Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder affecting 1 in 5 women worldwide, has many faces. PCOS symptoms include irregular periods, infertility, and one that many women grapple with – weight gain. PCOS and weight gain form a tough-to-break cycle intricately linked to hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance.
At Lilli Health, we don’t subscribe to the tired trope of “eat less, exercise more.” Instead, we arm women with PCOS with scientific insights and practical strategies for a more empowering approach to weight management. Welcome to the Low Insulin Lifestyle.
This article will delve into why women with PCOS experience weight gain, and we will provide evidence-based exercise and lifestyle strategies to help manage it effectively. So, let’s get started!
The PCOS and Weight Gain Connection
Understanding the weight gain often experienced with PCOS requires a deep dive into the complex world of insulin, testosterone, and body fat distribution. High insulin levels, often associated with PCOS, can increase testosterone production. This hormone shift disrupts the typical female fat distribution, leading to weight gain around the midsection, akin to the male ‘apple’ shape.
And therein lies the heart of the problem: PCOS predisposes women to weight gain by causing a rise in insulin levels. That’s why conventional weight loss advice often falls short for women with PCOS. Let’s dive deeper.
The Cycle of PCOS Weight Gain and Insulin Resistance
Women with PCOS often have high insulin levels and are prone to insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, cells struggle to use the glucose in your blood effectively, and the pancreas overproduces insulin. This hormonal seesaw stimulates fat storage, exacerbating weight gain.
Why is it harder for women with PCOS to lose weight?
Women with PCOS are genetically predisposed to weight gain. High insulin levels impact the hormones that signal hunger to the brain. This causes intense cravings for sugary and carb-rich foods (packed with glucose). Yet, eating these foods trigger high insulin spikes, perpetuating chronically high insulin levels. This affects insulin signaling, leading to insulin resistance, and the cycle of hunger and weight gain repeats.