PCOS Weight Gain and How to Fight It
Learn how to get hands-on and create your own fat burning PCOS diet....
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Women with PCOS uniquely experience a level of insulin resistance that increases the production of a male hormone called androgen. When women are subject to high levels of androgen, they experience issues with fertility, body hair growth, irregular periods, and weight gain. Naturally, my sweet spot is targeting the weight gain aspect of the hormonal disorder and I'm doing so through this post. So I'm not going to waste your time. I have A LOT of content in this post for you to absorb. Now let's get into it.
No. 1 A Fat Burning Diet is a Two-Step Process
Calories Burned > Calories Eaten = Weight Loss
Calories Burned > Calories Eaten + High Protein = Fat Loss
There's quite a bit of misinformation on the internet about what sort of diet it takes to help you burn fat. For example, you don't burn fat by eating "magic fat burning foods" like avocado or grapefruit. There are no magic wraps that melt the fat off while you sleep. In reality, burning fat is a logical two-step process of eating fewer calories than you burn and making sure most of those calories are from protein. Burning fat is particularly challenging for you due to the insulin resistance side effects of PCOS; however, it is possible, and this series is all about teaching you how. I explain in more detail below.
The first part of the process is forcing your body into a caloric deficit by eating fewer calories than your body burns every day. Once you've gotten your body into a caloric deficit, then you need to make sure it burns your body fat instead of your muscle, this doesn't happen automatically, which is why the second part of the process is necessary.
The second part of the process is eating a diet moderately high in protein and moderately low in carbohydrates. Due to the insulin resistant nature of PCOS eating a diet where fewer than 40% of your calories come from carbohydrates is crucial. You balance your lower carb needs, by increasing your protein needs. Protein helps your body burn more calories because it requires more energy during digestion than both carbs and fat. Protein also keeps you feeling fuller for longer than both carbs and fat which is a passive benefit that helps with weight management.
Macronutrients are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Your body breaks down the food you eat into macronutrients to use as energy. Your body requires energy for normal daily functions like breathing, eating and walking. Naturally, your body needs more energy to walk than just eating or breathing because walking requires movement and additional brain function. Calories are how we measure bodily energy. For example, if you work out and burn 400 calories, you burned 400 units of energy. Or, If you eat a slice of 45 calorie bread, you consume 45 units of energy for your body to use. When you consume more calories (energy) than your body uses, the excess calories are stored as body fat. Think of body fat as a storage bin of energy, waiting to be used. Each macronutrient produces a certain amount of calories (energy) per gram, for the body to use. Here's a quick breakdown of each macronutrients caloric content.
Protein = 4 calories per gram
Carbs = 4 calories per gram
Fat = 9 calories per gram
How Much Protein You Should Eat
You should be eating .8g-1g of protein for every pound you weigh, which generally comes to about 40%-45% of your daily caloric intake. For example, if your daily calorie goal is 1,500 calories, then 40%-50% of those calories should come from protein. This number amounts to between 150g- 187.5g or protein each day. Don't worry, I'll show you how this math is done for you in the "Build Your Own Fat Burning Diet" section of this post. You may also balk at the amount of protein I'm suggesting you eat, and I'm not surprised.
For majority of Americans, their protein consumption amounts to less than 15% of their overall daily calories. What I'm advising you to do is to triple that number, and watch your excess weight fall off. The easiest way to consume enough protein is to prioritize your protein goal first every day mentally. Protein shakes and bars are excellent supplements that can help you hit your goal as well. Make sure both your protein shakes and protein bars have less than 4g of sugar per serving and less than 10g of carbs per serving.
No. 2 Build Your Own Customized Fat Burning PCOS Diet Goal
Now that you understand what it takes to build a diet that burns fat. Let's build YOUR diet goal for the next six weeks, customized to your needs.
How to find your calorie & macro goals for your diet:
Step 1. Use the Macronutrient Calculator on the Fit Gal Ri Website.
Step 2. Enter your age, height, and current weight.
Step 3. Select the option that best represents how active you are
Step 4. Make a note of your TDEE & BMR numbers as an FYI
Step 5. Select the goal "Fat Loss."
Step 6. Select between .8-1g of Protein per lb of body-weight
Step 7. Select .3g -.35g of Fat per lb of body-weight
Step 8. Hit "Calculate Results."
You now know exactly how much calories, protein, carbs, and fat you need to eat to lose body fat. Now to hold yourself accountable, you need to enter those numbers into a calorie tracking app like MyFitnessPal, MyMacros+Diet, or LifeSum. I will show you below how to enter the diet goals you got from my macronutrient calculator into MyFitnessPal.
Entering Calorie & Macronutrient Goals Into MyFitnessPal:
Step 1. Open the App and select the "more" tab in the lower right-hand corner
Step 2. Select "Goals"
Step 3. Scroll to "Nutrition Goals" then select "Calorie & Macronutrient Goals"
Step 4. Adjust your Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat goals until they're close to or exactly match the numbers you got from the I AM & CO Macronutrient Calculator.
You're now ready to begin tracking your meals according to your customized fat burning diet goal.
No. 3 Helpful Tools to Keep You on Track
What you need to have. What is nice to have. What is good to have.
1. Macronutrient Calculator - Need to Have
This macronutrient calculator is available on fitgalri.com and will help you determine how many calories, protein, carbs, and fat you need to be eating daily to burn body fat. Click here to calculate your macros.
2. Calorie Tracker App - Need to Have
Accountability is crucial when you're just getting started because an accurate diary of what you eat provides a lot of truth and revelation. Most people vastly underestimate the number of calories they eat every day, and this habit contributes to difficulties losing and maintaining weight. A good calorie tracking app will allow you to enter your own custom protein, carb, and fat macronutrient goals. The apps that I personally use and would recommend all allow you to enter your own protein, carb, and fat goals. These apps are MyFitnessPal, MyMacros+Diet, and LifeSum.
3. Food Scale - Good to Have
An inexpensive food scale will assist your fat loss progress triple-fold. Like a calorie tracking app, a food scale is another source of accountability, truth, and revelation. You should be entering the foods you eat into your calorie tracker by the serving size. You need to weigh out your serving size to ensure that it's not too much or too little. "Eyeballing" food amounts is an easy way to overeat. Make sure to weigh meats in their raw state before you cook them. Also, weigh foods that cook up like oatmeal and rice in their raw state as well.
Keep reading by following the below guide.
Part No. 1 Proper Fat Burning Diet -- Complete
Part No. 2 Strength Training Basics -- Read Here
Part No. 3 Strength Training Intermediate -- Read Here
Part No. 4 Leveraging Cardio -- Coming Soon
Part No. 5 Measuring Your Progress -- Coming Soon
Part No. 6 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Weight -- Coming Soon
NOTICE: I decided to discontinue my Take Back Your Body Email Series for PCOS due to technical issues with email delivery. What I discovered was that many women were struggling to receive their emails and many times when they were receiving them they were not in the proper order. I felt that I should instead use a more reliable medium to deliver this information, thus bringing it back to my blog. Through the free email course I was able to help thousands of women and provide them with valuable information that changed their lives. Here's what some of those women had to say along the journey.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and let's keep working to fight the weight gain effects of PCOS together.