BY Team Veera
Getting rid of abdominal fat is difficult, but it might be more difficult for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This is because the hormonal imbalance brought on by PCOS makes it challenging for food to be metabolised, which impacts weight loss.
In general, 1 in 10 women of childbearing age suffers from this illness. Let’s try to comprehend the connection between the two before we go into the best strategies to lose abdominal fat.
The connection between PCOS and belly fat:
When you have insulin resistance, your muscles, fat, and liver cells don’t respond effectively to it and have difficulty converting the blood’s glucose into energy. As a result, your pancreas produces more insulin to compensate for the loss. This further disrupts the regulation of weight and promotes fat storage.
How to reduce PCOS Belly fat:
Belly fat occurs due to a hormonal imbalance related to hunger brought on by PCOS. As a result, blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day. However, you can still lose belly fat while you have PCOS. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle routine and an appropriate dietary pattern is all that’s required.
Exercise daily –
By maintaining a daily exercise programme, you can stabilise your blood sugar levels and lower your chance of developing diabetes and heart disease (2 conditions women with PCOS are at high risk). Studies show that before the age of 40, more than half of women with PCOS will have either prediabetes or diabetes.
Include both cardio and strength training in your fitness regimen, and alternate your workout days between walking, running, lifting weights, and bodyweight exercises.
Yoga, Pilates, and swimming are a few other excellent fitness options for PCOS-afflicted ladies.
Do at least 30 to 40 minutes of exercise each day.
Your body’s blood flow will be improved, and your heart rate will rise.
Manage Stress –
One of the main factors for weight gain is stress. Cortisol levels increase during stress (a hormone produced by the adrenal gland).
- High cortisol levels bring on weight gain and insulin resistance. Therefore, your risk of gaining belly fat is significantly increased by ongoing stress.
- A vicious loop results from belly fat because it worsens inflammation, which prompts your body to produce more cortisol.
- To lower cortisol levels, put your attention on stress-reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, and listening to calming music. It will assist you in losing abdominal fat and cultivating a good outlook to help you make better choices.
Follow 7-8 hours of restful sleep –
According to studies, getting too little sleep causes inflammation, aggravates PCOS and encourages weight gain. Additionally, it raises your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Follow these tips to get a restful night’s sleep:
- Try to go to bed before 10 PM because your cortisol levels will be at their lowest, and you will fall asleep more quickly.
- Do not use electronics an hour before bedtime. The blue light emissions from screens disrupt your circadian rhythm, which decreases melatonin secretion.
- Make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep – Getting enough sleep lowers the likelihood of gaining abdominal fat by 12%.
Healthy eating habits –
There is no best diet for PCOS weight loss – every woman is different and so the diet plan needs to be customised for your symptoms. For women with PCOS, losing weight can be challenging due to the hormonal abnormalities, insulin resistance, and inflammation associated with this disorder. However, even a little weight loss of roughly 5% can enhance this and general quality of life in PCOS women.
Eat Fewer Carbs:
Due to the effect carbohydrates have on insulin levels, reducing your carb intake may help you control PCOS.
Your body needs insulin to regulate blood sugar levels and store energy. Research links elevated insulin levels to increased body fat and weight gain in general, as well as in PCOS women.
In one study, obese women with PCOS and insulin resistance first consumed a diet that was 40% carbs and 45% fat for three weeks, then consumed a diet that was 60% carbs and 25% fat for three weeks.
While blood sugar levels were comparable during the two periods of the diet, the lower-carb, higher-fat phase saw a 30% decrease in insulin levels.
Additionally, women with PCOS may benefit from a low-glycemic diet. The glycaemic index (GI) gauges how rapidly a specific item increases blood sugar levels.
Add Fibre and Protein to your Diet:
In women with PCOS, weight loss may be enhanced by a high-fibre diet since fibre keeps you feeling full after meals. In one study, women with PCOS who consumed more fibre had lower levels of insulin resistance, total body fat, and belly fat. Higher fibre consumption was linked to reduced body weight in a different trial of 57 women with this illness.
Eat Healthy Fats:
Including a lot of healthy fats in your diet may help you combat weight loss and other PCOS symptoms while making you feel more content after meals.
A low-fat diet (55 % carbohydrates, 18 % protein, and 27 % fat) was compared to a higher-fat diet in one study, including 30 women with PCOS (41 % carb, 19 % protein, 40 % fat)
After eight weeks, the higher-fat diet shed more fat than the lower-fat diet, decreasing lean body mass, including belly fat.
Adding healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and nut butter to meals can help increase the levels of good cholesterol, and keep you full and satiated.
Eat Fermented Foods:
Healthy gut bacteria may impact the maintenance of weight and metabolism.
According to studies, women with PCOS may have less beneficial gut flora than those without the disorder.
Additionally, recent studies indicate that some probiotic strains may help people lose weight.
So, consuming probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods may boost the number of good bacteria in your gut. You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement to get the same outcomes.
Limit junk and Added Sugars food:
Your chance of developing insulin resistance, which is linked to obesity, may rise due to processed foods and added sugars. This is because sugar may be metabolised differently by women with PCOS than those without it.
According to research, women with PCOS who consume the same amount of sugar as women without this illness report higher blood sugar and insulin levels.
Studies show that simple meals with little to no processing elevate blood sugar levels less than highly processed foods and are more satiating.
In addition, physicians advise women with PCOS to consume less refined carbs and added sugars to control their symptoms and keep a healthy body weight.
Cakes, cookies, candies, and fast food are foods high in refined carbs and added sugar.
Your body naturally produces inflammation in reaction to an injury or infection. However, obesity is associated with chronic inflammation, which is prevalent in women with PCOS.
Foods that have been processed and sugar may increase inflammation.
In one study, blood indicators for inflammation were higher in 16 women with PCOS who took a single dosage of 75 grammes of glucose than in women without this illness.
A diet similar to the Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and omega-3-rich foods like fatty fish, may reduce inflammation.
Don’t eat less:
A prolonged calorie restriction may cause your metabolism to slow down. Even though calorie restriction is likely to result in short-term weight loss, the body adjusts to this restriction over time by burning fewer calories overall, which can result in weight gain.
Eating too few calories might also severely affect hormones that regulate appetite.
For instance, in one study, restricted dieting was found to alter the hormones ghrelin, leptin, peptide YY, cholecystokinin, and insulin, which increased appetite and resulted in weight gain.
It can be advisable to concentrate on eating complete foods and avoiding unhealthy goods rather than controlling calories.
Love your liver & Drink lots of water:
Start each day with warm lemon water and apple cider vinegar to help the liver detoxify, and finish it with a probiotic.
And during the day, drink a LOT of water.
Use the formula below to determine how much water your body needs to function appropriately: Bodyweight-based 0.037ml/kg. For instance, a girl weighing 60 kg needs 2.22L of water each day.
500 ml of water should be consumed before and after exercising, and you should also hydrate while exercising.
Practise Mindful Eating:
Women with PCOS are three times more prone to experience eating issues and frequently try numerous diets.
One potential remedy is mindful eating. It encourages a greater awareness of physiological cues like hunger and fullness.
In particular, binge eating and emotional eating, which are problematic eating behaviours, may be addressed with the aid of mindfulness-based approaches to food.
Additionally, research indicates a potential link between mindful eating and weight loss.
A few examples of mindful eating include chewing food gently, avoiding distractions like TV, mobile devices, and computers, and pausing to take breaks. Keep a journal of how your body responds to hunger and fullness.
Remember that certain kinds of alcohol like beer, wine, and cocktails are high in sugar and can cause an instant spike in your blood sugar levels. On the other hand, hard liquors such as vodka, gin, whiskey, and rum are highly distilled and do not usually contain sugars, but it is the ‘mixer’ or the syrup, juice or soda that you use to combine alcohol with — contains high amounts of sugar. Also if you’re currently taking metformin, alcohol and metformin don’t go well and can have adverse effects on the body. Alcohol can:
- Affect heart health
- Cause sleep disturbances
- Impair your mood.
- Bring down your energy levels.
Take care of your gut:
The gut is responsible for 80% of the immune system’s function.
You can adequately absorb the nutrients from your diet and produce happy hormones if your gut health is healthy.
Revert to simple, nutrient-rich foods to keep things simple.
If anything comes in a packet, your body is probably not benefiting from it.
We need wholefoods approach for the gut to thrive. Therefore try to consume natural food and avoid items with numbers on the back.
All in all, women with PCOS may struggle to lose weight.
The best diet for PCOS weight loss so say is the one that is balanced and is rich in whole foods, protein, healthy fats, and fibre and low in inflammatory foods like refined carbohydrates and highly processed meals that may help people lose weight. A few vitamins might also be beneficial.
Additionally, lifestyle needs to be taken into account. Sleep, stress reduction, and regular exercise are all crucial for weight loss.
Try any of the suggestions above if you struggle to lose weight and have PCOS.