That time of the month is never pleasant for women, and gaining weight certainly doesn’t help. You can expect to experience cramping, irritability, mood swings, and a whole host of other physical and emotional problems. Already in a fragile emotional state, weight gain can lead many women into a depressing spiral.
Is there anything you can do to stop your weight gain?
Is a small amount of weight gain normal?
Find out the answers to these questions—and more—all in this one article.
Just Why Does it Happen?
The truth is, some weight gain is just natural. Women can experience anywhere from two to six pounds (or even up to ten pounds, in extreme cases) of weight gain during their time of the month. Typically, you’ll start noticing a weight increase anywhere from five to three days before the start of your period.
|These weight fluctuations can take on a few forms. First of all, your body naturally retains water during your period. This is known as bloating or “water weight.”
Bloating, like all of the pains involved with your period, is due to hormonal shifts in your body’s chemistry. Fluid retention is where your body accumulates water in certain parts of your body. You might find that you are urinating less frequently because your body is hanging onto all the liquid it can.
Many women feel as though their clothing fits them differently during their period. This is because their abdomen feels—and even looks—puffier due to fluid accumulation. Swollen ankles, legs, and fingers are also other aspect of bloating. While bloating is a cause of menstrual weight gain, the good news is that this particular type of weight does go away.
Throughout the end of your cycle, you will find that your weight water goes away on its own.
The other cause of weight gain is linked to the food cravings that many women experience. Currently, little information is known about exactly why women experience certain cravings. You’ve heard the stories and likely experience some of the cravings for yourself. You might have a sweet tooth—eating all the chocolates and pastries in sight. Or you might crave salty foods like French fries and potato chips.
Physicians and scientists think that your brain triggers “hunger responses” as a result of varying hormone levels when you are menstruating. Your brain thinks that your body has a low blood sugar level, so it sends you those food cravings as a way of saying, “feed me!” During menstruation, your brain is more responsive to insulin, which is also why you crave those sweets.
Your Weight and Your Mood
On an emotional level, women feel irritable, emotional, and depressed around the time of menstruation. As a coping mechanism, your brain remembers how good it feels to indulge in those tasty foods. So as a pick me up, your brain wants you to give into temptation.
Doesn’t that bite of chocolate feel like a brief moment of euphoria?
When you’re down in the dumps—your brain wants you to feel better. Even if indulging later leads to guilt feelings down the line.
Period weight gain is one tough battle. On a physical level, you’re fighting against water retention, a natural part of your monthly cycle. Then add those cravings and often chaotic emotions, and this is a recipe for disaster.
Dealing with your period, never mind weight gain, is never easy or fun. This can be an especially trying time for women who are struggling to lose weight. It’s not uncommon for a woman to feel like she’s so close to her goal weight, until she gets her period and gains another five pounds.
Many women on strict diet and exercise weight loss plans choose not to weight themselves when they are on their periods.
Though this may sound counterintuitive, this is a great idea. Are you actively trying to lose weight?
If so, stay off the scale during those bloated days. Stay true to your healthy eating and exercising plans. But if you are so hung up on the number on the scale, it’s easy to get discouraged or depressed because of water retention weight gain. This might lead you to think, “Well, the damage is done.
I might as well have that ice cream.” In this case, your emotions lead you down a slippery slope. The indulgence-related weight gain is certainly harder to lose than water retention-related weight gain.
Tips For What You Can Do
There are absolutely steps you can take to lessen—or even avoid—water retention. Your number one priority should be to avoid foods high in salt. Sodium dehydrates you and increases water retention. You absolutely need to stay hydrated. A great way to put a stop to that menstrual weight gain is to drink lots of water. When you’re feeling puffy and bloated, this might be the last thing on your mind. But consuming plenty of water flushes out your system.
Some doctors can provide water pills or diuretics to fight bloating. Diuretics help you pass more salt and water when you urinate. Or, you can easily find natural diuretics, like cabbage and cranberry juice, at home at the grocery store.
Look for healthy alternatives as a way to combat those food cravings. Use raisins or cranberries—both packed with essential nutrients—to satisfy your sweet tooth. Or, treat yourself with a flavored yogurt instead of a pastry.
Many low-fat yogurt varieties offer flavors based on your favorite desserts. If you’re looking for something salty, limit yourself to a handful of roasted, lightly salted nuts instead. These options are low calorie alternatives to a calorie-laden food binge.
To take your fight against pms weight gain to the next level, look into Period Vitamin. Period Vitamin is a special formula of vitamins and potent herbal remedies that regulate your hormones. During this time of the month, you body is crying out for the stability that Period Vitamin provides.