What is PCOS?
PCOS is a medical condition linked to hormonal imbalance and insulin resistance. It affects four in every twenty women.
How do I know I have PCOS?
If you have symptoms like excessive weight gain, ovulation or fertility problems, period problems, facial or bodily hair, mood swings, acne, tiredness, thinning hair, cravings for food, skin tags, depression, irritability, a tendency to faint or emotional problems; you could have PCOS.
Your doctor should arrange an ultrasound scan and a blood test to determine if you have PCOS. Remember you don’t need to have all the symptoms - you may have only two or three and still have PCOS.
Is there a cure for PCOS?
No. But the good news is that PCOS sufferers can manage their symptoms and lead perfectly healthy lives if they keep their weight under control, take regular exercise and make appropriate lifestyle changes.
Will I always have a weight problem because of PCOS?
You can lose weight; many PCOS sufferers struggle to lose weight because one of the symptoms of PCOS is a slow metabolism.
My Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan for PCOS, designed to speed up your metabolism, has been helping PCOS sufferers for over 17 years. If you follow my recommendations, you can lose weight consistently until you reach your desired weight.
Will I be able to have children with PCOS?
Some PCOS sufferers have fertility problems. Your medical consultant will explain the many options available. The success rate for conception is increasing all the time.
Over 1,500 babies have been born to my PCOS slimmers to date. All had been struggling to get pregnant before following my Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan for PCOS. By losing weight, reducing their symptoms, eating nutritious food and boosting their metabolism, they were able to give themselves an excellent chance of getting pregnant, naturally.
Why do I find it difficult to lose weight with PCOS?
PCOS is a chemical or hormone imbalance, linked to insulin resistance. This can make losing weight very difficult for many sufferers. Many PCOS sufferers are also ‘carbohydrate sensitive’. They can crave carbohydrates with many sufferers being unable to stop eating foods like sugars, and certain starchy carbohydrates. PCOS sufferers also typically have a sluggish metabolism.
Because of an insulin resistance problem, your diet needs to be low sugar, low fat, low carbohydrate with good quality animal protein, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Animal protein is a good source of essential vitamins. You may especially need foods containing B vitamins because some PCOS medications can deplete B vitamins in the body. These vitamins need replacing for good health.
Why do I need organic food?
When you suffer with PCOS it is important that you keep your food and drinks chemical free. Organic food is better because it is additive free and will not affect the balance of chemicals in your body.
What type of diet is it?
It’s much more than just a diet — it’s a special Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan for PCOS sufferers. It’s not restrictive and is designed to increase your metabolism and cater to your preferred eating habits and lifestyle.
You will eat little and often so you will not be hungry on this diet. It will contain all the vitamins and minerals you need to lose weight and can help you reduce your PCOS symptoms. Once you have reached your desired weight, you can use the Maintenance Diet to keep the weight off permanently.
What kind of food is on the diet?
Everyday foods, but preferably organic. Your diet will contain a choice of breakfasts, lunches, evening meals and snacks for when you feel hungry.
Because you suffer from PCOS the diet will be low fat, low sugar, low carbohydrate with plenty of good quality animal protein, fruit and vegetables. The protein food will provide the vitamins that are essential to your health.
The diet is very easy to follow. I provide a list of all the foods you need to help speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight faster. Once you are losing weight successfully, you can introduce a daily treat if you like!
Can I drink alcohol, eat takeaways and dine in restaurants on the diet?
Yes. You can have a glass of red wine occasionally. Red wine contains bioflavonoids which are good for your heart. You can also eat in restaurants and have takeaways providing you choose wisely, eat sensibly and steer clear of foods with additives or chemicals. See page 155 for more tips on eating out.
How much weight can I lose on the diet?
If you have more than 19 kg/42 lbs to lose, you can expect to lose at least 2.5 kg/5 lbs in your first week, then a regular 1 kg/2 lbs a week after that. Doctors recommend a slow weight loss so that excess fat is lost rather than muscle.
How can you help me stop ‘cheating’ on the plan?
I’ve devised a Binge Recovery Guide, based on the real-life experiences of the PCOS volunteers who were part of my diet and lifestyle trials into PCOS. The guide will help you avoid cheating.
Will my PCOS symptoms reduce if I lose weight?
Yes. My PCOS clients have reported significant reductions in their symptoms after losing weight. Some clients have been told by their medical consultant or medical practitioners that their weight loss has resulted in their cysts shrinking.
The benefits of losing weight can be transformational. For example, your hair can become thicker; if you suffer with acne, your skin can improve; your mood swings can become less frequent; your periods can return and be less painful; your confidence can improve and your chances of getting pregnant can increase; if that is your aim.
Do I need to exercise whilst dieting?
Exercising within your own capabilities is good for you but never needs to be strenuous. My simple exercises, devised by a personal trainer can be performed in the comfort and privacy of your own home, with very little effort. Naturally, it helps if you can keep active doing everyday things like walking and gardening or going swimming. The more you move the more calories you will burn off.
If I crave sweet foods, do I need to give them up?
No. There is a selection of sweets recipes for the times when you want something sweet but don’t want to go off the rails.
Do I have to weigh and measure all my foods?
I appreciate that there isn’t always time to weigh foods. That’s one of the reasons my diet is laid out in meal format. All you do is select your choice of breakfast, lunch, evening meal and supper snack from your diet menu. This makes it easy to follow and manage and will result in a good weight loss every week.