What’s it all about?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a condition which affects the ovaries, forming small cysts. This condition affects millions of young women in the UK.
PCOS can manifest itself in many different ways. Symptoms include weight gain, amenorrhea (no periods), excessive hair growth and acne.
When I was first diagnosed with PCOS, I had actually never even heard of it and was simply told that I may not be able to have children and dismissed from the doctor’s office.
After thorough research into the condition, I learnt just how common it is. In fact, I was overwhelmed by how many people I spoke to who told me they had it or knew someone who suffered from it.
It amazes me how many women are happy to accept their diagnoses and future fertility and go about their lives hoping that things will change.
I, however, could not accept my fate and yearned to rid myself of the symptoms in order to have a healthy future full of mini me’s!
I have never been over-weight, but I have always found it extremely difficult to lose weight and very easy to gain it. It always puzzled me that I was the healthiest one out of my friends yet I still struggled so much, but when I was diagnosed, it seemed a logical explanation!
Extensive research into the condition has taught me the importance of exercise and healthy eating. In many ways, I am grateful for discovering my PCOS diagnosis as my life has changed dramatically over the past year and a half and I am thoroughly enjoying the journey as I battle to rid myself of symptoms!
Eating with PCOS
PCOS affects your hormone levels, producing more testosterone than normal and raising your insulin levels, which can affect weight gain. When we eat, our insulin levels go up, particularly when we eat foods high in sugar, such as breads, potatoes and the regular sugar junk. So it is so important to eat foods low in sugar and high in valuable nutrition such as fibre and protein to keep our insulin levels balanced.
Keeping our blood insulin stable and not spiking helps to maintain a healthy weight. It is also really important not to fast in any way to try and lose weight, as this will have the opposite affect to weight loss and send insulin levels sky high meaning fat will just be stored!
- Eating foods with a low glycaemic index (low GI) will keep you sustained and feeling fuller for longer and not spiking your sugar levels.
- Eating every 4 hours is also advised when suffering with PCOS, even if it’s just a handful of nuts to keep you going, it is important to never reach that state of tummy turning hunger as this is a sure sign that our insulin levels are peaking! (It’s also a great way to keep Hangry sufferers happy).
- Never skip breakfast! This is such an important meal and not just for PCOSers. It is the perfect opportunity to keep insulin levels balanced and start your day with a nutritious meal, setting yourself up for a day of continuing to eat well. I usually try to eat within 30 minutes after waking up and pack it with protein and greens! I am a huge breakfast food lover so when I discovered its importance I learnt to love it even more!
- Cutting out or limiting dairy intake will also help with symptoms. Dairy products raise our testosterone levels, which for us PCOSers are already high!
- Lots of leafy greens, high protein, foods rich in vitamins and minerals and healthy fats found in foods such as avocado, eggs and chia seeds are great for a PCOS diet.
Read my article on battling PCOS on the Psycle London Inspire Blog here: