Dieting is hard work, even if you have a clinically healthy body. You end up missing your old lifestyle, the decadence and freedom of eating whatever you want, and often end up slipping into those old patterns.
If you have a physical condition that makes glucose processing hard, then dieting becomes that much more difficult.
This is why PCOS diets are so difficult. Your body already has a hard time processing glucose, making weight gain a more inevitable part of your life.
With all of the fad diets and crazy trends flooding the diet conversation, how does a woman with PCOS know what diet actually works for her condition?
This guide will walk you through the 5 best diets that actually work if you are afflicted with PCOS. All of the choices are made through thorough research in which we sifted through countless websites and testimonials to determine which diets actually work.
So, let’s dive into what you can do as a woman with PCOS to lose some of that pesky weight.
What Is PCOS And How Does It Affect Dieting?
PCOS stands for Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal condition in which women’s hormones are out of balance.
Often times, they will have more male hormones called androgens, which causes infertility. They will also not have enough progesterone, causing missed or erratic periods, and their body’s relationship with the hormone insulin is also directly affected.
All of this is a rather unpleasant cocktail, but the most frustrating of all is the weight gain. As mentioned, PCOS is directly impacted by insulin resistance, a state in which your body can’t convert glucose into energy.
This ultimately leads to weight gain, fatigue, and in some cases, Type 2 diabetes.
Doctors are unsure why certain women get PCOS and others do not. Some think it might be genetically passed down from mother to daughter, while others attribute it to your body producing too much insulin, ultimately affecting your ovaries and hormones levels.
Having PCOS does not mean that you have cysts on your ovaries despite the name itself having the word cyst in it. Some women with PCOS do while some women do not.
Diets That Work With PCOS And What To Look For In The Ideal Diet
Now that we know what PCOS is and how it causes weight gain, how do we tackle the inevitable consequences with a healthy diet?
One thing to keep in mind with all of the following diets is that each body is different. Even if you might be afflicted with the same physical condition as other individuals, it is important to remember that we all process and digest things differently.
Whereas celery might be someone’s dream healthy snack, for others, it could be a stomach upset waiting to happen.
The second important thing to keep in mind is your body’s ability to process sugars. For most PCOS diets, make sure that you consume foods that don’t require a lot of insulin to digest.
This means that all diets should cut out refined or processed foods, simple carbohydrates, and foods that are high in sugar content.
The third and final thing to look for is the bio of the diet’s author. If the person making the diet is going through PCOS recovery herself, then you are most likely jumping into something that is legitimate and effective.
A majority of the following diets are going to be daily meal plans laid out by fellow women living and losing weight with PCOS.
1. My PCOS Kitchen 7-Day Meal Plan
This was by far our first choice. It has an amazing breakdown of which foods you can eat and which you are recommended to stay away from.
If you get hungry and want to have a snack, then this meal plan also gives you a list of PCOS friendly foods you can have for a snack.
The writer, Mira, has suffered from PCOS for her entire life. She has had to truly understand which foods agreed with her disease and which did not. Through years or trial and error she had finally managed to weave together an easy to use plan that could guide nearly anyone through the troubles of living with PCOS.
She starts off her guide with a simple introduction, letting the reader know exactly what it entails and what they are getting themselves into.
All of the recipes in her plan are under 1800 calories a day, a good benchmark for anyone looking to lose weight.
One thing that we really liked about this diet plan was that she encourages the reader to listen to their body. This means that you eat when you are hungry. Don’t force yourself to eat when you are not, and don’t skip a meal when you are hungry.
This meal plan stays away from heavy carbs, such as rice, starches and white potatoes. In general, if you are looking for a good PCOS diet, you should usually stay away from such heavily processed foods.
Mira has also incorporated only 55 net grams of carbohydrates per day. She does all of the essential breaking down for you, which is wonderful if you are just beginning to navigate this difficult space.
After she introduces you to the basics of her plan, she then lays out a comprehensive graph documenting all of the meals that are going to be broken down further by day.
She starts off with a wonderful Keto breakfast. This includes 2 eggs, 60-gram bacon slices, 1 mushroom, ¼ avocado, 1-2 broccoli pieces, and some salt and pepper.
All of the foods are complex carbohydrates, mixed with proteins and vegetables to make a rounded, healthy meal for both your brain and body.
Her lunch meal for Sunday is a simple cilantro lime shrimp skewer and cauli rice. It looks slightly more complicated to prepare, but the pictures are to die for.
Other meals like her Monday lunch, which is a stuffed chicken breast and Caesar salad all meet the essential requirement for a good PCOS diet.
Each meal comes with a picture and a breakdown of the ingredients you need and how you will prepare them.
Did we mention that all of this is free?
If you want a full look at the entire PDF of Mira’s seven-day meal plan, click here.
2. Smart Fertility Choices 3-Day Meal Plan
This diet plan is also written by a woman who lives with and battles the unfortunate symptoms of having PCOS.
Her name is Kym Campbell, and she has suffered with PCOS and infertility since 2011.
Her diet plan is going to be slightly different than Mira’s. Not all diets have the main goal of losing weight. Some diets may be tailored towards gaining weight, balancing nutrition, or in this case, balancing hormones.
If you are looking to incorporate a diet into your life that will help you battle the infertility issues that come alongside PCOS, while also managing your weight, then this diet plan might work perfectly for you.
In order to get your hands on this three-day meal plan, you are going to have to subscribe to her email list. Other than that, it is free.
Subscribing is a small price to pay for a comprehensive list and example meals all laid out for you. Furthermore, subscribing to her email list gives you a plethora of information to divulge in the future, with various opportunities to learn more about how you might battle PCOS.
Once you subscribe and the meal plan is sent to you, you can download it and start reading.
She stars of with a short introduction to how she got to where she is and what you are about to delve into as the reader.
Then, she introduces the meals in a quick graph. Most of the breakfasts are frittatas, and the lunches are usually on the lighter side, such as a salad.
The dinners are a little bit heavier, with nothing too starchy or carbo-loaded to compromise the integrity of the diet.
What we really liked about this meal plan was the comprehensive shopping list. Before she even dives into the meals, she gives you a wonderful list showing you everything you will need to buy or stock up on beforehand.
This is a wonderful idea that should be included in every meal plan.
After you do your shopping, she then breaks down some of her more popular meals, which are part of the 30-day PCOS diet challenge, with comprehensive recipes that are easy to follow.
The guide has pictures that make the meals look absolutely appetizing.
Overall, a fantastic guide that will help you maintain a healthy weight while battling infertility.
3. PCOS Diva Diet Plans
This is going to be a little bit different from the aforementioned diet plans. Although written and put together by a wonderful woman also battling PCOS named Amy Medling.
She put together an organized list of various PCOS meals organized by time of year. If you go to this page on her website, you can find subsections of meals by fall, summer, spring or winter time.
You will then be led to a page where she will give you a few sample meal plans, all of which are included in her full meal plan.
If you like the sample recipes, a full week meal plan is only 24 dollars and most likely worth the investment.
4. The Fit Indian Diet Guidelines
While this is not necessarily an organized meal plan that will guide you through the various times of day and what to eat, it will give you a solid background on what PCOS is and what your foods you will need to design your own diet.
We put this option on this list for people who don’t necessarily like following strict guidelines. If you prefer to design your own plan based on your own taste preferences, then reading up on this guide will give you the knowledge you need.
She breaks down what goods are great for all PCOS symptoms, not those that are great for just losing weight.
5. Body And Soul PCOS Friendly Meal Plan
This is very straightforward, with no snazzy downloads or requirements to join any email list. After introducing you, the reader, to what PCOS is and how it affects you, Susie Burell takes your through some sample meal plans that could work with any woman.
The meal plan is a breakfast of eggs, vegetables, and toast, with a tuna wrap lunch and vegetable soup. Dinner is a 120-gram grilled salmon with 2 cups of roasted vegetables.
She also includes snacks in between meal times, recognizing that we are all not dieting machines and that we enjoy an occasional snack to keep us going.
My PCOS Kitchen 7-Day Meal Plan
Smart Fertility Choices 3-Day Meal Plan
PCOS Diva Diet Plans
The Fit Indian Diet Guidelines
Body and Soul PCOS Friendly Meal Plan
What To Look For When Embarking On A PCOS Diet
Although suffering with increased chance of weight gain, hormonal imbalance, and infertility is difficult for any young woman, there are diets out there that work and are manageable. A lot of the diets on this guide are free resources, provided by women who are simply trying to help others battling PCOS.
When venturing out on your own and trying to find a PCOS diet, make sure that they are written by women who are battling PCOS, don’t cost and arm and a leg, and are centered around fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.
We hope that you find one that fits your lifestyle and budget. Ultimately, try and fall in love with one plan and you will be happy to willingly stick with it for the rest of your life.