This post was updated on September 19th, 2022
By Kym Campbell, BSc. | Updated September 19th, 2022
If you want to take back control of your body weight, you don’t need to limit your calories. Below you’ll find 11 diet changes you can start today that are much more effective.
This free 3-Day PCOS meal plan will help you put these principles into practice. It includes simple recipes and a print-ready shopping list.
For a more in-depth experience, you can also join my next free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge. Every three months, this live event brings together like-minded women from around the world. The Challenge includes nutritional video lessons, group activities, and weekly PCOS meal plans. It’s a great way to break through any resistance to change in a supportive group environment. The results speak for themselves.
How a PCOS Diet Promotes Weight Loss
The idea that women with PCOS need to “eat less and move more” has done great harm within the PCOS community. This over-simplification of the calories in, calories out energy balance equation fails on so many levels. Unlike an engine or furnace, the thermodynamics of human metabolism is difficult to model.
Without wanting to get unnecessarily detailed, for PCOS women, there are three underlying reasons why weight loss is hard. Chronic inflammation, poor insulin regulation, and elevated androgen levels [1-4]. These mechanisms interact as the primary drivers of all PCOS-related symptoms. Especially body fat accumulation.
Diet is the best way to re-establish control of these issues. That’s why so many of my 15 steps for how to lose weight with PCOS relate to how you eat.
Your 11-Step PCOS Diet Plan to Lose Weight
The best diet to lose weight with PCOS is simple but not easy. The key requirements are summarized below.
Improve insulin regulation by:
- Cutting out processed food as much as possible.
- Get your sugar intake down as low as you can.
- Go low carb, but don’t follow a keto diet for PCOS.
- Choose carbohydrate foods with a low glycemic index (slow carbs).
- Enjoy healthy fats liberally.
- Consume adequate protein, mostly from animal sources.
In addition to the steps that improve insulin regulation, the following changes further reduce inflammation:
- Quit gluten entirely.
- Stop eating dairy.
- Consume a high fiber diet, rich in prebiotic foods.
- Make at least half your plate non-starchy vegetables.
- Enjoy probiotic foods regularly.
If you’d like more information about specific foods, then download this PCOS Diet Cheat Sheet and this Foods to Avoid Checklist. These one-page pdfs are a handy reference whenever you’re in the kitchen.
My PCOS Diet article also summarizes the most important foods to eat and foods to avoid.
Your PCOS Weight Loss Meal Plan PDF
The 11-steps above are all put to work in this free 3-Day PCOS meal plan pdf.
This PCOS weight loss meal plan includes:
- 3 days of simple PCOS meals covering breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Gluten and dairy-free PCOS recipes for each meal.
- A complete shopping list with everything you’ll need.
Real-Life Success Stories
Weight-loss success stories are such a cliché. But they can be useful. If you’re skeptical that you can lose weight with PCOS without restricting calories, then I have many examples to show you.
I also have more detailed PCOS success stories here.
My own experiences have shown me that diet alone isn’t always enough to control your body weight. But it’s the most essential ingredient. Regardless of whatever else is going on with your hormones, a PCOS-friendly diet is central to good weight management.
The right diet must be a core aspect of any PCOS weight loss plan. A PCOS diet acts upon the underlying mechanisms that cause PCOS and weight gain. By changing how you eat, you can reduce inflammation and improve insulin regulation. This improves metabolic health and causes subsequent weight loss.
Women with PCOS often face an uphill battle with managing their weight. But with an appropriate diet in place, you can take back control of your health for good.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
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.
1Popovic, M., G. Sartorius, and M. Christ-Crain, Chronic low-grade inflammation in polycystic ovary syndrome: is there a (patho)-physiological role for interleukin-1? Seminars in Immunopathology, 2019. 41(4): p. 447-459.
2González, F., Inflammation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: underpinning of insulin resistance and ovarian dysfunction. Steroids, 2012. 77(4): p. 300-5.
3González, F., et al., Hyperandrogenism sensitizes mononuclear cells to promote glucose-induced inflammation in lean reproductive-age women. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2012. 302(3): p. E297-306.
4Wang, J., et al., Hyperandrogenemia and insulin resistance: The chief culprit of polycystic ovary syndrome. Life Sciences, 2019. 236.