Yes, it is an unpopular opinion, but weight loss for PCOS should not be by way of calorie restriction.
I see many ladies with this condition in the Now Baby clinic, approx 15% of menstruators suffer from it, to varying degrees. Many have been told by their doctors to go lose some weight in order to get pregnant, but without giving them specific guidance of how to achieve this. We here at Now Baby think you deserve better. If you are one of the 1 in 6 struggling with fertility, your caregiver should be giving you comprehensive support, rather than dismissing you with vague unattainable suggestions, prolonging rather than shortening the struggle.
So why not calorie restriction? Surely that is the standard way to weight loss?
Yes, calories restriction is the standard way to weight loss, IF your weight gain is caused by excess calories.
PCOS is primarily a metabolic disorder, which precipitates reproductive issues. It is driven by insulin resistance, similar to diabetes. Insulin is a fat storage hormone and if you are insulin resistant, you will secrete more insulin in response to the same food as someone who is not insulin resistant. This can result in blood sugars rollercoasting, setting up mood swings and cravings and creating fat storage. Oestrogen is stored in body fat particularly around the middle, which gives the typical apple shape associated with PCOS. It is the excess fat storage that drives up oestrogen dominance which in turn affects ovulation and regular menstrual cycles. So you can see that calorie restriction alone, will not solve that issue.
Cortisol is another fat storage hormone. For someone with PCOS, extreme calorie restriction can cause stress to the body, setting up fat storage from the stress hormone cortisol, causing the same downstream effect on regular menstruation.
Weight loss for PCOS needs an entirely different approach, based on an empathetic perspective of the underlying cause. So many women are fat shamed for their hormone imbalance and are pursuing ineffective weight loss regimes as a result. It is important to remember that food has 2 roles, one is to fuel and the other is to nourish. When trying to conceive, your nutrients play a vital role in egg quality, hormone balance, cervical mucous and your body’s ability to implant and grow your embryo.
Nourishment is essential , alongside improving insulin sensitivity. Many ladies who have been yoyo dieting for years have a fantastic handle on how many calories or ‘syns’ are in a particular food but no knowledge of what nutrients are required for egg quality. If you want to truly achieve sustainable weight loss, while improving your mood, energy and concentration, reducing cravings and kick starting your fertility naturally, the Now Baby 12 Week Meal Plan has you covered. You will see inches coming off your belly, dropping jeans size without counting a single calorie. Everything in the plan is ‘real food’, nothing processed and plenty of opportunity for batch cooking so you are not spending hours daily in the kitchen.
I understand that this news may be frustrating for you, why have you not been told this before? Not every fertility professional is a nutrition professional, they can’t tell you what they don’t know. Typically you will be referred to another medical professional. But PCOS is known to increase the risk of miscarriage and gestational diabetes so putting in the pre conception care to reduce those risks has to be smarter than speeding the process up just to fail later. Let’s get you pregnant and keep you pregnant all in one go.
If you are looking for a reason to ditch the calorie restrictive diet and you want to get pregnant faster naturally with PCOS, you’ve got this!