PCOS making weight loss almost impossible - Weight Loss NHS

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PCOS making weight loss almost impossible


Help please! I have always been fat and found out the rason for that 20 years ago, in my 30s. I have PCOS which makes me insulin resistant, in turn making all carbs a hinderence to weight loss. Yes, that includes fruit, root veg and what I call 'nice veg' (peas, sweetcorn). All the slimming clubs tell you to include lots of these foods to fill up. Impossible with PCOS. Anything with Aspartame is also a no no because it causes unbelievable sugar/carb cravings (as well as cancer/dementia etc).

The only time I have successful weight loss is by cutting out all carbs or following meal replacement plans, neither of which are sustainable long term. And of course, when I come off them I pile on even more weight.

I also don't appear to have an "off" switch once I start eating although I can go all day without food with no problem. It's really getting me down and I have no help from my GP or supposed 'specialists'. They don't seem to understand the psychological consequenses of PCOS. It's not just the overies it affects.

I have 8 stone to lose and have prolapsed discs, making it very hard to carry out my daily work duties so I'm dosed up with Tramadol and Amitriptyline.

I feel like putting on more weight just to qualify for bariatric surgery which boils down to how desperate I've become.

16 Replies
Ali_B621 stone

Just wondering if there may be any advice to help you on Marilyn Glenville website - put name in search engine? :-)


I also have PCOS and started out with 9 stone to lose - now 3 and a bit down. The way I found worked was to make changes slowly enough that it became habit. I did all of this over the course of about 18 months. I have lost weight very slowly but now, over a year on, I have lost 43lb. The changes I made were:

1) start walking - walking to work and back helped massively with insulin resistance and was the first time I’ve been able to really lose weight

2) Save sugary foods until the weekend or special occasions

3) Save all junk food until the weekend or special occasions

4) Stop snacking on anything except fruit and veg

5) Start looking at portion sizes in dinners and cook from scratch more often

It’s been slow and very frustrating at times but it all adds up - even if I sometimes go months losing 1/4 pound all month.

Also, metformin can help a lot with the cravings.

I have also used the BHF facts not fads planas a good guide since my calorie range to lose weight is definitely lower than the NHS BMI checker gives. If using it, I would cut the calorie allowance given by the NHS by 400-500 kcal


Good morning kugaqueen and welcome to our forum :)

Firstly I would point out, we do not have medical training, but will support you the best we can :)

Putting on more weight and having bariatric surgery really is not the way to go. Let's avoid surgery altogether, it isn't always successful anyway.

I am going to hazard a guess that you are cutting carbs but not eating fat. Adding some fats to your diet will stop you having cravings and will trigger the 'off' switch. You will feel full and satiated, without the need to 'fill up'.

Take a read of this - phcuk.org/wp-content/upload... PCOS is mentioned in Concern 3.

Are you eating enough? Have a look at your own personal calorie range by using the NHS BMI calculator and starting at the higher end. This article explains the importance of eating enough - healthunlocked.com/nhsweigh...

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Wishing you all the best :)


Why do you say that cutting out all carbs is unsustainable? I've been eating that way for nearly 15 years. I look and feel great. My cardiovascular performance is near-perfect, considering I'm old and decrepit.

PCOS doesn't make you insulin resistant. Nobody knows precisely what causes PCOS, but high-carb diets, and the weight gain/insulin resistance that they cause, seem to be an aggravating factor.

Insulin resistance is a perfectly normal recalibration mechanism that your body uses to adapt to a diet high in carbohydrates. Back in our not-too-distant history, when we would have gone through annual cycles of high and low carbs with the seasons, this would have worked fine; we would have gorged on carbs through the winter, got fat, and then burned it all off during the spring "hungry gap" when few starchy foods are available. However, because the experts insist that we have to eat carbs all the time, for years on end, this adaptive process gets pushed further and further to a dysfunctional extreme, and eventually off the verge and into the weeds.

If low-carb diets work for you - and frankly they work for nearly everyone - then why not just do it? The core of low-carb is proper, wholesome food: veg, meat, eggs and dairy. I realise that modern opinion holds real food to be unhealthy, and exhorts us all to live on the products of chemical engineering and food science, but that doesn't seem to pan out as well as the experts suggest that it should.

Hi there and thank you for your reply. I have found that I really cannot eat fruit as it stops any weight loss progress. All the times I've followed the major diet clubs, the weeks I left fruit and the veg I actually enjoy off the menu I lost a small amount of weight. Whenever I added them in, I gained weight. That's so disheartening. I eat poultry but not red meat or fish. I just can't stand the taste. I don't enjoy green veg but eat it for health reasons. The reason a low carb diet is not sustainable is because the foods that will actually allow me to lose a little weight don't satisfy my appetite because I don't enjoy them. I enjoy peas, carrots, parsnip, swede, turnip, sweetcorn, grapes, bananas, nectarines, peaches, melon etc but can't abide cabbage, sprouts, beans, spinach, apples, pears etc. All the stuff I enjoy are banned from a PCOS diet or have to be eaten in such tiny amounts it's not fulfilling. So to be on such a restricted diet really isn't sustainable in my own personal circumstance. I get frustrated and then have binge sessions with all the food I should not be eating. It's all psycholigical but how do I counteract it?

in reply to kugaqueen

hmmm ... you certainly do have a problem with selective tastes :)

I suppose a couple of possibilities are open to you: (a) change your tastes and (b) find new recipes.

Change your tastes

Food preferences can be consciously modified. When I first started to eat LCHF I really didn't like fatty meat. However I persevered with it and I can now truthfully say I enjoy eating bacon (as long as it's crispy), leg/thigh chicken portions, and marbled beef. Same sort of thing with avocados: first time I tried one (years ago) I hated it, but I'm now a massive avocado fan. When I first stopped adding sugar to things, I had to use sweeteners for a while. But my tastes changed really, really fast, and I now dislike (for example) sweet drinks.

Incidentally, I wonder if the reason you dislike red meat is because UK supermarket meat is bad. I mean really, really bad. It's a disgrace. Meat is not supposed to taste like that. I would recommend buying something from an online supplier of quality, pastured meat - at least to try. You will be surprised. It costs 50-80% more than supermarket meat, but the simple solution to that is to eat 50-80% less of it.

Change your recipes

British food is ... how do I put this? Not very good, generally. We're not inventive with our vegetables. Traditionally, we just boil them to mush. Most cultures are a bit smarter than that. Spend some time just browsing around on the internet to find some recipes you might like, and bear in mind that LCHF meals must have fat added; that, in itself, makes things a lot more satisfying. Do you like cream? A cream sauce makes everything better, in my opinion. Cauliflower mash (with butter, cream, salt and pepper) tastes pretty good. Buttered asparagus tastes a lot better than plain, boiled asparagus. And so on.

How are you with eggs? There's a lot you can do with eggs, either as the focus of a meal or as an ingredient.

Also ... the ultra-low-carb stage would normally only last a few weeks, and after that things like peas, carrots and sweetcorn can be phased back in. It's quite unusual for weight gain to kick in when you do that. If you feel the need to heap up your plate with half a kilo of peas, the most likely explanation is that you're just not fat-adapted yet, or your don't have enough fat on your plate.

LCHF is not just about cutting out carbs and leaving a big space on your plate - it's about finding new ways of eating familiar ingredients and adding new ones. This does take a bit of time to figure out.

Thank you. You've certainly given me a different perspective. I'm not a very good cook and working full time I'm usually too tired to faff around with it so I am guilty of just steaming veg. I love real butter and usually only put it on high carb bread and potatoes so popping it on to veg will definitely improve the taste. You're right about meat being from the supermarket. Finances are tight so I never look to go organic, grass fed etc (although with PCOS it's probably a healthier option)

in reply to kugaqueen

yeah, it's tough when you're working. But cooking is one of those skills that can improve your life immeasurably - it's worth making the extra effort to learn. I suspect the government obsession with getting as many people paying as much tax as possible has something to do with the disastrous national diet these days. Everyone's too knackered to feed themselves properly.

Butter makes everything better :) I also suggest coconut oil. Doesn't work for everything, but adds a very nice subtle coconutty flavour to certain foods. Works well with omelettes, weirdly enough, if you mix just a little of the coconut oil with butter for frying.

Most people think they can't afford proper meat, and it is very expensive, but a little goes a long way. There's a wide range of prices: shop around. If you have a chest freezer, buying a big joint is a lot cheaper than smaller cuts. You'll just be blown away by the taste difference, and it'll have better-quality fat on it, which you need to fuel yourself and keep carb cravings at bay.

When I'm in the UK I hardly ever buy meat or pork from the supermarket because it just tastes disgusting (the chicken is pretty awful too). I suppose a whole generation have grown up knowing nothing different, so they get away with it. I can certainly understand why you've lost interest in it.


Hello kugaqueen and welcome :)

You have some great advice here. I just wanted to add this link to a recipe site that may be of interest to you. It has a shop but most of it is open, so I'm hoping this will be OK to post (i.e. not spamming :) ) mypcoskitchen.com/

I am on amitriptyline for sleep which is great at night but only paracetamol during day as tramadol didn't touch the pain. And can't take anything else I have come of pregablin and looking weight

Devanah16Restart October 2019

Hi kugaqueen, welcome to the forum, you’ve already got lots of brilliant advice, I was put on a low carb high protein diet which didn’t work for me, so I worked it out for myself, losing weight needn’t be expensive, batch cooking could be a thought, something like bolognese, or stews or even soups, portion it and put in the freezer, replace mash potatoes with mashed swede and carrots, my diabetic nurse recommended to me to eat little and often, keeping your metabolism constant, can you take snacks to work with you? Wishing you every success 😊xx

in reply to Devanah16

You're 100% right about costs: eating right doesn't have to be expensive. Those cheap convenience foods aren't cheap at all. You pay a lot for the convenience!

Your diet seems to be working for you, but it really irritates me when dieticians pretend fat doesn't exist. Bodies store energy as fat because they're (normally) very good at using it for energy, and dietary fat can be burned just as efficiently as bodyfat ... if we just give our bodies a chance to do so.

Who put you on a 'low carb high protein' diet? This is not good either for weight loss or for diabetes (you're insulin-dependent Type 1, right?). It's used only in unusual circumstances - for example, people who have had major surgery, or have had their gallbladder removed and can't handle fat very well. Protein is as a construction material. I'ts not an energy source. Or at least it's not supposed to be.

Devanah16Restart October 2019
in reply to TheAwfulToad

Morning TheAwfulToad it was a locum Diabetic Nurse, who has since left the surgery because she was telling patients like myself to buy the Michael Mosley diet book but it wasn’t good for me but promises to make you insulin free. I mentioned that particular diet because kugaqueen said that she can’t eat carbs but my original diabetic nurse was furious when I told her how rough I was feeling, it is an extremely tough regime, in the end I started slowly introducing bits of carb and I started to feel much better 😊

in reply to Devanah16

It's just bizarre how healthcare providers blame you the patient when their advice doesn't work, isn't it. It would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

The Blood Sugar Diet is a curious hodgepodge of ideas taken from low-carb high-fat diets and "mainstream" low-calorie low-fat (specifically, the Mediterranean Diet). It doesn't work because there is fundamentally no point at which the two can be reconciled. They're polar opposites. Attempting to make them meet in the middle just gives you the worst of both worlds: low-calorie, low-carb, low-fat, high-protein, which gives your body nothing useful for energy.

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