About 1 in 10 women of reproductive age have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder. Women with PCOS often find it harder to lose weight than those without PCOS. In addition, PCOS can make it easier to gain weight unintentionally, which can be frustrating. So, the question of how to lose weight with PCOS is essential.

This article explains the root causes of PCOS weight gain and shares the steps to help you regain weight control.

Understanding PCOS and Its Impact

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder characterised by irregular menstrual cycles, the formation of tiny cysts on one or both ovaries, and increased levels of male hormones. Insulin resistance is also a common feature of PCOS, and the disorder has the potential to lead to various diseases, including infertility.

Weight loss can be difficult for PCOS patients who are overweight or obese. It can increase the risk of developing uterine cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea. However, even a 5-10% weight loss can significantly impact the management of PCOS symptoms. A healthy weight loss during PCOS can improve fertility, insulin resistance, hormone levels, irregular periods, ovarian function, unwanted hair growth, and overall health.

PCOS and Weight Gain: The Connection

The two leading causes of weight gain in patients with PCOS are insulin resistance and inflammation. 

Insulin resistance occurs when your body becomes less responsive to insulin, causing the brain to think you’re hungry even after eating. It can lead to binge eating and unnecessary snacking. Excess insulin levels caused by insulin resistance also cause the body to store fat, particularly around the belly or abdomen. 

Inflammation occurs when your body’s immune system constantly attacks healthy cells and tissues. As a result, it causes the body to store more fat to protect these tissues. 

Chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain, but diet and lifestyle choices are also significant factors in weight management. Therefore, modifying the diet and lifestyle can help with weight loss for people with PCOS.

The HealthifyMe Note

For many women with PCOS, it’s easy to gain weight and hard to lose it. But despite the added challenges to weight loss, it’s certainly possible with the proper diet, exercise, and medication. You need to focus on healthy changes that will help manage insulin resistance and inflammation, the prime causes of PCOS weight gain. 

How to Lose Weight With PCOS?

Losing weight can be challenging for everyone, but people with polycystic ovarian syndrome find it more difficult. The following are some helpful tips for losing weight while having PCOS.

Follow a Healthy Diet

Instead of using a “one size fits all” philosophy when creating a diet plan, concentrate on consuming more protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Also, avoid sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods. Instead, try to eat more fibre-rich foods because they aid digestion and make you feel fuller after meals. In addition, include more fermented foods in your diet to boost metabolism. These modifications can lower the chance of developing type 2 diabetes because many PCOS patients experience insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. 

Research suggests that eating fewer carbohydrates can boost metabolism and help patients with PCOS shed more pounds.

Reduce Consumption of Processed foods

Added sugar in processed foods spikes blood sugar levels and increases insulin resistance risk, leading to obesity. In addition, processed foods are often inflammatory, which is the primary cause of weight gain. Therefore, find healthy alternatives (such as fruits and nuts) for fried or packed snacks. 

Manage Your Cravings

Sometimes, cravings seem uncontrollable. Many PCOS women struggle with binge eating and have intense food cravings. However, controlling your desires is essential because doing otherwise could completely undo your efforts to lose weight. Your doctor or therapist can work with you to identify what causes your cravings and to create coping mechanisms for them.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is a great way to speed up weight loss. Women who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day are less likely to become obese, making it easier for them to lose weight. The best exercise for PCOS is usually a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training. However, too much exercise can have negative consequences. So don’t overdo it.

Get Enough Sleep

Obesity is related to poor sleep. According to experts, healthy adults with a quality sleep cycle will have less body fat accumulation and are more likely to lose weight. Try to aim for between eight to nine hours of sleep at night.

Manage Stress

Stress increases your risk of gaining weight. Therefore, managing your stress can help you maintain your ideal weight. When you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol, a hormone that causes weight gain and insulin resistance. To reduce your cortisol levels, focus on stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, and other leisure activities. 

Be Patient 

Women with PCOS must be patient when trying to lose weight, as weight loss results will show gradually. Additionally, since everyone has a different body type, they should avoid comparing their weight loss experience to someone else’s.

Avoid Self-Medication

There is no cure for PCOS, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. Medication can help, but it is often more effective when combined with lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise. Talking to a doctor before making any changes is essential to create a plan that is right for you.


Weight gain is one of the many symptoms of PCOS. While it might take longer to lose weight when you have PCOS, healthy lifestyle choices like eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly are helpful. Reducing insulin resistance and inflammation is also necessary for losing weight with PCOS. However, although weight loss can help with PCOS symptoms, this doesn’t indicate a complete cure.

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