If you have PCOS you are probably more than aware of all of the possible diets there are out there that are promoted for weight loss, and in a previous post I have looked at each of these diets in detail to examine their pros and cons. Most diets that you hear about, from Paleo to Macrobiotic, are not actually researched and designed for women’s bodies. They do not take into account women’s biology, our menstrual cycles, our changing pattern of hormones – instead they are modeled on male biology and that’s why they are far more effective for men.
Why women need a different kind of diet
Precisely because many of these diet protocols are not made for women, they often fail women – although some may have initial weight loss, usually this is not sustained. A study from 2012 revealed that during the luteal phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle (that’s the week pre-menstruation) women purchase much more food than they do during their follicular phase (the week after your period).
To many of you, this research will come as no surprise – we know we feel more hungry during our pre-menstrual days, and that we may eat more, and may therefore buy more food. This makes sense because we need more B vitamins to help us support the corpus luteum and progesterone production. Perhaps you also have specific cravings during this time in your cycle. You might have noticed you don’t feel the need to eat that much during the first half of your cycle, but heading towards your period your hunger seems to increase and your need for food as fuel, to sustain your energy, to prevent you from feeling “hangry,” is increased.
The reason most diets for PCOS don’t work
Most of the diet protocols out there do not take this information into account. Most diets proposed for those with PCOS are low-glycemic and this kind of eating plan is hard to maintain. It feels easy to do during the first half of the cycle, but once you’re pre-menstrual it’s impossible to sustain and adhere to. During the luteal or pre-menstrual phase you need more nourishing, filling, satisfying foods to prevent cravings and the desire to reach for unhealthy carbs or sugar.
This is why the FLO Living protocol of Cycle Syncing your eating habits has helped so many women to lose weight and keep it off – it takes into account that you will want and need to eat different foods during your pre-menstrual phase and need foods that provide enough of the nutrients your body requires. Building this information into a diet designed for women specifically allows you to avoid the usual drawbacks of other diets and the usual obstacles and difficulties that can arise – like feeling super hungry, binge-eating, distracting cravings, and feeling deprived.
When you feel hungry and do not nourish your body in the second half of your cycle, you throw your hormones off-balance and create erratic blood sugar levels. Most diets don’t supply your body and brain enough of the micronutrients that they need to create balanced appetite control-neurotransmitters and balanced metabolism-boosting hormone levels. The FLO Living protocol supports appetite control and boosts your metabolism, because it increases essential micronutrients and balances your hormones.
Cycle Syncing your diet means eating different foods in different phases of your menstrual cycle – your menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulatory phase, and luteal or pre-menstrual phase – as well as cooking foods in different ways (roasting, baking, sauteing, raw) according to those hormone patterns.
How to start Cycle Syncing your diet
If you’re interested in Cycle-Syncing your diet here’s how to get started:
- Know where you are in your cycle – if you have irregular cycles due to PCOS it can be hard to know exactly where you’re at in your cycle one week to the next. But, even if you currently haven’t had a period for months, you can still start Cycle Syncing by starting with the foods I recommend for the follicular phase and following the moon phases.
- Start by focusing on a few of the foods I recommend for each cycle phase and build from there, adding in more and more foods as you get used to this way of eating and planning meals. You don’t need to do everything all at once, it may take a few months to get into the habit of Cycle Syncing your eating. All of the foods I recommend are outlined in my book “WomanCode” in an easy-to-understand chart. They are broken down into food types like vegetables, protein, and grains, with plenty of possible variety.
- Get to grips with stocking your fridge weekly with the foods you need for each upcoming cycle phase. Cooking by the FLO Living protocol is not complicated. I personally keep it super simple and cook on just two days per week, parsing out the ingredients for different meals on the other days.
- Once you have begun Cycle Syncing your diet, you can start Cycle Syncing other elements of your life to increase your success with weight loss – especially how you work out from one cycle phase to another. Women need to eat and exercise differently in pre-menstrual phase. Over-exercising during the premenstrual phase can actually prevent you from losing weight.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, do you have PCOS?
Second, do you have irregular cycles?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good period karma and share this article on social 😉
Is Your Period Healthy?
How do you know if your hormones are healthy? The answer is in your 5th vital sign – your period.
The color of your flow, frequency of your period, and symptoms you have each month can tell you a lot about your health. There are 5 different V-SIGN TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future.