PCOS: The Diet You Need!
After putting up THIS post about PCOS earlier this year, what they are, and how I've tried to control them, I got one million thousand gazillion requests to share my detailed diet plan. So girls and boys, I've finally come around to sharing it here, along with some info on what works and why. The diet plan isn't only for those with PCOS, but also for anyone who seems to be suffering from insulin resistance (remember that PCOS is only an extreme form of insulin resistance, and in most cases, girls are still at the stage where they only have insulin resistance and not the extreme symptoms of PCOS, despite doctors calling it all PCOS). Boys may also suffer from insulin resistance, since the hormone is linked to sugar levels and doesn't discriminate on the basis of sex. How nice! So basically this diet plan can help ANYONE, boy or girl, who is trying to eat clean and not gain weight or lose a few pounds. It's a balance of healthy carbs, fats, protein and nutrients that an individual needs on a daily basis.
FIVE MEALS: The key to balanced and healthy eating is to ensure that you're eating moderate amounts at regular intervals. This diet plan is therefore spread over five meals, each around 2-3 hours apart from each other. Make sure you have breakfast within the first 30 minutes of waking up, and your last meal at least 2 hours before you sleep. Keeping portions moderate sized is important. If you're not feeling hungry within 2 hours of your previous meal, then you need to re-evaluate your portion size.
DON'TS: Dairy is off limits but I've listed substitute options below, so is wheat but small amounts especially if you're working out should be fine. Processed foods are a BIG NO! So are deep fried and oily items. If you're craving a drink go for tea or coffee, and brown sugar if you must. Fresh juices are much better than packaged ones. Fruits are always a better dessert than most that you find in the market. It's okay to cheat once a while but don't overdo it.
PROTEINS: Can't stress the importance of protein. Most of us end up not having sufficient amounts or eat too much of unhealthy protein varieties on a daily basis. Here are options for protein that you can incorporate in your diet: Yogurt (Soy or Almond), Almond Milk, Eggs, Chicken, Lean Beef, Beans, Lentils, Chick Peas, Peanuts and Peanut Butter, Oats, Whole Grain Bread, Nuts.
CARBS: The most important thing for those with PCOS and insulin resistance to kick out of their diets are foods that are high in glycemic index. What does that mean you may ask? The short answer is that some foods release tonnes of sugar into your bloodstream immediately and that's what you don't want. Low glycemic indexed foods release sugar slowly and gradually which is easier for your body to process and hence reduces all those terrible affects of weight gain and acne, etc. that you may be suffering from. However, some people like to take out carbs from their diet altogether! I mean WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? First, everything nice in this world comes in the form of carbs. Second, carbs are actually good for you. You just need to know the difference between the good carbs and bad carbs. Do some research, read up on it, but don't avoid it altogether or you'd be putting your body through a lot.
WATER: The diet plan doesn't list water but it's substitutes, but this goes without saying. The more hydrated you are, the better it is for you in every way. Especially if you're working out, it's extremely important that you're hydrated well before you hit the gym or pool, or you'd run the risk of fatigue. Tapal's Green Tea that comes in many many flavors now is a great substitute because it contains Catechins that help increase your metabolism plus it gives you a break from your simple water. Similarly, sugarless lemonade (I usually add salt and mint) is a great way to have your daily dose of Vitamin C while staying hydrated as well.
CALORIE COUNT: The Diet Plan below is made for my specific needs. With some work out, I need no more than 1500 Calories to lose weight slowly. However in order to estimate what works best for you, make sure you know first and foremost how much calories you would need. This would be based on your current age, sex, lifestyle etc. You can try THIS link to learn more about the how to measure your caloric requirements and also use the calculator to get a rough idea.
THE BREAKDOWN: The five meals are an example of how you should have a diet plan that fulfills your protein, carbs, calcium, Vitamins, Iron, Minerals, Whole Grains, etc. requirements.
THE DIET PLAN
Meal 1 - Breakfast:
1 Lemonade (without sugar) + Omelette (1 egg white + 1 full egg) made in 1 tbsp Olive Oil + Two slices of Brown Bread ------- Total Calories (248)
Meal 2 - Lunch:
1 Whole Wheat Roti/1 Cup Brown Rice + Protein (Lean Beef/Grilled or Steamed Chicken/Beans/Lentils/Fish) + Veggies (Spinach/Tomato/Lettuce/Baked Potato/Bell Pepper/Parsley) + Tapal Green Tea ------- Total Calories (around 400-600)
Meal 3 - Pre-Workout/Mid-Day:
Banana + Whey Protein Shake (1 Scoop in Water) ------- Total Calories (256)
Meal 4 - Post-Workout:
Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp) + 1 Brown Bread Slice ------- Total Calories (257)
Meal 5 - Dinner:
Oat Meal (1/2 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup oats) with 1/4 cup Granola and 1/4th Kiwi ------- Total Calories (220)
Total Caloric Intake: 1480
And that's all folks! Figuring out a diet plan isn't the easiest thing in the world, but it's also not the hardest. It takes some knowledge and understanding and with time you'd know on your fingertips what you need to do and how you need to make up for the calories you're under or over in a day. As long as you're not fretting over calories but ensuring that you're eating a healthy diet that is a complete package in terms of all that your body needs, you're good to go! If you've still got questions, and I'm sure you've got plenty (:P) don't hesitate to leave them in the comments below and I'll try to respond to the best of my knowledge and experience.
Also see: What even are PCOS?