There no denying it – most women who have PCOS are overweight. While we are not entirely sure why this population tends to be more overweight than not – we cannot deny the evidence. The number one reason why people come to see me when they have PCOS is for weight loss. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to put together my top five tips for losing weight when you have PCOS. I feel like I could go on and on about this topic – but I decided to keep it short and sweet – like me!
1. Become a carbohydrate counter
Most women with PCOS are very sensitive to carbohydrates.
For some cysters, they just look at a food containing carbohydrates and they gain weight! Therefore, rather than count calories – count the amount of carbohydrates you consume on a daily basis. For most women with PCOS a good range is about 85 – 130 grams to support weight loss.
2. Push the Protein for PCOS and Weight Loss
Women with PCOS benefit from consuming lean sources of protein throughout the day. Examples of lean sources of protein include foods such as Greek yogurt, eggs, egg whites, low-fat cheeses, chicken, lean cuts of steak, lean ground beef & turkey, as well as some cuts of pork, white fish and low-sodium deli meats. Protein takes longer to digest and allows women who have PCOS to feel full for a longer period of time. Protein also helps stabilize blood sugar levels in women with PCOS that in turn helps to curb cravings.
3. Don’t shy away from fat
I see too many women who have PCOS and are fat phobic. It drives me nuts! No pun intended. Fat shares many of the same weight loss principles as protein. It delays gastric emptying, stabilizes blood sugar and plays a key role in hormone production. Aim to consume healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and natural nuts butters. I like to see about 30 – 35 % total daily calories coming from healthy fats to help facilitate weight loss in women with PCOS. Depending on the calorie level you are following this comes out to around 45 – 65 grams of fat per day.
4. Establish regular eating patterns
Many women who have PCOS suffer from fluctuations in their blood sugar that can cause them to feel weak, tired, light-headed, and irritable. These symptoms are exacerbated when they skip meals and go long periods of time without eating. Sound like you, cysta?!?
You have likely heard the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Do your best to consume a meal or snack every 3 hours. This helps prevents you from becoming hangry (and we don’t want that – do we?) and eating anything that is not nailed down. Take the time to establish regular eating patterns and you will be glad you did. “I am so pissed I planned and prepped my meals and snacks,” said no cyster ever.
5. Rock your veggies
Veggies are chock full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. There are so many awesome properties of fiber. Fiber helps keep you full, optimizes cholesterol levels and helps control large rises insulin when you eat. Sounds like the trifecta of weight loss!
Aim for about 30 grams of fiber per day. You can consume unlimited amounts of non-starchy vegetables to help meet these requirements. The only vegetables you need to count towards your carbohydrate count are peas, corn, potatoes and the winter squashes. Any other vegetables you can consume in unlimited quantities. So rock those veggies and reap the weight loss benefits of fiber.
I was really struggling to keep it at five key points for you cysters. The tips for women who have PCOS seems infinite in my mind – but I had to choose the one I felt were the most important. I hope you learned something about where to focus your attention when it comes to weight loss and PCOS. While I know it is not easy – I am confident with the right resources you can AND will lose weight. And always remember — you are so much stronger than you think.
Gosh, I know YOU must be chock-full of tips for weight loss. I would love to know what tips you have found helpful for weight loss and PCOS. Please share them with our community in the comments below.