PCOS Weight issues

Hi there,

I’m a 32 year old recently diagnosed PCOS suffer who is in need of help and I don’t know where to turn.

I’m very new to PCOS having only been diagnosed this year but have basically been offered no help. At the start of the year I suddenly starting putting on weight (previously a healthy weight and a size 8 - 10, i'm 5ft 2) at a extremely fast rate, I had come off the contraception injection the following May and it took me 6 months to get a period, i felt normal up to around Feb this year and then suddenly put on over a stone in around 2 months, my diet had stayed the same, very healthy during the week and a few treats at the weekend but I have eaten like this all my life, I have various food intolerances and allergies so food has always been a big deal in my life, I make sure I eat well 80 - 90% of the time, I started getting very bad skin and my periods disappeared again, around June time this year I was told I had PCOS, the doctor told me unless I’m trying for a baby (which I’m currently not) that there wasn’t much he could do, try going on the pill so I would get a period and then hopefully that would make me lose weight (which it hasn’t, I was on this for 5 months and although I did get periods I was still putting on weight). My skin has cleared up but no matter what I do I cannot lose weight, I’m active and like exercise, I work out around 3 – 4 times per week with a mix of hot yoga and running, I eat gluten free, wheat free and mostly dairy free, I’m allergic to most nuts (apart from cashews and brazil nuts), mushrooms and can’t eat much fiber due to IBS, this doesn’t leave me with a lot to eat, yet I’m still not losing weight, I have tried every diet under the sun since Feb, currently trialing paleo which does seem to be helping not putting anymore weight on but I cannot lose anything to get back to my normal weight. This is really affecting me, my confidence, my sanity, I feel it is making me obsess about food and eating, I’m constantly analysing what I eat, it's really getting me down. I eat very clean, meals are pretty much green veg, salad, meat or fish with good fats (avocado, coconut oil and I do eat eggs), no fruits as i'm worried about the high sugar ( if I eat seeds and nuts they tend to go straight to my tummy fat) eating like this seems to be maintaining my heavier weight but I’m losing nothing, then if I do have a treat day due to a birthday or a family meal out I’m then 3 - 5 ib heavier the next day, if I’m away for the weekend and relax a little more I will come back 5 – 6 pound heavier, that isn’t an exaggeration. I’m sorry this is such a long email but I really don’t know where to turn. I’m considering a nutritionist and a trainer but I’m worried who I can trust and that they will be giving me the right information, also that the cost of this will be so expensive.

If anyone could help I would be so grateful.

4 Replies

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  • Sadly the fatter you get the worse the symptoms can become. I remember when I first came off the contraceptive pill I put on a stone in 2 weeks, it was over Christmas so I did overeat a bit but a stone ....

    Can you go back on the combined contraceptive as this will level out the hormones and make it easier to lose weight. I literally have only been off the pill when I was trying for a family as even though my diet was good I just couldnt stop putting on weight. We will still gain 2lb a month just by eating the RDA so we do need to eat considerably less just to stay the same sadly.

    Most nutritionists are not pcos clued up so I wouldnt waste your money to be honest, low GI generally and sadly no treats at all as it does make a difference. I quite like the 5:2 diet as I find it easy to keep going (once you get your head around it) - it has totally changed how I feel about hunger as well.

    I have about a stone to lose, then I will be 1 stone more than in my 20s which is ok as I am now 47 so its better face wise to have a bit extra.

  • You poor thing. I'm sorry it's such a rough ride for you. I've understood I had PCOS since the age of 17 and was never slim so I can't pine for the good ol' days.

    But let me tell you what has worked for me in case you'd like to try it. And what I believe to be true too. Because the other responder is correct, GPs aren't clued up. They read through Wikipedia just like you and I. I however have been visiting a specialist consultant this past year and all my investigative living has paid off.

    Having PCOS means nothing from here on in will be predictable. Everything is trial and error. There's no cure, there's just management if symptoms. Some of us have a list of symptoms as long as your arm so it's important to prioritise what you can't handle over what you can live with for now.

    All GPs say there's nothing they can do unless you want to get pregnant. But it's not true. Medication can help you manage your worst symptoms. Diet and lifestyle however can play a really productive role, and not just for weight loss.

    It's sounds like you've gone hell for leather with cutting things out but as I dive deeper into what all my hormones were responsible for I found I could tweak my lifestyle to get better responses from my diet.

    I went gluten free 6 years ago and haven't looked back. However, I do cheat (never with bread, I found it too hard to climb back on the wagon after that) when I'm going out with friends or when Christmas rolls round.

    After understanding that my high testosterone was linked to my insulin resistance I cut out refined sugar (I eat fruit and natural sugars) and saw a reduction in my facial hair.

    When I understood my thinking scalp was linked to my iron levels I began eating more pulses.

    Understanding my body's reaction to insulin (you don't mention this so I wonder if you have a problem with it or have spoken about it with your doctor) meant I trialled treating myself like a diabetic. I now each little and often as opppsed to the archaic 3 times a day. And (although harder to stick to) start with more food at the beginning of the day, tailing off to snacks at the end of the day.

    Metformin has been my friend through weight loss and insulin management and this is something you should talk to your go about. Commonly prescribed for diabetics it helps your body break down sugar so it stops overproducing ineffective insulin.

    Your periods will be directly affected by your weight so don't think about them for a while and concentrate on embarking upon a trial and error lifestyle. Do the Paléo and keep a diary. Stop it and do the gluten free and keep the diary. Then stop that. No one thing is going to work forever because your hormones will dip and spike and your responses will need to change too.

    Do regular blood tests with your GP and ask them to help you understand what changes happen. When your oestrogen is low, when your ferritin is low etc. Don't be fobbed off. Tell them you want to work together to manage this.

    And finally, don't worry about those bloomin' periods, if your body doesn't produce one in four months go to the GP and ask for a course of progesterone to start it going again. It'll produce the bleed you need to avoid cervical cancer and osteoporosis but I'd think carefully about going back on contraceptive pills for a while. They may be the answer for you but your body evidently struggled after giving up the injection and maybe it needs further consideration before giving to more.

    Apologies for such a lengthy reply, I wish you the best of luck xxx

  • Thank you both Hols969 and OakTreeBlossom for your replies, while I don't want others to suffer this it's a relief to know it isn't just me that suffers with this.

    I've not eaten anything but green veg and fish for weeks now and while I've now not put on any weight, I haven't lost a single pound. I've just been to the doctors who has given me metformin, let's see how this goes! Fingers crossed!

  • I've had pcos diagnosed when I was 16 it is very frustrating. See my PCOS Pick a mix post for it. I think it's too wide a spectrum of symptoms and docs do alot of guess work with it. I find upping my protein makes for big losses for me. Good luck x

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