We’ve all been there girl. It’s 4 PM, dinner’s not going to be ready for a while, and that sandwich from lunch just isn’t doing it for you – you’re hungry, and nothing sounds better than those chocolatey, sweet, drool-worthy chocolate chip cookies in the pantry.
Ugh, my mouth is watering just thinking about them!
But it doesn’t always happen just at this time of day for us, does it, babe? PCOS cravings can strike at any time. Getting them can make you feel out of control and like you can’t meet the goals you set for yourself. These goals could be less snacking, more fulfilling snacks and meals, or trying to lose weight. Which, girl, I know first hand, losing weight with PCOS is HARD.
But you’re not alone, and this CAN be improved on!
I know, I know, but HOW do we control PCOS cravings? Cyster, I’ve got you, let’s get into it.
Why Do we have PCOS Cravings?
PCOS sugar cravings are the real deal. They strike at the worst times, and the cravings feel nearly insatiable. They’re a beast to deal with cyster, I totally understand.
When we try to answer the question, “Why can’t I lose weight with PCOS?”, our first instinct always goes back to a lack of self-control. But, that’s not it. Drilling down to the root cause, we can safely determine that our hormones are to blame, not our self-control.
In a study that was conducted to look at binge-eating disorders in women with PCOS, the study found that nearly ALL participants struggled with intense food cravings, a whopping 99%. These cravings were across all body types and ages of women with PCOS.
But luckily, we can narrow down one significant cause for these intense cravings – insulin resistance. You may recognize this term as blood sugar issues, which if you’ve been diagnosed may have been shared with you. Insulin is an appetite stimulant – meaning, it makes you hungry, specifically for sugar.
Unfortunately, as many as 30% to 40% of women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) also have insulin resistance — a condition that leads to high blood sugar levels, infertility, and the potential for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance requires management with lifestyle changes or treatment with medication, usually metformin (not my favorite).
If you’re not sure what your blood sugar levels are like, you can ask your doctor to run a few different insulin resistance tests on you. Though, if you’re struggling with PCOS and especially the cravings accompanying it, you’re likely dealing with insulin resistance.
Why Does PCOS Cause Weight Gain? And Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight with PCOS?
The old standard “eat less move more” doesn’t apply to us. It’s imperative we heal our hormones at the same time – or else weight loss just does not work for us. Period.
So, what can we do?
Looking back to why we experience cravings, we can identify one main culprit yet again- insulin resistance. But beyond making us crave sugar, how else can insulin resistance impact our weight loss?
That extra insulin promotes fat storage, which combined with the increased cravings and hunger, can be a significant cause of PCOS weight gain.
But insulin resistance isn’t the only bad egg, we can also look to our imbalance hormones like testosterone, cortisol, and other critical hormones. All of these imbalanced hormones can impact insulin and then other physical and mental symptoms that can cause chronic fatigue, mental health challenges, and other intense issues. People tend to think of PCOS as a purely physical condition, but it’s important to remember the impact of mental health on physical health and subsequently, cravings. We need to start looking at treating PCOS holistically, something I personally specialize in.
How to Fight PCOS Cravings
We have to start at the root, balancing blood sugar issues and correcting our hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol. It’s time to make blood sugar and PCOS get along – and in turn, take care of those pesky cravings FOR GOOD.
Here are three of my tried and true, core tips to fight PCOS cravings and insulin resistance:
Increase your protein intake: Adding extra protein to our meals and snacks can keep us fuller longer, balance our blood sugar, and prevent intense cravings. When we eat carbs and sugary foods, they rapidly raise blood sugar levels. And as we know, what goes up, must come down. Try to replace these often with whole foods like quinoa (We still like carbs here boo) and include plenty of proteins that can take the body longer to break down.
Don’t skip meals: Are you skipping meals? If you answered yes, that’s a red alert cyster! Us PCOS cysters need to eat at least every three to five hours. One way to fight hunger pangs? Avoid being hungry to begin with by eating lots of good, solid whole foods eaten at regular intervals. The longer you go without food, the lower your blood sugar gets.
Find a good supplement regime: This one can be a little tricky to do on your own, but it’s doable with the right guidance. As a Registered Dietitian specializing in PCOS, I work with my clients to identify quality PCOS supplements and foods that meet their unique needs. And of course, identify the right regime to battle insulin resistance and other hormone imbalances – resulting in fewer cravings and overall better quality of life.
Be the Boss of your PCOS
Babe, I’m excited and ready to work with you, it would be my pleasure. I’m here to help you balance information overload, focus on what to eat and what to avoid, balance your hormones, and put YOU in control – not your PCOS. Together we’ll ditch the restriction, like unnecessarily avoiding gluten and dairy. PCOS isn’t a food death sentence bae – you just need the right tools and knowledge to be PCOS’s boss.
I have two programs designed to help you lose weight with PCOS.
Get Pregnant with PCOS: Created to conquer your PCOS symptoms and get pregnant successfully (with that focus on weight loss you might be looking for)
PCOS Boss Academy: Designed for permanent, non-restrictive weight loss and PCOS symptom mastery.
Each one of these programs focuses on giving you control back using evidence-based science and real experiences, and of course, real success. Let’s make you the boss, cyster.
If you have questions, I’m always here to help answer your questions and find the program that’s right for you and your body.