High-Fat, Low-Carb Diets for PCOS

In the last few years I have been absolutely unable to lose weight no matter what I do, even though I have more than enough to lose. I'm talking about diligently trying for three months and losing a half a pound at most. I talked to my doctor about it and of course she didn't believe that I was actually eating well and exercising. She ran a thyroid test at my urging which came back normal. I want to go to another doctor eventually to explore other possibilities and verify the thyroid results but have been putting it off since my other doctors have consistently had preconceived notions about my lifestyle and health due to my weight, even though my other health markers are always in normal range.

In doing my own studying I found that PCOS could be the answer. This makes sense being that I have irregular periods, weight problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety, acne, migraines, and get ovarian cysts frequently - nearly all the symptoms of PCOS. I hate to diagnose myself but since my doctor refuses to be of help I am left with really no option. And I don't claim for sure that I have PCOS but since the evidence is there I thought it would be wise to eat as if I did. I have read that a low carb/sugar diet is very helpful in losing weight with this illness. I have never tried this type of diet before so I started on it in the past few days as pretty much a last resort.

I have noticed though that while my calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and sugar levels have all been low, my fat levels are pretty high (over what MyFitnessPal recommends for me by about 50%). They are mostly "healthy fats" - nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, fish, etc., and most sources say that this is normal for a PCOS diet and still helps you lose weight. How does this work i.e. how can I be eating more fat but still lose weight? If you have PCOS has this worked for you? What else would you recommend? Thanks in advance for any help!

Replies

  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    You (=everybody) lose weight when you're in a consistent calorie deficit. Calories are made up by carbs, protein and fat.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105
    LiftHeavyThings27105 Posts: 2,104 Member
    I follow Keto (usually, doing RFL at the moment....so not really following Keto for a short period of time - thinking six - nine weeks) as I have high A1C.

    Keto - or, a high fat/moderate protein/low carb diet - can indeed be useful for PCOS. Or not! It all depends on the person. For some with PCOS it works very well while for others it does not a dang thing.

    I would speak with your OB/GYN regarding a professional diagnosis for that *AND* if Keto might help you.

    Weight loss results from being in a caloric deficit. Plain and simple (well, assuming no health concerns | medicine that might mess with that). The size of the deficit dictates how much weight is lost each week. Generally speaking, one needs to be 3,500 calories under for the week (or, 500 calories per day) to lose one pound. Naturally, we are all a little bit different so that number might be a little bit off (one way or the other).

    Does that help?
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,687 Member
    In the last few years I have been absolutely unable to lose weight no matter what I do, even though I have more than enough to lose. I'm talking about diligently trying for three months and losing a half a pound at most. I talked to my doctor about it and of course she didn't believe that I was actually eating well and exercising. She ran a thyroid test at my urging which came back normal. I want to go to another doctor eventually to explore other possibilities and verify the thyroid results but have been putting it off since my other doctors have consistently had preconceived notions about my lifestyle and health due to my weight, even though my other health markers are always in normal range.

    In doing my own studying I found that PCOS could be the answer. This makes sense being that I have irregular periods, weight problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety, acne, migraines, and get ovarian cysts frequently - nearly all the symptoms of PCOS. I hate to diagnose myself but since my doctor refuses to be of help I am left with really no option. And I don't claim for sure that I have PCOS but since the evidence is there I thought it would be wise to eat as if I did. I have read that a low carb/sugar diet is very helpful in losing weight with this illness. I have never tried this type of diet before so I started on it in the past few days as pretty much a last resort.

    I have noticed though that while my calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and sugar levels have all been low, my fat levels are pretty high (over what MyFitnessPal recommends for me by about 50%). They are mostly "healthy fats" - nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, fish, etc., and most sources say that this is normal for a PCOS diet and still helps you lose weight. How does this work i.e. how can I be eating more fat but still lose weight? If you have PCOS has this worked for you? What else would you recommend? Thanks in advance for any help!

    You eat more fat but still lose weight by eating less carbs and/or protein. You can set your macros to whatever you want: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/account/my_goals

    There are mistakes that people commonly make that cause them to not lose weight that we might be able to spot if you change your Diary Sharing settings to Public: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/account/diary_settings
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 878 Member
    I have PCOS and I managed to successfully break through a plateau by understanding my body. Sugary foods made me hungry which made me eat more. Now I keep them to a minimum. You could have mild insulin resistance which isn't detected in the blood tests. My family has a history of diabetes so we're all insulin resistant and prone to diabetes. Fats are good for PCOS because they are satiating, so is protein and keep carbs under control. I stick to 70-120g carbs per day. I mainly eat whole foods. I'm losing 1 kg per month so 0.5lbs a week. That being said I only have 19lbs left to lose till I reach 129lbs. As long as you stick to your calories you can eat what you want but it will be so much harder if you eat too much processed refined carbs. I learnt this the hard way. Also if you can start strength training. Muscle makes you more insulin sensitive. Do some LISS like walking as well. Be careful with exercise though...don't do any exercise that makes you hungry. I was doing a lot of these long cardio workout videos for 45 minutes and they made me so hungry I would end up eating more. Now I just strength train (heavy weights, low reps), walk a lot and do yoga. Once or twice a week I might do HIIT for 10 minutes and that's it. The more longer cardio sessions I did the hungrier I got. Not all exercise is good. Do what works for you. Weight loss with PCOS is possible even if it's slower.
  • pamplemousse21
    pamplemousse21 Posts: 20 Member
    I follow Keto (usually, doing RFL at the moment....so not really following Keto for a short period of time - thinking six - nine weeks) as I have high A1C.

    Keto - or, a high fat/moderate protein/low carb diet - can indeed be useful for PCOS. Or not! It all depends on the person. For some with PCOS it works very well while for others it does not a dang thing.

    I would speak with your OB/GYN regarding a professional diagnosis for that *AND* if Keto might help you.

    Weight loss results from being in a caloric deficit. Plain and simple (well, assuming no health concerns | medicine that might mess with that). The size of the deficit dictates how much weight is lost each week. Generally speaking, one needs to be 3,500 calories under for the week (or, 500 calories per day) to lose one pound. Naturally, we are all a little bit different so that number might be a little bit off (one way or the other).

    Does that help?

    Yes, thank you!
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,986 Member
    In the last few years I have been absolutely unable to lose weight no matter what I do, even though I have more than enough to lose. I'm talking about diligently trying for three months and losing a half a pound at most. I talked to my doctor about it and of course she didn't believe that I was actually eating well and exercising. She ran a thyroid test at my urging which came back normal. I want to go to another doctor eventually to explore other possibilities and verify the thyroid results but have been putting it off since my other doctors have consistently had preconceived notions about my lifestyle and health due to my weight, even though my other health markers are always in normal range.

    In doing my own studying I found that PCOS could be the answer. This makes sense being that I have irregular periods, weight problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety, acne, migraines, and get ovarian cysts frequently - nearly all the symptoms of PCOS. I hate to diagnose myself but since my doctor refuses to be of help I am left with really no option. And I don't claim for sure that I have PCOS but since the evidence is there I thought it would be wise to eat as if I did. I have read that a low carb/sugar diet is very helpful in losing weight with this illness. I have never tried this type of diet before so I started on it in the past few days as pretty much a last resort.

    I have noticed though that while my calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and sugar levels have all been low, my fat levels are pretty high (over what MyFitnessPal recommends for me by about 50%). They are mostly "healthy fats" - nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, fish, etc., and most sources say that this is normal for a PCOS diet and still helps you lose weight. How does this work i.e. how can I be eating more fat but still lose weight? If you have PCOS has this worked for you? What else would you recommend? Thanks in advance for any help!

    Eating fat doesn't make you fat...excess calories make you fat...eating fewer calories than you need results in losing fat.

    A LCHF diet can be a useful tool for someone with PCOS as that generally also comes with insulin resistance. But ultimately you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight regardless of your macros.
  • pamplemousse21
    pamplemousse21 Posts: 20 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    In the last few years I have been absolutely unable to lose weight no matter what I do, even though I have more than enough to lose. I'm talking about diligently trying for three months and losing a half a pound at most. I talked to my doctor about it and of course she didn't believe that I was actually eating well and exercising. She ran a thyroid test at my urging which came back normal. I want to go to another doctor eventually to explore other possibilities and verify the thyroid results but have been putting it off since my other doctors have consistently had preconceived notions about my lifestyle and health due to my weight, even though my other health markers are always in normal range.

    In doing my own studying I found that PCOS could be the answer. This makes sense being that I have irregular periods, weight problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety, acne, migraines, and get ovarian cysts frequently - nearly all the symptoms of PCOS. I hate to diagnose myself but since my doctor refuses to be of help I am left with really no option. And I don't claim for sure that I have PCOS but since the evidence is there I thought it would be wise to eat as if I did. I have read that a low carb/sugar diet is very helpful in losing weight with this illness. I have never tried this type of diet before so I started on it in the past few days as pretty much a last resort.

    I have noticed though that while my calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and sugar levels have all been low, my fat levels are pretty high (over what MyFitnessPal recommends for me by about 50%). They are mostly "healthy fats" - nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, fish, etc., and most sources say that this is normal for a PCOS diet and still helps you lose weight. How does this work i.e. how can I be eating more fat but still lose weight? If you have PCOS has this worked for you? What else would you recommend? Thanks in advance for any help!

    You eat more fat but still lose weight by eating less carbs and/or protein. You can set your macros to whatever you want: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/account/my_goals

    There are mistakes that people commonly make that cause them to not lose weight that we might be able to spot if you change your Diary Sharing settings to Public: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/account/diary_settings

    Thank you for pointing out that I can set macros to whatever I want! I had no idea.

    As far as making my Diary public, I am very appreciative for the offer to look through and determine what might be the problem but I have some pretty serious privacy concerns in all online matters, however insignificant they may seem. Thank you though!
  • pamplemousse21
    pamplemousse21 Posts: 20 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    I have PCOS and I managed to successfully break through a plateau by understanding my body. Sugary foods made me hungry which made me eat more. Now I keep them to a minimum. You could have mild insulin resistance which isn't detected in the blood tests. My family has a history of diabetes so we're all insulin resistant and prone to diabetes. Fats are good for PCOS because they are satiating, so is protein and keep carbs under control. I stick to 70-120g carbs per day. I mainly eat whole foods. I'm losing 1 kg per month so 0.5lbs a week. That being said I only have 19lbs left to lose till I reach 129lbs. As long as you stick to your calories you can eat what you want but it will be so much harder if you eat too much processed refined carbs. I learnt this the hard way. Also if you can start strength training. Muscle makes you more insulin sensitive. Do some LISS like walking as well. Be careful with exercise though...don't do any exercise that makes you hungry. I was doing a lot of these long cardio workout videos for 45 minutes and they made me so hungry I would end up eating more. Now I just strength train (heavy weights, low reps), walk a lot and do yoga. Once or twice a week I might do HIIT for 10 minutes and that's it. The more longer cardio sessions I did the hungrier I got. Not all exercise is good. Do what works for you. Weight loss with PCOS is possible even if it's slower.


    This was so extremely helpful. I don't think I can thank you enough. Of course, I would love to be losing 2 pounds a week and I have my calorie deficit set there, but I could live with .5 a week if that's all my body can give me. It being .5 per three months was just not enough - at that rate I wouldn't be able to reach a healthy weight in my entire lifetime. And at least in my opinion, when I have over 100 pounds to lose, if I'm creating the proper calorie deficit and still only losing that little there's an obvious outside problem. I have been slowly weeding out processed refined carbs. I am eating about 150-180g of carbs a day now and plan to make that lower (the generic MFP suggestion for my weight and activity level is 300g). I don't want to completely cut out carbs, miss them, and then give up on the whole thing, so slower felt smarter. That makes so much sense about the exercise too. In the past I have spent at least 30 minutes a day doing something high intensity like kickboxing and then get really hungry. I would manage to stay within my calorie deficit most of the time but it made the diet/exercise process so much more frustrating. I hadn't figured out my exercise plan yet (since again, I want to make sure I don't change everything too fast, get frustrated, and quit) and that advice is really helpful. Again, thank you so much!