PMS And Weight Gain: How To Avoid Gaining Weight During PMS

Periods and PMS come with pain, mood swings, and weight gain. But what if there was a way to not bloat as much every month? Here are a few ways to avoid it!

Periods and PMS come with pain, mood swings and weight gain. But what if there was a way to not bloat as much every month? Here are a few ways to avoid it!

Every month, we women, go through a phase where we end up feeling bloated and tired – all thanks to the incoming period alert. From body aches to headaches to water retention to mood swings, there is everything you experience right before your period. You are PMSing (Pre-menstrual syndrome). And just so you know, around 90% of the women go through PMS, so rest assured, it’s just a part and parcel or being a woman.

PMS brings along with it weight gain and boom! That’s where most of us end up with a feeling of paranoia. Why the wait gain? Why does this happen to us every month? Would I look plump post this as well?

While the questions are numerous, gaining some weight around your periods is absolutely normal. Why, you ask.

Here is what causes the weight gain:

Hormonal changes during PMS

Just before you menstruate, the levels of estrogen and progesterone (two important female hormones, which control a woman’s body) dip leading to water retention.

Your hormones are responsible for controlling the way your body regulates fluids and lower levels of the same would compel your body to bloat.

The ongoing water retention can cause swelling/puffiness in your stomach, breast and extremities, but hold on! It is simply till your periods last and you aren’t gaining fat.  

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Water retention and bloating

Water retention can be caused by hormones. Thus, period bloating or stomach cramps make you feel like you have gained weight. It makes your clothes feel a little tighter or uncomfortable. Bloating usually starts five or six days prior to your periods. This lasts till the first few days of menstruation.

Gastro intestinal issues

Experiencing constipation or diarrhoea right before your periods can be related to PMS. It is the hormonal fluctuations that are to be blamed if you end up with an upset tummy during your PMS.

Again this can be another reason for weight gain, discomfort and bloating. Primarily, increased levels of progesterone a week before menstruation impairs intestinal contractions leading to slow digestion and constipation. Prostaglandins produced by the uterus can lead to diarrhoea as well.

Overeating or cravings

Don’t most of us crave for something sweet or high in calories right before our periods? A week before the periods is the time when there is a sharp increase in progesterone, which honestly, is an appetite stimulant that leads to more calorie consumption.

The more the estrogen levels, the lower goes your serotonin. Low serotonin levels force you to consume sugar and calorie-laden foods, ultimately leading to weight gain. Serotonin is basically a neurotransmitter that regulates your mood and appetite.

And you know what’s more? Your metabolic rate increases during menstruation that helps you burn calories but in turn increases your appetite.

Reduction in magnesium levels

As soon as your periods are about to start, your magnesium levels also drop. This drop may lead to sugar cravings and dehydration. These two things compel you to consume sugar filled food leading to weight gain.

Skipping workouts

Due to bloating and cramps, you might not feel the need to work out- this might lead to weight gain as well. Additionally, a sharp increase in the estrogen and progesterone levels a week before the periods can make you feel low on energy. This might, ultimately, lead to reduction in activity and performance.

Given how many issues you have during your PMS, here are a few tips to feel better during it-

Drink enough water

Water is the best remedy for water retention and bloating. Why, you ask? When you don’t drink enough water, the body is capable of conserving more fluids.

Therefore, avoid being dehydrated by drinking at least two to three litres of water a day. And why not add more flavour to it by adding mint leaves/basil/lemon/orange/grapefruit/strawberries to it?

Eat fresh and clean food

Stick to eating fruits loaded with complex carbs, proteins and good fats. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables rather than eating foods high in calories.

For example, you can eat fruits and protein bars made at home. Or you can also eat green leafy vegetables, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, oats, barley, ragi, sweet potato, yogurt, soy milk or almond milk as often as you can.

Consume magnesium rich foods

As you already know, low levels of magnesium can lead to sugar cravings, water retention, bloating and mood swings. Therefore, it is important to stock up on foods that are high in magnesium.

Green leafy vegetables, bananas, figs, nuts, seeds, peas, salmon, lentil, baked beans and oats are always a good source of magnesium.

Remain active

Staying active can reduce the build-up of fluids in your body. Thus, moving around, be it walking, gymming, playing some sport or even jogging, can help you sweat. Sweating is always a good idea to help you in the removal of excess water.  

While there are several cures to the gained weight during periods, prevention is always better than cure. So here are a few preventive measures to help you during PMS-

Reduce your salt intake

Consuming foods high in salt or are salty can lead to water retention and bloating. Therefore it is a good idea to reduce your consumption of salt. So stay away from that packet of chips, please!

Avoid caffeine and sugar

Food or beverages rich in caffeine and sugar can worsen the bloating. At the same time, a lot of caffeine can lead to dehydration and ultimately to sugar cravings. You must preferably avoid foods high in sugar and contain caffeine.

Drink lots of water

Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated. There also are fewer chances of your body retaining/conserving water.

Avoid gassy foods

Stay away from gas forming foods as these can leave you bloated. Keep the consumption of these foods to minimum is order to avoid acidity or gas.

Stay active

Exercising, in any form, daily is a must. You could choose an activity you like. It could be anything from gymming to pilates to zumba to walking to dancing to jogging or simply yoga.

Just do it!

In a nutshell, gaining weight during periods is absolutely normal. Simply pay attention to your diet, exercise routine and you will be back to normal in a couple days after the period.

First published here.

Picture credits: Pexels

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About the Author

Huda Shaikh

A Nutritionist, Clinical Dietitian, Speaker, health/fitness blogger, online show host, menu planner, menstrual health, and holistic health advocate who runs a nutrition website named NutriBond and a movement named the Period movement. She loves read more...

37 Posts | 134,503 Views

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