If you want to get rid of PCOS belly fat, this article will show the diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes you should make to get a flat tummy with PCOS.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women. Common symptoms include insulin resistance, elevated male hormones, and cysts on the ovaries.
PCOS causes hormonal changes that increase belly fat. Luckily, you can fix these hormonal imbalances and as a result, lose belly fat.
Before we look into how to get rid of PCOS belly fat, here is why PCOS causes belly fat.
Why Does PCOS Cause Belly Fat?
PCOS causes insulin resistance
About 80 percent of women with PCOS have insulin resistance. This is a bad thing since research shows that insulin resistance causes weight gain.
Additionally, insulin resistance increases hunger and cravings.
PCOS increases male hormones
Women with PCOS have elevated levels of male hormones. The high hormone levels can make you develop male fat-gaining patterns such as excess belly fat.
You may also develop other traits such as facial hair.
PCOS may cause cortisol belly fat
According to research, high cortisol levels increase abdominal fat in women.
Chances are you have high blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance. High cortisol levels may raise your blood sugar levels higher since cortisol releases sugar into the blood to help us deal with stressful situations.
How to Get Rid of PCOS Belly Fat
1. Exercise to improve insulin sensitivity
It is important to improve insulin sensitivity if you want to get rid of PCOS belly fat.
Regular exercise can make your cells more receptive to insulin. According to research, a short workout can improve your insulin sensitivity for up to 16 hours after exercise.
Exercise also aids weight loss and as you may know, losing weight reverses insulin resistance.
Exercise for 30 minutes every day. If you don’t have time to visit the gym every day, do these 15-minute fat-burning workouts.
2. Balance your Omega 3 and 6 intake
You probably know that it is important to eat enough omega 3 fatty acids. But do you watch your omega 6 intake?
Research shows that a high intake of omega 6s causes inflammation. Moreover, inflammation can make it harder for you to get rid of PCOS belly fat.
You need to maintain a good ratio of omega 3 and 6 in order to fight inflammation and lose belly fat. This means reducing omega 6s intake and increasing omega 3s intake.
Cutting back on vegetable oil, whole-grain bread, processed foods, and cereals will help reduce your omega 6s intake.
Eat more fish, oysters, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and omega 3 fish oil supplements to increase your omega 3s intake.
3. Reduce your carbohydrates intake
High carb intake can worsen insulin resistance and increase your total daily caloric intake.
Replace high-carb foods with high-fiber low-carb foods.
Some of the foods you should eliminate from your diet include cookies, cakes, candies, sodas, and other processed foods.
Eat lots of veggies, fruits, brown rice, oats, legumes, whole grains, and low-carb snacks.
4. Increase intake of water-rich foods
Do you struggle with hunger all the time? Eating foods with high water content can control your appetite and keep hunger at bay.
Even better, high-water-content foods can get rid of your PCOS belly fat. In this Japanese study, researchers found that 1,136 women reduced their waist circumferences when they increased water intake from foods, but not water from beverages.
Foods with high water content include strawberries, celery, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapples, green peppers, veggies, and oranges.
5. Eat protein in every meal
Eating more protein can help you lose PCOS belly fat in several ways.
For one thing, protein helps control hunger. In this study, people ate 441 fewer calories when they got 30 percent of their daily calories from protein foods.
Secondly, protein promotes muscle growth. And as you may know, increasing muscle mass is the most effective way to boost your metabolism.
Make sure your protein comes from solid foods since liquid protein is not as filling. Here are the best protein sources according to nutrition experts.
6. Eat fruit before every meal
While PCOS may cause belly fat, overeating is probably the main reason you have excess belly fat.
Eating fruit before meals will increase your fullness and prevent overeating. Fruits contain fiber, which helps control hunger.
In fact, some fruits such as grapefruit enhance fat loss, according to research.
You can even eat 2 fruits before meals if you want to consume fewer calories. Eating raw veggies like carrots before meals will also have the same hunger-regulating effect.
7. Serve lots of veggies in every meal
Many experts tell you to eat more veggies but they do not tell you how to do it. Today, I will tell you how to.
Make sure veggies cover the biggest portion of your plate.
Your veggies should be more than the rice, meat, or beans on your plate. In fact, eating lots of veggies can allow you to eat white rice, pasta, and other simple carbs without gaining weight.
Now, you are probably thinking that veggies are boring. Well, you can make the delicious with the right cooking skills. Learn how to make delicious healthy meals using this cookbook.
Eat veggies in every meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
8. Manage your stress
Stress raises your cortisol levels, which consequently increases belly fat.
Find different ways to manage your stress. Regular meditation, walking, yoga, and deep belly breathing are some of the techniques you can use to relieve stress.
Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night can also help reduce stress.
9. Avoid all sugary beverages
Sodas, fruit juice, and other sugary drinks add calories without filling you up. These drinks also increase nighttime sugar cravings.
Instead, drink water or smoothies. In fact, drinking two glasses of water before meals can help you lose weight.
10. Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D doesn’t just help us maintain bone and muscle mass as we grow older. Research shows that low vitamin D intake can lower insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, women with PCOS have low vitamin D levels. Get your vitamin D from egg yolks, sardines, wild-caught salmon, and fortified foods.
You can also take vitamin D supplements.
11. Avoid hormonal disruptors
It is important to avoid hormonal disruptors when dealing with PCOS. Exposure to them can make it harder for you to get rid of PCOS belly fat.
Here are a few ways to avoid hormonal disruptors:
- Do not store food in plastic containers. Use glass containers.
- Filter your drinking water to remove toxins.
- Keep your home dust-free.
- Buy organic when buying foods with high pesticide residue.
- Do not use too many cosmetic products.
- Avoid non-stick pans. Use cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic pans.
12. Get a Weight Loss Partner
Lack of support is one of the biggest obstacles for people trying to lose weight. And you can combat this problem by getting a weight loss partner who will motivate you and keep you accountable.
It’s always advisable to choose a partner who is fitter and healthier than you.
What you have learned:
PCOS causes insulin resistance, which in return, increases belly fat.
PCOS increases male hormones in women. This leads to male features such as facial hair and the accumulation of belly fat.
Exercising regularly can improve your insulin sensitivity. Even short high-intensity workouts are beneficial.
Increasing protein intake can help you get rid of PCOS belly fat.
You can get rid of inflammation by balancing omega 3s and 6s intake. Fighting inflammation will make it easier for you to lose PCOS belly fat.
Water-rich foods can help make your waistline smaller.
It is important to cut back on high-carb foods if you want to lose PCOS belly fat.
Eating fruit before meals will help prevent overeating.
You can increase your fiber intake by making sure veggies cover the biggest portion of your plate in every meal.
Getting enough vitamin D can help improve your insulin sensitivity.
Managing your stress can help get rid of PCOS belly fat.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, you must change your habits to get rid of PCOS belly fat. However, trying to change everything at once can be overwhelming.
I’d recommend you pick two habits from this article and start implementing them. Stick to these habits until they become a part of your lifestyle.
It would be wise to pick impactful habits such as exercising regularly and eating more fiber.
The good best part about exercise is you don’t have to go to the gym every day. You can get fit at home while exercising for only 15 minutes.