Why you are not losing weight when you have PCOS
PCOS is a challenging condition to diagnose and then manage. More specifically, the weight gain that often accompanies PCOS is rarely as simple as calories in vs. calories out. Rather it requires a specific balance of nutrients, meal timing and calorie adjustments to see both initial and long term weight gain. So if you have PCOS and are not sure why the kilos are not budging, here are some of the common reasons why.
1. Your carb intake is too low
Yes it is generally important to reduce your total carbohydrate intake when you have PCOS, but there is not one set prescription for each person. This means that some girls may need more carbohydrate than others to effectively lose weight, especially if they do not have a lot of weight to lose, and / or they are training regularly. Often girls drop their carb intake to as low as 20% of total calorie intake via diets that exclude all vegetable and cereal carbs. A better option is to choose lighter, nutrient dense carbs such as sweet potato and corn, and time them according to when you are most active.
2. You are ‘good’ some days but binge on others
Diet results are all about consistent. No diet needs to be perfect but it needs to follow a relatively healthy pattern overall. This means ditching the ‘all or nothing’ approach to weight loss and aiming to keep on track most of the time, rather than being on your diet some days and then completely off it. When binges become occasional treats, that is when you will take control of your diet and achieve slow but sustainable weight loss.
See the 5 things you need to know about your everyday diet when you have PCOS here.
3. You are exercising but not moving
Getting to the gym each day is great, but if you spend the remainder of the day sitting down, therein lies your issue. Increasing heart rate via high intensity activity will improve insulin sensitivity and burn a significant number of calories in the short term, but moving at least 10000 steps each day will burn more calories overall, each and every day.
4. You are lifting too much
Resistance training is fantastic, but when you have PCOS, along with insulin resistance, changes are you already have a significant amount of muscle mass. Resistant training regimes that take the place of cardio can result in muscle gain over time, which will in turn result in weight gain on the scales. Now you may be leaner, but you will also be heavier, and few women want that. For this reason, periods without resistant training, or mix sessions that also combine cardio will be best when your goal is weight loss on the scales.
5. Your calories are not right
You may be eating too few calories on some days for example only 1200 when you spend an hour at the gym, or too many if you sit down all day but when your calorie intake is not right for you, nothing will happen on the scales. The average female will need 1400-1500 calories if they are exercising for 1/2-1 kg weight losses each week but as low as 1200 if they are not exercising, or up to 1600-1800 if they are lean and burning 400-600 calories training. There are no rules, it is about finding the right mix for you
Struggling to lose weight when you have insulin resistance? Read 5 reasons why you might be struggling with your weight loss here.