By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated September 22nd, 2022
There are many reasons why it’s harder for women with PCOS to lose weight [1, 2].
Yet women like LeeAnne, Kendall, and Raynetta do it anyway.
These women all started their health journey after taking part in my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. By applying evidence-based dietary changes, these women all beat their PCOS for good.
With all the weight loss and PCOS success stories my free Challenge produces, I hope it’ll be a game changer for you too.
For a taste of the recipes and meal plans I share during the Challenge, you can download this free 3-Day Meal Plan.
How to Lose Weight with PCOS
PCOS weight loss before and after pictures show what’s possible. From the outside, anyway. But they don’t describe the process. To sustainably lose weight with PCOS, there are several key things you need to know.
- The root causes of PCOS weight gain.
- Why caloric restriction diets are not a good idea.
- The key principles of a PCOS diet.
- Other evidence-based weight loss interventions.
I explain all these things in detail in my article How to Lose Weight with PCOS. To see what this looks like in real life though, here are three stories from women that have gone before you.
The right PCOS diet addresses the underlying drivers of all PCOS symptoms. This means that a diet that helps you lose weight fixes other symptoms too. You can see this in the success stories below. A PCOS diet is essential for menstrual health and fertility. It can also improve acne, hirsutism, mental health, and more.
Back when PCOS was getting the better of her, Kendall hated everything about herself. She was struggling with her weight, hair, and acne. Her self-confidence was at rock bottom.
Her desire to start a family drove her to get better.
After taking part in my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge, Kendall made massive progress on her own. She had a lot of hard days and “definitely didn’t do everything right”. But as time went on, she gained more mastery over her diet and lifestyle. She took part in my Beat PCOS 10-Week Program and grew from strength to strength.
Three years later, Kendall had lost over 110 lbs (50 kg). Her skin cleared up, and her hirsutism got a lot better. Most importantly though, Kendall restored a regular period. When she had just sought help from a doctor, she found out she was pregnant with her daughter. She’s now a proud mother of two.
Kendall reminds those that follow in her footsteps, “remember every day is a new day. Forget about the mistakes you made yesterday because they don’t matter today. Start each day afresh, and remember to have compassion for yourself. With enough small changes, everything can fall into place.”
Success stories can sometimes give you the wrong idea. It’s seldom a straight line from here to there. Raynetta provides an honest accounting of the ups and downs of changing your diet.
When she first participated in my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge, Raynetta saw fantastic results. She told me, “the weight started to melt off. That first year, I lost about 35 lbs”.
Unfortunately, she eventually slipped back into old habits and gained half of that weight back.
The next year she tried again, signing up for my Beat PCOS 10-Week Program. Despite her best intentions, Raynetta talked herself out of it. She didn’t complete the program. Instead, she beat herself up for her perceived failure.
But Raynetta wasn’t ready to call it quits. She dusted herself off again and came back for another round of my 10-Week Program. She managed to get her weight down a full 45 lbs. But after pregnancy evaded her, Raynetta again became discouraged.
It was only after deciding to make weight loss a lifetime goal that Raynetta found the motivation to keep going. More than two years after her first 30-Day Challenge, Raynetta finally mastered her symptoms. Her eczema cleared up and so did the unwanted hair under her chin. She started sleeping better and no longer suffered from chronic nausea.
After giving herself the grace to grow, Raynetta reached her goal weight. And while it took longer than she would’ve preferred, she conceived naturally about a year later.
Raynetta’s success with weight loss meant more to her than the scales (or a photo) could ever show:
“The thing I most value about my weight loss… is that it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come. It reminds me that I’m a fighter and tells me not to give up when it gets a little hard. I’m finally healthy and feeling like me again which truly is the biggest reward.”
LeeAnne Soule illustrates how the benefits of a PCOS diet go well-beyond weight loss. Before starting my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge, LeeAnne suffered from all sorts of health issues. In her words, “I spent two decades chasing around the entire list of common PCOS symptoms… you name it, I had it”.
During pregnancy, she suffered multiple pregnancy complications and had to give birth to her son early. After that, things got worse. From violent mood swings to suicidal ideation, LeeAnne was struggling for her life. She reluctantly had an IUD inserted which caused so much pain she couldn’t get out of bed. The effects on her mood were also unbearable.
She’d been on all sorts of medication and nothing seemed to help. Eventually, LeeAnne had uterine ablation and tubal sterilization surgery. She was told it was the only way to end the months-long heavy bleeds she was suffering from.
About a year later, LeeAnne joined my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. This brief encounter with a PCOS diet transformed her health forever.
In the months that followed, LeeAnne changed everything about her diet. She cut out the seven foods to avoid with PCOS. She then replaced them with PCOS-friendly whole foods.
When I asked her what she found most helpful about my program, here’s what LeeAnne said:
“What was most effective for me was ditching the calorie/macro/point counting. Being expected to account for what I ate caused feelings of failure when I didn’t reach my goal, which of course caused me not to care about what I was eating at all. Or, I wouldn’t be honest with myself about what I was eating. The constant cycle of dishonesty and secretive eating was not working. I much prefer this method of knowing just the kinds of foods to eat and in what proportions. Then I don’t feel bad if I want to eat the whole avocado and not just 1/8 as some programs suggest.”
Gradually, things started getting better. Within two months, LeeAnne got her first real period. Her acne disappeared and so did her unwanted hair. Her depression lifted and she rediscovered how to love herself. LeeAnne was able to stop taking all her medications. Metformin, spironolactone, birth control, and blood pressure meds are all a thing of her past. Through this journey, she also lost 65 pounds.
LeeAnne’s not looking back.
“I feel not like I’ve gotten my life back, but like my life has finally started. Since puberty, PCOS has hung over my head and controlled so much of my life. I finally feel like I can do this, that I can maintain this lifestyle to continue to improve my health. It’s absolutely been life-changing.”
Follow this link to read a full account of LeeAnne’s PCOS success story. You’ll see that she also gives some great advice to anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps.
The Bottom Line
The take-home message is simple. If regular women like Kendall, Raynetta, and LeeAnne can beat PCOS, then you can too. It’s not going to be a straight line to success, but anyone can do it if they want to. If you bring the intent, I’ll give you the support you need.
Ready To Take Action?
Since 2010, Kym Campbell has used evidence-based diet and lifestyle interventions to manage her PCOS. After getting her symptoms under control and falling pregnant naturally, Kym now advocates for dietary change as part of any PCOS treatment plan. Combining rigorous science and clinical advice with a pragmatic approach to habit change, Kym is on a mission to show other women how to take back control of their health and fertility. Read more about Kym and her team here.
1Sam, S., Obesity and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Obes Manag, 2007. 3(2): p. 69-73.
2Lim, S., et al., Barriers and facilitators to weight management in overweight and obese women living in Australia with PCOS: a qualitative study. BMC Endocr Disord, 2019. 19(1): p. 106.