How to Lose Weight With PCOS? – All the Changes I Made to Overcome the Unwanted Side Effects

by Stephanie Yankova

One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is gaining weight. And one of the biggest challenges for women who have been diagnosed with this endocrine disorder is losing that weight. I’ve been battling the symptoms of PCOS for over 4 years now, so I understand the emotional and psychological trauma that comes with the physical changes that occur as a result of polycystic ovarian syndrome. The weight-gaining aspect can really take a toll on you, which is why I find the conversation around this topic so crucial. Based on my own personal experience, extensive research, consultations with medical specialists, and holistic approaches, I can confidently say that losing weight and maintaining a healthy body with PCOS is a completely attainable, realistic goal. Keep reading to find out how I did it!

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Why am I Gaining Weight with PCOS?

There is something called the PCOS belly, and it’s a very common symptom triggered by hormonal imbalance. The PCOS body distributes body fat differently than the organism of someone without this diagnosis. High levels of cortisol, testosterone, and insulin resistance, can cause your body to begin storing fat around the midsection of your stomach.

Why do I Always Feel Hungry?

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One of the most significant ways in which PCOS manifests in our daily life is through poor sleep -you have a hard time falling asleep; you wake up frequently in the middle of the night; you struggle to get up in the morning and wake up feeling tired. Nutrient deficiency and irregular periods are other prominent symptoms that affect the majority of women with polycystic ovaries. All these disturbances in the natural function of our bodies cause hormonal disbalance, which then leads to increased hunger. PCOS disrupts your appetite regulation system in a way that decreases your feeling of fullness, hence the constant feeling of dissatisfied hunger.

How to Lose Weight with PCOS?

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The three main components that you need to put a little extra effort into in order to start losing your PCOS weight are a well-structured diet, a stress-free, balanced lifestyle, and some sort of physical exercise (dancing, walking, gym etc.). It may seem scary or unattainable at first because results will come slowly, but you have to find a way to overcome that mental barrier in order to be able to help yourself and your body the best way you can!

In “Fertility and Sterility“, an international journal investigating issues with fertility and human reproductive disorders, Dr John C. Marshall – a world-renowned endocrinologist – states that, while insulin resistance and obesity don’t necessarily go hand in hand, if your body is resistant to insulin this increases the chances of high blood sugar which can result in gaining unwanted weight. In that journal, he also says: “When effective, often as part of an organized program of lifestyle modification together with exercise and diet, weight loss has been shown to reduce hyperandrogenism, increase ovulation and rates of conception, together with improving the metabolic perturbations”. I know such things are easier said than done, which is why I’m going to share with you all the foods you should include, and absolutely avoid if you want to lose weight with PCOS based on my personal experience.

Best and Worst Foods for PCOS

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A really important habit you have to introduce into your daily routine is to have breakfast every single day. This will help you regulate your metabolism and your hormones. It will also give you a boost of energy and help you start the day in a better mood. However, you have to be mindful of what you’re eating. Foods such as sugary cereal, chocolate protein bars, pastries, store-bought artificial juices, or any other food with artificial coloring and flavoring must be excluded from your diet. Instead, focus on having a protein-rich breakfast, such as:

  • eggs on toast
  • berries (raw or in a smoothie)
  • rolled oats in nonfat Greek yoghurt (you can add cinnamon and berries, too)
  • protein shake

For your main meal, it’s also good to have a protein source, healthy fat and carbs with a low glycaemic index (GI). The benefits of a low GI carbs diet are balanced insulin and sugar levels, as well as increased energy throughout the day. If you aren’t familiar with what these carbs are, here’s a list:

  • brown/basmati rice
  • sweet potato (a healthy carb that keeps you full)
  • rolled oats
  • quinoa
  • apples (great for blood sugar and balancing insulin levels)
  • peaches
  • grapes

Teas and Spices that Improve the Symptoms of PCOS

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After years of medical consultations and prescriptions of different kinds of contraception pills to help me combat the symptoms of PCOS, I decided to take a more holistic approach. That’s when I found the miraculous effects that green tea can have on losing PCOS weight. It may sound too good to be true, but based on a nutrition research conducted by a number of scientists, green tea has great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In order to test the efficiency of green tea they did a study in which they treated one half of a selected group with PCOS with green tea, and the other half received a placebo. The group that took green tea showed significant improvements in terms of body weight loss.

Other herbs and spices that I’ve tried and have noticed to have a tremendous positive impact on my PCOS body are:

  • spearmint tea – lowers the levels of androgen in your body, which helps reduce the symptoms of hirsutism (facial hair)
  • cinnamon & ginger – help lower blood sugar in your body which can significantly improve insulin resistance, resulting in weight loss
  • turmeric & curcumin – a powerful Ayurvedic combination which helps treat problems with the digestive system and relieves inflammation

Read also: Which substances protect us against oxidative stress? Turn your harmful diet habits into healthy ones!

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