Karen's Advice to You - Her PCOS Story

We are all in different situations, with different pressures in life, likes and dislikes in food and exercise, and medical histories (PCOS and other conditions). So, there's definitely not a 'one size fits all' approach here.

However, in understanding that we are all different, I thought that some of the things that worked for me, may also work for someone else! My own choice is to stay fit for as long as I am able.

1. Burn more than you consume

Okay, I admit with PCOS, there are many considerations. Dealing with PCOS symptoms can cause a lot of stress and worry, which has got to affect your hormones and how your metabolism functions. However, despite what many overweight women will tell you, particularly those with PCOS, the 'burn more than you consume' thing still applies!

I like to eat! I can't stand deprivation or low carb dieting and personally would rather increase my intensity of exercise so that I can eat more! Despite this, I know I cannot eat anything I want, ever, no matter how hard I train.

There is a limit to how much training I am prepared to do, and therefore, when I train less, I also try to eat less kilojoules. When I eat too much, I know I have to train harder to stay on top of things. If I get injured, I can't train as hard, so have to make adjustments and eat less. That's my reality and I have to accept it!

2. Combine resistance training with aerobic training.

Developing more muscle strength will assist you in increasing your metabolism. And no, you will not turn into a Muscle Woman just by doing a couple of weights sessions per week! The more muscle I've developed, the easier it has been to keep my weight down.

When I stop weights, it all becomes harder and I put on weight immediately! The good news is that there is such a thing as muscle memory as well and even if I put on weight, if I go back to my strength training program, I get stronger way quicker than the first time I tried! (And therefore, lose weight quicker than before too!)

Muscle weighs more than fat, so when you start weight training, the scales may not show a weight loss, but you are sure to see a positive change in your shape! With more lean muscle mass, the fact is, you can burn kilojoules 24/7!

For me, I lift fairly heavy weights (2 sets of 12 - 15, depending on the exercise.) As I mentioned before, stick to using several larger muscles at one time, i.e., lunges/leg presses (compound exercises). While they hurt quite a bit, they are much more effective for weight loss than working isolated muscles.

I used to just get a pair of little weights and do bicep curls and other isolated muscle exercises which I now realize is almost a complete waste of time for weight loss!

Get some advice from a good gym instructor on suitable exercises for you, especially as you may have other medical conditions or injuries that need to be considered in the programming.

3. All exercise is not the same!

If you choose a lower intensity form of exercise, then you may need to eat much less. That's your decision.

Sometimes I don't feel like jogging or doing aerobics. But, if I make that decision, then I need to accept that I can't eat as many kilojoules because I'm not burning as much energy.

Don't think that just because you are exercising then you can eat what you want. We all know people who can basically eat what they want. (Sickening, hey?) For some people, all they have to do is not eat junk food all day, and that's their key to losing weight! Women with PCOS don't usually have it that easy and there a much more complicated formula involved!

Even so, I know a whole lot of other people, who don't have PCOS, who do train hard, and who still have to watch what they eat. PCOS doesn't cause ALL of our problems!

Take control of your diet and don't fall into the trap of thinking that having PCOS means you can't be slim.

Bear in mind that exercises like Pilates and Yoga, while fantastic for some aspects of fitness (ie core stability and flexibility), are not the best kilojoule burners for many overweight people. They may help in the early stages of weight loss if you are carrying a lot of weight, but eventually you will need to add some aerobic exercise into your program.

The higher you can get your heart rate for a duration (ie 30 minutes continuously), is the way you will burn the most kilojoules. If the heart rate gets too high, you will find it difficult to keep the exercise continuous for that length of time. By using a heart monitor, you can make sure your heart rate stays at the right level.

Read other parts of Karen's Story

  1. My Journey with PCOS
  2. How Fitness Changed My Life
  3. Karen's Advice to You - Part 1
  4. Karen's Advice to You - Conclusion
  5. Stories from Other Women

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