An expanded midsection is a hallmark of typical PCOS.
It appears to be caused primarily by eating the wrong things, a sedentary lifestyle, and hormonal imbalances. The two most important hormonal imbalance contributing to belly fat are excessively high insulin and the stress hormones such as cortisol.
To the extent you can remove these causes, your waist will shrink.
Here's what to do.
1) Add more fiber to your diet.
studied 85 overweight teenagers for two years. They found a link between fiber consumption and weight. University of Southern California
Those who consumed less dietary fiber increased their belly fat by an amazing 24%. Those who increased their dietary fiber reduced their belly size by 4%.
Sources of fiber include: vegetables, fresh fruit, raw nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
A good goal would be to consume at least five servings of freshly prepared whole vegetables per day, as recommended by the new federal government dietary guidelines. Try this for 3 months. You will be pleasantly surprised!
2) Avoid all foods and beverages that contain added fructose and other sweeteners.
3) Reduce your exposure to chronic stress.
Reduction of stress is important because research from the University Hospital of Essen in
has shown that women with PCOS are more sensitive to stress than other women are. This means you're more likely to produce stress hormones like cortisol and thus encourage abdominal fat production. Germany
The Natural Solution for PCOS and Infertility e-book has an extensive chapter on how to manage stress. Take a look at that chapter for some stress reduction ideas.
Diet is great for weight loss. But if you want to make your waist smaller, you will also need to exercise, according to a study at
. Syracuse University
In this study, 33 diabetic women were divided into "diet only" and "diet plus exercise" groups. Since diabetic women typically have belly fat problems similar to PCOS women, this study is of interest.
Both groups -- diet only, or diet plus exercise -- had an average weight loss of
9.9 lbs over a 3 month span.
However, only the "diet plus exercise" group had a loss of visceral fat, which is the belly fat that surrounds internal organs.
In other words, you can lose weight with diet alone. But if you're also intending to lose abdominal fat, you'll need to add regular exercise and physical activity to your healthy diet program.
Any exercise is good, but you'll want to devote some of your exercise to strengthening and toning your abdominal muscles. This will give your midsection more definition.
A good way to improve abdominal muscle tone is with simple push-ups.
For many years I’d been trying to get rid of belly fat by doing sit-ups and other tummy trimming exercise. However, what I found was that adopting the lifestyle changes above, with regular walking and aerobic exercises my belly fat went away without me needing to do back-breaking sit ups. What I learnt is that specific exercises targeted at specific areas of the body don’t work unless it’s combined with general aerobics. When you burn fat, it naturally burns away the fat wherever you accumulate it most, especially if it's your tummy.
Standing straight and keeping the tummy 'sucked in' not only helps to keep the muscles toned, it also gives you a flat belly over time.