Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is estimated to affect eight to 13% of reproductive-aged women. Worldwide, up to 70% of women remain undiagnosed, despite the condition being a leading cause of infertility. But while PCOS cannot be cured, the symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, and alternative treatments.
In particular, healthcare providers recommend lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as 88% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Losing even a few pounds can lower one’s risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Thus, women could benefit from learning the best diet for PCOS weight loss, as nutrition should be the first intervention for managing symptoms like insulin resistance and irregular menstrual cycles. While there is no “perfect” PCOS diet, you can work with a doctor or nutritionist to see which evidence-backed dietary approach may be best for you, including the DASH diet, a low-glycemic diet, or even a plant-based diet.
It also helps to facilitate open conversations about PCOS that remove the stigma surrounding the condition. In this vein, a few celebrities have opened up about living with PCOS and how they thrive despite it.
In December 2020, the actress posted a makeup-free selfie displaying her acne, stating that PCOS was attacking her from the inside out and that she struggled with doctors who failed to diagnose her. After further research on other symptoms, Palmer realized she also experienced mild hirsutism, or excess hair growth from excess male hormones due to PCOS. Her pregnancy announcement while hosting Saturday Night Live spurred a gush of hope for fans with PCOS who were struggling with fertility as well. Palmer’s workouts reportedly include weightlifting five days a week.
The Spice Girl is currently the world’s second-richest model with a net worth of $450 million, but even she struggled to dodge questions about when she would welcome her next child. Beckham was diagnosed with PCOS while trying to get pregnant a fourth time, and she combatted the stigma with a big smile and brutal honesty: “I…say something like, ‘Actually, I’m struggling with infertility because of my PCOS, so my husband and I have been through several fertility treatments. No baby yet, but it’ll happen soon!’” Fitness-wise, she works with coach Bobby Rich, who implements workouts that heavily focus on resistance training.
In an interview with Gayle King, the singer said that she struggled to deal with social media backlash regarding her PCOS-related weight gain. She experienced the pressure of having to be in the best shape while preparing to release her self-titled album and go on tour. She remains positive but realistic about her body goals: “I’m not completely happy with myself right now, but I feel like I’m working towards a better version of myself every day,” underscoring the importance of vulnerability and self-compassion while working towards weight loss. Bebe enjoys various routines, including yoga, Pilates, boxing, and running.
The Star Wars actress shared that she was diagnosed with endometriosis at 15. She struggled with acne and chronic pain despite trying “everything,” from products to antibiotics. After eight years of various doctor appointments and exams, she received a PCOS diagnosis. To improve her condition, she sought help from a dermatologist and cut out dairy and sugar from her diet.
The celebrity trainer was diagnosed with both PCOS and endometriosis as a teenager, which led to fertility struggles. She adopted her daughter, Lukensia, from Haiti in 2012. As a health professional, Jillian takes a rightfully holistic approach to managing PCOS. In a blog post, she details a “game plan” that involves four to six 30-minute workouts a week, eating more whole grains and vegetables, and avoiding white flour and white sugar when possible.
With more celebrities speaking candidly about their conditions, the hope is that women feel empowered to seek medical advice and make the necessary changes to manage PCOS successfully.