Success Story: Sarah overcoming cravings and losing weight with PCOS
Sarah is a 26 year old woman who was recently diagnosed with PCOS after seeing numerous doctors and not getting a diagnosis. For years, she was plagued with hair loss, mood swings, irregular period and big time carb cravings. Her struggles with her weight were the most frustrating for her. She felt no matter what she did the weight would not budge. She had read numerous conflicting advice on internet and was confused on what she should be eating to control her symptoms of PCOS. This was making her even more helpless. Sarah also gave up on exercising as she felt it had no effect on her weight.
Her goals were to:
- Decrease her carb cravings
- Feel better about herself
- Know what to eat to deal with her constant hunger
- Lose 20 pounds
- Gain skills on how to fit healthy eating and exercise into a busy work/social schedule
- Ideas for easy to prepare meals and healthy snacks
The problem was, she was confused on what the best plan for her would be and she didn’t have the time or energy to figure it out. She felt she needed a coach to guide her and provide support.
Sarah, like many of my clients, had a busy work and social schedule. She had limited time to prepare meals, so she frequently ordered out or met friends for dinner. When she was on a “diet”, she focused more on counting calories versus nutrition quality.
She constantly felt hungry and craved carbs throughout the day. She worked long hours and then stayed up late. Her inadequate sleep likely exacerbated her hunger, carb cravings and difficulty losing weight. Her exercise was sporadic due to lack of time, not making it a priority and feeling like it didn’t do anything.
Sarah’s story is common to what I see with many of my patients with PCOS (most of whom have insulin resistance): carb cravings, inadequate intake of protein, going to long without eating, giving in to major sugar cravings, gaining weight, and worsened insulin resistance and symptoms of PCOS. Add inadequate sleep and exercise and high-stress levels and you have the perfect storm.
What We Did
I reviewed her lifestyle in detail, and we started with small changes a few a time. We started by adding in more protein and fats into her meals and focusing on healthier types of carbs. We did not cut out carbs completely but talked about portion control. Added in more veggies to help her feel full as well as healthy snacks in between meals. We talked about getting in more sleep and finding activities that helped alleviate stress levels.
Sarah was interested in learning to cook healthy meals. Between my suggestions and some easy recipes she found online, she was able to cook healthy quick lower carb meals that she loved! I also provided her with some detailed information on healthy takeout options, strategies for dining out, and dealing with social situations.
Next, we figured out some creative ways to schedule exercise into her calendar.
Over 10 months, Sarah lost a total of 20 pounds. She has increased energy levels, self-esteem, improved hair and skin and overall improved feeling of well-being. “While she still loves her carbs, she doesn’t crave them constantly” Realized she enjoys cooking simple meals for herself and finding creative ways to cut carbs and calories and still have a delicious meal. But on those days when she didn’t have time, she had healthy take food options as a backup plan.
Best of all, at no point did she feel deprived. She told me the way she eats now is just a lifestyle.
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.