How to Lose Weight with PCOS

Three happy women to illustrate how to lose weight with PCOS
Medically Reviewed
February 5, 2024

Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) presents unique challenges, especially when it comes to your weight management. This guide aims to answer the question of how to lose weight with PCOS by looking at:

  • What PCOS is and its impact on weight
  • Functional nutrition
  • Hormone therapy
  • Lifestyle adjustments

PCOS and Its Impact on Weight

PCOS is a hormonal disorder prevalent among women of reproductive age and is characterized by the following:

  • Elevated androgens: These often lead to symptoms such as acne and hirsutism.
  • Insulin resistance: A common feature that contributes to weight gain and metabolic issues.
  • Inflammation: Chronic low-grade inflammation that can also affect gut health and metabolism.

The exact causes of PCOS are complex and multifaceted:

  • You may have a genetic predisposition to it.
  • Your insulin resistance may have led to elevated insulin and androgen levels.
  • Chronic inflammation might have stimulated polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.
  • Lifestyle factors: It might be your diet, level of physical activity, or stress, because all of these can influence PCOS symptoms.

How PCOS shows up can vary, but among common symptoms you’ll often find:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Multiple cysts on the outside of the ovaries (visible to an ultrasound scan)
  • Excess hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Acne and oily skin
  • Scalp hair thinning
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Weight gain, particularly around the abdomen (commonly referred to as ‘PCOS belly’)

These last two are what can cause you to ask how to lose weight with PCOS!

Because of this complex scenario of causes and symptoms, managing PCOS requires more than just superficial changes.

However, a deep dive into functional nutrition reveals how altering what we eat can significantly influence the symptoms and challenges of PCOS. Weight loss and functional nutrition go hand in hand. So, let’s look at that now.

How to Lose Weight with PCOS via Functional Nutrition

Functional nutrition is crucial in managing PCOS – and working with clinical nutritionists can be invaluable. They can provide personalized dietary recommendations that specifically target the hormonal imbalances seen in PCOS.

This individualized medically guided weight loss ensures that your nutritional strategy is effective, sustainable, and suited to your unique needs.

How to lose weight with PCOS through functional nutrition simply means consuming foods that reduce androgens in females and alleviate symptoms. These include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Foods like fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts are rich in omega-3s, which combat inflammation and help improve insulin sensitivity.
  • High-fiber foods: Vegetables, legumes, and whole grains help slow down glucose absorption – preventing those insulin spikes that can exacerbate your PCOS symptoms. Fiber also aids in digestion and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Antioxidant-rich foods: Berries, green tea, and dark chocolate are packed with antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, improving hormonal balance.
  • Lean proteins: Protein sources like chicken, fish, and tofu provide essential nutrients without excess calories or harmful fats.
  • Low-glycemic fruits: Fruits such as apples, berries, and pears have a lower impact on blood sugar levels, making them ideal for managing insulin resistance.

This approach also involves understanding the foods to avoid eating with PCOS because they disrupt hormonal balance and aggravate your insulin resistance:

  • Processed foods
  • High-sugar foods (sodas, candies, baked goods)
  • Refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, other refined grains)
  • High-fat dairy products
  • Excessive caffeine

You can see from the above that losing weight with PCOS is not very different to ensuring you have a healthy diet all the time! But what about intermittent fasting – will that help?

Intermittent Fasting and PCOS

For those exploring how to lose weight with PCOS, intermittent fasting can be an effective tool. Alongside dietary changes, intermittent fasting is another innovative approach gaining attention for its effectiveness in managing PCOS. This involves alternating periods of eating with periods of fasting, which can improve insulin sensitivity and weight management.

Let’s look at some possibilities:

  • Fasting schedules: Common methods include the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours, eating during an 8-hour window) or the 5:2 approach (eating normally for 5 days, reducing calorie intake for 2 non-consecutive days).
  • Adapting to lifestyle: To avoid overexertion, align your fasting schedules with your routine and listen to your body’s hunger cues.

Your certified nutritionist will help you understand whether this kind of  regime is right for you. They take an integrative approach to your health and consider all your PCOS symptoms and what is a sustainable target weight for you.

Some lifestyle modifications are also beneficial in supporting your weight loss journey.

Lifestyle Modifications for PCOS Management

Exercise: A Vital Component

Regular exercise is invaluable in managing PCOS. It not only aids in weight loss but also improves insulin resistance. A combination of aerobic exercises (like walking or cycling) and resistance training (like weight lifting) is particularly effective.

For some women, exercise also helps to regulate periods when they have PCOS.

Stress Management

Stress can profoundly impact hormonal balance and weight. Managing stress through practices like yoga, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or engaging in hobbies can significantly lower stress levels, thereby positively affecting your hormonal balance.

Sleep Improvement Tips

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a restful environment, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine close to bedtime can enhance your sleep quality. Good sleep is essential for hormonal regulation and weight management, with or without PCOS.

Integrating Hormone Therapy to Help Lose Weight with PCOS

Beyond nutrition, eating patterns, and lifestyle changes, addressing PCOS’s hormonal aspects is crucial. In the context of how to lose weight with PCOS, you should consider integrating hormone therapy into your treatment plan, such as via our NavaRX program.

NavaRX represents a modern approach to weight management with PCOS, combining hormone therapy with a customized functional nutrition plan. The program includes a weekly injection of semaglutide to enhance feelings of fullness and improve blood sugar control. Semaglutide is proven to help you lose weight alongside changes in nutrition and lifestyle.

However, what makes semaglutide a game-changer in the treatment of PCOS-related weight issues is its dual action.

Not only does it aid in reducing calorie intake by controlling your appetite, but it also positively influences how your body processes insulin. This makes it effective for both weight loss and metabolic regulation – two key challenges in PCOS management.

Suppose, for example, you’re wondering how to get rid of PCOS belly or how to lose weight with PCOS fast. The answer is still a combination of personalized nutrition, hormone therapy, and lifestyle adjustments. NavaRX has you covered!

Nava Can Help You Lose Weight When You Have PCOS

At Nava Health, we understand that your experience with PCOS is unique and your struggles to keep the weight off are also unique.

If you’re ready for a personalized, integrative, and functional approach to PCOS weight management, why not schedule an appointment with us today and let’s talk?

Image attribution

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A Medical Director, and one of the first physicians to join the Nava Health & Vitality Center, Dr. Douglas Lord has made significant contributions to our Center and its founding principles. Dr. Lord has helped develop and implement the Nava Method™—Nava’s proprietary approach to total body wellness. He has also been instrumental in liaising with other expert practitioners to successfully implement Nava’s range of therapies, treatments, and products.

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How to Lose Weight with PCOS
To lose weight with PCOS, why not try a personalized, integrative, and functional medicine approach to ensure your success?