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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Struggling to lose weight with polycystic ovaries - help?

Hi, I'm 36 and have polycystic ovaries. I think this is having an effect on my weight loss. When I started calorie counting in January, I lost 4lbs straight away, and I haven't lost anything since. My calorie intake says 1,400 a day, but most days I have 1,200, but at weekends it usually goes over. So over the week, it probably averages itself out. I also walk the dog for an hour every day, and do an intense workout on a strider and weights at least 3 times a week. I weighed myself today and I've put on weight again. It's so frustrating as I usually lose weight quickly. This is the heaviest I have ever been, apart from after pregnancies, and I just don't now how to lose it without eating next to nothing. I try to eat a low GI diet as this is meant to help, but it's made no difference. My body had toned up a lot, but hasn't got any smaller. Any suggestions please as I feel like giving up and I'm wasting my time. Thanks

A.

Our expert says...

Hi thanks for your query and I can really feel for you. Polycystic ovaries do definitely affect weight loss, so at least you know you are not doing anything wrong. On the positive side you can still lose weight but it takes more patience. And putting on a pound or two may be more to do with your excellent exercise regimen which is likely to mean you are adding muscle to your frame.

 

Though you think eating low GI hasn’t helped, I would stick with it as there is increasing evidence that the condition may be related to insulin resistance, a syndrome in which cells become less responsive to insulin so the pancreas must secrete more and more of this hormone, which causes fat deposition.

To tackle the condition I’d advise a moderate, not excessive, intake of carbohydrates (no more than 50 per cent of calories), and an emphasis, as you’ve already gathered, on low GI - which essentially means unrefined complex carbohydrates (e.g. heavy whole grain breads, wholemeal pasta and high fibre cereals, in preference to white bread, cakes and white rice). Potatoes tend to be higher GI but it doesn’t mean you can't ever eat them. Combine potatoes with a protein source - e.g. jacket potato and tuna and the GI will be lowered. In fact it’s a good idea to eat plenty of protein to help fill you up on fewer calories.

Don’t forget also to fill up on five fruit and veg a day too, which will help to satisfy your appetite without breaking the calorie bank. You might find you lose weight more slowly than you’d like, but you should still see those pounds gradually drop off. Some PCOS sufferers also swear by taking supplements of magnesium, zinc and chromium, as well as the herbal preparation agnus castus to helps regulate female hormones. This regimen is certainly worth a try.

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