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Is PCOS Making You Fat?

Updated on August 15, 2009

Why can't I lose weight?

It’s So Hard to Lose Weight with PCOS!

While many women with PCOS report different symptoms and severity of specific symptoms, there are many similarities in the experiences shared by women with PCOS. Many women report issues with fertility, excess facial hair growth (called hirsuitism), acne on the jaw line, face, neck, chest and back, excessive hair loss at the temples or crown, skin tags, brown skin patches, high cholesterol, lack of energy or even prolonged exhaustions, lack of mental clarity, problems staying alert, higher testosterone levels, sleep issues and thyroid issues. One of the main issues of PCOS that seems to affect the majority of the PCOS population is weight issues and difficulty losing weight. While a poor diet full of empty carbohydrates and calories may be partially to blame, PCOS makes it difficult to lose weight on a physiological level. The high amount of insulin in your body makes it increasingly difficult to control carbohydrate and sweets cravings.

PCOS is directly related to insulin resistance. Your insulin resistant state makes it even more difficult to lose weight. Insulin is a hormone that regulates glucose, or blood sugar absorption into the cells of the body. People in an insulin resistant state have cells that are less likely to respond to insulin. Therefore it makes it more difficult to obtain your energy conversion from the food you eat as it isn’t effectively converted into usable energy.

The ABC’s of blood sugar regulation are this: The food one eats turns into sugar, This sugar must be converted into energy that that is transferred to the muscles, tissues and organs of your body through the blood. After a carbohydrate laden meal, there is an elevated level of blood glucose. This blood glucose level sends a message to your pancreas, where insulin is produced to produce even more insulin, which helps the body absorb the glucose.

In an insulin resistant state, the body has an excess amount of blood glucose that is floating in the blood. This excess is eventually sent to the liver and then converted not into energy but into excess fat that shows on the body. So not only do you have to watch what you eat in terms of carbohydrate and sugar content, but one with PCOS or insulin resistance must also follow a healthy low fat, balanced diet as when the liver stores and excess amount of fat, it also produces higher levels of tri-glycerides which can lead to heart disease.

Learning about the processes of the body such as the way the body processes sugar can help you to understand that the weight gain you have experienced is not all your fault. While getting a handle on your diet and developing a healthy exercise routine are vital in combating excess weight gain, you need to address the underlying cause of PCOS, insulin resistance. The PCOS condition can promote the storage of fat because glucose does not properly enter the cells to be used as energy. Elevated levels of insulin in the blood stream cause a series of biochemical reactions with wide-ranging consequences that can lead to a variety of other serious health conditions, such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, Diabetes and some cancers. There are ways to regulate your blood sugar and your insulin response. There are nutritional supplements you can take to increase the effectiveness of your insulin receptors on your cells and mitigate the effects of too much insulin in the body.

Remember; take the necessary steps to ensure a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Connect with other women with PCOS to share your stories, ask questions and feel like you aren’t fighting a lonely losing battle.


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      Hutchison 3 years ago

      Hi there,

      The required optimal number of calories is really related to the energy that is needed by the body so the most important variable when considering caloric intake is the activity level of the individual. Men have a slightly higher metabolism than women so their ideal or optimal calorie intake is about 2500-2800 calories per day depending on their height and activity level.