Young woman eating PCOS-friendly diets.September is PCOS Awareness Month. One of the most important steps a woman with PCOS can take is changing her lifestyle to include sensible eating and regular exercise. Here are some reasons why.

Lifestyle changes are the first and best steps to managing PCOS. This entails a good diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Weight gain is caused by many things such as stress, sleep patterns, hormone fluctuations, inactivity and poor eating habits.

A loss of only five per cent of body weight will lower insulin resistance, regulate menstrual cycles and restore ovulation. Losing small amounts of weight slowly is best. Eating patterns that improve PCOS are the same as those recommended for the general population. Nothing needs to be complicated. It just takes sensible food choices and eating patterns.

Good food choices and eating evenly throughout the day help lead to a more even pattern of blood glucose levels which improves PCOS. Begin the day with a healthy breakfast followed by small meals every few hours. Missed meals and missed snacks lead to hunger and overeating later in the day. Processed and refined foods such as white flour, sugar, bread, and pasta should be minimized, as should high-fructose corn-syrup, artificial sweeteners and saturated fats. Concentrate on whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa. Drink two liters of water a day and of course minimize alcohol.

Regular exercise is best at improving insulin resistance, even without any change in weight. Any type of regular exercise is effective in improving PCOS symptoms. It can be moderate, vigorous aerobic exercise or weight training, the same or different every day. It is best to start with some type of physical activity every day for at least 20 minutes. This can be split up into smaller sessions throughout the day. It can include structured exercise and incidental exercise.

Have fun, eat healthy… Weight will slowly come off and your PCOS will also improve.