PCOS Review Newsletter #108

Low-Calorie Diet May Make You Gain Weight

Are You "Playing" Your Daily Roles?

Low-Calorie Diet May Make You Gain Weight

The University of California at San Francisco has just published a very interesting research paper that suggests a reason why you are unlikely to lose weight on a low-calorie diet.

At any given time, 47% of U.S. adults are dieting, but up to 64% gain back more weight than they lost. It's a poorly kept secret that the majority of women who attempt a low-calorie diet are not successful, and may end up even heavier than when they started.

So what could be the problem?

The San Francisco researchers conducted an experiment with 121 women to determine whether stress might be one of the causes of the problem.

The women were divided into four groups. The first group tracked their calories, keeping them to 1,200 a day; another group ate normally but recorded the number of calories they consumed; a third group ate 1,200 calories a day, but did not have to record them, and the fourth group ate normally without any calorie-tracking.

At the start and end of the three-week trial, the researchers measured each woman's cortisol and stress levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in response to stress.

When calories were restricted, cortisol levels increased. In addition, calorie-counting also increased the women's perceived stress, the researchers found.

It has been known for years that excessively high cortisol levels contribute to an increase in belly fat, a prime area of unwanted weight gain.

It has also been known for some time that cortisol and chronic stress can lead you to eat excessively.

So if you are watching your calories like a hawk and cutting down your calories, you may be defeating yourself by increasing cortisol, which in turn builds belly fat.

Secondly, the increased cortisol reduces your fertility.

Some women who don’t menstruate have higher cortisol levels than menstruating women. Cortisol also interferes with progesterone, setting the stage for estrogen dominance and subsequent menstrual cycle irregularities. Progesterone insufficiency and estrogen dominance are characteristics of PCOS women and contribute to infertility.

And thirdly, research shows that women who have polycystic ovary syndrome are more affected by stress than other people. So stress reduction is super-important for you.

OK, if counting calories creates stress and is not the solution to weight loss, what is?

In a nutshell, what you want to do is change the source of calories you consume. The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility ebook is based on the premise of changing the source of your calories in order to improve your ability to lose weight and reduce PCOS-related problems.

Sources: Tomiyama AJ et al, Low calorie dieting increases cortisol, Psychosom Med. 2010 May;72(4):357-64
Epel ES, et al, Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat, Psychosom Med 2000 Sep-Oct;62(5):623-32
Epel, E, et al, Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior, Psychoneuroendocrinology 2001 Jan;26(1):37-49
Berga SL et al, Women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea but not other forms of anovulation display amplified cortisol concentrations. Fertil Steril. 1997 Jun;67(6):1024-30
Benson S et al, Disturbed stress responses in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Are You "Playing" Your Daily Roles?

Many of us go through life making life tougher than it has to be.

Without realizing it, you may have programmed yourself to not enjoy your present moment. You bombard your brain with negative, self-defeating messages like, I hate my PCOS, I am ashamed of myself, I'm not even a woman, I hate my job, I wish I didn’t have to do this, I’m not good at this, etc.

What's the point?

You’re only programming your brain to believe you are a victim of circumstances. And that you are unable or unworthy of getting what you want in life. The result? You do not take action to change and improve your circumstances.

It’s hard to feel motivated to change when you've pre-framed your mind to think it will be too difficult.

Instead, why not have fun? Why not enjoy the moment? The idea is to give your subconscious a new, empowering message!

A good strategy is to program your brain to have fun before you do something. Since we are self-fulfilling prophecies, why not honor yourself and set out to enjoy your life?

Think about it. When you play, you’re having fun. When you’re having fun, you’re lighthearted, creative and relaxed. When you allow yourself to have fun, your performance usually improves and you are no longer incapacitated. It’s a win-win situation.

Lee Milteer, a business coach, reported her results with this strategy. "I had three speaking engagements back-to-back in different cities. This type of trip was usually grueling, but this time I decided to take a new approach. I told myself before I left for the airport that I was going to PLAY vacation traveler, that I was going to enjoy the trip.

I realized that in the past I had created the feeling of dread because of my attitude of just getting the trip over with. On that occasion, instead of feeling stressed out, anxious to hurry and get to my destination, I simply kept saying to myself that I'm a vacation traveler and I have all the time I need. I can honestly say I was faced with as many obstacles as I normally encounter when traveling, but this trip felt less stressful."

Go "play" whatever role you have to be at the moment. Time passes more quickly and you might even have fun! More importantly, you’ll feel better about what you’re doing.

"Act the part and you shall become it!"

Thought for Today: "Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you." -- Mahatma Gandhi

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