Let’s consider, for a moment, managing insulin resistance with PCOS – holistically…
I think we can all do with a little less stress in our day, don’t you? Just getting some control over your choices and knowing that making a few reasonable adjustments will make a huge difference in how you face your health each day.
This approach is less about “diet” and more of a way to approach your life that addresses eating, exercise, and other factors that target insulin resistance so that you can begin to feel better.
When dealing with many types of medical conditions adopting a realistic lifestyle pattern that fits your daily life is the only thing that helps.
And it beats doing something that just won’t help and that can’t last. It’s the old “quick-fix” so many rely on, and fail at.
Once you find a rhythm of eating that suits your body, and meets your needs, you’ll understand the underlying causes of your symptoms and what you can do to feel good almost every day.
Choosing carbohydrates is all about the “Two Qs.”
1. Focus On The Quality & Quantity Of Your Carbs
- When it comes to diet, focus on developing a better understanding of carbohydrates and pairing carbs with proteins and heart-healthy fats.
Women with PCOS benefit from a slightly lower intake of carbohydrates—not low, but lower—because of the challenge of insulin resistance.
Making quality choices when eating carbs will lessen the glucose load.
The key to choosing quality carbs is choosing whole grains. It’s essential to boost dietary fiber to regulate your blood sugar.
2. Rely On The Science Of Balanced Meals
➡ Fill your plate with no more than ¼ of it with whole grains such as brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, or multigrain bread.
Basically, your meals should be built around vegetables, some fruit, some lean protein, and a little added heart-healthy fats such as olive oil or nut oils.
3. Eat When Your Body Needs Fuel: Earlier In The Day.
➡ If you work at night, make your main meal late afternoon, before you go to work.
➡ Focus on eating the bulk of your calories earlier in the day.
➡ Match your calorie intake with your activity level and energy needs so that you eat less as your “day” winds down.
➡ And once again, physical activity cannot be underestimated because increasing exercise helps the body to use insulin better, essentially lowering circulating blood sugar. This optimizes the insulin resistance AND your body weight.
4. Make Room In Your Life for Self-Care
It’s sad to me that we need to remember to do something as simple as breathing …
If you’ve ever taken an exercise or yoga class at a gym or the Y, your instructor will invariably remind you to breathe. Just taking a few deep breaths in, and slowly letting the breath out, can do a world of good. It can help you relax, de-stress, and plan your next step.
➡ You won’t eat well if you don’t plan.
It’s very important to schedule time to grocery shop, set aside time to prepare meals, and set aside time to get in a walk or a yoga class, most days of the week.
➡ The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week (of moderate exercise) or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity).
Considering there are 10,080 minutes in a week, that doesn’t seem like that much of a big deal, does it?
Taking these steps goes a long way and it’s just a matter of adjusting your lifestyle to have a positive effect on many other aspects of your life.
More importantly, this is critical in many, many ways because of the broad reach that insulin resistance has in affecting every single organ and every single cell in the body.
Maybe the best news is that you should not expect the PCOS lifestyle changes as an all or nothing attempt. I don’t believe in “restrictive.”
➡ What matters most is that you can create sustainable lifestyle habits that you can use for the rest of your life. They will, in fact, extend your life.
But most importantly, they will extend your ability to enjoy it.
5. Try An 80/20 Approach. It’s more important for you to get it right about 80% of the time than what you do during the other 20% of it.
➡ The 80/20 approach reduces stress and allows for an occasional splurge and unavoidable situations, like eating out or those famous holiday dinners.
➡ A whole life approach can help you be the master of your PCOS, yet this approach goes further.
Whether you want to have a healthy pregnancy or are getting older and want to cut your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure (both of which are common complications of both Diabetes and PCOS), a “tweaked” lifestyle will do the job.
Forget “perfection.” It doesn’t exist. We all have our weaknesses, but we also have strengths.
I know you’ll find that a small amount of discipline will be worth every extra hour that you get to live your life to the fullest.