Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder in which hormones are out of balance. Due to our changing lifestyle and diet patterns, young women are facing this problem most commonly. It is quite hard to overcome this syndrome but with right lifestyle modification, you can control PCOS.
It is called a syndrome rather than a disease because it has many possible causes or characteristics, rather than one known cause. However, ‘insulin resistance’ is considered to be one of the leading cause of PCOS. Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar (also called glucose) from the bloodstream into cells to use as energy. When your body is ‘insulin resistant’, cells don’t respond normally to it and the level of sugar in the blood rises. In addition, the level of insulin goes up as the body produces more and more of it to try to get glucose into the cells. Too much insulin signals the ovaries to release higher-than-normal levels of androgens which then worsen PCOS symptoms. Elevated insulin levels may eventually increase your risk not only for infertility but also for diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease.
But you can control PCOS by adopting these lifestyle changes in your routine.
CONTROL PCOS WITH EXERCISES
In order to lose weight, people go on crash diets which actually leads to muscle loss instead of fat loss. And the more muscle tissue you lose, the more insulin resistant you get. So if the insulin is not functioning properly it means that all the other hormones are not functioning at their optimum. And when the body gets insulin resistant you start putting on weight, develop pigmentation, and break out etc. So, if you want to lose weight, “LOSE FAT, GAIN MUSCLE”.
The best form of exercise that one can do is ‘strength training’ in the gym regularly, because it can rebuild lost muscle tissue. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn per day. Regular exercise has incredible benefits that go way beyond weight loss for women with PCOS. Adopt 150 minutes of weekly exercises as a way of life.
EAT HOME-COOKED FOODS
Diet plays an important role in order to control PCOS, not only for weight loss and maintenance, but also to regulate insulin levels. One of the reasons for PCOS is because we’ve stopped eating our traditional and nutritious foods and have started eating more processed and industrialized food.
At any point when you experience a significant change to lifestyle, like when girls start living in a hostel where there aren’t any home-cooked meals or for that matter when they take up a job, they tend to become susceptible to things like PCOD and Thyroid. Because then, all of a sudden they have accessible income and they start eating things that are more expensive but not necessarily rich in terms of nutrients.
So, make a habit to eat at least two home-cooked meals while at work. Eat wholegrain foods instead of processed, refined foods and have whole fruit instead of fruit juice. Incorporate more veggies and legumes in your diet as they’re high in fibre. Avoid sugary foods completely. All this will help you to balance your hormones and blood sugar levels naturally.
EAT SMALL FREQUENT MEALS
Eat small, healthy mini-meals throughout the day to manage cravings and hunger pangs. Having more frequent smaller meals and snacks will keep your blood sugar levels even. Keep a food journal that will help you know your intake level.
Always fix what you’re going to eat between four and six in the evening a week before. Because that’s the time when we tend to mess up the most and we land up eating everything unhealthy and junk that we never wanted to eat.
AVOID SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
In the past one decade, a sedentary lifestyle has taken the first place to create a hormonal imbalance. It leads to ‘insulin resistance’ where our insulin doesn’t function as optimally as it is supposed to function. And that is the root cause for PCOS and many other lifestyle diseases like obesity, thyroid and diabetes.
Have you ever thought, how much you sit in a day? Driving during your morning commute to an 8-hour-a-day desk job, and then unwinding on the couch in front of the TV all evening. Not only this, even advancement in technology has let people spend all day scrunched in a chair. You really need to watch out, how much you are sitting. If you are sitting for hours and hours together then I would say, that is the first warning sign for PCOS.
Make sure to stand up and walk around for two minutes after every thirty minutes of sitting. Take the stairs instead of elevator, walk while you talk on phone, play with your kids etc. All these little things can increase your carbohydrate and fat metabolism and improve glucose sensitivity within fat cells.
GO GADGET FREE AT NIGHT
“Get rid of your gadgets at least an hour before you hit the bed. Don’t take your phone, your iPhone, your Kindle to bed. Repair hormones like the growth hormone and hormones that help in insulin sensitivity are all secreted at night, so if you’re watching something on your laptop, your brain sends signal to your body that it is daytime. And in turn, your body starts secreting daytime hormones as opposed to nighttime hormones. That’s why many people can’t sleep properly at night, feel too tired in the day. It’s become an urban norm now. So go gadget-free at night,” says Rujuta.