With the data suggesting that 10-15 per cent of women are affected by the condition – which can result in symptoms such as a halt in periods or a very irregular cycle, acne, exhaustion and weight gain – this is one occasion very much worth marking.
When it comes to the latter, getting to a stable weight – one at which you feel happy and healthy – can be a challenge.
Which is why Women's Health reader, Kelly Phillips, signed up to embark on a training and nutrition plan specifically tailored for her, to see if she could get her confidence back.
So: how should you start to think about designing a routine that helps you to manage your symptoms?
'PCOS can be worsened by spikes in insulin,' says Simon Wang, the Ultimate Performance PT who designed Kelly’s PCOS weight loss plan. 'So, we chose exercises and foods that avoid that.'
There's some science out there to indicate how you might best manage your PCOS, when it comes to exercise and nutrition. Four separate studies highlight the benefits of swapping HIIT for regular, progressive strength training for PCOS weight loss, for example, while reducing processed foods from a PCOS diet can also help.
Here, Wang reveals the PCOS weight loss plan that helped Kelly achieve her results.
Kelly's PCOS weight loss plan: the results
'I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 19 and experienced amenorrhea, rapid hair growth, crippling migraines I carried more fat around my tummy than I would have liked,' says Kelly.
'I’d always been fairly active but life got in the way and I stopped making myself a priority. I became an expert at hiding my size from others but, as my weight spiralled, I became increasingly miserable. I was unhealthy, I looked grey and, gradually, I avoided going out.'
Breakfast: A bacon bap or pastry
Lunch: Convenience food on-the-go
Dinner: A meal out – always accompanied by wine and followed with dessert
'I travelled a lot for work so, although when I was at home, I tried to eat healthily – low-calorie, carb-free salads, they didn’t satisfy me and I’d end up eating calorific snacks. I used food as a comfort blanket to mask how unhappy I was feeling,' Kelly says.
'I wasn’t exercising at all, I sat in meetings most days and I hardly walked anywhere. ‘I’m too busy’ was my excuse. The truth, though, was that I felt intimidated by the thought of going to a gym.'
'I’ve lost 15kg in 18 weeks, which is around 25 per cent of my starting body weight. I hope my weight loss shows others with the condition that PCOS weight gain can be overcome.'
Breakfast: Porridge with mixed berries
Lunch: Tuna salad
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with mushrooms, courgette, tomatoes and aubergine
'Reducing refined carbs and sugar, while increasing lean protein and vegetables has been a PCOS-managing revelation, while the weight loss – well that came from tailoring my PCOS weight loss plan to keep me in a calorie deficit.'
'It really was as simple as that. I’ve become more organised so there are always home-made meals in the fridge and, if I’m eating out, steak is my go-to – Simon told me there’s always a sensible food option wherever you go, and that’s a mantra I now live by.'
'Exercise is something I now look forward to and I schedule it around any travel or other commitments. I train 5-6 days a week – a mixture of weights (squats, deadlifts etc) and light cardio on the cross trainer – and I clock in 15,000-20,000 steps per day. If I’m travelling, I’ll use the hotel gym or, if there isn’t one, be sure to take a long walk.
'I love the buzz of seeing myself getting stronger and on days when I can’t be bothered, I remind myself that I’ll feel a million times better once I’ve done a session – in terms of energy and mood.'
Kelly's PCOS weight loss plan: The workout
'We used supersetted compound movements, meaning Kelly would go from an upper-body movement straight into a lower body movement, resting at the end,' says Wang.
'This meant Kelly could maximise her performance and calorie output in every session. We performed 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps and never took more than 90 seconds rest. She would complete some intense intervals and track work to finish so she never left the gym floor with anything left in the tank.'
Try this Gemma Atkinson fitness video to get started, today.
Kelly's PCOS weight loss plan: the nutrition
'With Kelly dealing PCOS and being on a restricted-calorie diet, we opted to fill her plan with low-calorie leafy greens and vegetables that have an anti-inflammatory effect, therefore suppressing the symptoms she suffered with previously.
We minimised carbohydrates, as PCOS can be worsened by spikes in insulin, and had a moderate to high protein intake to aid recovery and build some muscle.
'Losing weight can be a great way of managing PCOS, as being a healthy body weight comes with a better balance of hormones and insulin – the two main things those with PCOS must consider.
Throughout the 18-week programme, Kelly noted that her PMS symptoms improved month on month and that her cycle had increasingly less impact on her life. By our final week she said she had never felt better.'
This article originally appeared on Women's Health UK.