Can you do Intuitive Eating with PCOS?

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome, commonly referred to as PCOS is the most common reproductive hormone disorder, affecting 5-10% of people of reproductive age. Whilst the exact cause is unknown, multiple factors appear to play a role, these include; genetics, hormones, environment and lifestyle, including how these factors interact together.

Insulin resistance is a common feature in many with PCOS, it can interfere with sex hormones, resulting in excess testosterone production, and in turn, causing anovulation and irregular periods. Medication such as inositols can help to manage insulin resistance, as well as certain lifestyle changes.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Developed by two dietitians called Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, Intuitive eating is a ten-principle framework designed to help you honour your health whilst paying attention to the messages of your body and meeting your physical and emotional needs. The process works in two ways, some of which help you to gain body attunement, which is the ability to hear and therefore respond to the physical sensations within your body e.g. biological cues of hunger and fullness. Whilst other principles help you to remove the obstacles to body attunement.

There have been over 120 studies published supporting the use of Intuitive eating to promote health, without diet plans.

Can you do intuitive eating with PCOS?

In short, yes. Unfortunately, for many who’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, this may be hard to believe at first. Many of you will have been told at some point that you need to diet to manage your PCOS. However, did you know, whilst dieting may have a short-term impact of reducing insulin levels, long term it can cause increased insulin levels – as mentioned a common symptom of PCOS.

Additionally, PCOS is thought to be a pro-inflammatory condition, which again can be reduced short term through dieting, however long-term can increase inflammation. Eating intuitively and removing the restriction and stress around food may help to reduce the inflammatory state and help with PCOS symptom management.

Gentle nutrition is one of the final concepts of intuitive eating. Healing your relationship with food and making simple swaps without restriction to how you eat can also support PCOS symptom management.

In summary, intuitive eating is a helpful method to support food freedom whilst managing your PCOS symptoms without restriction.

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