Published On By Rachel Nall

How To Lose Weight With PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects women and girls during their reproductive years. It may manifest as various problematic signs, including irregular periods, hormonal imbalances, or the development of minute cysts on one or both ovaries.

A significant proportion of women with PCOS struggle with obesity and weight gain. The hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and glucose intolerance related to PCOS could make it challenging for women to lose weight.

A holistic strategy is necessary to manage weight with PCOS effectively. It may include adopting a healthy diet, a consistent exercise routine, and healthy lifestyle habits.

This article will provide eight evidence-based tips to lose weight with PCOS and analyze the factors that contribute to weight gain during PCOS. It will also discuss why losing weight in PCOS is challenging and how to tackle those challenges.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a complex hormonal ailment that affects approximately 10% of women of childbearing age. The term “polycystic” might indicate the presence of multiple cysts in the ovaries.

The exact reason for PCOS is still unknown, but disruptions in insulin or androgen hormones may impair normal ovarian functioning and lead to PCOS. These disruptions may cause irregular periods, infertility, and cyst formation on the ovaries.

There is also a strong genetic component to PCOS, meaning that if your mother or aunt has PCOS symptoms, you may be at a higher risk of developing it as well.

PCOS is also associated with other health issues like weight gain, obesity, insulin resistance, or cardiovascular diseases. The hormonal imbalances in PCOS might lead to difficulties in losing and maintaining a healthy weight.

Losing just 5-10% of body weight could significantly improve PCOS symptoms, hormonal balance, insulin resistance, and overall quality of life in women with PCOS.

Best Tips To Lose Weight With PCOS

  1. Regular Exercise

    A consistent exercise regimen could reduce belly fat, improve insulin sensitivity, and minimize some PCOS discomforts.

    As per the physical activity guidelines by the Health Government, adults partake in at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly, about 30 minutes each day.

    You could try enjoyable activities to make exercise feel less like a chore. Whether playing a team sport, jogging with an audiobook, or hiking with friends, engage in activities you enjoy to make exercise more sustainable in the long run.

    Aerobic exercises like running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or a moderate-intensity jog could help reduce stress levels and positively influence weight loss.

    Pairing aerobic exercises with weight training or resistance exercises could help enhance lean muscle mass and may subside some signs of PCOS.

  2. Maintain Balance Diet

    Making these dietary changes may help manage insulin resistance and reduce type 2 diabetes risk, which many PCOS patients struggle with.

    One helpful tip is to eat protein and vegetables first before consuming carbs. Doing so helps reduce blood sugar levels more effectively and prevent spikes and crashes that may lead to overeating.

    Cutting back on carbs, rather than eliminating them entirely, may benefit women with PCOS. Whole-wheat pasta and bread could be good options as they provide dietary fiber and other essential nutrients.

    Eat a protein-rich diet that includes foods like eggs, dairy products, lean meat, or nuts. Protein helps increase satiety, reduces hunger cravings, and helps burn more calories. These virtues may aid weight loss and improve body composition.

    You should also limit processed foods and added sugars in your meals. They could raise your blood glucose levels and increase insulin resistance, negatively affecting PCOS and weight loss. Avoid foods like pastries, cookies, fast food, or candy.

  3. Meditation

    While there is no cure for PCOS, adding meditation to a comprehensive treatment plan might help alleviate some of the challenges associated with the condition.

    Regular meditation could reduce stress levels, which may positively impact women with PCOS. Increased stress may lead to raised cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which may contribute to hormonal imbalances and exacerbate PCOS symptoms.

    Meditation might improve sleep quality, which is a challenge for women with PCOS. Poor sleep may negatively impact weight loss efforts and increase cravings, making it more challenging to manage PCOS symptoms.

  4. Be Patient With Progress

    Healthy eating and exercise could help improve common PCOS complaints, such as heavy periods, acne, excess hair growth, or fertility problems. These improvements are not immediate but could occur with time and consistency.

    Slow progress allows you to develop sustainable habits that you could maintain for a lifetime. Quick fixes and extreme diets often lead to weight regain and may have negative consequences on your physical and mental well-being.

  5. Avoid Extreme Exercise & Intense Calories

    A severe calorie restriction may lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight regain. Pushing yourself too hard without allowing for proper rest and recovery might raise the risk of injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures. Over-exercising may lead to physical and mental fatigue, hindering progress and making it more challenging to achieve weight loss goals.

    You should take a slow and steady approach to weight loss, focusing on healthy eating patterns and regular exercise for long-lasting results. Make small, manageable changes to your lifestyle, which may help you achieve long-lasting results and improve overall well-being.

  6. Quality Sleep

    Women with PCOS may experience sleep disturbances such as insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness.

    Getting enough quality sleep could enhance insulin sensitivity and lower insulin resistance, which is essential for women with PCOS.

    Insulin resistance is a prevalent characteristic of PCOS, and it may lead to weight gain and difficulty in managing blood sugar levels.

    Sleep deprivation might increase cravings for high-carbohydrate foods, which may negatively impact weight management and blood sugar control in women with PCOS.

    Getting enough sleep could positively impact mental health and emotional well-being in women with PCOS. It may reduce PCOS-related concerns like high-stress levels, depression, or anxiety.

  7. Manage Stress Level

    Elevated stress could increase cortisol and adrenaline hormone levels, which may have adverse effects on women with PCOS as they are more prone to higher cortisol levels.

    Chronic stress might increase the risk of gaining belly fat, which enhances inflammation and triggers increased cortisol production by the body. Therefore, it is essential to eliminate stressors and engage in relaxation-inducing activities like walking, knitting, or dancing.

    Indulging in regular physical activities, like walking, meditation, or yoga, could promote relaxation and help subside stress and cortisol levels.

  8. Balance Hormone Levels

    Balancing hormone levels may also help in managing PCOS and promoting overall well-being. Consuming a low glycemic diet could be beneficial in balancing hormones for women with PCOS.

    However, PCOS affects women differently, so it is essential to find the right treatment plan for each woman.

    Some women with PCOS could require medication like hormonal birth control, metformin, or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to help balance hormones.

    A chat with your doctor could help determine which PCOS medication or therapy for weight loss might be proper for you.

Why is Losing Weight With PCOS So Challenging?

Losing weight is particularly challenging for women with PCOS due to the hormonal imbalances and metabolic factors associated with the condition.

PCOS is linked to a multitude of chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, glucose intolerance, and sleep apnea, which might further complicate weight loss efforts. Sleep problems, such as daytime sleepiness, may affect motivation to exercise and lead to weight gain.

The presence of excess insulin in women with PCOS makes it harder to shed pounds and could lead to weight gain.

Psychological symptoms commonly associated with PCOS, like depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem, could also make losing weight a challenge. However, the exact reasons why PCOS makes it harder to lose weight are still being studied.

Causes For PCOS Related Weight Gain

Excess insulin and hormonal imbalances may contribute to weight gain in individuals with PCOS. Women with PCOS often have high insulin levels, which may cause intense cravings for carbohydrates and increased hunger.

The hormone ghrelin (which helps regulate the feeling of fullness) might malfunction in women with PCOS, making them feel hungrier more quickly.

PCOS may increase male hormone levels in women, which may raise food cravings and contribute to higher calorie intake and weight gain.


To illustrate these causes of PCOS-related weight gain more clearly, the following table provides an overview:

Cause of Weight Gain in PCOS< Explanation
Excess insulin Women with PCOS may have high levels of insulin, leading to carb cravings and increased hunger.
Malfunctioning ghrelin The hormone ghrelin, which regulates satiety, malfunctions in women with PCOS, causing them to feel hungrier quicker.
High levels of male hormones Cravings for high-fat foods can be caused by the high levels of male hormones commonly found in women with PCOS.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Are Some Common Symptoms of PCOS That May Make It Difficult to Lose Weight?
    Common symptoms of PCOS include insulin resistance, increased androgen hormone levels, and irregular menstrual cycles. Women could experience difficulty in managing cravings and appetite control alongside the other symptoms.
  2. Can Losing Weight Help Improve Fertility in Women With PCOS?
    Losing weight might improve fertility in women with PCOS. A healthy weight loss during PCOS may restore ovulation, regulate menstrual cycles, and improve hormonal imbalances, thus raising the chances of conception.
  3. Is It Necessary to Follow a Specific Diet or Meal Plan to Lose Weight With PCOS?
    There is no specific diet or meal plan to target weight reduction in women with PCOS specifically. However, adopting a nutritious diet with whole foods, protein, and healthy fats and reducing processed and sugary foods could help expedite weight loss.
  4. Are Any Specific Exercises or Workouts More Effective for Weight Loss in Women With PCOS?
    There are no specific exercises or workouts that may effectively induce weight loss in women with PCOS. However, combining cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and regular physical activity could help promote weight loss and overall health.


Weight management might be a significant challenge for women with PCOS. However, you could adopt a nutritious diet, increase exercise frequency, and consult a doctor to attain noticeable weight reduction during PCOS.

Trying meditation or relaxation techniques, getting enough sleep, tracking your diet and exercise, and minimizing stress could help support weight loss.

Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, maca root, and holy basil are some natural remedies that could subside elevated stress (associated with PCOS) and promote relaxation.

  • The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this review.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • Consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before using the product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *