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I have PCOS, and I want to lose weight. A dietitian said to eat more breakfast but be mindful of refined carbs.

Rachel Hosie   

I have PCOS, and I want to lose weight. A dietitian said to eat more breakfast but be mindful of refined carbs.
  • A 33-year-old woman submitted an average day of eating to be reviewed for Insider's Nutrition Clinic.
  • She told Insider she has polycystic ovary syndrome, and her goal is weight loss.
  • A dietitian recommends having a larger breakfast, watching carb intake, and eating mindfully.
  • If you'd like to have your diet reviewed by an expert, fill out this form.

Amrita, 33, submitted her eating routine for Insider's Nutrition Clinic, where qualified dietitians offer advice on readers' eating habits.

She told Insider her goal is weight loss, and she's been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Amrita works from home but said she goes to the gym every morning to use the elliptical, treadmill, and do some exercises with weights.

She tracks her movement with her FitBit and tries to hit 10,000 steps every day. Her menstrual cycle is irregular, she said.

"I had PCOS in college, no cysts currently, but my periods don't occur normally," Amrita said. "I'll go months without a period."

Dietitian and PCOS weight loss specialist Ro Huntriss said that you don't need to have cysts to still have PCOS, and weight loss can be harder for those with the condition "due to resistance to the hormone insulin which helps to control our blood sugar levels."

When our insulin levels are higher, the body's ability to burn fat for energy is lessened. Blood sugar spikes and crashes also often lead to people craving sweet snacks.

Huntriss said staying active with both cardio and weights can help restore hormone balance in women with the condition, which data from a 2020 study by Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine supports.

Amrita has a soy latte for breakfast

In the morning, Amrita said she usually has a soy latte from Starbucks for breakfast.

But Huntriss said she could benefit from eating a more substantial meal.

"Skipping breakfast can lead to increased hunger later in the day," she said.

Lunch is usually oatmeal

For brunch or lunch, Amrita has oatmeal with bananas, maple syrup, and almond milk.

Huntriss said whole foods like oats and bananas are a good choice.

"They have a lower glycemic index (GI), meaning their energy is released slowly which is useful for PCOS management," she said.

Huntriss recommends cutting down on carbs and sugar, and prioritizing low GI, complex carbs, like brown rice and whole wheat bread, over their white equivalents.

Amrita could try replacing the maple syrup with berries to cut down on added sugar, while also helping her hit her five-a-day, Huntriss said.

"Fruit and vegetables are low in calories and can help her to stay full without overconsuming calories," Huntriss said.

Amrita has Indian food for dinner

For dinner, Amrita often eats Indian food like chicken biryani with yogurt salad.

Huntriss says Amrita should ensure her meals are balanced.

"If aiming to lose weight, consider filling half the plate with veg or salad, and include protein and whole grain carbohydrates," she said.

Amrita drinks lots of water with her meals, which Huntriss commends: "This supports not only just general health but weight management too."

Amrita snacks a lot

Amrita says her biggest diet "problem" is snacking.

"I find myself reaching for sweets and eating unconsciously," she said. "Sometimes my calorie intake per day ends up being in the 2200-2500 calorie range."

A post shared by Ro Huntriss - UK Dietitian (@dietitianro)

Huntriss recommends mindful eating, which means eating without distractions, slowly, focusing on how the food tastes and feels, and listening to your body's hunger signals.

"This could help her to become more aware of the food that she is eating, when and how it makes her feel," Huntriss said. "This may allow her to avoid mindless eating and snacking."


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