How To Manage Your Weight While Battling PCOS

Written by Dr. Pramod Mane on Fri, 01 December 2023

Key Highlights

  • While PCOS itself is a stressful condition to deal with, it comes with additional consequences like weight gain which can radically alter your mind and body’s state.
  • To effectively maintain a healthy weight, one cannot overlook the importance of the best workouts for PCOS weight loss like cardiovascular exercises, pilates for PCOS, and strength training.
  • Supporting exercise with a good diet comprising PCOS-friendly foods is also crucial and there are multiple healthy plant-based options to explore. 

When it comes to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), the conversation with your doctors will often revolve around period problems and increasing weight, blood sugar levels, hormone imbalances, insulin resistance, and an increasing body mass index.  

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by symptoms that vary in severity from person to person. It is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is associated with hormonal imbalances.

Now you must be wondering when it comes to PCOS and weight, is there a link? There is! Although the exact cause is unclear, women suffering from PCOS are more susceptible to weight gain. How to lose weight with PCOS is a common question. Experts suggest that a combination of genetic factors and lifestyle (diet, exercise, bodyweight) may be the likely cause of PCOS symptoms. In fact, a low carb diet for PCOS has been known to help immensely in treating this condition.

Unfortunately, there is no PCOS cure, and the condition can negatively affect a woman's mental health. However, the silver lining is that the symptoms can be managed by opting for a PCOS treatment diet and PCOS diet plan.

Shedding these pounds when battling PCOS can be challenging, but with the right approach, it's possible to achieve a healthy weight. If you're wondering how to lose weight with PCOS, you're about to find out. Here's how to lose weight with PCOS exercise!

Strategies to deal with PCOS and weight gain

Strategies to deal with PCOS and weight gain

Here are a few simple strategies to easily cope with the changes that PCOS brings about.

1. Adopt a balanced and nutritious diet

  • There are multiple ways to lose weight with PCOS, but they all begin with prioritizing your food or the diet you follow.
  • Focus on a balanced diet. Include whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
  • Avoid or limit processed and sugary foods.

2. Choose low-glycemic index (GI) Foods

  • Foods with a low GI help regulate blood sugar levels, which is important for managing insulin resistance often associated with PCOS.
  • Include foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables, and minimize foods like white bread, white rice, and sugary snacks.
  • Lean PCOS diets usually include foods that are less fattening, and which place importance on a more health-conscious approach.

3. Control portion sizes

  • Battling PCOS means being mindful of portion sizes to prevent overeating. Use small plates, be mindful, and pay attention to hunger and satiety cues.
  • This can help regulate calorie intake and prevent weight gain.

4. Be physically active

  • Regular exercise is crucial for managing weight. Pilates for PCOS is also a great way to deal with weight gain.
  • Engage in brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or dancing. Additionally, incorporate strength training exercises to build muscle.
  • In fact, a PCOS belly can be taken care of with exercises that are more geared toward cutting out fat.

5. Manage stress

  • A workout plan for PCOS weight loss is incomplete without accounting for a good deal of rest in between. PCOS symptoms can be exacerbated by stress.
  • Lack of rest only adds to the daily levels of stress that one experiences. Practice meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga.
  • Adequate sleep is also vital for managing stress and weight, so aim for quality sleep each night.

6. Stay hydrated

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Thirst can be mistaken for hunger, and lead to unnecessary snacking.
  • PCOS weight loss before and after results are proof of the wonders that water can do to the body.
  • Not only does it help one feel refreshed, but it also adds to easing things like acne caused by PCOS.

7. Monitor your progress

  • Keep track of your weight, measurements, and any changes in symptoms to help you stay motivated and identify what works best for you.
  • It's important to remember that weight loss may be gradual, and individual results may vary. But committing to the process will definitely yield results.

Best workouts for PCOS weight loss

Best workouts for PCOS weight loss

There are various exercises that can be beneficial for individuals with PCOS. But it's important to start gradually, choose exercises that you enjoy and are suitable for your fitness level, and listen to your body.

1. Cardiovascular Exercises

  • Engaging in aerobic exercises can help improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and enhance insulin sensitivity.
  • Consider activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, or aerobics classes.
  • PCOS and running can alleviate one’s mental state as well, and it’s a terrific way to burn calories.

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

  • A good way to approach PCOS and exercise is to look at options like high-intensity interval training.
  • Alternate between bouts of intense exercise and rest periods. Examples include sprint intervals, circuit training, or using exercise equipment like a stationary bike or elliptical trainer.

3. Strength Training

  • Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine helps build muscle mass, which can increase metabolism and aid in weight management.
  • It can also improve insulin sensitivity. Weightlifting, resistance band workouts, or weight machines at the gym can really help.

4. Yoga

  • Yoga provides a holistic approach to wellness. It can help reduce stress, improve flexibility, promote relaxation, and enhance overall well-being.
  • Certain yoga poses, such as the cobra pose, bridge pose, and seated forward bend, can target the abdominal area and pelvic region, potentially benefiting individuals with PCOS.
  • Getting a special personal trainer for PCOS, who can suggest customised routines, may also prove to be beneficial in this process.

5. Pilates

  • Pilates is a low-impact exercise method that focuses on core strength, flexibility, and stability.
  • It can help improve posture, strengthen the abdominal muscles, and enhance body strength.
  • Consider taking a Pilates for PCOS class or following online tutorials that are specifically designed for this.

6. Mind-Body Exercises

  • Activities like tai chi or qigong can be beneficial.
  • These exercises involve gentle movements, deep breathing, and mental focus, which can help balance hormones and improve overall well-being.

Work out while you work

Work out while you work

  • If you’re wondering how to manage weight with PCOS, then you’re not the only one. Life doesn’t stop and neither does your work. With the ever-increasing workload and expectations, it gets difficult to manage your time.
  • Some folks might find it difficult to squeeze in the time for some light to moderate exercise. We get it, but there is still a way to get in a decent amount of movement/exercise.

Here are a few ways you can stay active on the go!

Read more:Exercises To Manage Your PCOS

1. Skip the car ride

  • Need to go to the grocery store or visit the dry cleaner? Break the vicious cycle of those 5-10 minute drives that you take for your chores.
  • Instead, walk it down or use a bicycle if you own one. This is not only beneficial for your overall health and weight loss but will also give you some ‘me-time’ that you deserve.
  • Try including fruits and vegetables and high fiber foods in your diet and give PCOS veganism a try as it can benefit women's health.

2. Take the stairs

  • All of us are guilty of opting to ride the elevator instead of taking the stairs. We aren’t asking you to take the stairs if you live on the top floors of a high-rise building.
  • However, try taking the stairs whenever you can. This small change in your habits can make a huge difference in your battle against PCOS.

3. Stretch on the job

  • Stuck at your desk from 9-5? Eight hours of sitting down on the job have negative effects on your weight and overall health.
  • Muscle cramps, lethargy, and slow metabolism are some of the issues that arise due to sitting in a chair for too long.

4. Sound sleep for a sound body

  • Quite ironic, isn't it? Sleep sounds like one of the most sedentary activities, yet it may be the only one that protects you from PCOS and obesity.
  • Studies show that lack of sleep has negative effects on hormone functions and glucose metabolism.
  • Increased stress levels, hunger, and appetite are seen due to a lack of shut-eye. In addition to this, poor sleep quantity and quality decrease the body's sensitivity to insulin.
  • Try and get at least 8-10 hours of undisturbed sleep to avoid the risk of weight gain!


Battling PCOS requires long-term management. Various treatment routines aim to address the specific symptoms and concerns of each individual and may include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, or even medications to regulate menstrual cycles or manage symptoms.

The process may seem daunting, especially with the many different ways to lose weight with PCOS. But, working with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a nutritionist who specializes in PCOS diets will make sticking to your regimen more hassle-free, helping you yield the healthiest results!

Try and get at least 8-10 hours of undisturbed sleep to avoid the risk of weight gain!

When how to prevent PCOS is what you ask, know that exercise and a healthy diet can help! We hope that this article has shed some light on the type of workouts and lifestyle changes you can adopt in the fight against PCOS.

Stay active and emerge victorious over this syndrome!


Frequently Asked Questions

Exercise is an important component of managing PCOS as it can help improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss, and reduce inflammation. Some good exercises for PCOS are cardiovascular exercises, strength training, yoga, mind-body exercises, and pilates.  

Cycling can be beneficial as it is a cardiovascular exercise that helps improve insulin sensitivity and enhance fitness. It can be advantageous for weight management and mood and stress reduction.  

Losing weight with PCOS can be challenging due to hormonal imbalances and metabolic factors. However, with the right approach, it is possible to achieve weight loss. Focus on PCOS-friendly foods, engage in regular physical activity, and make sure to prioritize a stress-free life above all else.  

PCOS can contribute to weight gain in some individuals. Hormonal imbalances associated with it can make it difficult for them to maintain a healthy weight. Increased insulin production can contribute to weight gain, often leading to a PCOS belly. PCOS can also affect appetite regulation, increase cravings for high-calorie foods, and lead to weight gain. 

Managing PCOS with diet and exercise can be beneficial for symptom management, and weight control. Exercise workouts for PCOS incorporate regular physical activity and strength training. Bear in mind however to not overdo it. Some of the worst exercises for PCOS can be high-impact activities that put excessive stress on the joints, or exercises that focus solely on cardio without strength training.  

You can deal with PCOS better if you’re also prioritizing a nutritious diet and limiting the intake of processed and sugary foods. 

PCOS is not a direct cause of obesity, but it can contribute to weight gain and make it more challenging for some individuals to maintain a healthy weight.

One of the key factors associated with PCOS is insulin resistance. This can make it challenging for individuals with PCOS, especially because of the fat storage in the abdominal area. PCOS is also associated with hormonal imbalances which can affect metabolism, fat distribution, and appetite regulation, thus contributing to weight gain, and perhaps eventual obesity.  


Dr. Pramod Mane

A Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Pharmacology., currently based in Mumbai, India, Dr Pramod Mane, comes with an experience of more than 20 years of working in Medical Affairs in the Pharmaceuticals & Nutraceutical Industry. Director of Medical Services at Mega Lifesciences since 2008, Dr Mane has been associated with several MNCS in the areas of Medical Affairs, Medical Services, Medico-marketing, Pharmacovigilance & Clinical trials in his illustrious career.

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Current Version

Dec, 01 2023

Written By

Dr. Pramod Mane