Weight Loss Isn’t the Answer for your PCOS

Kimberly Singh, Julie’s resident nutrition grad student ⇢also affected by PCOS!⇠ is back to blogging on PCOS topics. Enjoy!

It’s that time of the year again.

Everyone is revving their engines to prepare for a new lifestyle filled with vegetables and water.

They are starting their elimination diets and shaming their prior self for indulging in things like sugar and bread (gasp).

As they start this new lifestyle with blind optimism, they are sure this time will be different.

Not like last January, or the one before that, and so on. In a few weeks to months the craze will wear off, and most dieters will be back to eating sugar and whatever else they currently deem unhealthy trash.

Sound familier?

If you have PCOS this is probably a familiar cycle.

You already know the shame and pressure to change your body’s size through restrictive dieting and rigid exercise. 

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie can show you how! Get on the wait list here.

As if society’s pressure to shrink yourself wasn’t bad enough, you probably have doctors promising you that all of your PCOS nightmares will end when you drop the weight.

Who wouldn’t want that?

They paint this beautiful picture of your PCOS symptoms vanishing with the proper amount of restriction. If you just do it right and long enough you will be practically cured.

However, they fail to warn you about the increased risk of eating disorders and weight cycling among dieting women with PCOS. They rarely ask about a history of binge eating disorder, which is common in women with PCOS. And last but not least, they fail to warn you that dieting causes you to ignore your body’s internal method of regulation.

Diets inherently tell you to ignore your body and listen to the blanket of shame that society throws on people of size. 

Healthcare professionals prescribe weight loss for PCOS as an ultimate solution, ignoring the weight cycling that usually accompanies the PCOS experience. The reckless prescription of restrictive diets to a population at an increased risk of eating disorders causes harm to women with PCOS.

Not only does dieting lead to weight gain (the literal opposite of what PCOS dieters expect) but it also poorly affects their health.

Diets discourage people from knowing how to use food as fuel for their bodies. Julie finds that by urging her clients to observe reactions to different foods, they are able to identify how to best energize their bodies and manage their PCOS.

Women with PCOS get energy from food in a different way from others, and by turning down the volume on dieting, they are able to better hear what their bodies prefer. I have found it to be helpful to log how I feel 1-3 hours after eating different foods. 

Dieting can seem so appealing, especially for those of us with PCOS. It promises a whole new shiny life-a better version of yourself that is lingering inside of you and waiting to be released.

It can even sound like the only solution to your PCOS, but it is not.

You are the only solution. 

You have the internal wisdom to guide yourself to health and happiness, and don’t let diet culture tell you otherwise.

As the new year begins, I urge you to ditch your diet. I urge you to stop restricting. Stop listening to messages about weight loss filled with shame, and start listening to your body.

Here are some of my favorite resources when diet culture has me in the dumps:

  • Weight-neutral podcasts: some of my favorites are Love Food, Dietitians Unplugged, Food Psych, She’s all Fat.
  • Lindy West’s writing has a great balance of humor and realness of the fat experience.
  • Intuitive Eating (<–this is an affiliate link) is a must-have. It will help you unlearn diets.
  • And last but not least: myself! When I am present and grounded with myself, I know that diets are not right. Self-compassion and mindfulness help me get through my toughest moments.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie can show you how! Get on the wait list here.

Jeanes, Y. M., Reeves, S., Gibson, E. L., Piggott, C., May, V. A., & Hart, K. H. (2017). Binge eating behaviours and food cravings in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Appetite, 109(Supplement C), 24–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.010

Lee, I., Cooney, L. G., Saini, S., Smith, M. E., Sammel, M. D., Allison, K. C., & Dokras, A. (2017). Increased risk of disordered eating in polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility, 107(3), 796–802. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.12.014

Mann, T., Tomiyama, A. J., Westling, E., Lew, A.-M., Samuels, B., & Chatman, J. (2007). Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. American Psychologist, 62(3), 220–233. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.62.3.220

Morosi, A., & Jeanes, Y. (2017). Food cravings, binge eating and emotional eating behaviours in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 76(OCE1). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665117000155

How do I fully let go?? {Episode 95}

Have you finally found food freedom with intuitive eating, but are now struggling with the difficult emotions that used to be managed with food? Listen now for some relief from this food peace conundrum.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my online course, Your Step-by-Step Guide to PCOS and Food Peace. Sign up now to get on the waitlist for the next enrollment period in January 2018, and receive my FREE road map: Your First 3 Steps Toward Food Peace with PCOS. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • Intuitive eating can feel SO freeing and exciting, but it also can be tough and SUPER scary!
  • Can you sit with the uncomfortable emotions that come up during the intuitive eating process?
  • Emotional eating is a part of normal eating!! The problem is when food is the ONLY method we have to soothe hard feelings.
  • Part of the food peace journey is moving away from diet culture.
  • Give yourself unconditional permission to eat, and unconditional permission to eat food emotionally!
  • Our world hasn’t recovered from it’s own eating disorder yet, and that means that food peace can feel really, really hard.
  • We need more fat positivity in our world. Exploring more body image resources can help mitigate the hard feelings that come up in the food peace journey.
  • Intuitive eating takes TIME. Give yourself some patience and compassion, and know that you’re going to get there eventually.
  • Immerse yourself in recovery… jump all in!! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat, and unconditional permission to let your body be where it needs to be.
  • ALL of our bodies will change throughout our lives, so we need to make peace with our body no matter what it looks like at any one time.
  • You can’t experience recovery until you’re ALL IN! Surround yourself with other food peace and body acceptance warriors to support your journey.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.

How do I stop obsessing about food? {Ep 094 with Jessica Setnick}

Do you struggle with making peace with physical movement, or are you using it to compensate for eating behaviors? Are you struggling with how to get started, and feeling paralyzed? Listen now for some expert tips on these food peace struggles.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my online course, Your Step-by-Step Guide to PCOS and Food Peace. Sign up now to get on the waitlist for the next enrollment period in January 2018, and receive my FREE road map: Your First 3 Steps Toward Food Peace with PCOS. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • Are you headed to BEDA the first weekend in November? I’m presenting! Come find me so I can give you a FREE gift 🙂
  • You are NOT alone!!
  • Jessica Setnick joins us to offer her eating disorder recovery and food peace expertise.
  • If we were more open about our food peace struggles, we’d probably find that many people around us are ALSO struggling with diet culture and disordered eating… we need to promote sharing our experiences as a safe option to find support.
  • Sometimes being a smart, self-aware person puts us in a situation of paralysis by analysis! Reach out for support with the appropriate professionals, either in-person or virtually, as the first step to getting out of our own head.
  • Even if we think we know what to eat already, seeing a dietitian is KEY! They can help us break down our own unhelpful thought processes or behaviors.
  • Work on the perfectionism, and work with a dietitian to brainstorm solutions to your individual struggles or roadblocks.
  • What even is an eating disorder dietitian?? They’re often more in tune with the connection between food and anxiety or food and emotions. Find the expert who’s going to really help you with recovery!!
  • You might go through withdrawal if you struggle with exercise addition or compulsion, so seek out a psychiatrist if there’s a need for an evaluation for medication.
  • Being unable to change a pattern doesn’t mean you’re not trying!! It means that the pattern is so, so strong, and may actually be related to your brain chemistry. This is why getting help from a team of EXPERTS is so crucial, so that they can help you figure out what’s really going on.
  • New eyes can help you move forward!

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.

I can’t stop obsessing about what I eat {Ep 89}


Are you cycling between restricting and bingeing? Have you left behind dieting, but are still struggling with the feeling of being out of control around food? Is your body image and fear of weight gain jeopardizing your food peace journey? Listen now for some solutions to these common struggles.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my online course, PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Join our Facebook group to get extra support!

Episode’s Key Points:

  • What’s the nitty gritty behind our food and body anxieties??
  • We learn at a young age that our bodies are to be CONTROLLED rather than enjoyed! This directly impacts our body image and how we feel about food.
  • Our relationships with our parents can really influence how we feel about food and our body! The connections we make as children stick with us, and inform our relationships as we get older.
  • Familiar patterns (like dieting!) can feel super familiar and reassuring, even if they aren’t ultimately positive patterns for our mental health.
  • Cooking can be an important act of self-care and nourishment!! It can really help us to move past our food rules.
  • Sometimes, when we try to control food and our body, it’s because something else feels out of control in our lives.
  • How can we reconnect with our bodies and pleasure?
  • Dieting and eating disorder behaviors can be coping mechanisms that we use to protect ourselves and distract ourselves! When you’re ready, or when the coping mechanism isn’t serving you anymore, investigate the WHY.
  • Work with a therapist to figure this stuff out, including how to incorporate self-compassion into your life!
  • Recovery isn’t linear, and black and white thinking holds you back! Step away from all or nothing thinking to support yourself in your recovery.
  • Connect with your values! This will help you stay on the recovery path.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.

My mom hates her body and I do too {Ep 87 with Summer Innanen}


Have you hit diet rock bottom? Are you struggling with internalized fatphobia? Do you desperately want to find food peace, but still feel stuck? Listen now for some solutions to these hurdles.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my FREE video training: Your First 3 Steps Towards Food Peace with PCOS. Get connected now and be the first to get it when it releases in mid-September. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Join our Facebook group to get extra support!

Episode’s Key Points:

  • Diets don’t work for ANYONE! “Success” with diets is not the typical experience. So, now what?
  • Body image coach Summer Innanen joins to give us her insight!
  • Summer’s body image coaching program, You, On Fire
  • Leaving the food rules behind can be really hard when you haven’t built up your intuitive skills to know what you need to eat and how you need to move to feel good in your body.
  • Breaking out of the diet box can be scary!!
  • The transition from dieting to intuitive eating can be long and hard and awkward!
  • What are your next steps? Get rid of the scale and any trackers that make you hyper aware of your body size. You need to tune into what your body needs, not what your body looks like!
  • Go out and find clothes that help you to NOT think about your body and to help you to not fixate on any physical changes that might happen during this process.
  • When you start eating in a non-restricted way, you will probably start eating A LOT more than you think you should! You’ve been undernourished for so long, and your body needs to catch up. Plus, our perception of how much food we need to function like a normal human is SO skewed! Give yourself permission to eat as much as your body tells you to, even if it feels like too much, and be as compassionate as possible during the process.
  • You can’t force balance!! It’s about mental and physical wellbeing, and should be measured throughout your lifetime, rather than in short time spans. You can only see it in hindsight!
  • This is a process of UNLEARNING diet culture, and learning the language of body trust and intuition.
  • The whole world reinforces diet culture, and that makes this process even harder!
  • Food is food, and it doesn’t deserve the power that we give it.
  • Body acceptance and exploring what your body size means to you is key! Still not liking your body is okay, but coming to a place of body neutrality can be so healing. The goal is just to not think about our body on a consistent basis!
  • We are untamable! Live your life outside of the diet cage.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.