Why Is It So Hard To Lose Weight With PCOS?

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 #PCOS

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.

My IVF specialist told me to lose weight if I wanted to have a baby. I lost 7kg with PCOS and conceived within 3 months of working with Narelle

Tina Lucas – melbourne

Are Your Microbes Making You Fat?

For years you’ve probably tried diet after diet, eat less, exercise more, count carbs, drink shakes and yet no matter what you do the scales just keep creeping up.

Ironically, most people come to me for weight loss who already eat healthy and exercise, yet they struggle for years to maintain a healthy body weight.

Statistics show a dramatic increase in rates of type 2 diabetes, yet we are investing in weight loss more than ever before. This means, we need to get to the biological causes of why our cells are becoming insulin resistant and develop new late life-interventions to slow the process down (4,7,9).

If you are gaining lots of weight or can’t lose weight even with significant changes in diet or exercise routines, fat loss resistance triggered by microbiome may be the culprit

Passionate about helping people maintain a healthy body weight, I developed MassAttack 20 years ago to determine the biomarkers of what causes weight gain and provide 100% natural strategies to stop, reverse and prevent insulin resistance.

After 20 years of researching, the results are better than what I hoped and everyone who wants to maintain a healthy body weight needs to know this information!

The Facts on Flora

Our guts contain around 100 trillion microbes, collectively known as the gut microbiota. No two people’s microbiomes look exactly the same, and they are a product of what we inherit from our mothers during birth, our diets, environment and lifestyle.

In a pilot study, 26 participants went on a lower-calorie diet high in fruit and vegetables, and some didn’t lose as much weight as others. Analysis of their gut bacteria found participants had different levels of two particular types of bacteria, and one, Dialister, that hindered weight loss.

Many factors can affect your ability to lose weight, including certain health conditions, your dieting and weight loss history, age-related changes and your mother’s diet during pregnancy.

What researchers also found was that some for some people, eating tomatoes can make them fat! This is because tomatoes are one food that spikes insulin levels quite a lot for some people and they need to control the amount they eat. What this means is, the key to long term weight maintenance is to know your microbiome DNA. This is why I’m so excited – these insulin spikes trigger other hormonal problems linked to weight gain it’s a compounded effect and no matter what you do to try to lose weight, your body will fight you all the way. The good news is, you have access to the technology to find out if this is you!

The 3 key steps to turn back the scales are:

  1. Remove the stimulating factors
  2. Identify genetic causes
  3. Inhibit biological changes

1. Remove stimulating factors

Accelerated weight gain in both men and women is triggered by over 120 hidden factors that are modifiable – BUT the current structure for managing weight currently does not screen for these!

Having just one hidden factor can increase body weight by a steady 5kg per year and 1 in 5 people have at least one hidden factor.

This is why I developed the MassAttack assessment screen – an affordable, accessible way to put the stops on hidden factors accelerating biological weight gain.

2. Identify genetic causes

Getting assessed is the first step to take. Knowing how to fix these problems is next and DNA testing provides answers.

Perhaps you’ve already had some genetic testing done through your specialist for genetic mutations like MTHFR or thyroid conditions. What you are unlikely to have been tested for is the interaction between your genes, your diet and how this affects your biological metabolic age.

Microbiome health influences metabolic health in both men and women. It is also implicated in foetal development and impaired diversity is linked to autism spectrum disorder (16).  For starters it influences over 30 genes involved in the uptake and metabolism of nutrients needed for the prevention of conditions linked to weight gain like PCOS, endometriosis and thyroid disorders (1).  This includes the metabolism of vitamins A, C, D and B12 as well as folate, glutathione and coenzyme Q10 (5).  

Other genes play a role in how rapidly your metabolism ages primarily due to their influence on conditions that influence energy conversion like inflammation, mitochondrial function, digestive problems, hormone related conditions and autoimmunity.

In addition, exciting new microbiome DNA testing identifies the influence of specific digestive flora on estrogen production, insulin regulation and thyroid health – all key triggers for accelerated metabolic aging. This means, depending on your microbiome balance, taking an over the counter probiotic or eating more fermented foods could potentially be making things worse.

It also means, whatever you do to improve your metabolism, including dietary choices, taking vitamins or managing your health, can become more effective if you match it to your DNA.

DNA testing is an exciting NEW strategy for rapidly reversing the rate of metabolic decline. Tailoring your diet to your DNA can literally shed around 5 kg per year without trying.

3. Inhibit cellular changes damaging your metabolism

Finally, (this is new information that can make a big difference to conceiving) an amazing researcher at Princeton University – Coleen Murphy discovered cathepsin B proteases increase metabolic aging.

The super exciting part is, advances in genomic herbal therapeutics means you can inhibit, reverse and slow this process.

If you have been trying to lose weight, it’s time to take a new approach. My 3 new and exciting discoveries means you can not only slow metabolic aging but turn back time! It’s exciting. It’s new. People struggling to lose weight should know this!

Remember, the approaches currently promoted to people are eat less, exercise more and decrease carbohydrate intake. It’s far too simplistic and collectively we need to stop thinking this way. Simply waiting for it to happen naturally, following a healthy lifestyle or taking over the counter herbs or vitamins is in some cases helpful, but only skimming the surface and in some cases potentially making things worse.

This approach to improving metabolic outcomes is an absolute game changer. It’s a 100% natural way to stop, reverse and restore the effects of accelerated metabolic aging and if you apply these steps you really can change your path to maintaining a healthy body weight. It’s time to start believing it really is your time to be slim!

Narelle Stegehuis MHSc HM.

Narelle Stegehuis is a leading natural health provider.  Helping people be healthy for over 20 years, Narelle is passionate about natural accelerated age reversal and environmental metabolic health. Narelle provides specialised content for Torrens University and media publications such as New Idea, Woman’s Day and Women’s Fitness magazines. Narelle strives to create community awareness and affordable programs for the management of complex health disorders.

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  2. Enciso M, Sarasa J, Xanthopoulou L, et al. Polymorphisms in the MTHFR gene influence embryo viability and the incidence of aneuploidy. Hum Genet 2016; 135(5):555-568
  3. Kollerová J, Koller T, Hlavatý T, Payer J. Vnitr Lek. Hormonal changes in inflammatory bowel disease 2015 Dec;61(12 Suppl 5):5S35-9. Slovak. PMID:27124970
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