If you’ve been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you can expect to gain a few extra pounds. PCOS weight gain can lead to conditions like obesity, which can increase your risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
A study on PCOS and weight gain reveals that women with PCOS gain more weight annually than women without. That’s because this condition causes insulin resistance and promotes fat storage. It can also affect the regulation of appetite-controlling hormones like ghrelin, cholecystokinin, and leptin. The hunger this causes can lead to you overeating more often.
Fortunately, there are ways to address this issue sustainably without sacrificing your overall well-being. Here are some of the healthiest methods for managing PCOS weight gain.
PCOS Weight Gain and Your Diet
It’s common knowledge that you must change your eating habits to lose weight. However, for people with PCOS, this is especially important. Since the condition causes insulin resistance, the best PCOS diet to lose weight is one that keeps your blood sugar steady. A few food tweaks should accomplish this to keep lipid levels low—and will also help you manage other PCOS side-effects, like acne, excess hair growth, and irregular menstrual cycles.
That said, focus on eating fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates—like beans and whole grains—to slow your digestion and regulate your appetite. You should also eat more protein to reduce the amount of sugar your blood absorbs, build lean muscle for more efficient weight loss workouts, and keep yourself satiated to prevent overeating. So, make sure to have some chicken, fish, lean meats, or tofu in your meals.
Get some exercise
Workouts are another non-negotiable for weight loss. It increases the number of calories your body uses for energy, preventing it from turning food into fat. Exercise also benefits women with PCOS by further improving their diet’s ability to regulate hormones and lower cholesterol.
Some exercises you can include in your workout routine are cardio activities that get your heart rate up, like running, swimming, and skipping rope. You can also try strength-training exercises like weight lifting to boost fat loss and build muscle or slower activities like yoga and pilates that suit a wide range of fitness levels. That way, even those who haven’t worked out in a while can reap the benefits of exercise for PCOS weight management.
Get Sufficient Sleep
Sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and your overall health. When you get the ideal 7-8 hours of sleep a night, your body can better regulate hormones that drive hunger, preventing you from eating more throughout the day. We’ve also noted that when navigating difficult times in life, such as managing PCOS complications, sleep can boost your well-being and help you function and recover more effectively.
Hormonal imbalances in PCOS patients can lead to decreased progesterone production and poorer sleep quality, so create a conducive sleep environment that includes a comfortable mattress, blackout curtains, and minimal noise. You should also limit screen time before bed, as the blue light emitted by your phone can interfere with melatonin and keep you from getting sleepy at night.
Practice Stress Management
Stress increases your cortisol levels, leading to insulin resistance and weight gain. Chronic stress may also increase your risk of getting belly fat, which can make your body produce more cortisol. As someone with PCOS, stress can also be inevitable as you struggle with the frustration of dealing with your symptoms and PCOS-related health issues.
Fortunately, you can manage this stress by practicing meditation, trying breathing techniques, and spending more time outdoors. That way, you can approach your stressors with a clearer mind and find healthier ways to address them. You can also confide in your loved ones about your struggles to release negative emotions and even get advice on what to do next.
PCOS weight gain is a serious issue that can lead to more severe health problems in the future. With these methods, may you successfully manage excess weight for better overall health.