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Getting Started on Your PCOS Diet Plan

One of the most important things you can do for your PCOS is to change the way that you eat, but getting started on a good PCOS diet plan can be tricky. So, in this article, we’ll look at what your PCOS diet should look like and how to go about putting together a PCOS diet plan, with tips and tricks along the way.

Now, before your start putting together your PCOS diet plan, you need to have a rough idea of how you should be eating.

I talk a lot about how to eat and my top PCOS supplements in my free Masterclass, “How to Manage PCOS Naturally.” It will give you so much wonderful information on how to get started on your PCOS Diet.

What is a PCOS Diet?

Well, research has shown that diet and lifestyle changes are more effective than medication in managing PCOS (1). It’s a big bold statement but one that is true.

So, we know that we need to change the way that we eat to improve our PCOS and its symptoms. We need a PCOS diet. But what should we be eating and avoiding?

To fully answer that, we need to understand a fundamental truth about PCOS. Women with PCOS have inherent difficulties in processing carbohydrates and insulin. We tend to produce too much insulin which causes our ovaries to release too much testosterone, leading to a lot of the symptoms of PCOS (2).

So, we have to get our insulin levels under control if we are going to get our PCOS under control.

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PCOS and Dairy

Dairy has a protein called IGF-1 that mimics insulin in the body. It’s primary function is to stimulate growth in newborn babies. The problem is that when we have dairy products, the IGF-1 in the dairy causes our ovaries to release testosterone, making our PCOS symptoms worse (3).

So, I recommend avoiding dairy for your PCOS.

PCOS and Gluten

Gluten tends to cause inflammation in our bodies and we already have higher levels of inflammation as a result of our PCOS. This elevated inflammation causes us to be more resistant to insulin.

The more insulin resistant we are, the more insulin we need to manage our blood sugar levels, the more testosterone we’ll produce from our ovaries.

So, giving up gluten-laden foods is a good option for PCOS.

PCOS and Low Glycemic Index foods

Another way that we can help to manage our PCOS and insulin levels is by making sure that we eat foods with a low glycemic load. This means that the foods that we eat will cause a slow, gradual rise in insulin levels, meaning that less testosterone will be produced by the ovaries.

So, how do you know if a food has a low glycemic load? Well, focusing on unprocessed unrefined whole foods is a good way to go. The more processed or refined a food is, the more quickly it is metabolised by the body and the higher the need for insulin will be.

PCOS and Soy

Research has shown that soy tends to cause a delay in ovulation in women who are trying to conceive. Now, you may not be trying to conceive but women with PCOS already have issues around ovulation (4). I would not want to delay ovulation further by consuming soy-based products so I recommend avoiding soy.

So, that sums up what a PCOS diet looks like. The next question is, “Why do I need a PCOS Diet Plan?”

Why do I need a PCOS diet plan?

When you start anything new, whether it be a new job, a new exercise routine or a new way of eating, it is always helpful to have a plan. You see, it’s when we don’t have a plan that things seem to go wrong. Let’s use an analogy here.

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-why-you-need-a-planLet’s say that you start a new job. Before your first day of work you need to plan a couple of things. Like, what is the dress code and what are you going to wear in your first day of work? Where are the new offices and how are you going to get there? Can you drive there and do you have a map? Maybe public transport is easier. Which train or buses do you need to take and how much time do you need to get there on time? What about lunch? Are there places to get food nearby or will you need to take a packed lunch?

All of this planning needs to happen before you even set foot in your new offices on your first day of work. And without this careful planning and consideration, you’re likely to be late or dressed inappropriately and that’s not the kind of first impression you want to make.

So, let’s get back to your PCOS diet plan. Just like with your first day at a new job, there is some planning that needs to done when you start a new way of eating. For example: What can you and can’t you eat (which we’ve already covered but you can find out more about the Best PCOS Diet here)? What will you have for each meal? How do you make sure that you stick with it and not give in to the cravings when they come? Do you have enough food in your pantry and fridge that are compliant or do you need to do a grocery shop first?

All of these things need to be taken into account before you start your PCOS diet plan.

So, here are some tips to get you started:

5 Steps to getting started on your PCOS Diet Plan

1.     Know your why

I’m the kind of person who has to know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I really struggle if someone tells me that I need to do something without telling me why. I can feel myself digging in my heels in resistance. If you tell me WHY, though, I’m far more likely to do what I’ve been asked, and not just do it, but do it whole heartedly.

So, in doing all of my research I found some very compelling evidence to explain exactly why we need to change our diets and what our new diet needs to look like. I have shared pieces of this throughout this site but if you would like a really comprehensive look at why diet is so key to managing PCOS and what your diet should look like, why not signup for my free PCOS Starter Kit where I share the most important elements to managing.  These are things I wish my Doctor had told me about PCOS.  You can do that here.

2.     Throw Out or Give Away the Junk Foods

I think it’s really helpful to go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and work out what shouldn’t be there. If you don’t see it and don’t have it in the house, you are much less likely to crave it and if you do crave it, to get your hands on it.

So, what do I mean by junk? Start with the following foods:

  • Crisps
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits
  • Potatoes
  • White rice
  • Pasta
  • Dairy products (you can read more about that here)
  • Frozen ready meals – they’re far too processed and contain too many additives
  • Rice cakes (very high GI and taste like cardboard – no thanks!)
  • Processed meats
  • Sodas (even the diet variety)

3.     Stock up on PCOS Friendly Foods

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-pcos-friendly-foodYou don’t have to spend a fortune on food but unfortunately buying fresh, healthy foods does tend to be a little more expensive. You will be saving money on all the junk food you won’t be buying though. Also, try to go for lean, organic meat. If you can’t afford it, stock up on more plant-based protein as they tend to be less expensive and don’t have as many trans fats as meat does.

You will find a PCOS Pantry List and PCOS Substitutions List in the PCOS Starter Kit that I was telling you about. These lists will give you a good idea of what you need to stock up on when you do hit the shops.

4.     Plan your PCOS Meals

Planning your meals in advance should help you to be more organized when it comes to meal times. You’ll also have all of the ingredients you’ll need to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal that will help you get your PCOS under control.

When planning your meals, keep in mind that you’re looking for recipes that are:

  • Dairy free
  • Low GI with a low Glycemic Load
  • Balanced in terms of carbs and protein
  • Free of refined foods and sugars
  • Low in saturated fats

Let’s be honest. Sometimes finding the recipes that meet that exact criteria can be tricky. And once we know that a recipe doesn’t have gluten or dairy, how do we even know what it will do to our insulin levels? This is where PCOS Foodies comes in. PCOS Foodies is the most advanced and dynamic meal planning system, designed specifically for women with PCOS. Amazing delicious foods right at your fingertips. Nutrition data for any recipe at the touch of a button. Grocery lists done for you – and you’ll never leave them at home when you head to the shops cause you can just pull them up on a mobile app. It’s pretty darn amazing!

You can check out PCOS Foodies here.

5.     Get Support to Stick with It

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-get-supportLet’s be honest. Starting something new like this can be tricky and when you get stressed or tired or hangry, it is so easy to fall back in to your old way of eating. Getting support is invaluable when you’re struggling.

So, get someone on your team. It could be your partner, your best friend, someone else you know who has PCOS. But doing it together is much easier than doing it on your own.

If you’re struggling to think of someone who you can do this with, the PCOS Diet Support Facebook Page is a good place to find the motivation and support that you need to keep going.

Okay, so just to summarise some of the key points:

  • Following a good PCOS diet is crucial to managing your PCOS and it’s symptoms (its even more effective than medication).
  • A PCOS diet is gluten free, dairy free, soy free and focuses on foods with a low glycemic load to help you manage your insulin and testosterone levels.
  • It’s important to have a PCOS diet plan to help you make the transition to a new way of eating smoother.
  • There are 5 steps that will help you get started:
  • Know your Why
  • Throw out or giveaway the junk food
  • Stock up on PCOS friendly foods
  • Plan your PCOS meals
  • Get Support

What other tips or tricks have you found helpful in getting started with a new way of eating? Let me know and leave me a comment below!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

Table of Contents

345 Responses

345 Responses

  1. Hi Tarryn, I’m currently a senior in college and at the end of Spring 2014 semester I was diagnosed with PCOS because of higher testosterone levels, but an exam and ultrasound showed I didn’t have cysts. My doc put me on birth control pills to raise my female hormones to be level with the testosterone to keep me from developing cysts. Anyway, during my junior year my health issues from PCOS (which I didn’t know I had)caused my 5’3″ self to go up to 170lbs,my blood pressure and blood sugar levels were on the top end of the average range. However, vver the recent summer I’ve gone down 3 sizes (I don’t want to weigh myself), but I have concerns about my diet during school. I avoid the pizzas and hamburgers, but I’ll no matter how resolved I am to eat the limited fruits and vegetables, but they don’t keep me full so I either end up eating something like noodles (without sauce) or snacking. Most of the week my school has a Stir-Fry that serves lean meats and vegetables. I try to eat the healthiest I can, I walk 3x a week, and I’m taking a dancing and actor’s movement class 2x a week, but I’m not 100 if it is enough b/c I can’t afford groceries.
    My main questions in this Holy Wall of Text are
    Do you have any advice on how to have a PCOS friendly diet while in College?
    Is what I’m doing good enough for my last year until I graduate in the Spring?
    I normally don’t post on sites nor talk about my personal life (shy and private person). I don’t know if you have answers or know where I can find them b/c I have to wait to see my doctor until next semester because well finances.

  2. Hi Tarryn, thank you very much for all your encouraging stuff, really appreciate it, I’m so desperate now to have twin a boy and girl and I have PCOS and I have to lose the weight. It is very hard especially going home to the foods that is available but I said to myself if I desperately want my twin then I have to do it. Please help what can I start to do please, thanks.

  3. Hi there Tarryn,
    I am 24, and was dx with PCOS about a year ago. It was a relief to find out that there was an explanation for my adult acne. However, I am in the process of really getting into shape and eating healthier as I am noticing that my PCOS really makes feeling “good” difficult every day. I love the grocery list. However, I was wondering what your opinion on organic milk was? Also, did you ever experience extremely oily hair from the excess androgen? Mine has recently gotten very bad. I am seeing a dermatologist soon, but was wondering if you had any ideas……Thanks! Liz

  4. Hi tarryn
    Im Beth and I am 19, got diagonosed with PCOS late last year. I have been feeling so down recently due to the extra weight which seems to all fall onto my tummy and all the diets and excersise I’ve tried in the past just doesn’t seem to work and that has then made me feel un-motivated to continue anymore.
    I am so glad to find this page, hope this diet works for me.

  5. I realyy have a doubt whether to quit milk … in some sites where i browsed for fertility diets they say to consume milk and you say to avoid milk … what should i do

  6. Hi im stressed i dont no where to start i been trying to get preg no luck so i went to see agynea he done so many test and everything was normal i have avery irregular piriod and now im waiting for my altrusoud appointment im so scare im 24 years n want ababy my hubby tells me not to stress and i have hair on my lip n my chin i starting to think that ipcos plz help me im going cryz here plzzzz what an i do

  7. Thank you soo much for that information…. So in summary no sugar, no dairy, no trans fat, no alcohol… Include tables, fruits, supplements…. My question is what about grains… Like oats, barley, wheat grain and those kind of food..I recently saw a video on YouTube saying no to all those… So im confused… Hope to hear from you soon… Thank you

  8. Hello Tarryn,

    I am from the UK am I able to gain a starter kit?
    I love reading through all of your posts and have found this a big help.

    Krissy x x

  9. Hi,

    Great blog, I signed up for your starter kit today and wanted to get information before I signup for the weekly plan. I saw in your starter kit that there is no option for vegetarians. Will the paid weekly plan include that option for me. I have already cut down on dairy and processed foods.

    I would love for your reply.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Vaishnavi,

      I have one vegetarian dinner per week and a lot of the breakfasts and lunches are also vegetarian. I can also send you a full document of PCOS friendly vegetarian meals.

      Hope that helps!

      Tarryn

      1. Thanks for your reply. Yeah that really helps. Would you be able to send me a couple of recipes to see what they will be like? Appreciate it.

  10. Hi! I just discovered I have PCOS and have been reading online about the subject today. I am so happy there is such a blog. I hope you can give me tips about the diet. I am not sure if literally ALL diary products are to be excluded from the diet? Does it mean I should not be eating (greek) yogurt or cottage cheese?? Looking forward to hearing from you!

  11. im 17 and have been diagonosed with PCOS ,im 91 kgs at 5.7,i dont know what kind of diet plan to follow ,especially the one that has no milk….

  12. I eat 1,300 calories and work out 3 – 4 times a week burning 350 – 500 calories each work out. I struggle a lot to lose weight any suggestions?

  13. Hi, i am unmarried, age 28. just yesterday i found out i have PCOS after visiting a doctor, I have different advice that i will never have children. Hot me so much. from my online research i got to know you site. I understand i need to shop wit your shopping list, so relieved. Please for how long so i have to maintain the diet before everything will be corrected with my body system.

  14. Hi Georgina ~

    I understand your struggle. I has diagnosed with PCOS seven years ago and have been trying to make better choices since. I managed to loose 90lbs with a lifestyle change, although recently I’ve struggled with my weight and gained 30lbs after stopping Yaz (I didn’t have insurance, but I do now). I would say what eating a clean, whole food diet is what worked best for me. I am a vegetarian, but that’s a personal decision that’s not always right for everyone. Also, read every label and look up ingredients those you do not know. There’s like fifty different ways to list sugar and not outright say sugar.

    As for your questions, here are my two cents:

    I now know I could use coconut milk or almond in my coffee. I have the coconut vanilla, maybe I used change it to unsweetened.
    ***I love coconut milk, and use the unflavored kind. The unsweetened kind leaves out the cane juice, so maybe if you use it everyday, then try it.

    What about sugar? I use splenda and Tarryn suggests we stay away from artificial sweeteners. I go on virtuosteas to order my organic teas and they have a german rock sugar and pure raw honey. Should I try those?
    ***Stevia works really well, is unproccessed, and you only need a few drops (5-8) to sweeten. German Rock Sugar comes from beets is still a sugar, albeit unrefined and unprocessed. I like it in my teas as well, but only use a little as it is 25 calories a teaspoon.

    Protein shakes? I use Shakeology shakes but they do contain some whey? where could I purchase the pea and hemp powders?
    ***From what I’ve read Vega One, Sun Warrior, and Garden of Life have some pretty good protein powders that are soy, gluten, and dairy free. They are out there, you just have to research and then it comes down to preference. I’m actually trying to find a great protein powder myself. If you go to Whole Foods, they sell single serving packets of different protein powders. I’ve picked up a few and am trying them out.

    Bread? I use the light wheat pepperidge farm but just read the label, it has high fructose and wheat gluten :((
    ***I would get tested by your doctor to see if you are in fact gluten intolerant; it’s a fad diet trend, such as carb-free was a few years back. Most people can handle gluten just fine, but there is a change that you can have a gluten sensitivity. That being said, buy bread fresh or natural bread that does not contain corn syrup and limit your intake of it as it’s usually higher in calories.

    I love dark chocolate? can I get a way with a small piece a day–maybe get organic one from Trader Joe’s?
    ***Go for it. Dark Chocolate is so good for you: it increases serotonin, reduces stress, is good for your heart, and may help lower you BMI. There are tons of studies on it. Just make sure you are buying organic 60% – 70% cocoa, and not a Hersey’s chocolate bar 🙂

    Ice Cream??
    There are dairy alternative ice creams (So Delicious Coconut ice cream is wonderful). If you’re okay with the dairy, buy all natural, know there’s sugar in it, and don’t eat it all the time (maybe only a special treat once in a while). A great alternative is freezing whole red grapes. It’s taste like sorbet, and kids would probably like them. You can also google natural ice cream alternatives and find a bunch of easy recipes.

    Know that ultimately, it’s what works best for your body. Pay attention to how you feel when you eat certain things, and avoid the bad stuff. It’s also not the end of the world if you slip every once in awhile and have a bowl of ice cream or can of soda. As long as it’s not everyday, you should be fine. Once you cut certain things out (like soda), when you do have them, you’ll notice the difference and probably won’t want it all the time anyways. Hope this helped a bit.

  15. Hi Tarynn,
    I was diagnosed with PCOS about 2 years ago because my blood levels showed higher testosterone levels. HOWEVER, my periods are very regular and the ultrasound showed no cysts or abnormalities. Around the time I was diagnosed, I become VERY lethargic. So tired, to the point I had to take long naps during the day. My weight sprialed out of controlled and I gained 20 lbs. I’ve tried EVERYTHING to lose the weight. and i mean everything. I walk 12 miles a week, eat only organic, low GI foods and just nothing. It keeps coming on. Does this sound this pcos to you? Or maybe something different like adrenal fatigue. Im just curious that 2 doctors have told me that I have pcos but my periods are very regular and have always been regular. Just curious to what you think since you are very versed in pcos. thank you sooo much!! Love your site!

    1. Hey Angela-
      I just wanted to let you know that I’m in the same situation as you. I was officially diagnossed with PCOS about 5 months ago, but doctors have been talking to me off and on about it since I was 18 years old…I’m 35 now. Because my periods were regular and I had no cysts, they always would then dismiss the weight and facial hair issues as just bad luck. My testosterone and insulin, while on the high side, still fall under the range of what they consider normal. Finally met a new a doctor, and endochrine specialist, who told me that if a woman has at least 3 things on the list of symptoms, that they consider her to have PCOS. Because I am wanting to have a baby in the near future, they decided to start me on metformin and that has made a HUGE difference!! I have also started working out and eating better, but the weight is coming off easier than before. I feel like I’m actually getting somewhere with the diet and exercise now, before metformin I felt like I could work out for hours, barely eat, and still manage to gain weight. I’m generally not a huge fan of medication, but it has really made a difference. I have a lot more energy and am much happier overall. I’ve lost 27 lbs with eating better and working out for 30-45 minutes 4 days a week. But…I went on vacation a few weeks ago and didn’t take the metformin like I usually do because I was going to be drinking (it’s not recommended to drink alcohol while on metformin), I still took it, just smaller doses. And because I was on vacation I wasn’t exercising and I ate horrible food the entire time. In 2 weeks time, I gained 15 lbs. I was shocked!!! Now that I’m back to my regular medication schedule, eating better, and working out I’ve taken 11 of those pounds off in about 3 weeks and should get back to where I was pre-vacation in another week hopefully. But metformin has made all of the difference for me. If your doctore hasn’t put you on it, or even talked to you about it, maybe you should ask. It really changed my outlook on everything and has made me feel so much better about being able to fight this. Just my two cents 😉

  16. I just found this site today and I am so thankful. I was diagnosed with PCOS about 10 years ago. To date, I am still struggeling with weight loss. I am going to try this diet to see if it helps.

    I was wondering what supplements people take to help with the process? Tarryn maybe you can shed some light?

    Thanks a lot,
    Bobbi

  17. I’m annoyed, lost a and anxious!

    After 1 year of ttc I went to my family dr who suspected pcos from symptoms I mentioned, ie male pattern hair growth, long cycles and a bit over weight. Blood tests showed elevate testosterone (that’s it as far as I know)… Sent me to an OB who specializes in fertility issues. After 8 months waiting for the appointment this is what happened…

    -blood test on day 2 of cycle (family dr test was at wrong time)
    -hsg test
    -partners sperm count/mobility etc

    3 months later all results come back and no pcos is showing and all else is good and clear. We were told to try for 3 more months and go back if nothing for IVF and/or something else. Within the 8 months of waiting for an appointment I lost 30lbs and was eating ‘healthy’…… Could I have improved my blood levels thus showing no pcos? I also bought a fertility monitor (because it should work if I have no issues) and no peak days (suppose to have 1 or 2) , so it is telling me I’m not ovulating!…. I’m sorry for the ‘book’ but I don’t know what else to do….. Ladies, Tarryn, anybody have any suggestions on either how to deal with OB or how to try and fix my own ‘problem’? He didn’t do any ovulation tests (suppose to be done what a week before AF or something)

    Thanks for reading my book, 😉
    -Krystal

  18. started following your diet last summer when i was dx with pcos. became strictly gluten free and refined sugar free 6 months ago and i’m happy to say that i’m pregnant after 1 year of trying! even before my cycle started to regulate (never did completely) i had sooo much more energy! stay positive, ladies 🙂 xox

  19. Hi,
    I was recently diagnosed with PCOS. My Obgyn started me of on Metformin, but didnt really give me any information on the medication. I guess because she knows i am a nursing student. I always wondered where i went wrong when it came to food. i eat nonveg but most of my food consist of fresh veggitable, than i saw this website. I realized eating rice, whole wheat, chocolate(my weakness) and soda(not that often) is what made it hard for me to loose weight. And being in school dosent help either. Now i have started to follow the shoping list provided on this website, making sure I am eating what’s listed. I also excersie 5 days a week at most. I have seen little change in my weight in last two weeks. I am really hoping i can continue this and not let PCOS take over my life. This website has really given me a starting point and motivated me. Thank you for that.

  20. Hi
    I’ve known I have PCOS since I was 14. Doctors have prescribed Metformin and the pill at various times but it doesn’t seem to work for me.
    My insulin blood tests always come back normal but my testosterone and androgen levels are always really high. I have a period maybe twice a year and it lasts about an hour. I’ve had 8 sessions of IPL laser in the past 5 years – I get caught up with the hair growing in strange places and then it will just start growing somewhere else.
    Its taken 5 weeks to lose 4 pounds on the strict gym program and strict diet I’m currently on – but it shouldn’t be this hard to get the weight off, I must be doing something wrong as the results are too slow. I even have a personal trainer involved and she said she’s had to throw out the rule book on everything she ever learnt about weight loss as it clearly isn’t working on me.
    One of my non-PCOS friends that weighs the same as me decided to give my diet and exercise regime ago – she loses a pound a day. I only maintain or lose 100grams doing exactly the same.
    I go to the gym twice a day.
    Each gym session takes me 1.5-1.75 hours.
    It involves 1 hour of solid cardio until I reach 600 calories, 20 minutes of weights machines, 200 situps, 400 leg exercises.
    My diet is strict.
    Water with lemon early in the morning at the gym.
    Breakfast Smoothie made with spinach, apricots, raspberries, tablespoon of pyllisium and bran, 30g of protein powder, skim milk.
    Lunch is either a Subway wrap with no dairy or a vegetarian kebab or a vegie juice made fresh with a little bit of fruit juice.
    Dinner is vegie juice again with a bit of fruit juice. Aswell as a glass of skim milk with a tablespoon of pyllisium and bran.
    Back at the gym for round 2 is plain water.
    I drink 3 liters of water a day.

    Basically I”m burning off all the calories at the gym every day – so every theory I’m being told is it should be coming off much faster. But its like I’m not even attending the gym.
    Any ideas – so confused….

    1. Hey Casie,
      So I am in no way a professional but it looks like your metabolism is slow and it looks like you are not consuming the right food. It also sounds like you have an extreme case. First let me tell you how much I am amazed by your dedication, keep on going even if it takes a long time. Secondly I would advise you to eat in the morning and go with something along the lines of egg white scramble. I just saw a naturopath today who gave me great ideas (this is actually the reason I am on this website myself). I usually am skeptical towards natural medicine but with this one I actually agree a lot. She told me to exclude any form of bread from the diet, even tortillas that I LOVE. So no raps. Also, absolutely no added sugar. Nada! Agave is ok, but only in moderation. Splenda and other fake sugars are bad, diet coke – bad,; fat free usually is loaded with sugar. So basically veggies, skinless chicken, skinless turkey, wild salmon. Lots and lots of greens, fruits that are not high on sugar, no juices. Try to eat 5 times a day to speed up metabolism and use myFitnessPal app that will help count calories and everything else. Working out is great but don’t kill yourself. Much luck. I hope my pointers help…

  21. Hi,
    I was diagnosed with PCOS last year only. I’m underweight with BMI of 17.4 and 18.5–24.9 BMI of being normal. I just want to increase my chance of getting pregnant by gaining some weight as I’ve read that there are chances of miscarriage to underweight women. I checked online to find tips on how to gain weight, and mostly recommend dairy products. Now my concern is how can I gain some weight if dairy products is not advisable to women with PCOS? Any tips will truly be appreciated. Thanks.

  22. I was diagnosed with PCOS at 15 and I’m 21 now. I was on Metformin for about a year, went off it for no good reason, and I just recently decided to see my doctor again and get back on it. I’ve doubled in weight over the past 6 years, my cholesterol is up, I have dark hair growing where it never has before, and my acne has spread to my entire body. Im constantly tired. I can sleep 14 hours a night and it seems like it’s never enough. I’m sick of being self conscious and I’m ready to make big changes in my life. I’m a college student and the frozen food, unbalanced diet, and lack of activity have taken their toll. I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years and I’m sure my high carb, dairy, and soy intake is playing a role. My doctor made some recommendations about eating fish, but I’m in veterinary school and I can’t bring myself to eat meat or fish after spending the day working with animals. Im at a loss because I can’t eat meat, everyone is telling me soy and dairy are bad for PCOS, and a full plant diet just doesn’t give me the energy I need to function. I’m highly interested in subscribing to weekly meal plans because I’m so busy and I feel that it will help me choose healthier options. Do you have any vegetarian weekly diets available? Thank you!!

  23. Hey Tarryn,
    I was diagnosed with PCOS wen I was 16 now I am 20 but nobody mentioned how serious this was or the problems it could cause. I am a carb addict! Now I ve been hitting the gym for a week now! But till today i dint know the reason I ve been putting on weight and all is because of PCOS! Depression n anxiety comes with the zone too??
    I am Verrrry lost! And my diet is more rice centered! (From India)
    Got any suggestions? And let me know best snack options please.
    Thank you! Keep Up this amazing work!
    Cheers!

  24. Also look up on google foods to eat on pcos they have a range of foods. Maybe start taking supplements to help you with fertility like vitex u had a period after two weeks taken it and was regular for a few months. Also start talking royal jelly (capsules) or the stuff you can eat to promote healthy egg quality. And also raseberry ketones is good to help lose weight it helps burn stubborn fat as long as you exercise u be ok I’ve tried this all in the past and does work I just need that extra support to keep on going with it or ill just fail lol. I wish u all the best and don’t give up! Xxx

  25. Hi Nicole,
    Me to! Found out I had pcos 10years ago it was only last week on the 29th November that I wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally so now have to go through IVF ad have my tubes taken out!
    I have to lose 2stone in 6months before they can go ahead with surgary and IVF so am finding it hard to stick to a diet that will last! I’ve been ok last 2days cuttin out sugar and high carbs. Just been eating alot of protein like eggs (egg whites) and brown rice with veg. You don’t have to be a super cook. Cook easy foods for your self an stay positive. If you want to have babies then you got to sacrifice a few things in life and keep motivated to gettin where you want to be! Just think of being a healthier you in just a few months! It be worth it!
    You can go to whole foods store when you get time and choose healthy foods to buy if you buy brown rice it takes 45 mins to cook you can add chicken stock to make it taste better

  26. I was diagnosed with PCOS about 10 years ago, I went through my phases of denial and then about 2 years ago decided to make some changes so we could try to concieve. I started a vigorus workout regiment and strict diet, I lost a lot of weight but didn’t start having regular periods. We decided to start fertility treatment and after tons of hormones (injections and pills), several failed attempts (clomid rounds and iui’s), and 1 miscarrage we called it off. Since then I have not been able to stop gaining weight and nothing i do with diet and exercise seems to make a difference.

    I want to get control of this and try to turn it around, no necessarily for the fertility aspect but just for my health. My biggest concern is that I know i will have a hard time succeeding if I can’t even prepare the food. i am worried about the recipes on here, i am not much of a cook and don’t have a lot of time. I try to prepare meals at home but they need to be quick regarding prep and simple ingredients. I live in South Dakota and it is very hard to find a lot of the ingredents listed that i saw in the recipes. Please help!

  27. Argh, getting started is easy but sticking to the plans…. not so much. I need to drop 7 pounds before my wedding. 0 down, 7 to go!!

  28. HI there
    I also just found out I have PCOS at 43 years of age.I have been on the pill since I was 16 to regulate periods but had to go off last year and have been having problems ever since.
    Now that i know what it is I am depressed – but also relieved- I exercised and dieted all year and could barely lose weight.
    I crave sweets like crazy all the time.
    They are sending me for glucose testing next week – I am worried of what they will find.
    Thanks for listening and for the helpful information.
    Hopefully once I am calmed down I can begin to formulate a game plan.

  29. Hi Mam,

    I have few queries related to diet plan, can i take yogurt every day as i am confused becoz you said a big NO to dairy products. also plz let me know will i be able to consume chicken and tilapia as apart of my diet.

  30. Hi Mam,

    I have few queries related to diet plan, can i take yogurt every day as i am confused becoz you said a big NO to dairy products. And there is no mention of taking chicken in the diet plan. So plz let me know will i be able to consume chicken and tilapia as apart of my diet.

  31. Hi Tarryn I’ve been to the doctors today to have my thyroid blood test cos I’ve not been losing enough weight well to me it seems like it so I asked the nurse to weigh me turns out I’ve lost 8pounds since jan this year is that good I’m happy but feel i shud have lost more. I’m still eating healthy and takin folic asid an omega 3 just need to order the inositol x

  32. I was told at the age of 16 that I had PCOS.I am 27years old tom.and I have been living with this for 11 years. The most helpful info I have ever found was at your site. It’s so upsetting to go through a diet and exercise and not see any improvement. It’s hard being over weight when you never hardly eat. It’s hard to not have a period but once a year if that. ( and for those women out there saying I’m lucky.It hurts to not have one. LITERALLY!!!) It’s hard trying to talk to women who don’t have PCOS, and trying to explain what’s going on and not really having the answers. But the hardest thing is not being able to control your body, either that be hair growing or not growing, being over weight, or etc. I have never really had anyone to talk to about it and its nice to have this info and help from everyone one here. I start my life change Monday and i can’t wait. I feel like I have some hope for the first time in a very very long time. Thank you!!!

  33. I have just recently been diagnosed with PCOS after experiencing a period that has lasted 60 days. Has anyone else experienced this with PCOS and if so, what helped slow or stop the bleeding? I have been on high dosages of birth control but it only stopped the period for two weeks and then the period started again. VERY frustrated because we are trying to conceive and this period feels like it is never going to stop…..

    1. Yes I have.. I went to the hospital and everything.. They had no idea what was going on, let alone how to help me. It was very painful as well as uncomfortable, But it just stopped by itself after about 4 months… Hope it stops for you soon but i do understand how you feel..

      1. Thanks for your comment. Has this happened more than once for you? I’m so nervous that this is going to happen again once the bleeding stops.

        1. No, just the once… I have been praying that it doesn’t happen again.. But I never got any real answers on what was gong on so it leaves me wondering as well…

          1. They told me that it is a symptom of PCOS. Symptoms come and go and can change during our lifetime. I’m going to try using essential oils to help control the hormonal imbalance and excessive uterine bleeding. Pray it works for me!

    2. Hi! Excessive bleeding is my biggest problem. It seems to start once I start excersizing and eating better. But it becomes so bad that I cant excersie. I was hopeing inositol and folic acid woukd help but I feel like I am constantly menstrating, with or without the bleeding. Its very frustrating.

      1. Hi Veronica, I completely understand your frustration. Have you talked to your doctor about having a D & C to remove the lining of your uterus and possibly any polyps or fibroids? I had a vaginal ultrasound that did not show any polyps but during the D & C, my doctor did find two polyps by my fallopian tubes. This did stop my bleeding for a few weeks but it has come back again. We are trying different birth controls to see which one will help me. I’m currently on Natazia and today is my 2nd day without any bleeding (after 3 months on the pill without consistent results). Good luck and keep your head up. We are more than how PCOS defines us! Keep me updated on what is working for you.

  34. Hi there
    on 1st oct 2013, i have been diagnosed with PCOS. iam 5’6” tall with 137lbs weight and my gynae told me to reduce my weight to the minimal level by losing 10-12lbs.
    i am on metformin and progestrone regulating hormones called proglyton. my problem is despite of clean eating and exercising i haven;t lose anything in my 20days 🙁 kindly note, i have lowered my carbs to 50-60grams.and that too from natural products like fruits and veggies.

  35. Hi I am 27 years old and I have pcos today will be my first day on the plan. I want to have a baby so I would appreciate all the support advice. Thanks ladies

  36. Hello Tarryn, Your site is very useful! What exactly is metformin that everyone is talking about?.I am quite overweight and wondered if taking both inositol and metformin speeds up the weight loss process?

    Thanks for your help

    Lily

  37. I have type 2 diabetes and PCOS. I’m on insulin and metformin. It seems all of this is working against each other. How can your plan help me? Does taking insulin contribute to my insulin resistance leading to increased PCOS symptoms?

  38. Hi Tarryn,

    For the past 2 years I have been struggling with doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me, and just a few days ago I admitted myself into the hospital. They went thew loads of tests to determine what was going on. And they final told me that I had PCOS. After 2 years of doing everything I possibly could to get my self back n track with my constant bleeding I have had no luck. I have tried dieting I cut out all sugar and everything with no luck. Do u have anything else u can recommend?

  39. Hiii I a have made major diet changes but I still have so many questions about the minor diet details. For instance I would like to know if cooking with red wine is acceptable. Also is the earth balance buttery spread okay? Apparently it is dairy and soy free and all natural. I would love the input of others on this subject because I have so valued the dialogue on this sight thus far! Thanks!

    Kathleen

  40. Hi Tarryn!

    I was just diagnosed yesterday with PCOS. I am devastated, to say the least. My doctor was pushing birth control on me and encouraging me to take Metformin, neither of which I want to do. I have epilepsy, so I currently take more medication than, I think, any human body should ever take. Needless to say, medication is not on the top of my list.
    My doctor offhandedly said that I could make some drastic changes to my diet and exercise habits, but made it sound as though they were unrealistic. I came home from work in tears and let loose to my poor husband. I was (still am!) feeling extremely overwhelmed and have no idea where to even begin tackling this. What things do I cut out, what should I be eating more of, etc. I started doing some research and found your site. Thank god for you. I don’t feel so lost, and I feel like taking my health back is achievable, and so is having kids!

    So thank you. Thank you thank you.

    1. Hi Melinda,

      I’m so sorry you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS! It’s never easy getting the diagnosis!

      I’m so glad you have a little more guidance and hope now!

      Tarryn

  41. I love these diet plans! I’m a nursing student now and I actually came across this site while doing research on a project. Being in nursing school, it’s not unbelievable to find that I’ve come under a lot more stress than I ever have before. As a result, and like many of my classmates, I have begun to have GI upset like it’s my job. As I now have gastritis and I am on a PPI it is important for me to maintain a low residue diet (which ends up being mostly processed foods). On the other side I have PCOS and have been managing it to the best of my ability. Are there any recipes that fit into the meal plan that are easier on the stomach? Again, I am so glad I came across this site, but it would be so much better if I could enjoy ALL of the meal options.

  42. I am so glad I found this site! I just got diagnosed with PCOS on Monday so I am incredibly new to the whole thought of all this. I have always eaten pretty clean, but now I need to take it to a whole new level! I look forward to following your site. 🙂

  43. hi i’m wondering if coconut sugar would be a problem and am trying to deal with this news i got 2 weeks now it depressing i dont feel alone be craving to be alone just go under ground and stay therebut would try the plan cause my son wants me to get better and also wants a sister

  44. What about a cup of coffee, I miss my morning cup and I only ever had one with almond milk and brown sugar is this at all possible? Been off off coffee for three weeks now but I miss it.

    And i drink a lot of tea at the jobs and I sweeten it with liquid stevia. I lost a little weight when first diagnosed but now stuck I am wondering of it is the stevia??

    chan

  45. after having my first child at 18 I found out I have PCOS at 19 I was married and the ob/gyn said I will most likely never have children again at 21 I had my second child I went in to have a check up on my PCOS I was told that both my ovaries are covered in beads of poly-cysts and I was told I was insulin resistant me and my husband was happy that we had 2 beautiful children and counted out blessings 23 months after having my second child I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd baby there was no words to express that God had placed 3 miracles in my life I noticed a pattern every time I got pregnant it was at a time that I had lost 10 lbs or more, but this all came at a cost because I beat the odds my hormones and testosterone are so out of whack I have male pattern hair growth severe weight in my abdomen among other PCOS issues I am now widowed and I feel like now that my Husband is gone no man would ever want me again I want to feel good about myself again I need a diet plan that will help me shed these pounds and get my health in order.

  46. hi i ecently stumbled on this bit of info, i also have thyroid problems and a very small goiter as well as pcos, apparently these two things usually go together and i read that there are goitrogens foods that can make thyroid/goiter worse like cabbage, broccoli, sprouts aswell as others , since i cut out these things i have actually noticed the goiter shrink only slightly up to now but i have only just discovered this, so hope this helps anyone in the same situation though you will probably want to research it further x

  47. Hi,
    I’m 14 going on 15 and just found out recently that I have PCOS. I am very lucky to have caught it at such a good age.

    I have the side affects, acne, weight gain, a year of no period after two years of having it, dark splotches, and I’m going to go on birth control to help solve these problems.

    I’ve been doing a lot of research about PCOS and have learned quite a bit.

    I cook for my family and have not found a good middle of things to cook so I am not making my family suffer through the lifestyle change as quickly as I need to. Eventually they will switch so we are all healthier, but for the time being, what sorts of dinners can I and my mother cook that is beneficial for me, and not so… only veggies and nuts?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Victoria,

      I’m so sorry that you have been diagnosed with PCOS! Its not easy getting the diagnosis, particularly at such a young age.

      Why not sign up for the free starter pack for some recipe ideas? So many women say that they love the recipes and the whole family are enjoying them.

      Keep well,

      Tarryn

  48. Hi Tarryn,

    I am 32 and was just diagnosed with PCOS after a year of trying to conceive. I have always been thin and don’t have facial hair, although I have gained a few pounds this year and my hair seems to be thinner than I remember. And the ultrasound definitely showed PCO! I don’t have all my lab work back yet, but there’s no arguing with those ovaries.

    I have two questions for you. First, does everyone with PCOS have insulin issues? How many other women are out there with PCOS and no weight struggles? And could it be that I do have insulin issues and just never knew? (Sorry, that was actually 3 questions!) Second, any diet suggestions for vegetarians? I am already vegan, so no dairy, but I’m wondering what there will be left to eat if I cut out carbs and soy. 😉

    Your website is inspirational. I’m looking forward to taking control of my health again. Thanks!

    Mary

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thanks for sharing your story and I’m sorry that you have been diagnosed with PCOS!

      Not all women with PCOS have insulin resistance but research has shown that there seems to be a fault in our insulin producing cells. We tend to produce too much insulin for the carbs and our ovaries are also particularly sensitive to insulin, releasing too much testosterone. So, generally speaking, we all have some issues with insulin, even though we may not be insulin resistant. There are a lot of women with “lean” PCOS and no weight issues.

      In terms of diet, protein is a really important aspect of the PCOS diet as it helps to balance carbs and keep us feeling fuller for longer. So, make sure that you’re having good quality plant based proteins. Also, soy has been shown to delay ovulation so I would try to avoid that if possible (I know it’s hard as I’m sure its a large source of your protein).

      Are you okay with eggs?

      Also, make sure you are taking supplements like Inositol and Folic Acid, Vitamin D and Omega 3.

      Keep well,

      Tarryn

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