I understand that because I don’t ‘look’ overweight, and my BMI is okay-ish, people don’t take my weight loss process that seriously. It’s okay. But, I have a good reason, which is nothing to do with vanity, to keep the number low.
According to our NHS, Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome is one common condition that affects how women’s ovaries work. Still from the same page, there is no explanation why some women are diagnosed with PCOS, however we know that it runs in families.
What does PCOS have to do with weight loss?
PCOS and weight loss is actually a part of a vicious cycle, which if unbroken would only lead to so many health problems and fertility issues (if you are trying to conceive).
Women with PCOS have insulin resistance to start with. Now why weight gain? It has everything to do with the insulin resistance.
As we are eating carbs/sugar, the body will secrete insulin to break it down into energy — that’s what a normal body without insulin resistance does. With insulin resistance, body will have difficulties to use the insulin to break down the carbs/sugar so two things happen: body will keep secreting insulin, AND the unbroken down carbs/sugar will be stored in the body as fat tissues.
Now the vicious cycle begins. The more fat tissues our body have, the more resistant we are to insulin. The more resistant we are to insulin, the harder the body to break down carbs/sugar, resulting more fat storage in our body. Women with PCOS have a bad start with insulin resistance, and it is so easy for them to fall to this cycle.
Other Problems with PCOS
Women have to deal with hormonal problems every month anyway, but PCOS has made this even a more complicated issue for us.
This unusually high insulin level in the body will ‘force’ ovaries to produce higher level of male hormones (testosteron/androgen), which manifests in excess body/facial hair — one of the most common PCOS symptoms. This male hormones also interfere the egg development, which resulted in the fertility problems. Irregular periods is also one of the most common PCOS symptoms.
Because PCOS commonly leads to weight gain, and the abnormality of insulin production, a lot of women with PCOS are also susceptible to pre-diabetes and diabetes type 2. And, of course, many other health problems which is related to weight gain such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and heart disease.
In some cases, PCOS can also lead to endometrial cancer.
Now… why all of a sudden I have to consider PCOS and go on a weight loss journey?
I am not yet tested let alone diagnosed for PCOS. However both my sisters are, and since PCOS runs in families, I have to consider the possibility that I might suffer from one as well. Especially considering that I never had regular period since I hit puberty.
How Can We Control PCOS Symptoms Through Food?
Since PCOS and weight gain creates a vicious cycle, the only way to break it is to eliminate one of them. Obviously, we cannot get rid of PCOS because it is what some women were born with, so the most logical next step is to get rid of the excess fat to have more control of the insulin level.
Eating better is a first step to get to weight loss and healthier lifestyle. Understanding your body and how it works will help you to choose what kind of food works for you.With PCOS, I think it is very sensible to cut down carbohydrate and sugar, not because keto is fashionable, but mainly because of the insulin resistance itself.
I assume that if carbohydrate and sugar creates this excess insulin problem, cutting it will lessen its impact. I am not suggesting cutting carbs out completely, but low sugar or low carbohydrates options might be a better choice to control PCOS symptoms. So, I am considering to cut carbs and sugar from my food intake a bit at a time.
Get Yourselves Checked
NHS said that PCOS is a common condition. BUT, as far as I know not many women I know have got themselves checked for it. Both my sisters were only diagnosed with one when they were trying to have babies and found it difficult to get pregnant, but they never knew that it was the reason why they had irregular period, or difficulty losing weight when they were younger.
So, if you are a woman who has problem losing weight, and have symptoms such as excess body hair/facial hair, or irregular period, you might want to get yourself checked. It might save your life. It might make your life easier, or help you to understand more about your own body.
A lot of women have blamed themselves for gaining weight, and not being able to lose it without realising that it is their body that is fighting against themselves. Getting a proper diagnosis might help you to get rid of that inadequate feeling, and even get a solution and treatment for your problem.
I hope this is helpful. Thank you for reading.