Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex female endocrine disorder which can make the ovaries stop working normally. PCOS generally affects your hormones, blood vessels, menstrual cycles, weight, fertility, appearance, and production/regulation of insulin in the body. If you suffer from PCOS, you are also more at risk of developing insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even sleep apnea.
While most women struggle with weight gain from time to time, for women who suffer from PCOS, weight gain is a constant uphill struggle. The hormonal imbalance from PCOS not only causes weight gain, but also makes it very difficult for women to lose weight. More than 60% of women with PCOS are also overweight. Women who suffer from PCOS are likely to have increased levels of insulin in their systems and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance not only makes it so your body is not able to properly deal carbohydrates but it also creates a chemical imbalance that makes you crave sweets.
Excess insulin in the body also increases the production of androgen, a male hormone which can cause acne, excessive body hair growth, and male-pattern weight gain (belly fat/apple shaped). Other symptoms of PCOS include ovarian cysts, infertility, high blood pressure, diabetes, mood swings, depression.
The good news is that certain diet and lifestyle changes can be bring much healing and relief to a woman suffering from PCOS. Natural lifestyle and dietary changes can greatly reduce the severity of the condition, improve insulin sensitivity and help you lose weight.
There are three main things you can do that can really make a difference with your PCOS:
Tackle Your Sugar Addiction
Sugar is an incredibly addictive substances and it creates a vicious perpetuating cycle: you crave sugar, you eat something high in sugar, you feel great for a little while, you begin to crash as your blood sugar levels drop, you then feel lousy and begin to crave sugar again and on and on it goes. Sugar contributes greatly to weight gain and obesity which in turn contributes to hormonal imbalance worsening PCOS.
To break the cycle, you should avoid all foods which are high in sugars and starches. Items such as rice, white bread, and potatoes, because they have such a high amount of starch, should never be consumed. You will be more successful if you stick to drinking water instead of sports drinks, colas (especially diet colas), or fruity juices. Water will serve to flush out the system and help avoid the sugars found in these types of sweetened drinks. The safest foods to eat are those which have very low in, or have no sugar or starch at all.
Nothing helps break the cycle of insulin resistance like getting your body moving. Not only will exercise help you lose weight, but getting out there and exercising on a regular basis will greatly improve insulin sensitivity greatly reducing your PCOS symptoms. Researchers have found that women who did aerobic exercise for 3 hours per week improved insulin sensitivity, lowered cholesterol levels and loss belly fat. Regular exercise also been shown to improve ovulation.
Eat Real Foods
Ditch the processed convenience foods and learn to eat whole foods. To attain any kind of real improvement or relief form PCOS, you MUST feed your body real wholesome foods. Your body needs nutrients that it cannot get from processed foods. Whole foods are full of nutrients that nourish your body so it can heal and function at its best. Eat foods created by nature intended to be food and eat them as close to their original state as possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables are obvious choices and the least likely to contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance. Avoid chemicals, preservatives, dyes, high fructose corn syrup, modified ingredients, and GMOs at all cost. Baked goods, because of the starch and sugar, should be crossed off the foods-to-eat list as well. Eating nourishing wholesome foods including healthy fats is a crucial component PCOS recovery.
So don’t lose hope, relief is possible! You can take steps to bring relief and recovery to your body. Begin by slowly making changes to your diet and lifestyle and you will soon start to notice gradual improvements, hormonal balance and weight loss.