Is PCOS Causing Your Weight Gain?

If you or your loved one have been diagnosed with PCOS, you might feel frozen and have legions of questions racing through your mind:

  • Do I have to take prescription medications to treat this?
  • Will it ever go away?
  • Will I ever be able to have a baby?
  • Are there any natural solutions?
  • Will I lose the excess weight?  

Take a moment to pause and breathe. Fill your lungs with fresh, cool, healing oxygen and slowly and deliberately breathe out the hot air of stress and worry. 

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and is the most common endocrine disorder found in women.  

Common Symptoms of PCOS: 

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Thinning hair
  • Oily skin
  • Hair growth on face, chest or back
  • Infertility
  • Excess androgens (testosterone) - not everyone has this
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Insulin resistance

Most women who have been diagnosed with PCOS have the hallmark symptom of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when we need more and more insulin to get the same result which is to drive glucose out of the blood and into our cells for energy. Over time, insulin becomes less effective at doing its job and eventually insulin and glucose become high.

High insulin causes the ovaries to make excessive amounts of androgens and insulin also gets the liver to make less sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG is responsible for binding testosterone so that it doesn't cause the above issues.

PCOS is an inflammatory condition, and as such we can begin to address it by creating a holistic approach instead of prescribing a band-aid approach that merely masks the symptoms and doesn’t involve real healing.

My Top 5 Tips to Help Heal PCOS due to High Androgens:

1. Lose weight: If reading these words leads you down a negative spiral of thoughts surrounding deprivation and starvation, gently stop yourself and be open to the idea of reframing how you think about weight loss. If you would like to lose a lot of weight, start by making it a goal to lose just 5 pounds. And instead of fixating on your desire to lose those 5 pounds, put your energy towards placing positive cues around your house. 

Set your workout clothes out in a neatly folded pile on your dresser so you can easily put them on to go out for a walk. Have fresh fruits and veggies cut up in your fridge so they’re easy to snack on throughout the week. Envision how you will feel and look once you lose that excess weight. Think about the favor that you are doing for your internal organs and bodily processes. 

You will not only be reducing your insulin resistance and excess androgens, you will also be giving your body an environment to start thriving and functioning optimally in other ways as well. 

2. Eat a lower glycemic (low carb) anti-inflammatory diet: Eating a low carb diet can help you lower your androgens up to 20%! There are thousands of low carb recipes and meal plans on the internet. 

Carve out 30 minutes this week to spend some time finding recipes that you think you would enjoy cooking and eating. Find ones that you think will leave you feeling full and satisfied so that you actually can stick to this new way of eating!

3. Eat foods high in fiber (lots of fruits and veggies): Aim to get 35-45 grams of fiber per day, as this will help remove excess testosterone out of the body. One great way to get more organic fruits and veggies into your diet is to make smoothies. Experiment with adding a variety of different ingredients- you might be surprised how good they taste and how beautiful they look! 

Some recommendations for ingredients you can pick from and mix together in ways that sound appealing to you: green leafy vegetables, avocados, shredded carrots, beets (you can steam these and store them in your freezer), pumpkin, mixed berries, bananas, apples, cherries, mangos, peaches, and flax/chia/hemp seeds.   

4. Omit inflammatory foods such as dairy and sugar: Limiting or eliminating dairy and sugar from your diet can help heal your gut and reduce overall inflammation in the body. The key to making this sustainable is to find alternative foods and beverages that are appealing to you! 

For example, if you are used to drinking soda on a regular basis try to swap out your daily coke with a sparkling water. If you love drinking cow’s milk try organic coconut, almond, or cashew milk. Buy fresh organic berries and eat them for dessert in place of a tub of ice cream. 

It’s important to not feel like you’re depriving yourself- change is uncomfortable and that’s okay. Lean into the discomfort and don’t make it an option to quit. Yes, you will likely slip up along the way but get right back up and keep going. Making lifestyle changes is a marathon, not a sprint. 

5. Incorporate joyful movement into your daily routine: What types of physical activities did you enjoy doing as a child? Get in touch with your inner child and have fun moving your body again! 

Exercise doesn’t have to be terrifyingly intimidating or some drudgery task you have to do, it should be something fun you look forward to. Your homework is to find ways that you enjoy moving your body. 

Here’s some suggestions: go for a daily walk without your phone and soak in the beauty around you, find a 10-minute a day for 30 days yoga or pilates challenge on YouTube you can commit to doing, go biking, kayaking, swimming, running, jump roping, salsa dancing, rock climbing, horseback riding. 

These types of daily activities can help improve insulin resistance and help with weight loss and can become a joyful part of your existence that you look forward to doing every day!

If you’re still feeling confused and overwhelmed, I am here to help and serve you! Schedule a Metabolic Discovery Call with me so together we can co-create a plan for success.

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