PCOS

Living With PCOS: 5 Easy & Effective Ways to Reduce Belly Fat

March 2021

Reducing belly fat is a tough task, but it’s more challenging for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The hormonal imbalance caused due to PCOS makes it difficult for the food to get metabolized, affecting the ability to lose weight.

This condition generally affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Before we dive into the best ways to lose belly fat, let’s try to understand the link between the two.

What’s the connection between PCOS and belly fat?

A majority of women with PCOS have insulin resistance or high insulin. Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use the glucose easily from your blood to make energy. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin. This further interferes with weight regulation and causes fat storage.

A picture showing what is insulin resistance

In some women, it is because of the imbalance in hunger hormones caused due to PCOS. This causes the blood sugar levels to spike & crash throughout the day. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to quit your hopes of having a flat stomach, you can still lose your belly fat when you have PCOS. All you need to do is maintain a healthy lifestyle routine & proper dietary pattern.

How to get rid of PCOS belly fat?

Follow these easy & effective tips to reduce PCOS belly fat

   1. Practise Mindful Eating

Mindful eating promotes an increased awareness of bodily cues, such as craving, hunger, fullness. This may help you address your problematic eating behaviours such as binge eating, overeating & emotional eating.Few basic examples of mindful eating include: Chewing food slowly, staying away from distractions such as TV, mobile phones, computer, and taking breaks while eating. Make notes on how your body reacts when it’s hungry or full (this will help you to recognise cues more easily and follow what your body requires).

   2. Exercise Regularly

Maintaining a daily exercise routine will help you to stabilize blood sugar & reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes (2 conditions women with PCOS are at high risk for). Studies prove that more than half of women with PCOS will have prediabetes or diabetes before they turn 40.Make sure to incorporate cardio & strength training in your workout routine, shuffle your workout days between walking, running, weight lifting or practising bodyweight exercises. Pilate, swimming, yoga are also the few best forms of exercises for women with PCOS. Exercise for at least 30-40 minutes every day. This will improve the blood flow in your body & increase your heart rate.

   3. Eat Healthy Eat Right

Following these eating habits will help you achieve your weight-loss goals effectively. Here are a few handpicked tips by our experts:

    • Limit refined carbs – Refined carbs such as pasta & white bread can cause instant blood sugar highs and lows, making you feel more hungry.
    • Reduce caffeine intake – Studies show that increased caffeine intake can interfere with your ovulation and increase the production of stress hormones, leading to hormonal disorders and blood sugar fluctuations.
    • Avoid processed foods & added sugar – Processed foods and sugar may raise your blood sugar levels substantially, which may increase insulin resistance and promote obesity.
    • Eat enough protein & fibre – A high-fibre diet helps to promote weight loss in women with PCOS, and protein helps stabilize blood sugar and keeps you full for longer.
    • Eat healthy fats – Having plenty of healthy fats such as chia seeds, dark chocolate, eggs, coconut oil, nuts etc., will help you feel more satisfied and less hungry.
    • Eat fermented foods – Eating foods high in probiotics such as yoghurt, idli, dosa, etc., will boost the beneficial bacteria in your gut, promoting metabolism and weight maintenance.

   4. Manage Stress

Stress is one of the major causes of weight gain. Stress raises cortisol levels (a hormone produced by the adrenal gland). High cortisol levels cause insulin resistance & weight gain. Chronic stress further increases your risk of developing belly fat. In turn, belly fat increases inflammation that further triggers your body to generate more cortisol, thereby creating a vicious cycle. Focus on stress reduction practices such as yoga, meditation, listening to soothing music to lower cortisol levels. It will help you to reduce your belly fat and develop a positive mind frame to make healthier decisions.

   5. Follow Sleep Hygiene

Studies show that inadequate sleep increases inflammation which makes your PCOS worse and promotes weight gain. It also increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes & cardiovascular disorders.Here are a few sleep hygiene practices that will help you to avoid belly fat weight gain:

    • Try to go to bed before 10 PM – During this time, your cortisol levels are at their lowest, which can help you asleep faster & better.
    • Avoid using gadgets 1 hour before bedtime – The blue light emission from screens (TV, mobile, computer etc.) suppresses the secretion of melatonin & interrupts your circadian rhythm (a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle)
    • Ensure 7-8 hours of restful sleep – Getting adequate sleep reduces the chances of developing belly fat by 12%. Research also indicates that every hour of additional sleep per night is associated with a decrease in body mass index (BMI) of 3.5 kg per square meter.

Having PCOS makes it difficult & takes a while for your belly to turn flat from fat, but trust us, it’s just a game of hormones and not an uphill climb! To ease your hassles and help you manage your PCOS better, we bring you HealPCOS- an expert-led program that helps you manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of long-term PCOS-related complications.

Why wait? Kickstart your weight loss journey, bring in the zeal coz it’s time to heal! Call us at 022 48971077 (Ext. No. 3) to learn more about HealPCOS.

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How about a free consult with a diabetes counsellor to know exactly how we can help you?

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