by Amanda Robertson
Guest PCOS Blogger
Do you have PCOS and a New Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight?
I suffer from PCOS but still reached my weight loss goal last year. Here are my “Top 10 Tips” to help you in 2008.
It’s that time of year again. Millions of women, including those with PCOS, will be vowing to drop those extra pounds they carried around for 2007– and then a few more that were packed on with the help of Aunt Sue’s cornbread dressing or that giant tin of tri-colored popcorn that makes its annual appearance in the office break room.
Health club memberships will be at an all-time high. The promotional flyer I got from the local gym in the mail today went straight into the trash. I am vowing never to pay another year of “fat tax,” those fifty-plus dollars a month many of us agree to pay for a one-year membership that most will probably use for a few weeks. Of course, I believe in exercise as part of any weight-loss program, but it doesn’t require a gym or any expensive torture contraptions.
I’m sure sign-ups on ediets.com will soar. I’ve tried most of the more popular diets they offer: Atkins, Slim-Fast Optima, etc. — the results never went beyond losing five or so pounds. Atkins is just so hard! And I consider a Slim-Fast shake desert, not a meal! But after years of trial and error and much reading on the subject, I have at last found a healthy, balanced diet that doesn’t require any special shakes or the banishing of carbs.
I also tried numerous supplements. Hoodia, which I took religiously for four weeks, had absolutely no impact on curbing my appetite, along with a few others containing stimulants that made me feel like I was having a heart attack. But don’t get me wrong; I do feel that the RIGHT supplements can have a dramatic impact on weight loss.
I believe the underlying cause of PCOS is insulin resistance. And I believe this because as soon as I started to treat my insulin resistance. I saw a dramatic improvement in my skin and in my hair: less acne, more hair. And I also reached my weight loss goal of losing 45 pounds over the course of last year. I am 5’9” and now weigh a healthy 150 pounds.
Because of insulin resistance, many women with PCOS have a much harder time losing weight. Here is why: Insulin is the hormone responsible for allowing glucose, or blood sugar, to be absorbed by the cells of the body, where it is converted to energy. If you are insulin resistant, your cells react sluggishly to insulin. When you eat a meal — whether it’s steak, fish or vegetables — the body breaks it down into glucose, a usable energy form. When you are insulin resistant, extra glucose remains in the blood stream, until it is finally sent to the liver and converted to excess body fat.
These are my Top 10 Tips to Weight Loss with PCOS.
1. Gradually cut down on refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, white pasta and most sweets) and replace them with healthy sources of carbohydrates (whole grain bread, brown rice and whole wheat pasta). Refined carbs have been processed so that most of the fiber and nutrients are stripped away. This causes the body to quickly convert them into glucose. Whole grains still contain the fiber that will allow your body to digest the food more slowly, keeping you blood sugar levels from spiking. I found that I was able to lose weight by eating roughly 70 grams of healthy carbohydrates per day.
2. Avoid all hydrogenated fats. Look at labels. If the product contains ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oil, don’t buy it. Look for products that are free of hydrogenated oils and trans fat.
3. Moderate your intake of saturated fats. Saturated fat can mostly be found in animal products like: bacon, red meat and cheese.
4. Incorporate healthy fats into your diet: instead of cooking with vegetable oil use olive oil. Add nuts and avocados into your salad. They are excellent sources of Omega-3, the heart-healthy fat.
5. Have lean protein at every meal. This will help to control glucose spikes. Servings should be 3-4 oz, about the size of a deck of cards. Try turkey, poultry, veggie burgers, and lean cuts of pork and beef.
6. Avoid starchy vegetables like carrots, beets, corn and potatoes. They naturally contain higher amounts of sugar that can cause glucose levels to rise. Opt for vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and zucchini, which are low in sugar and high in fiber.
7. Buy whole foods. This means if it comes in a box, it’s probably not good for you. Prepackaged food is full of preservatives, chemicals and sodium which can actually make PCOS symptoms worse.
8. Start an exercise program you can stick with. I began with walking 10 minutes a day, 3 days per week. Now I have worked my way up to jogging for 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Find an activity you enjoy whether it’s walking, rollerblading, hiking or swimming, and gradually increase your workout session lengths and the number of days per week you do them.
9. Begin taking supplements. (Insulite Labs PCOS System offers the best combination of supplements for women with PCOS that I’ve found.)
10. Take it slow! Losing more than half a pound per week is too fast and you will probably just gain it back.
This site has a wealth of information on PCOS and insulin resistance. I began taking their nutraceatical line in January of 2007, which I still follow, and I feel the supplements were one of the keys to my weight loss.
These two sites will help you understand the glycemic index, and the impact that individual foods have on blood sugar. It’s important for women with PCOS to watch their sugar.
I regularly visit this site for tips, inspiration and humor. It’s all about women with PCOS and what we go through.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog and the Insulite Labs website is for the sole purpose of being informative. This information is not and should not be used or relied upon as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician, nurse or other qualified health care
provider before you undergo any treatment, take any medication, supplements or other nutritional support, or for answers to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.