Losing Weight with PCOS
We all know that with PCOS there is a difficulty to lose weight, it is part of the package. Your doctor told you and you know that if you lose weight it will help with your Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome symptoms. But what is the healthiest way to lose weight?
There are many diets out there telling you how to lose weight, but everyone know's diets don't work. No one can last or survive on a low-calorie diet; it is unsustainable. These diets claiming you can lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks are crazy. Sure it can be done, but this is not healthy. Most likely you will only be eating between 600-800 calories a day, which is detrimental to your overall health and for what, to lose those pounds that you will most certainly put back on and then some when you start eating like a normal human being.
Deciding to go on a diet to lose weight nowadays is like a new trend, but no one takes it seriously and does it the right way, I too have been a victim of this. I know you can get this fixation in your head that you just want to look a certain way. Social media and the health and fitness industry does not always help with this. I understand it can be upsetting, but you have to remember these people are far beyond you in their fitness journey and they are most likely posting what they want you to see.
How to lose weight the healthy way
Taking an approach like this may take longer than these quick fix diets, but you need to view weight loss as a journey. Instead of calling it a diet, call it a lifestyle change. Living a healthy lifestyle will always lead to happiness.
1. Figure out your caloric intake. You can use an online calorie calculator for this, you might be thinking, is it accurate? Honestly, most likely no, because it does not take into account lean mass. However, it will give you a rough estimate.You can use a few and then just use the average.
Or exercise portion control, say that a “portion” is the size of your hand or fist. This option is greater in my opinion after struggling with an eating disorder from dieting and counting calories. The portion control approach allows you to avoid the likelihood of fixating on the calories and seeing food as calories and macros. Instead, it will allow you to enjoy the food you are eating. Then again, counting calories provides precision as it allows you to keep a record and manipulate variables better.
2. Be flexible with your diet. Make your diet more of a lifestyle change, this way it will not become a chore. It will not become something you cannot wait till it ends and you will not cheat and binge on it. You will also appreciate and enjoy the process more because you can eat the foods you want and crave (to and extent). You will be able to go out with your friends and family, therefore allowing you to have a much better social life. You will be in a much healthier place, both physically and mentally. Following the 80/20 rule, 80% whole food/healthy and 20% 'bad foods'/unhealthy/processed foods is a great way to stay mentally sane when looking to lose weight.
It is about balance, moderation not deprivation. You need to be honest with yourselves, yes, eat a doughnut, but eat one, do not binge on doughnuts. You are in a charge of your weight loss journey. There is some self-discipline involved in weight loss, you need to remember why you are doing it.
3. Exercise at least four times a week, for 30 mins - 1 hour. You do not have to overdo it on the workouts because yet again it will soon become something will you dread doing. If you are new at exercising I suggest easing into it. Find something you will enjoy and you know you will do every week, consistency is key in weight loss and like I have said many times it is a lifestyle change.
With regards to training, I suggest implementing of both anaerobic and aerobic exercises.
Walking 30 mins a day is also proven to be a great option.
4. Do not skip meals. Skipping meals will make you feel hungrier during your next meal and in turn, may cause you to overeat. Research indicates when you skip meals you tend to buy fatty foods. Always eat breakfast. If you don't like eating food early in the morning, have some food pre-made or know what you are going to eat, this way you will avoid the eyes doing the choosing rather than the mind.
If you are someone who gets hungry often, spreading out your meals is a great way to feel like you are not eating less food and helps you stay satisfied throughout the day. However, if you do not have this problem stick to eating the standard three meals a day.
Low-carbohydrate diets derive a large proportion of energy intake from protein and fat. There is a concern for the potentially detrimental impact of these diets on blood lipid levels and on cardiovascular risk.
Some people find that reducing their carb intake helps them in losing weight, then again others do not have this problem. Therefore experiment with your body, find out what helps you best.
Other general tips for weight loss:
- Weight loss is 80 diet and 20 exercise. Be aware of the food you eat, it is not all about the exercise.
- Keep your protein intake high. This will keep you satisfied for a longer period and it is important as our body uses protein to build and repair tissues.
- Quality over quantity- focus on the nutritional content and health benefits of food, rather than always calorie counting.
- Eat vegetables with every meal, they will help keep you satisfied due to the fiber and water content. They will also provide your body with the vitamins and minerals.
- Take your time when you eat, do not rush, enjoy the food and the experience. When you eat think about the food you are eating, think about the flavor, the smell, the texture and the appearance.
- Water is your best friend. You can drink as much as you want, it is free, zero calories and it can keep you full. Whenever you feel hungry drink some water, it may be that you are just thirsty. We sometimes confuse thirst with hunger.
- Use tools to track your progress. Smartphone apps, fitness trackers, or simply keeping a journal can help you keep track of the food you eat, the calories you burn, and the weight you lose. Seeing the results in black and white can help you stay motivated. However, do not fixate over this, like I said above just be more aware.
- NEVER go below 1,200 calories. Always try to keep to calories high, decrease your calories gradually and implement cardio slowly. Never start with low calories and hours of cardio as you will not be able to manipulate your weight loss when you hit a plateau.
- DO NOT become demotivated if the scale has not changed. Do not base everything on the number on the scale. There are many reasons for why the number may not have changed, such as water retention, muscle, bowel movements, maybe you ate late last night.
- Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep affects your hormones, it can stimulate your appetite so you want more food than normal; at the same time, it stops you feeling satisfied, making you want to keep eating. Sleep deprivation can also affect your motivation, so try to get about eight hours of quality sleep a night.
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Frederick F. Samaha, M.D., Nayyar Iqbal, M.D., Prakash Seshadri, M.D., Kathryn L. Chicano, C.R.N.P., Denise A. Daily, R.D., Joyce McGrory, C.R.N.P., Terrence Williams, B.S., Monica Williams, B.S., Edward J. Gracely, Ph.D., and Linda Stern, M.D. (2003). "A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity". The New England Journal of Medicine. 348. 2074-2081 http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022637