Case Study: How To Lose Weight With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Kathy was a 24 year old lady who came to my clinic because she wanted help with weight loss. She had been overweight since approximately 12 years of age and had been trying one diet after the other since she was 16.
Kathy weighed 202 pounds (92 kilos) and was only five feet four inches (166 centimeters) tall, so she had quite a bit of weight to lose.
Kathy managed to lose 13 pounds (6 kilograms) a year ago through very strict dieting but regained the weight four months later. Kathy had a very demanding job; she was on her feet all day, as manager of a fast food restaurant.
Whenever she went on a strict diet, she felt exhausted and weak and she just didn’t have the emotional or physical resources to put herself on a strict diet again.
I was thrilled that Kathy had come to see me because I wanted to show her that a correctly formulated weight loss plan should leave her feeling energetic and satisfied. If she felt hungry and exhausted on a diet, it meant she was following the wrong diet. Simple as that!
Kathy mentioned to me that she had been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) after seeing her doctor about the fact that she only menstruated every second month. Kathy didn’t realise that PCOS is a powerful reason why some women cannot lose weight. She wasn’t aware that this hormone imbalance had to be overcome before weight loss can be achieved.
Kathy was happy with her overall state of health. On most days her energy level was good and she slept well at night. Her doctor diagnosed her with a mild case of polycystic ovarian syndrome and told her she could take the contraceptive pill if she wanted, as that would give her a regular menstrual cycle. Kathy’s doctor also said that losing weight should fix the PCOS and Kathy should really try harder to get some weight off.
Unfortunately Kathy’s doctor didn’t explain to her that PCOS is caused by insulin resistance (syndrome X). Insulin disrupts the normal function of the ovaries and triggers them to secrete higher levels of male hormones. The male hormones promote abdominal weight gain and they make it much more difficult for insulin to work in the body. They also disrupt the normal menstrual cycle and inhibit ovulation.
I asked Kathy what she eats and this is what she told me:
- Breakfast: High protein breakfast cereal with low fat milk.
- Lunch: 3.3 ounce (95 gram) can of tuna with a salad and no oil dressing.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken breast or steak with salad and no oil dressing
That was what Kathy ate when she was trying to be “good”. She found this regime extremely difficult to stick to and I can’t blame her. She was barely eating any fat at all – of course she was hungry, tired and suffering with a hormone imbalance.
For breakfast I asked Kathy to eat some real protein, such as eggs and vegetables (omelet, poached eggs, etc.) or a protein powder smoothie.
There really is no such thing as a high protein breakfast cereal if it is made of grains, despite what it may say on the label. Cow’s milk is not a good option for people with insulin resistance or a hormone imbalance.
Kathy was on the right track with her lunch and dinner meals but she wasn’t eating enough fat. The no oil dressings she was pouring on her salads were actually full of sugar. This was hindering her weight loss and also leaving her ravenously hungry an hour after eating.
I asked Kathy to drizzle extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil on her salad, or make a dressing out of tahini and lemon juice. I asked her to include avocados in her salads. I also asked her to increase her portion size of fish, chicken or meat. She wasn’t eating enough protein and that contributed to her feelings of excessive hunger shortly after meals.
The eating plan I recommended for Kathy is in my book called Can’t Lose Weight? Unlock the Secrets that keep you Fat.
Having polycystic ovaries means that Kathy wasn’t ovulating regularly. That means she wasn’t producing progesterone. Progesterone is a very important female hormone that helps to normalize the menstral cycle, improve the immune system and it even has mood benefits, particularly helping to reduce anxiety.
Sugar cravings are something Kathy has struggled with for most of her life. The diet modifications I suggested would surely help, but she wanted a supplement that acts quickly to reduce hunger and cravings for carbohydrate rich foods. The ingredients in Metabocel tablets all help to stabilize blood sugar and the brindleberry reduces the conversion of dietary calories into body fat. The chromium in these tablets helps to lower elevated blood insulin levels, which will help correct ovarian function and help Kathy overcome PCOS.
Kathy had never had a vitamin D blood test but I was certain she would be deficient. Kathy worked indoors and she rarely went outside into the sunshine. Overweight people have a higher requirement for vitamin D because much of it gets trapped in body fat; therefore there is less in the bloodstream where it’s needed. I ordered a blood test for Kathy but in the meantime I asked her to take 5000 IU per day of vitamin D.
I have had two more appointments with Kathy and so far she has lost 17 pounds (eight kilos) in 10 weeks. Her sugar cravings are greatly reduced but she still occasionally struggles when she is premenstrual or if she has had a stressful day at work. She has learned to manage those episodes by getting more rest and sleep and taking an extra dose of Metabocel tablets.
I also encouraged Kathy to add coconut oil to her smoothies and cook with it. It is extremely healthy for the immune system and digestive system, and it’s a great way to kill sugar cravings.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.