Why must you stop dieting if you have PCOS? How can cravings give you important information about your body? Why is PCOS a brain issue and not a reproductive issue? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about the facts of PCOS with Julie Duffy Dillon.


After sobbing in her boss’s office 15 years ago, Julie Duffy Dillon, registered dietitian and PCOS expert, taught her last diet. Once she saw the anti-fat bias, she couldn't unsee it. Now Julie helps people with PCOS confidently tackle health concerns moving forward without shame and blame. She teaches them how to burn their PCOS diet books while bringing clarity into their relationship with food and body. Julie wants to empower people with PCOS to grab their crown because they are King and Queen of their own castle. Visit her website, listen to her podcast, and connect on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. FREEBIE: Check out Julie's free PCOS Roadmap and Diet Free Medical Care Informed Consent download.


  • You don’t have to diet if you have PCOS
  • Misinformation around PCOS
  • Are you eating enough?
  • Gather your data
  • PCOS is (mostly) about hormones

You don’t have to diet if you have PCOS

[Even] if you’ve tried every diet or you don’t want to do that, there are so many other things you can do to help manage symptoms that don’t have to do with dieting or the scale and can actually feel better. (Julie Duffy Dillon)
A lot of people think that the best way to manage PCOS symptoms is to diet and cut out a whole bunch of food groups, but it’s not true. You really don’t have to diet if you have PCOS, and there are many alternatives that you can try to help you manage your symptoms and still get to live a full life however you want to design it.

Misinformation around PCOS

Because PCOS has not yet been properly researched, there is a lot of misinformation about it.
There’s so little actual research on PCOS in general and even less on PCOS and nutrition that I don’t think people even think there’s another way. (Julie Duffy Dillon)
The topic of food plays a big part in the discussions around PCOS because the way that care is framed around recovery from PCOS is neglectful, and people are not taught what PCOS means. A person cannot develop PCOS through eating too much or too little of a certain food because it is genetic and is passed down through family genes.
The push to diet may initially do something favorable like lower insulin … but only for about two or three months, and after that … long-term diet research shows that dieting or restricting … increases insulin and inflammation, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, all those different things. (Julie Duffy Dillon)
Dieting makes PCOS worse.

Are you eating enough?

What can you do instead to help your PCOS? Well, are you eating enough? Women are socialized not to eat that much, but eating enough is one of the most important things that you can do for your health. Set boundaries around your time to eat well, healthily, nourishing, and often, so that your body – and your mental and emotional health – are at optimal levels.

Gather your data

Look at your lived experience. What does your body tell you, and your mental, physical, and emotional health tell you about what your life experience is like when dieting? You have to be honest with yourself. Gather your data, listen to your cravings, observe how you feel, and decide from there to take a step toward holistic health.
What is your data on dieting? Go through every diet you’ve been through and on, what it did and what it didn’t do, and what was next? (Julie Duffy Dillon)
If you struggle with PCOS, move away from dieting, because that is the number one thing you can do that will help you to better manage your symptoms.

 PCOS is (mostly) about hormones

There are many different symptoms of PCOS, such as:
  • Acne
  • Facial hair
  • Alopecia or hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • High cholesterol and blood pressure
  • IBS
  • Thyroid issues
  • Mood disorders
The reason why all these things can come from PCOS is [because] PCOS is a … a condition that results in hormonal imbalances. It starts in the hypothalamus and anything that has to do with a hormone can be affected. (Julie Duffy Dillon)
However, to be fully diagnosed with PCOS, people need to meet two out of the three Rotterdam criteria: 1 – Irregular or absent periods 2 – Signs of high antigens like testosterone 3 – Evidence of multiple immature follicles PCOS is not a reproductive issue. It is a metabolic issue that starts in the brain.



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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