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Why PCOS Causes Weight Gain and How You Can Minimize It 

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects the reproductive system of women. The main symptom of PCOS is irregular periods. Other symptoms may include infertility, excessive hair growth, acne, and anxiety. Because symptoms vary from woman to woman, there is no single test for PCOS, and diagnosis requires a physical exam.

How PCOS Causes Weight Gain 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common cause of weight gain due to the hormone imbalance that it causes. Women with PCOS often experience increased hunger, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. In addition, some women are genetically predisposed to storing fat in their midsections (belly fat), making it difficult for them to lose weight. 

The negative impact of PCOS on the body’s metabolism may also contribute to excess weight gain. Excess insulin production causes cells throughout the body to store fat instead of burning it off as energy, leading many women with PCOS to develop insulin resistance.

This condition results when high amounts of glucose in your bloodstream cause your pancreas to release more insulin than necessary. This extra insulin may increase appetite and prompt you to eat more than you need or burn off while exercising less; this effect makes losing weight even harder! 

How a Healthy Diet Helps PCOS Weight Gain 

A healthy diet for women with PCOS should include lots of vegetables, low glycemic fruits like berries, whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, lean protein, and healthy fats like those found in avocados and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. 

Refined carbohydrates such as white bread or pasta can cause blood sugar levels to spike and then drop quickly, leading to energy crashes throughout the day. By swapping out these foods for healthier options, you can help control your blood sugar and insulin levels which will help reduce weight gain and improve fatigued caused by PCOS. 

So, what are healthy carbs? Well, we already mentioned quinoa and brown rice, but you can also opt for whole wheat bread and pasta, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. 

Regular Exercise and PCOS Weight Loss 

Not all women with PCOS experience weight gain, but if you’re one of the many that do, regular exercise may help alleviate some of your symptoms. 

Exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, which can help lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. It also helps you lose weight by burning calories helping you maintain a steady caloric intake or even get yourself into a deficit. This means that exercising will not only keep you looking good on the outside but also inside as well! 

Regular Exercise and PCOS Weight Loss 

When it comes to what exercises you should be doing, it is ultimately up to you. Don’t worry, you do not need to be a runner to lose weight. There are many fun and engaging ways to get the recommended 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. 

Check out some of my personal favorites: 

  • Walking 
  • Strength training 
  • Yoga classes 
  • Online fitness programs like Bridal Body Fitness 

Let’s Recap How to Manage Weight Gain and PCOS 

Following these simple tips can help you treat your PCOS, so you feel better both physically and mentally: 

  • Eat a healthy diet. 
  • Do regular exercise. 
  • Take your medications as prescribed. 
  • Get enough sleep to allow your body to rest, repair itself, and function properly. 

If you are struggling to lose weight (whether it is PCOS related or not), there might be some specific reasons why. The good news is that when you finally find the root cause, you can start pinpointing the areas of your lifestyle you need to adjust. Once adjusted, you should start to see tangible results in your weight loss journey. Need some more guidance? I wrote an ENTIRE article on Reasons Why You Might Not be Losing Weight Even with Exercise and Dieting. 

The Bottom Line 

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, it is important to know all the symptoms associated with this condition so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances are at managing your symptoms and preventing complications from developing.  

Remember: You are not alone in your PCOS journey. In fact, it is estimated that around 1 in 10 women have PCOS (some cases are mild, whereas some are considered chronic).

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About Steph

I specialize in helping brides feel confident in themselves by offering premium wedding fitness and nutrition coaching programs so they can eliminate self-doubt and insecurity.



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