4 Exercise Mistakes Women With PCOS Make

When I open my inbox and see exercise questions from women with PCOS, it makes my day! Because it means that more and more cysters are taking their health into their own hands by breaking a sweat.

I want to help each of you get amazing results from your workouts, so I’ve put together a quick list of the most common PCOS exercise mistakes and how you can fix them right away.

Plus, I’ve included a special bonus with some great resources that will help you maximize your workout!

Not Measuring Progress

measuring resultsAt least once a week I get an email that says “I am working out, but it’s not working!” The first thing that pops into my head is:
‘hmmm, I wonder how she knows it’s not working? Where are the numbers? The clear proof that her hard work is not paying off?’

Numbers on the scale, personal observations and how your clothes fit are all flawed forms of tracking progress. If you’re going to all the trouble of implementing an exercise or nutrition plan, it makes good sense to track accurately and measure your progress

Why?
Humans are notoriously bad at self-assessing. We need to gather objective information to make the best decisions possible.

I’ve coached women who constantly change their diet and exercise plans because they are not “seeing results.”

In reality, they were not properly tracking their progress and the constant changes to their programs were hurting their results.

I recommend using several forms of measurements to track progress because a new exercise program may not cause your scale weight to change right away. So, you need to be on the lookout for other signs of progress. For example, I have seen clients lose inches off their waist circumference while maintaining the same weight. That would indicate they’re losing fat and gaining muscle. Thus, their body is changing, but their weight is not.

If your primary goal is fat loss, I recommend that you track your progress by taking body circumference measurements, body fat percentage, weight and progress pictures every two weeks.

Taking multiple measures of progress can also give you insights into your hormonal state. If you find that your body fat percentage and weight are dropping, but your girth measurements in certain areas remain the same, you might have a hormonal imbalance that needs to be addressed. For instance, low thyroid levels can cause fat deposits around the bra area as well as overall weight gain.

Sign-up for the bonus here to get my measurement guide sent to your inbox.

Following an Unrealistic Program

stop watchYour workout must fit into the time that you have no matter how small or large that window of opportunity is. When women with PCOS decide they want to get fit they almost always select an exercise program based on how much they want to workout and not on how much time they actually have to workout.

Nothing will discourage you and derail your progress faster than falling short of your unreasonable expectations. I’ve been there myself and it’s a nasty cycle of highs and lows. At first you’re excited about a shiny new miracle workout, then you’re mad at yourself because you could not wake up at 4 am to spend an hour at the gym.

Skip this vicious cycle and get honest with yourself!

Do you have exactly 50 minutes between the time you wake up and when your kids come barreling into your bedroom?

Great. Work with that 50 minutes!

You need to set aside time for transitioning from waking up to working out, a warm-up, the workout, a cooldown, and time to transition to the next activity of the day. Make sure you’re committing to a program that will fit into your schedule by writing out a basic timeline like the one I have below:

7:00-7:10 am | Wakeup and change

7:10-7:15 am  | Warm up

7:15-7:35 am  | Strength training circuit

7:35-7:40 am | Cool down

7:40-7:50 am | Transition to next activity

You’ll notice that I did not include time to get to and from the gym. If you love going to the gym and have the time to do so – go for it!

But if you’re pressed for time, your absolute best option is to work out from home. With just a few pieces of equipment, you can get fit without a gym membership.

 

Click here to get a list of my favorite workout equipment to use at home.

Skipping Strength Training.

IMG_0022I get it. You’re trying to lose weight and lower your male hormones, yet I stand here telling you to start building muscle mass. It seems counterintuitive, but gaining muscle helps women with PCOS lose weight and manage other symptoms.

First of all I want to address concerns that strength training can increase androgen production. As far as I can tell, no one has ever attempted to study androgen response to strength training in women with PCOS. Studies conducted on the general population have not come up with conclusive results on this either. However not a single study has found that women’s testosterone becomes perilously high as a result of strength training.

Physicians who specialize in PCOS recommend strength training because it is a proven method of managing insulin resistance, belly fat, and obesity. Strength training is more likely to improve your hormonal balance than make it worse.

If you’re new to strength training, it can be a little intimidating. I’ve put together a DIY strength training guide. This will help you learn some of the basics.

Click here to get it now.

You try to “burn calories.”

DancingFlamesIt is true that exercise burns calories. Exercise enough and you’ll burn enough calories to lose weight.

But exercise’s role in weight loss is not that simple…

Overeating is easy to do, and burning off an over-indulgent diet is extremely difficult. The goal of your exercise program should never be to “burn off” the bad nutrition choices you’ve made!

What does exercise do for you if it is not that great at burning calories?

It stimulates physiological changes in the body that will enhance your health and make it is easier for you to stay lean. A perfect example of this are the strength training benefits mentioned above.

Your workout is not a magic wrecking ball you can use to knock out that extra glass of wine or the slice of cake you had on Friday night. It is the shovel you use to dig a strong foundation for good health and a fit body.

Once I was able to understand this concept, my relationship with exercise and with food changed completely! Food is no longer the enemy and exercise is not a punishment. Today I get a deep joy from working out and eating balanced meals.

To make the most out of every workout track your progress, set a realistic schedule, include strength training and focus on improving your health rather than burning calories. Correcting these four common mistakes will help you become stronger than PCOS!

 

Sign up now to get my PCOS exercise solutions Bonus

I Cook Once a Week: Healthy Freezer Cooking

Cooking and I have a complicated, hot-and-cold relationship.
I love cooking, but cooking is so much work.
I have a lot of fun with cooking, but sometimes I just don’t have the time it needs.
The last time cooking and I got together, it was a huge mess!

You get the picture…

If you ask me, and I think you are since you’re reading this, cooking is an essential part of living a PCOS-friendly lifestyle.

Depending on manufactured food products and restaurants, no matter how healthy they claim to be, is not a good choice for women living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

A good PCOS diet is based on whole foods. Some women do great with Paleo and others thrive while being a vegetarian. The common thread is always: real foods over food products.

Worried about time, budget, or general kitchen anxiety? Don’t be!

I’m going to show how you can use freezer cooking to overcome the most common PCOS diet obstacles.

Plus, I made a complete PCOS Freezer Cooking Plan that you can download and use this week. It even includes a grocery list. Click here to get it sent to your inbox!

Freezer Cooking for a Better PCOS Diet

Freezer cooking is a term used to describe the process of cooking multiple meals at once and storing them in the freezer for future use.

One major benefit to freezer cooking is that you get your kitchen good and messy just once instead of every night. When you have a kitchen and an entire apartment that are 100% white, this is a huge plus!freezer cooking Freezer cooking also leverages the assembly line principle. You can chop all the veggies at once while all your meat is marinating (more on this later).

Oh – and it gives you the option to cook when you have the time and energy! I mean who wants to strap on an apron after a 10-hour work day?

Making Freezer Cooking Work for You

You can live off freezer cooking or just use it to cover weeknight dinners. You’ll need to explore your options.

As I already mentioned, my primary aim with freezer cooking is to avoid kitchen clean up. So I cook or prep all of our meals for the week every Sunday after church.

I would love to experiment with once a month cooking, but my simple kitchen makes such an achievement out of reach. Our tiny white kitchen consists of a small counter space, crock pot, microwave, two burners, a toaster oven and limited freezer space.

The good news is that you ladies with your fancy North American mega kitchens can totally crush this freezer cooking thing. It’s time to put your double ovens and a four burner range to good use!

Making Your Own Freezer Cooking PCOS Diet Plan

To ensure success, you must spend some time planning your cooking day. Do not skip this step – disaster will ensue!

Start by deciding how many meals you want to cook in one day. Are you going to prep 3 square meals for each day of the week or just Monday -Thursday night dinners? Then multiply that by the number of servings you need for each meal. For example, a family of four needs 20 servings of dinner to get through the work week.

Next you want to seek out healthy entree recipes for each meal. I like to use food.com. You can use this handy site to curate your favorite recipes in an online “recipe box” and it even has an application that will organize your recipes into a shopping list.

food.com

Food.com also has a social networking component. You can connect with me by clicking here.

Tips for recipe selection:

  • Select recipes that utilize all of your heat sources: some for the oven, crock pot, stove top, and grill. That way you can cook several entrees at once.
  • Choose simple recipes you know that you like. Save fun, new recipes for dinner parties and leisure cooking.
  • Select recipes that use in-season produce.
  • Remember your dinner will need sides. I recommend including a serving of leafy greens and another colorful veggie with every meal.

Now it is time to make a grocery list. Either use an app or handwrite a list. Don’t forget to include non-food items like soap and tin foil.

Once you have your list, search the fridge and pantry for items you already have in stock and check them off the list.

 

It’s time to cook!

Get dressed for the occasion. Put on your comfy clothes, a good pair of tennis shoes and pull back your hair. Comfort is important! Turn on the radio and tie on your apron. Seriously, wear an apron – no one cooks five entrees at once without spilling a little :).

Prepare your kitchenRemove all necessary items from the kitchen counter. I even stow the coffee maker and toaster in a cabinet. Counter space is critical!

Take stock of your storage. Make sure you have the freezer space you need. If necessary, clean it out and reorganize. Have plenty of BPA-free glass storage containers. I really like Pyrex for my hot foods and mason jars for salad greens and sauces.

batch cooking

Write a detailed to-do list. Gather all of your recipes in one place like an iPad or a notebook. Instead of cooking one recipe at a time, group similar tasks together. I like to write the whole process down in a master to-do list so I can keep on task. Here is how I organize my process:

1. If you are using a crock pot, start that recipe first so that it is done cooking before bed.

2. Marinate and dry rub all meats, set aside in the fridge and disinfect your workspace.

3. Preheat the oven.

4. Wash and chop all of your veggies. Set the cutting board next to the sink so it’s easy to wash produce as you cut. I recommend using a homemade produce washing solution. Lay salad greens out to dry on a towel somewhere out of your way. Once dry, store them in a mason jar. .healthy freezer cooking

5. If anything needs to be blended or run through the food processor, do that now. Then wash and store your food processor. Again, the idea is to keep your workspace uncluttered.

6. Cook and store any whole grains like quinoa or beans.

7. Start cooking: put entrees in the oven and then move on to anything you need to cook on the stove top or grill.

8. Store your hard work in the freezer and clean up.

More Freezer Cooking Tips

Cook double batches. Colin and I have no problem eating the same dinner twice in a week. However, as my system has evolved, I’ve been able to maintain an inventory of freezer meals so we often eat dinners that I cooked 2 or 3 weeks ago.

Keep it simple. I have a standard format for our meals which makes planning a breeze. We eat a green salad, a meat-based entree and roasted or steamed veggies with every meal. Most weeks we eat the same salad and veggie dish every night. Standardizing the menu keeps things simple and nutritious 🙂

Avoid storing food in plastic. This research study found that women with PCOS might be more vulnerable to exposure to BPA, a chemical found in many plastic household items. In my opinion, plastic containers are cheap, but not worth the risk.

Freezer cooking takes some getting used to. So, if your first try is not perfect, don’t sweat it! I have seen people use freezer cooking with great success. It’s an effective way to improve your diet and save time – two things that normally don’t go together.

Get my PCOS Freezer Cooking Plan! It has everything you need to get started:

  • A Menu
  • Recipes
  • A Grocery list
  • Cooking instructions

Click here to get it sent to your inbox!

A PCOS Exercise Plan for Beginners: Start Strength Training Today!

Click here to get my strength training bonus sent to your inbox now!

My bonus includes an instructional video, cool down stretches and a pre & post workout nutrition guide. Plus, links to my best articles about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Strength Training.

 

PCOS Exercise Plan for Beginners

  1. Do this workout 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days for 4 to 6 weeks.
  2. To warm up walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes.
  3. The exercises are separated into two groups. Do the two exercises in group A before moving on to group B.
  4. Rest as needed in between sets.
  5. The last rep of a set should be tough! If you finish a set and could’ve done more, increase your reps, increase your resistance or select a more difficult version of the movement.
  6. End the workout with a 5-20 minute cool down walk.
  7. This program is designed to get you started quickly. Ideally, you should be ready for a more difficult workout in about 6 weeks.

beginners workout

Forearm Wall Slides

PCOS exerciseforearm wallslide

  1. Start by facing a wall with your forearms in contact with the wall, shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and keep wrists inline with the elbows.
  3. Keep your forearms in contact with the wall as you slide your arms up and out. Don’t shrug the shoulders!
  4. Slide the arms back to the starting position and repeat.

Pallof Press

Pallof Press

  1. Affix the band to an immovable object at chest level.
  2. Stand inline with the band so that your body is parallel to the anchor point.
  3. Hold the band with both hands and center it on your chest. Do not allow the band to rotate your upper body.
  4. Exhale, push the band straight out in front of you, brace your core and glutes to resist the urge to rotate.
  5. Hold it in front for 3 seconds, then return the band to your chest.

Squat

Squat

  1. Stand with your feet beneath your shoulders.
  2. Inhale and lower your body like you’re sitting down in a chair.
  3. Keep the back neutral, chest up and core engaged. Push your feet into the ground like you’re trying to split apart the floor beneath you. This will help engage your glutes.
  4. Lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground.
  5. Keep your torso stiff as you exhale and press your body back up to standing.

Note: If you find this move difficult you can start with a chair squat, the instructions are in my video bonus!

Elevated Push Up

elevated pushup

  1. Place your hands on a wall or another sturdy surface like a table. They should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Engage your core to stiffen the torso and step back so that your weight is on the toes and hands.
  3. Keep your feet together and your glutes should be firm.
  4. Inhale and lower your chest toward the wall. Keep the glutes and core strong, tuck the elbows close to your sides as you descend.
  5. Exhale, press back up to the starting position.

Note: If you find this move difficult you can start with a wall push up, the instructions are in my video bonus!

Pull Through

Pull through Pull through

  1. Loop a resistance band around a sturdy object near the floor. Stand while straddling the band with feet hip-width apart and face away from the anchor point.
  2. Keep your back straight, core engaged and your shoulders down.
  3. Inhale as you hinge at the hip and press your rear behind you, slightly bend the knees, feeling a stretch in the hamstrings. Do not round your spine.
  4. Exhale as you squeeze the glutes and press the hips forward to stand back up, pulling the band through your legs.
  5. Imagine that you’re pulling from your hips rather than your arms or lower back.

Note: If you find this move difficult you can start with a hip bridge, the instructions are in my video bonus!

Band Resisted Row

Row Exercise

  1. Find a fixed object where you can wrap the exercise band. Grab an end of the band in each hand and step back to where the band is under tension.
  2. Stand with your feet apart, shoulder width.
  3. Exhale, keep your elbows close to your sides as you pull the band towards you.
  4. Contract and flex your back muscles at the peak position. Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the recommended number of reps.

Are you ready to start strength training? 

Click here to get my strength training bonus sent to your inbox now!

My bonus includes an instructional video, cool down stretches and a pre & post workout nutrition guide. Plus, links to my best articles about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Strength Training.

The Cakewalk System: Stop Sugar Cravings In 5 Uncomplicated Steps.

Stop Sugar CravingsToday I’m going to tell you how I ended my lifelong struggle with sugar cravings. I used to have an insane sweet tooth. Heck, my first job was at an ice cream store and I was their best customer!

How did I stop sugar cravings? The Cakewalk System.

This post shares every step of my journey to defeat sugar cravings so that you can learn from my experience.

I was standing in front of the freezer shoveling just one more bite of New York Super Fudge Chunk into my mouth when a fudgy chunk fell onto my white shirt. At that moment, I decided that this pint should never have crossed my threshold. Ashamed and guilty, I put the ice cream in the trash.

As I stared at the premium ice cream melting in my garbage can, I realized this was a problem bigger than my willpower alone.

Three weeks later I had transformed my world into a sugar binge-proof zone. And in the following months, I completely banished my sugar cravings by transforming the way I thought about dessert and food, in general.

My Cakewalk System, as I like to call it, did not just help me lose weight. I freed myself from a years-long struggle with guilt, failure, and intrusive cravings that interfered with my life. Even if I hadn’t lost a pound, I’d feel much lighter!

The Cakewalk System is twofold: I mastered my environment and my mindset in order to declare victory over sugar cravings.

How The Cakewalk System ended my daily sugar cravings.

The first steps I took to vanquish sugar cravings focused on my environment.

Step 1: I evicted ready-made treats.

Sugar Addiction

Resisting the stockpile of indulgent treats in my kitchen made me miserable. Even if they were divided up into single sized servings, ready-made treats were driving me nutz!

I immediately stopped buying premade sweet treats and vowed only to eat food made from scratch.

This change did not go over well with my husband, a fellow dessert lover. In the past, I would have become frustrated with him and told him just to deal with it. This time I took a different approach – I asked for help.

How to ask for help and get it:

  1. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and explain to your partner or family how having these foods in your house impacts you emotionally.
  2. Briefly explain how nutrition can affect PCOS. Tell them that if you do not clean up your diet, PCOS symptoms could get worse and that you’d be putting yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
  3. Directly ask for help. Tell the people in your life that you need their support.

Many of my clients have tried to clean up their diets and failed in part because they lacked the support of the people they live with. It can be hard to ask for help, but it is critical to making lasting changes.

Step 2: I have a single serving policy.

I knew from past diet failures that total deprivation would not ensure success. Thus, I created my single serving policy.

I never make more than one serving of dessert at a time (well, two servings: one for me and one for Colin).

For me, the most stressful thing about my sugar cravings was stopping once I had started. By eliminating leftovers, I could enjoy my dessert and move on. Gone was the fear of losing control and eating half a cake!

Whipping up single serving desserts is pretty easy, too! I have put together a collection of my very favorite single serving desserts. You can get it sent to your inbox by clicking here now.

Step 3: I ate a nutrient-dense breakfast, lunch, dinner AND dessert.

I mentioned this in my last post and I am sure I will mention it again. I’m a firm believer in the power of a nutrient-dense diet. Eating a diet of whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, eggs, meat and unprocessed whole grains has radically improved my life.

Some research on why we crave foods suggest that nutritional deficiencies may play a role in our cravings. You can protect yourself from this craving-causing complication by eating a nutrient-dense diet.

In addition to eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, replace store-bought goodies with homemade desserts that are great sources of valuable nutrients like healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Nutrient-dense desserts may not be low calorie, but they are much more satisfying than a traditional dessert. When you finish eating one, you’ll feel balanced and satisfied rather than guilty and craving more.

Healthy DessertsTips on making healthy desserts:

  • Download this PDF of my very favorite single serving desserts.
  • Keep staple healthy dessert ingredients like coconut milk and cocoa powder on hand.
  • Try reducing the amount of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, stevia, and sugar) in a recipe by a teaspoon  at a time, you might need less than you thought.
  • Exercise portion control. Healthy desserts can still be high-calorie foods.

These three changes to my environment made a huge difference in my life. In just three weeks, I stopped overeating on sugary foods altogether. I ate a nutritious dessert that I loved with no guilt!

But…

There was just one problem: I loved my dessert a bit too much. I looked forward to it all day and, once it was gone, I was sad. I knew deep in my gut that my problem was not completely resolved. My love of dessert played too big a role in my life.

What was this dessert doing for me? Why was it so valuable?

My daily dessert was a major source of pleasure. There were days when it was the only bright spot. From a scientific standpoint this makes sense, our brains respond to sugar with an influx in feel-good neurochemicals – AKA a sugar high.

But I felt like my fondness for dessert time (yeah I actually called it that) went beyond a neurochemical reaction. My dessert had become a ritual. I ate it slowly and attentively. I savored the texture, taste and smell. It was also a time when I slowed down and focused on the moment instead of just thinking about the next item on my todo list.

I realized I needed to add more rewarding experiences to my day. I mean, dessert was a high point for me – that’s pretty lame!

Step 4: I eat everything like it’s a piece of cake.

piece of cakeThe slow, attentive way I ate my desserts was something I really enjoyed. When I started to eat all of my food this way, I found I ate a little less and enjoyed it a lot more.

How to eat for more pleasure:

  • Sit down at a table and eat from a plate or bowl.
  • Select nutritious foods that you like. Don’t force yourself to eat something simply because it is a superfood or your fit friend swears by it.
  • Take note of why the food you’re eating tastes good.
  • Express gratitude. Thank whoever prepared your meal. Even if you cooked it, you can still express gratitude to yourself 🙂

Step 5: I added more highs to my life.

Eating should be a pleasurable experience, but not your primary source of pleasure. If the most enjoyable part of your day is centered around food, it is time to broaden your horizons.

How to find more everyday highs:

  1. Set some time aside to make a list of 20 things you truly love to do.
  2. Review your list and circle 3-5 things you can do pretty much every day. They should be activities that are simple, inexpensive and delightful.
  3. Post this list in a place where you will see it every morning. When you wake up, make a mental note of when you will set aside a few minutes to “get high.” Schedule time to “get high” on your calendar if you need to. Make this a priority.
    Home Sweet Home
    Home Sweet Home

Here are some examples from my life:

Watching the sunset.
Hugging my husband (he’s cute!).
Taking a walk on the beach.
Listening to my favorite NPR shows while sitting in my hammock.
Calling my mom or a girlfriend to catch up.
Reading.

I make time for some of these simple pleasures every day. In fact, I take this very seriously and am really disciplined about it. I know that my health and well being depends on it. If I don’t make room for healthy highs in my life, I will seek out less unhealthful ones.

My average day is, well, average. But now I can count on the highs of a walk on the beach or a piece of  healthy cake. The cakewalk technique has replaced unhealthy highs in my life with true joy and better health.

If you’re struggling with sugar cravings, stop beating yourself up. Don’t blame your willpower or allow yourself to feel like a failure. Your environment and everything you have been taught about behavior change are not serving you well.

Try just one of these 5 steps and when you feel ready try another. Soon you will be free from sugar craving madness!

Are you ready to give The Cakewalk Technique a try?

Get my step-by-step checklist and recipe collection sent to your inbox now!

16 Tips for Losing Weight with PCOS That Won’t Cost You a Cent!

I have received dozens of emails from women interested in losing weight with PCOS, but they can’t afford a gym membership, yoga classes or a personal trainer.

Having all of those luxuries would certainly be helpful- I use some of them myself! But the truth is you do not need them.

And you should not wait until you can afford them to start putting your health first.

Women who lose weight with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) do three very important things:

  • Exercise
  • Eat a nutrient-dense diet
  • Reduce their stress

You might be thinking to yourself: “Sounds great, but how do I do all that without hiring a nutritionist, a yoga teacher and a personal assistant?”

Today, I am going to give you 16 actionable tips for losing weight with PCOS that won’t cost you a cent. And I’m going to give you downloadable bonus material that you can use to put these 16 awesome tips into action.

The Bonus includes:

  • A handy checklist for all of the tips in this post.
  • Links to six of my favorite healthy recipes
  • And a list of online resources to help you get started

         Click here to get the bonus sent to your in box now!

1. Eat without distraction.

Eating while in front of a television, tapping away on a laptop, or driving is not just a choking hazard! People who eat distracted eat more. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed 24 different research studies and found that eating while distracted increased overall food intake in most individuals.

losing weight with PCOSEliminate distracted eating from your life by setting time aside in your schedule to eat. Go ahead and add lunch to your work calendar so that meetings and other responsibilities don’t invade your meal time.

Make it a personal rule to eat at a table and not your desk or the couch where you’ll be tempted to stare at a screen while you eat.

Leave your smartphone in another room during mealtime and, of course, eating at a drive thru is out of the question.

If your day is truly busy, just set aside 10 minutes to drink a healthy super shake. 10 minutes of undistracted eating is better than an hour of distracted overeating!

I’ve seen clients end their battle with overeating just by changing this single habit!

2. Stop scheduling rest days into your workout program.

Wait… Doesn’t your body need time to recover from intense exercise?

Yes, it does, but you do not need a rest day.

You need a recovery workout – a workout where you take the intensity way down and focus on things like joint mobility and deep breathing.

rest daysWhat you don’t need is 2-3 days a week that are devoid of any actual movement! Most of us sit all day at work and then sit in traffic just to come home and sit on our couch. The last thing your body needs is less movement!

On days when you don’t have a cardio or strength session planned, you should still set that block of time aside for health-enhancing activities!

On my recovery days, I like to do my usual warm-up followed by a leisurely stroll and then take a few minutes to stretch and foam roll tight muscles. Sometimes I even do some deep breathing exercises.

3. Squat.

The squat is a staple of most exercise programs for good reason. Squats simultaneously work the biggest muscle groups in your body (quads, glutes, back, and core) and are essential to everyday functioning. You use the squatting motion to sit, stand up, and pick things up. You can’t avoid squatting so you might as well get good at it!

How To Squat:Squat

  1. Stand with your feet beneath your shoulders.
  2.  Inhale and lower your body like you’re sitting down in a chair.
  3. Keep the back neutral, chest up and core engaged.
  4. Lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground.
  5. Keep your torso stiff as you exhale and press your body back up to standing.

You can do squats with or without added weight making them a great exercise to do at home!

4. Sprinkle on the spice.

Spices are a great way to boost you’re level of satisfaction from a meal. Human behavior researchers have found that when people have a stronger sensory experience while eating they tend to feel more satisfied and eat less.

Behavioral scientist Jennifer Lee, Ph.D. explains that “Our brains and bodies use a combination of signals to indicate ‘fullness’: sensory signals (taste, smell), gastric signals (full bellies), and nutrient signals (our bodies tell our brains, whether we are lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, etc.).

Plus, many spices deliver some serious health benefits. For example, a study conducted by the US Agricultural Research Service found that type II diabetics who consumed just 1 gram of cinnamon per day experienced a 20% decrease in blood sugar.

Ways to spice up your diet:

  • Make several homemade spice blends so that you have them on hand for creative moments in the kitchen. I love to sprinkle this Moroccan spice blend on my quinoa and chick peas and this taco spice blend can be added to bland beans or a baked sweet potato for an added kick.
  •  Sprinkle cinnamon in your coffee or tea each morning.
  • Go through you spice cabinet and make sure you have a fresh supply. Ground spices do go bad after a while. As a general rule, whole spices will stay fresh for about 4 years, ground spices for about 3 to 4 years and dried leafy herbs for 1 to 3 years.

5. Sneak more walking into your day.

There are several medical studies which have found that spending too much of your day in a seated position can be hazardous to your health.

In fact, a study conducted by the American Cancer Society found that people who sat for more than 6 hours per day increased their risk of death over the next 15 years by 40 percent compared to those who sat for less than 3 hours per day.

Translation: move or you’re killing yourself! treadmill

Adding more bouts of movement into your day will safeguard your health and make losing weight with PCOS a bit easier.

Some people at your office may take cigarette breaks or quick trips to Starbucks. Why not try taking a quick walking break?

The next time you have the urge to get out of your office and grab a mocha, skip the sugary drink and opt for a quick stroll around the block. The fresh air will energize you and the extra steps will further your fitness goals.

If you’re a parent, try walking around the field while waiting for your little leaguer’s practice to finish up. Why sit and wait if you can walk and wait?

6. Make push-ups part of your program.

When it comes to upper body exercises, you can’t beat the push-up. They do a fantastic job of strengthening your upper body while also working your core, glute and leg muscles. Push-ups burn calories and build strength!

Many women think they can’t do push-ups. They are wrong 99% of the time. Push-ups are an intermediate level exercise. If you can’t do them right away, start practicing good form by doing push-ups with your hands on a sturdy bench or the wall.

How To Do Push-ups:pushup

  1. Get into a good push-up position: place your hands on the ground slightly wider than shoulders width apart, engage your core to stiffen your torso, keep your feet together and your glutes should be firm.
  2. Inhale, and lower your chest toward the ground. Keep your glutes and core strong, tuck your elbows close to your sides as you descend.
  3.  Exhale, press back up to the starting position.
  4.  Do as many as you can from your toes. If necessary, you can reduce the difficulty by placing your hands on a bench or the wall.

 7. Eat fewer processed carbohydrates.

Every PCOS diet I’ve come across recommends that you get the majority of your carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and beans. Unfortunately, the average person tends to get most of their carbohydrates from processed grain products like cereal, pasta, sandwich breads, and sugar.

Getting most of your carbohydrates from these highly refined products leads you to a state of being overfed and undernourished. You’re getting more than enough calories from breads and cookies, but you’re not getting nearly enough vitamins and minerals.Processed Carbohydrates

How to eat less processed carbohydrates:

  • Use lettuce leaves in place of tortillas and wraps.
  • Ditch pasta and use spaghetti squash or julienne sliced zucchini instead noodles.
  • You can replace white rice with this recipe for cauliflower rice.
  • Instead of a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast, try fresh fruit and plain greek yogurt with a little honey. This will also boost your protein intake!

 8. Include high-intensity interval training in your cardio program.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a method of cardio exercise that is great for women with PCOS. HIIT workouts can increase your insulin sensitivity, help you build muscle, and improve your body’s ability to burn fat.

A HIIT workout involves alternating low intensity intervals of exercise with intervals of high-intensity exercise.  For example, a HIIT workout might include alternating bouts of sprinting with brisk walking.

One or two 20-minute sessions of HIIT each week should be enough to boost your weight loss efforts.

Here are links to two of my favorite HIIT workout plans:

A Running Program for People Who Don’t Like to Run

At Home Cardio Circuit

9. Cook nutritious desserts.

chocolate peanut butterYou can lose weight and eat your cake too! The trouble with most traditional desserts is that they are high in calories and low in nutrients.

However, there are plenty of innovative food bloggers who are creating totally nutritious and tasty dessert recipes. Two of my favorite places to find healthy desserts are chocolatecoveredkatie.com and purelytwins.com.

A word or warning: many nutritious dessert recipes are still high in calories, so you need to use portion control.

10. Practice the art of mindful eating.

Mindful Eating is a practice that Buddhist monks have been adhering to for hundreds of years. The concept is simple: bring attention and focus to eating.

Mindful eating has been shown to help chronic overeaters reduce stress and caloric intake. Both of which are helpful in losing weight.

Mindful eaters take special care to notice their hunger cues before, during and after a meal. They also savor the sensory experience of eating by reflecting on the taste, appearance, texture, and smell of their food.

Four simple ways to start eating mindfully:

  1. Eat from a plate or bowl, not a bag. By placing food out on a plate, you get a visual cue as to how much you are eating.
  2. Put your utensils down in between bites. If you have food in your mouth, your hands should be empty. Take a moment to taste, chew and swallow each bite before taking the next.
  3. Try to identify each ingredient in a dish. As you eat focus on flavor and take note of what spices and ingredients are present in each bite.
  4. Throughout your meal contemplate how your food got to your plate. Think about how you cooked it, where you bought it, and the farmer who grew the ingredients.

 11. Be aware of liquid calories.

High-calorie beverages tend to be less satiating than a solid food meal of the same amount of calories. In fact, people who drink high-calorie beverages tend to consume more calories in general. shakes-200x300

If you want to lose weight, my suggestion is that you drink water, tea, coffee and the occasional glass of red wine. Here are a few beverages you should keep to a minimum when trying to slim down:

  • Commercially prepared smoothies and protein shakes
  • Specialty coffee drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fruit juice
  • Soda.

 12. Get eight hours of sleep each night.

Not getting enough sleep at night is a serious health risk and it can hinder your weight loss efforts.

  • Sleep deprivation can affect the hormones that control your hunger levels.
  • An American Academy of Sleep Medicine research study found that sleeping less at night may increase the expression of genetic risks for obesity.
  • Many medical studies have found that sleep deprivation reduces fat cells’ ability to respond properly to the hormone insulin.

How to get a good night’s sleep:

  • Schedule enough time for you to sleep a full eight hours. This means you need to have the lights off eight and a half to nine hours before you’re supposed to get up.
  • Keep your bedroom dark and at a cool temperature.
  •  Reserve your bedroom for sleeping. Keep the television and computer in other rooms.
  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

13. Eat more veggies!

You really can’t eat too many veggies! Vegetables are amazing for so many reasons. But, to put it simply, you need to eat more veggies because they have tons of micronutrients and fibers, but are very low in calories.

They are the ideal food for weight loss!

How to eat more veggies:carrots

  • Learn to cook veggies. Like any food, veggies taste best when you put a little effort into cooking them. You would not expect raw chicken to taste wonderful. The same holds true for asparagus and carrots.
  •  Get creative with your salads. Mix salad greens with roasted veggies, fruit, avocados, nuts or seeds.
  • Buy produce when it is in-season. Produce will be at it’s best when you buy it at the right time of year. You can look online to get a list of what’s in-season and when for your area.
  • Try to eat different color veggies every day. Differently colored veggies contain different nutrients.

14. Work out first thing in the morning.

When you make your workout the first thing on your to-do list, it gets done.

The number one reason women give me for not working out is their busy schedules. And it’s a perfectly valid reason!

Unfortunately, if you keep putting other things before your health, your body and your quality of life will pay for it. The easiest way to nip this problem in the bud is to work out first thing in the morning. Snooze_button

A morning workout may not seem very appealing to those of you that are addicted to the snooze button, but I have a few ways you can make your morning sweat session a cherished ritual.

Do not check your email when you wake up. Unless you’re a world leader, everybody else’s problems can wait until you’ve worked out.

Work out at home. Working out at home eliminates commuting time and the need to shower in a locker room – yuck!

Make a great workout playlist, pick music that energizes you.

Put the most important part of your workout at the beginning. For example, if your priority is chest and legs, do your squats and push-ups right after your warm-up. This way if you have to cut the workout short, you’ve still accomplished something!

Be grateful. Having the time, resources, and physical capability to work out is a privilege! Be grateful for that strong, beating heart and your comfy yoga pants!

15. Learn to cook. Even if it’s just six dishes.

In my opinion, cooking is a terrific hobby – especially for women with PCOS. Knowing how to cook will free you from being dependent on restaurants and manufactured food products.

After taking cooking lessons, I found that I prefer my cooking to most cafe’s and restaurants. More importantly, by cooking my meals I always have control over the quality of my food.

Do you think cooking is a chore? Not to worry. You just need to find about five or six healthy recipes you can master. Most people eat the same stuff every week and are perfectly happy to do so.

I recommend you learn the following:

  • two poultry dishes you like
  • one fish or seafood dish
  • how to roast veggies
  • at least one healthy dessert
  • one tasty bean or quinoa dish.

Note: I include links to my six go-to healthy recipes in the downloadable bonus. Click here to get the bonus sent to your in box now!

16. Stop looking for quick fixes.

pcosIf you have PCOS, losing weight is about more than just being thin. Managing your weight will help you protect yourself from PCOS-related complications like infertility and diabetes.

Lasting, health-preserving weight loss requires you to adopt a lifestyle that makes your health a priority. It is not always an easy thing to do, but the benefits outweigh the costs!

Focus on making small meaningful changes to your lifestyle and eventually the numbers on the scale will reflect the healthy choices you’re making! Are you ready to take some action? Start right now by downloading this helpful checklist!

Click this image to get the checklist!