PCOS Weight Loss Guide : Causes, Treatment, Diet, Exercises & Weight Loss Plan
We often hear women say they have difficulty in losing weight because they have PCOS. Almost 50% of ladies nowadays have PCOS. We only get it diagnosed when we have a problem in conceiving for a while. But can it be diagnosed earlier? How can you lose weight when you have PCOS? What are the dos and don’ts of PCOS?
All these questions might be hovering over your mind. When you visit the doctor, the only advice you get is to follow a diet, sweat more, and lose weight. But is it enough? So, let’s dig in more about PCOS and PCOS weight loss.
What is PCOS and How does it Cause Weight Gain?
PCOS means Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition when your ovaries contain multiple small follicles but not a single follicle matures to release the egg cell or ovum(1).
This results in delayed or no ovulation. Due to this, the chances of conceiving become less.
PCOS is caused due to excess fat deposition in the belly region which is a result of constant hormonal imbalances.
It all starts with insulin resistance which means your body is not responding to the hormone insulin properly. Insulin is responsible for the conversion of sugar and starch into energy.
The unused sugar is converted into fat which gets stored in the belly region.
The disturbed insulin levels trigger the production of male hormones called “androgens”. Androgens are responsible for causing ‘Men Like Symptoms’ in women one of which is the storage of excess belly fat.
This fat deposition makes the ovaries bulky and full of cysts which increases the imbalance and causes more weight gain. This also results in difficulty in PCOS weight loss.
Early Signs of PCOS
PCOS is a vicious cycle. Early diagnosis helps in getting out of it before it starts affecting other parts of the body. Some of the early signs or Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle
- Adult acne
- Excessive oil secretion
- Unwanted hair growth on upper lips and chin
- Sudden weight gain
- Midnight sweet cravings
- Constant Fatigue, Stress, Anxiety
- Blackening in underarms or the neck region
All these signs are the indication that your body is under hormonal imbalance(2).
As it is said, “A stitch in time saves nine”. If you pay attention to the symptoms and start working on your body, it will save greater trouble.
Watch this informative video to get more understanding about PCOS weight loss.
Credit: Brigham and Women’s Hospital
What Causes PCOS?
PCOS is a lifestyle disorder which means it is a result of improper lifestyle. It is mainly caused due to
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive sugar intake
- Over intake of simple carbs
- Very little or no exercise
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Overeating at a time
All these reasons result in unstable blood sugar levels which develops insulin resistance over a period of time and supports PCOS weight loss.
Diet for PCOS
Medicines are only useful if you consume a healthy diet. Follow these diet tips to lose belly fat and reduce the effect of PCOS.
1. A Big NO to Refined Sugar
Refined sugar increases insulin resistance and contributes to fat gain(3). Sugar contains glucose and fructose which disrupts the normal insulin secretion and causes insulin resistance. The excess sugar gets converted into fat and is stored in the belly region
2. No Junk Food
Junk food contains simple carbs and no nutrition, so it must be avoided. Eating unhealthy junk food is one of the main cause of PCOS(4). When you substitute junk food with healthy food, your body becomes deficient of the vital nutrients which increases the cravings and worsens your PCOS.
3. Regularise Sleep Timings
Regular sleep timings improve nutrient assimilation and hormonal balance. Regular sleep timings help to reduce stress and improve metabolism which eventually helps in losing weight(5).
4. Include Fresh Fruits
Fresh fruits contain essential minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins which help to reduce sweet cravings. There are many local fruits for weight loss. Fruits provide many micronutrients which help in curing nutrient-deficiency caused due to intake of junk food.
5. Include Protein-Rich Foods
Protein-rich foods have a low glycaemic index which means it promotes a steady rise in blood sugar levels. Our hormones are mostly protein-based which makes protein a very important nutrient for our growth and development.
6. Include Vitamin B12 Rich Foods
There are lots of benefits of vitamin B12. One of it is that it helps to improve the gut health which promotes weight loss.
7. Include Calcium and Vitamin D-Rich Foods
Fatty fish, milk and milk products are priceless for PCOS patients. This was concluded in a study where calcium and vitamin D supplements helped in regularizing the menstrual cycle in females and also improved follicle growth(6).
8. Replace Simple Carbs with Complex Carbs
Refined flour has simple carbs which cause a steep rise in blood sugar levels. Include whole wheat bread or multigrain bread in your diet
Exercise for PCOS
The more you sweat the quicker you move towards recovery. Your ovaries have choked due to excess fat accumulated in the belly region. Exercise and balanced diet help in losing that fat.
Follow these exercise tips to reduce inches.
1. Be Regular in your Exercise Routine
Even if you work out only for half an hour in 2 days, be regular with this routine for 2 weeks. Then you can increase the duration to half an hour every day for the coming 2 weeks. Regularity is the key in PCOS. This way your periods will start regularising(7).
2. Progressive Overloading
When you do the same workout routine week after week, your muscles get used to it and you stop losing weight. You need to stretch beyond your comfort zone a little every day. This way, your body will get new stimulus every time you workout and you will lose weight(8).
3. Start Strength Training
If you are planning to lose weight only through Walking or Running, it will take some time. Strength training improves your muscle endurance and strength. It is also anaerobic kind of exercise and it facilitates post-workout calorie burn aka afterburn(9). This way you will burn more calories in lesser time.
4. Do Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercises improve your stamina, flexibility and heart health. When done on a daily basis, aerobic or cardio exercises help to burn a lot of calories.
5. Pre-Workout Meal
It is very important what you choose to eat before a workout. The Pre-workout meal provides your body much-needed energy to carry out all the exercises smoothly. Ideal pre-workout meals are Eggs, Dry fruits, Apples, Sweet potatoes, Chicken, etc.
6. Post Workout Recovery
So, eat a healthy post-workout meal like Eggs, Chicken, Protein Shakes, Yogurt. They are a good source of proteins which will help to repair the wear and tear caused during the exercise. This helps in PCOS weight loss.
Yoga and Pranayam for PCOS
Yoga and Pranayam work not only on our body but also on our mind.
Stress is a precursor of unhealthy weight gain and PCOS(11). Yoga and pranayama work on your body as well as reduces stress levels which helps in PCOS weight loss.
Try these yoga asanas and pranayamas to get pregnant and for PCOS weight loss.
Yoga Asanas for PCOS
These Yoga asanas work to strengthen your reproductive system(12). It is observed in a study that practicing all these asanas for 3 months regularly drastically improves the chances of conceiving naturally and also facilitates healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Couples who have been trying to conceive for years have been benefited with these simple yoga asana and pranayamas. Women especially find yoga relaxing and it helps in PCOS weight loss.
Remember to do all the asanas and pranayamas after applying the Mula Bandha or Lock.
- Ardha Chandrasana
Pranayamas for PCOS
All these asanas help in flushing out harmful toxins and purify the entire endocrine system.
They help in balancing the hormones, reduces irritability and helps in Premenstrual syndrome.
Practice all these asanas for 15 mins each to get the best results.
- Anulom Vilom
Medications for PCOS
Allopathic Medicines for PCOS
PCOS is mainly caused due to insulin resistance which further causes hormonal imbalances. Doctors mainly prescribe birth control pills but if the patient wants to get pregnant then metformin is prescribed(14). Metformin is generally prescribed to patients with diabetes to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Also, due to the consumption of unhealthy foods, your body becomes deficient to vital vitamins, proteins, which are building blocks of hormones. So, folic acid, calcium, and chromium supplements are also prescribed(15).
Consult the doctor or physician before you start any medication.
Ayurvedic Medicines for PCOS
There are many women who do not respond to allopathic medicines. Allopathic medicines also have many side effects.
If you want to approach in a more natural way then Ayurveda is best for you. Below are some miraculous ayurvedic medicines which are best for treating PCOS.
1. Shivlingi Seeds (Bryonia Laciniosa)
Shivlingi Seeds are very nutritious. It is used to cure female infertility. Due to its rich nutrient profile, it is used in constipation, diabetes. It helps to regularize the menstrual cycle, reduces obesity and helps in weight loss. Shivlingi seeds are a uterine tonic. They are also useful in increasing sperm count in males. It is consumed with Putrajeevak Vati to treat infertility.
2. Putrajeevak Vati (Putranjiva Roxburghii)
Putrajeevak Vati or Putrajeevak seeds are excellent in improving female fertility. Mix 100 gms of Shivlingi seeds with 100 gms of Putrajeevak seeds and grind them into a powder. Consume this powder along with milk empty stomach in the morning and after dinner.
You can also consume Stri Rasayan Vati and Chandraprabha Vati in case of excessive or low bleeding. But stop its consumption after you have conceived.
PCOD is a lifestyle disorder. All these yoga, exercising and a healthy diet help in controlling PCOD symptoms and helps in PCOS weight loss.