Many women with polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS find it hard to lose weight. More than half of all women with PCOS are in a unhealthy BMI range and even on the lowest calorie restricted diets, still can’t lose weight. This is because they are weight loss resistant.
One of the most frustrating parts is to receive advice from health care providers to lose weight, but those with this syndrome know it’s not that easy. Many factors can affect your ability to lose weight with PCOS, including certain health conditions, your dieting and weight loss history, age-related changes and your mother’s diet and weight changes during pregnancy.
Treatment options for PCOS are typically aimed at reducing insulin levels and involve diet modifications, exercise, and medications or supplements. But what do you do and where do you go from here if nothing seems to be working?
The good news is, there ways to lose weight with PCOS, but it’s not something you can buy in a box or over the counter. Losing weight with PCOS needs a targeted, tailored approach that incorporates modern science, whole foods and a little help from mother nature.
Here are some reasons why it’s so much harder for women with PCOS to lose weight.
PCOS is linked to loss resistance. High insulin promotes fat storage. This fat can be difficult to lose or resistant to traditional methods such as calorie counting, low carb diets or exercise.GIT #microbiome is a hidden trigger for #PCOSTweet
Elevated insulin levels can be triggered by several factors such as stress, other hormones, health conditions or environmental pollutants.
Researchers have also identified an individuals microbiome or flora also contributes to elevated insulin. This is why some people can literally gain weight eating foods that are healthy for others. Tomatoes are a good example of this! If you have PCOS and want to lose weight, the first place to start is a metabolic assessment. What have you got to lose?
Insulin promotes hunger
As part of promoting fat storage, insulin acts as an appetite-stimulating hormone. High levels of insulin can be why some women with PCOS experience more hunger. Left unmanaged, these cravings can sabotage even the best eating habits, leading to weight gain.
Eating often, including sufficient protein with meals, and avoiding sugary foods are all helpful ways to reduce cravings.
Appetite regulating hormones
Weight loss and weight maintenance can be difficult for women with PCOS due to abnormal levels of appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin, cholecystokinin, and leptin. These hormones may stimulate hunger in women with PCOS, resulting in increased food intake and difficulty managing weight.
Sleep disturbances and insomnia
Women with PCOS are at a risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is a blockage of the upper airway that causes a lack of oxygen during sleep. This results in daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, weight gain and resistant weight loss.
Excess body weight is a cause of sleep apnea and elevated levels of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) seen in PCOS, can play a role in affecting sleep receptors. Lack of sleep is associated with insulin resistance and weight gain.
When clients ask me ‘Can I lose weight with PCOS? My answer is yes. Losing weight with PCOS needs a targeted, tailored approach that incorporates modern science, whole foods and a little help from mother nature.