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PCOS Cravings: Everything You Need to Know

girl enjoying the smell of the chocolate cake

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) comes with a lot of challenges . . . and one of those is weight loss. There are so many things working against you when your PCOS is out of control and losing weight and achieving health goals can seriously feel impossible! 

One of the biggest enemies to losing weight and relieving PCOS symptoms? Cravings! So, today, I am dedicating this post to how PCOS contributes to cravings and what you can do to manage them. Here’s what you need to know:

pcos cravings

PCOS Cravings: Everything You Need to Know

Many women diagnosed with PCOS struggle with cravings. And, these cravings go beyond just having a sweet tooth or wanting to munch on a salty snack. These cravings are INTENSE and can lead to PCOS weight gain and even contribute to the development of eating disorders. Yeah, this is serious stuff! 

Understanding how PCOS causes cravings can help you get control of your eating habits, feel better, and improve your symptoms. Here’s how PCOS can lead to intense cravings:

does pcos cause cravings

Does PCOS Cause Cravings?

YES! Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can cause cravings. This is mostly because of the development of insulin resistance in many Cysters. 

Simply put, insulin resistance is when your body doesn’t process glucose properly. Instead of converting sugar to energy, it’s absorbed into the body as fat. Since your body isn’t getting the energy you need, your brain keeps signaling that you need more sugar! Que the food cravings . . . 

When you indulge in those cravings, you get big blood sugar spikes and rises in insulin resistance. The cycle is super difficult to deal with and can leave you with constant cravings and other chronic symptoms. 

But, don’t worry, you can get a better handle on your insulin levels, increase your insulin resistance, and kick cravings to the curb naturally using a few strategic lifestyle changes. 

How To Control PCOS Cravings

Eat a balanced diet with lots of protein. 

To fight cravings, you shouldn’t just go cold turkey and stop enjoying all food. NO WAY! That can be super stressful and guess what stress leads to? High levels of insulin, which means worse cravings. 

Instead, you need a balanced diet that lets you eat plenty of delicious foods that will help you balance blood sugars levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Once your body starts doing what it’s supposed to with glucose, those cravings will FINALLY simmer down. 

You can learn lots more about PCOS nutrition on my sister site PCOS Weight Loss, where I walk you through my suggested diet changes. Managing PCOS cravings gets a whole lot easier with a protein-rich and anti-inflammatory diet full of tasty PCOS-fighting foods

As a registered dietician with PCOS, it was important to me that I deliver a meal plan that actually works for a Cyster’s unique body. So, you can download The Cysterhood app, start eating a well-balanced diet, and say bye-bye to cravings! 

eat a balanced diet

Identify trigger foods and find replacements. 

When we have sugar cravings, our instinct is to satisfy those cravings by eating just a little bit of that food. However, it doesn’t satiate the craving, it feeds it and makes it grow! That’s why when we start eating something we crave, it’s super hard to stop. Who wants just one Oreo? Who is satisfied with just a small slice of cake?

Reducing the cravings using the tips on this list is the best way to stop wanting those sugary foods. I don’t recommend masking those cravings, because they can get super intense! So, work to reduce the craving and once you’re there, avoid buying them altogether to keep the temptation out of your house. I find that getting PCOS friendly alternatives is the way to go! For example, maybe I find a gluten and dairy free cookie. Instead of eating it on it’s own, add a bit of nut butter to the top! This is a healthy fat that will help reduce the blood sugar spike. After eating one or two, you’ll be full.

Avoid skipping meals and work on balancing each meal.

Dips and spikes in blood sugar are bad for cravings! When you skip meals your body can be tricked into thinking that you’re experiencing food insecurity. This puts our body into survival mode, which raises cortisol, insulin resistance and triggers the body to store fat. This means more cravings as your body alerts the brain that it’s starving! (Even when it’s not.) 

Alternatively, when you eat a large meal, that sudden jump in blood sugar levels can also activate more cravings! Yes, a big meal can actually make you feel MORE hungry. Sometimes skipping meals throughout the day will make you so hungry that you eat a big meal, and then the blood sugar roller coaster continues. So, instead opt for balanced meals throughout the day. I like to balance my meals with 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs, and the rest of my plate veggies and healthy fats! If you need more inspiration for PCOS friendly balanced meals, I’ve got you in The Cysterhood app.

balanced meal

Exercise regularly. 

Stress actually contributes a lot to insulin resistance too, so getting a handle on stress can help so much with kicking cravings and reaching weight loss goals. Exercise can be super stress relieving and has been proven in studies to help increase insulin sensitivity! 

Make sure it’s the right type of exercise for PCOS, though. High-intensity exercises are going to raise your cortisol levels (AKA stress hormones), so keep it low impact with things like slow weighted workouts, pilates, walking, swimming, and yoga.  

how to control pcos cravings

Reduce your stress.

Yeah, remember what I said about stress? It’s not good for cravings or really any symptom of PCOS. So, to relieve cravings and other side effects of PCOS, practice self-care and do everything you can to lower your stress levels. Get out in nature, do things you love, cut down your schedule, exercise regularly, and integrate relaxation techniques in your day-to-day. 

Get better sleep.

Sleep isn’t just about being alert and focused throughout the day good sleep impacts every part of our mental and physical health. Great sleep can help increase your insulin sensitivity, balance your hormones, and ease stress, meaning it can totally help you curb your cravings!

That being said . . . Cysters notoriously struggle with sleep. Women with PCOS are more likely to experience sleep disturbances than a woman without the disorder. Because of that, you’ll need to take extra care to increase your sleep hygiene, build a routine, and get more restful sleep! 

Talk to your doctor about supplements.

A balanced diet for PCOS is all about getting your body the right nutrient support to improve that insulin resistance and balance hormones. However, even with the most thoughtful meal plan, it’s hard to get all your required daily vitamins and minerals. This is where supplements come into play!

PCOS supplements

The right supplements can help give your body a huge boost! When your body has all the vitamins and nutrients it needs, it can perform at the optimal level to start regulating all the imbalances contributing to your cravings and other PCOS symptoms. But, which should you take? Here are insulin resistance-fighting supplements every Cyster should discuss with her doctor:

Best Supplements for PCOS Cravings

Best Supplements for PCOS Cravings

Don’t mask your cravings, reduce them with these PCOS lifestyle changes!

Cravings are serious business. Dealing with them and giving in to them isn’t about self-control it’s about healing your metabolic system using diet, exercise, supplements, and other natural lifestyle changes. As your insulin resistance improves, you’ll be empowered to fight those cravings and actually win! 
Start by talking to your doctor about the Ovafit Metabolism Plus bundle and Ovasitol powder. Then, start tackling the other challenges on this list to find PCOS healing and symptom reversal. You can do this!

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