The hormonal disorder polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 1 out of every 10 women during their reproductive years. Women with PCOS often experience issues with hormonal imbalances, metabolism and, as a result, weight gain. Many women who struggle with excess weight are unaware that they have PCOS. It is the leading cause of infertility in women, and often goes undiagnosed.
Unfortunately, there is still great debate in the medical community about the causes of the condition. Experts believe that PCOS may be due to a combination of factors such as, genetics, lifestyle and environment. Someone with PCOS will have a higher level of male hormones and insulin resistance. Meaning the body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin and can not effectively use glucose from the blood for energy and it’s likely to be stored as fat. Women with PCOS will struggle with excess weight and have dark facial hair and body hair.
Symptoms differ among women, this is what makes diagnosing the condition difficult. That said insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels are key indicators of the disease and the response is weight gain. Obvious indicators of the disease are irregular Menstrual cycles. It’s not just the absence of/or irregular periods, it can also be prolonged or heavy periods. Another symptom is when insulin acts on the ovaries causing them to produce the male hormone testosterone. When there is too much free-floating insulin the ovaries respond by making more testosterone. High levels of male sex hormones can interfere with ovulation and cause infertility. The final common symptom is elevated androgen levels which upset hormonal balance. This results in severe acne, male pattern balding, and excessive hair growth on the face and body called hirsutism. Any hormonal imbalances can cause the ovaries to develop follicles with built up fluid these block the release of eggs, causing infertility. PCOS affects anything that is linked to hormones. This includes headaches, darkening of the skin, an increase in appetite, significant cravings for carbs, and weight gain. PCOS weight is mostly visceral fat in the abdomen, and for Women, this is a huge concern and greatly affects self-esteem.
Many research studies have suggested that lifestyle changes help relieve the symptoms of PCOS. The first point to be made is that weight loss, where you reduce your fat mass while maintaining lean mass and lowering your resting metabolic rate and insulin levels, helps with PCOS and it is exactly where Sprezzatura’s nutritional plan 1 shines! Our nutrition plan 1 is designed to break the vicious cycle of PCOS. Hormone imbalance - contributes to weight gain – which contributes to insulin resistance. The Sprezzatura nutrition plan reduces the body’s dependence on glucose. Our carb-restricting plan, naturally reduces your blood glucose levels. This then lowers your insulin levels and relieves the symptoms related to insulin resistance and inflammation. Plus extra insulin promotes fat storage, so using our diet trains your body to go from burning glucose for energy to burning fat, treating insulin resistance. By cutting carbs and following a high protein, insulin-focused diet, many women have seen dramatic changes, including increased fertility, regular menstrual cycles, weight loss, and the improvement of acne.
Research has sown us that women with hormonal imbalances need a different nutritional plan to effectively lose weight. One which suppresses the secretion of insulin results in substantial loss of body weight and fat mass. A simple calorie-restricting diet will not be sufficient to eliminate the effects of insulin resistance. You need to be on a diet with the correct foods that don’t spike your insulin levels. Most women in their efforts to lose weight are not knowledgeable of the carb-insulin hypothesis. The carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis offers an alternative model by factoring in the interplay of nutrition density and the impact of certain foods on hormones. More on this topic in my next blog. Back to PCOS…
Top 8 Benefits of the Sprezzatura Programme for PCOS sufferers:
1. Improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. As mentioned, insulin is a key driver of PCOS, so if you can improve your insulin sensitivity and lower your insulin levels, it will have a knock-on effect. Improving your insulin levels will generate effective weight loss.
2. Restored hormonal balance. Linked to the improvement of insulin levels and glucose tolerance, studies have found that a low-carb diet leads to the improvement of hormone imbalances in women. Benefits of hormonal balance include improved hair growth and fertility.
3. More regular ovulation. Studies have shown that women who cut out carbs for up to 3 months found that their menstrual cycle normalised and falling pregnant improved significantly.
4. Reduced cravings. Carb cravings can be controlled with a low carb diet. When you consume carbohydrates, your insulin levels shoot up and then crash, this results in cravings. But because of our Plan 1, the diet stabalises your insulin, and it manages your cravings better.
5. Weight Loss. Our clients will testify that our insulin-focused diet effectively eliminates excess weight whether you’re suffering from PCOS or not. But it is especially promising for women with PCOS. When your insulin comes down, your inflammation comes down, and this further helps you to lose weight.
6. Reduction in acne. A number of studies have shown that cutting carbs which rapidly convert to sugar when eaten, greatly improve acne prone skin
7. Reduced anxiety and depression. Overweight, acne, unwanted hair growth, and fertility problems can all contribute to anxiety and depression. Managing and decreasing these problems will in turn increase your confidence.
8. Improve overall health. When you lose weight, your metabolic health tends to improve as well. This includes the reduction in LDL cholesterol and other heart disease risk f factors, which lead to reduced PCOS symptoms.
Clearly, a healthy nutrition plan and weight loss are important in managing PCOS symptoms. Inevitably people trying to manage weight loss on their own without the knowledge and proper support cut corners and take the easy way out. They choose replacement foods that are full of unhealthy fats and processed ingredients. These foods may be low in carbs, but it doesn’t mean they’re good for you, especially PCOS sufferers. We keep the focus on natural healthy high protein foods. Remember for weight loss to be maintainable it must be a lifestyle change. You cannot do it for a bit and then go back to your old habits.
It’s something you need to practice 90% of your life….because nobody is a 100% perfect.