If you or someone you know has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), you know that managing your symptoms is key to your overall health and well-being. Well-managed PCOS, as opposed to uncontrolled PCOS, can have a significant positive impact on your long-term health.
We all want to be and stay healthy - so, taking charge of your PCOS, learning how to control it, and living a healthy life is your key to success.
But, what if you aren’t exactly sure how to manage it? What if you feel like you need more support?
This is where a nutrition coach comes in.
Nutrition coaches, like myself and my team at OnPoint Nutrition, are educated and trained to help you manage your PCOS via diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle practices.
In this article, I’ll outline the main goals for managing PCOS:
- Controlling blood sugar
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
- Preventing and treating associated health issues
- Promoting balanced nutrition to optimize health
We’ll also dive into how a nutrition coach can help you achieve your PCOS goals by addressing:
- What to eat
- When to eat
- How much to eat
- Lifestyle guidance
PCOS Management Goals
Control Blood Sugar
PCOS is often associated with insulin resistance, which is linked to higher blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to other health problems, which we want to prevent.
Working with a nutrition coach to manage your blood sugar using your diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors can help eliminate any current or future blood sugar issues associated with PCOS.
Achieve And Maintain A Healthy Weight
PCOS is also often, but not always, correlated with a higher body weight. Research shows that a weight loss of as little as five percent of your body weight can lead to significant improvement in your PCOS symptoms.
Your nutrition coach can help you determine a healthy, realistic weight for you to work toward. Together you will develop a plan to achieve and maintain that weight long-term.
Prevent And Treat Associated Health Issues
PCOS is one of the most common health conditions women today face.
Infertility is one of the most commonly associated health issues with PCOS. Additionally, PCOS may increase your risk of having a miscarriage if you do become pregnant.
The increase in certain hormone levels associated with PCOS may also put women at an increased risk for developing:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
Preventing and/or treating hormone imbalances and other potential health conditions associated with PCOS is something your nutrition coach will also help you navigate.
Promote Balanced Nutrition To Optimize Health
While there are many eating patterns that are suggested to help with PCOS management, working with a nutrition coach is key to finding the optimal nutritional balance for you.
Together, you and your nutrition coach will review your eating and exercise habits, as well as your overall lifestyle. Your nutrition coach will then thoroughly assess your nutritional status and develop a personalized nutrition plan just for you.
Striking a balance between getting enough nutrients to fuel your body and optimize your health without getting too much of anything is something your nutrition coach will help you navigate.
How A Nutrition Coach Can Help You Achieve Your PCOS Goals
What To Eat
The key to a PCOS diet is balance. A balanced PCOS diet allows insulin to function properly and maintains your blood sugar in a healthy range.
Your nutrition coach will likely recommend eating:
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
- Healthy fats
Within each of these food groups, there are higher-quality choices, and lower-quality choices, which your nutrition coach will also help you navigate.
When it comes to foods to avoid for PCOS, in general, your nutrition coach will likely recommend limiting or avoiding:
- High sugar foods
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Highly processed foods
- Refined carbohydrates
While individual foods may positively or negatively impact your blood sugar levels, the combination of foods you eat can also play a role in blood sugar management.
Pairing a food like fruit that is higher in sugar with a healthy fat source like nuts or nut butter will reduce the impact it has on your blood sugar.
Your nutrition coach will help you figure out which foods to include and how to pair them together for the best PCOS outcomes.
When To Eat
If you have PCOS, when you eat matters.
Skipping meals or going too long without a snack can cause blood sugar levels to crash, which can lead to increased cravings and overindulging later.
Maintaining a consistent routine will allow your blood sugar levels to stabilize, which helps maintain hormone levels and manage your PCOS symptoms.
Nutrition coaches often recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals and snacks for better blood sugar control and more consistency throughout each day.
Your nutrition coach will help you figure out an eating pattern that works for you, your schedule, your hunger levels, and your PCOS.
How Much To Eat
What you eat is important, but choosing the correct amount of food will also play a large role in managing your blood sugar, weight, and overall PCOS.
As we discussed above, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is also key for optimal PCOS management. Adjusting your portion sizes can help you achieve your ideal body weight.
Your nutrition coach will help you determine the best portion sizes for you, your body, your blood sugar, and your goals.
Food is clearly very important for managing PCOS. However, it is not the only thing your nutrition coach can help you navigate.
Other holistic lifestyle factors including your exercise, sleep, stress, and more all greatly impact your hormone levels over time.
Working with your nutrition coach to optimize all of these factors will help you achieve full control of your PCOS.
Where To Go From Here
If you are ready to take control of your PCOS symptoms, you are in the right place.
At this point, you know that controlling your blood sugar, maintaining a healthy weight, preventing and treating associated health issues, and promoting a balanced diet are the goals of working with a nutrition coach on PCOS.
You also know that when you work with a nutrition coach you will learn what and when to eat, how much to eat, and how to adjust your lifestyle to improve your PCOS.
If you still have questions about PCOS, we’ve answered many in our PCOS FAQ.
If you are ready to dive into nutrition counseling with a nutrition coach, we are here for you.
Our team of dietitians and nutritionists has helped over 3,000 people, just like you, achieve their nutrition and health goals.
If you’re interested in finding out more about OnPoint and the experience we provide to our virtual, one-on-one nutrition counseling clients, learn more about our client experience here.
When you are ready to take the leap, schedule your free consultation.
Liz has been reading nutrition labels since she learned how to read. Growing up with severe peanut and tree nut allergies she learned that it’s important to know what you are putting into your body. She made her first big lifestyle change as a freshman in high school, when she decided to become a vegetarian. However, it wasn’t until she took a food class in Italy as part of a study abroad program in college that it clicked in her mind that she wanted to make food and nutrition her career. Liz graduated from Penn State University in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition, as well as a bachelor's degree in Marketing. She completed her dietetic internship with Aramark in Philadelphia, and her master's degree at Northeastern University shortly after.