Writing an introduction on how to lose weight with PCOS so tricky for me. My personal journey has been SO affected by my endless PCOS weight loss goals. I’ve loved the scale. I’ve laughed at the scale. AND Lord KNOWS I’ve cried at the scale.
Sometimes, I feel like the scale is so mad that it gets stepped on all day, it’s intentionally trying to send me into a full blown panic attack… Do you ever feel that way?
Anyway, scale discrimination aside, PCOS weight loss is something that NEEDS to be talked about. If you’re looking for the WHAT (aka, the workouts and diet that’s best for PCOS) and not the WHY, checkout my post on PCOS Treatment here. If you’re like me and have a compulsive need to investigate the hows and whys, here we go!
4 Simplified Steps to Lose Weight with PCOS
For me, once I got under the 300 mark and stayed there, my PCOS symptoms completely reversed and my blood work came back “healthy.” – It’s important that I mention here, I think a lot of the reason my blood work came back healthy was because I was avoiding irritants of my hormones. In other words, I was eating a PCOS-Friendly diet, which gave me great results. When I got my diagnosis, I thought (like most) that this disorder had more to do with my ovaries than the rest of my body.
As I read through books, blogs, and message boards like a college kid studying for the SAT, it started to dawn on me that I was really, really wrong. Checkout my post, 3 Bandits Absolutely Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Success.
That said, these four simple steps will help you drastically improve your PCOS symptoms, and if you’re consistent, they might even completely reverse your PCOS.
- Step One, PCOS + Regular Cardio Activities
Don’t unfriend me yet! I know cardio probably isn’t your friend, but I’m not talking a marathon here! Cardio isn’t JUST for weight loss, it’s also an amazing way to fight PCOS and improve your health in general. The stronger your heart is, the more energy you will have.Start with a simple walk every day. If you’re anything like where I was when I started, a 5 minute walk left me with a back-ache and winded. Start walking until you feel like you “have to quit” – You’ll notice a backache and loss of breath around this time. Increase your walk every day. If you’re severly overweight, work in 2 minute increments. If you find this is easy, you can do the same with jogging!BONUS?? The more fat you can burn, and the faster you can beat your coworkers to the bathroom on #WaterGoalWednesday. Check out our post, Workouts to Help with PCOS to get a complete routine!
- Step Two, Drop Your Testosterone with Strength Training
Abnormally high testosterone is usually the cause of the endless acne breakouts and hair thinning involved with PCOS. It’s also likely the reason behind the need to add a razor to your morning “beauty routine.”When I was at my heaviest, I started CrossFit. I know, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy right about now! BUT, CrossFit CAN be done if you’re overweight, and CrossFit gave me some much-needed strength training.Strength training helps your body burn off excess insulin and helps control your testosterone levels. Bonus? Strength training build muscle, and muscle helps your body lose weight with PCOS or without it. Lifting weights (even small ones) three times a week is all it takes to get yourself going in the right direction. If that feels overwhelming, start by doing stairs once a week, and gradually increase.When you’re overweight, stairs is surprisingly a strength workout in ADDITION to being great cardio. Think about it, the more weight you have, the more you have to engage your muscles getting up the stairs!
- Step Three, Experience Less Insulin to Begin With
Much like with diabetes, Insulin is the catalyst of poor reactions for people trying to lose weight with PCOS. You can see a DRAMATIC improvement with your symptoms just by paying attention to the sugars you’re taking in.I personally HATE reading labels, so it was more convenient for me to just go all-natural; I adopted a whole-food diet and saw huge improvement with my weight gain, hirsutism, and mood swings.If a whole-food diet seems too extreme for your weight loss journey, start off with small changes – cut out Soda, or Chips, or some other processed food that you find is your guilty pleasure. Pro-tip? Don’t go cold-turkey! Try and find a replacement or alternative so that you can cope with the cravings. We talk more about this in our post, “How to Deal with Carb Cravings When Changing Your Diet”
- Step Four, Hydrate WAY More Than You Do
I know hearing “drink more water” feels cliché – but hear me out. When I say drink more water, I’m talking like, A LOT of water. The rule I followed in the beginning was half my weight in ounces. This alone is what I credit for my first 15lbs in weight loss with PCOS.So, for example, my starting weight was 340lbs. Divide that in two, and you’re left with 170lbs. I would need to drink 170 ounces of water a day to be fully hydrated. Some days you’ll hit that goal, some days you’ll miss.I started going to the grocery store and buying a gallon (which I think is 128 ounces) of water for every day of the week. It’s literally like $0.99 a gallon, so no excuses! You make it your goal to finish that water every day, and your skin will clear up in a week, you’ll drop weight like you never thought you would…. It’s crazy how much you will change.
How to Speed Up the Weight Loss Process with PCOS
I can’t say it enough, losing weight with PCOS is NOT a race. You really need to focus on implementing SMALL lifestyle changes one by one, and watch your body change over time. Most people (including myself) who try and go hard or go home end up gaining their weight back. I’ve lost 60lbs more than three times in my life. The ONLY way I was able to reverse my PCOS, is by slowly shifting habits that were keeping me in PCOS hell.