We women dread those 5 days in a month when lady days come calling and along with it, a set of woes called PMS (premenstrual syndrome) with symptoms ranging from mood swings, cramps, irritability, bloating, etc. There’s another issue that can add to our distress during period days apart from cramps -and that’s weight gain! It’s believed that women gain around 2 to 3 kg during their periods, and when you are standing on that weighing scale, it’s nothing short of a nightmare. During periods (which is a monthly cycle that happens in women of reproductive age), level of progesterone hormone drops, causing the lining of uterus to shed, triggering the menstrual cycle, which lasts for an average of 5 to 7 days. As we had mentioned above, a lot of women notice weight gain during periods and it’s a common occurrence, and a temporary one at that. Most of it is because high level of estrogen causes water retention with bloating around abdomen, arms, and legs. Also, progesterone drop increases appetite and cravings for salty stuff (another reason for water retention). It also does not help that most of us tend to get inactive and skip workouts during periods. All these factors add up and lead to increase in numbers on the weighing scale. Though weight gain during periods is temporary, if you let your guards down and give into cravings and mood swings, chances are high that the extra pounds may stay for longer. So, here are some effective ways to avoid this issue:
What Causes Weight Fluctuations During Periods?
1. PCOS: If you are suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS, chances are pretty high that you will gain a bit of extra weight during your periods. Given that PCOS is itself a result of imbalance of reproductive hormones, the fact that it potentially upsets our metabolism is hardly surprising.
2. PMS: After PCOS, PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome is quite commonplace. Bloating and cravings for high-carb food items are two of the most common symptoms in this condition. If you give in to your cravings and indulge in binge eating, it will pack around the waistline and turn up on the weighing scale.
3. Fluid retention: Sodium levels are thrown off balance during periods on account of the elevated levels of female reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone. As a result of sodium imbalance, one frequently complains of feeling bloated and that can easily be explained by the fact that you actually retain fluid during this health condition and although it is totally normal, it does add to your weight.
4. Increase in Appetite and Cravings: As has been hinted at previously, let us once again reiterate for greater emphasis, that one craves for food and is tempted down the slippery slope of binge eating during the menses especially due to the female reproductive hormone progesterone. And it is a no-brainer but, the more you eat, chances are that those will reflect in the added pounds on your weighing scale.
5. Bloating is a feeling of fullness and tightness in the belly/abdominal area and visible distention of the tummy, usually after eating something. Bloating can sometimes cause discomfort and pain too. For women, it is a depressing sight to see an increase in the width of their belly area due to bloating. Lack of fiber in the daily diet and not consuming enough water can all cause bloating.
6. Being Constipated: Let it be out there once and for all that menstrual cycles affect your gastrointestinal tract by constricting thereby making it doubly difficult to defecate. This results in you feeling not only bloated but it also adds to your weight.
9 Ways To Avoid Weight Gain During Periods:
1. Have more potassium-rich foods – Fruits like bananas, kiwi, oranges, apples, are good to keep away bloating. It is recommended to have these fruits during your periods to to keep the bloating level down. They help balance the amount of fluids in your body.
2. Have Protein with Every Meal: Make sure you are not making way for junk food (as comfort food) by cutting down on protein. Foods like chia seeds, nuts, beans and salmon can lower the prostaglandins which are responsible for the bloating during this time.
3. Switch to a water-based diet: Cucumber, watermelon, celery and many other foods that are high in water content will make you feel light through your periods. These are natural diuretics and will help prevent bloating or stomach issues.
4. Stay away from foods that cause gas: That means avoiding broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes etc., during these days. Also, too much diary products can lead to production of gas which in turn will distend your stomach.
5. Cut Down Caffeine and Alcohol Intake: For next five to seven days, it is advisable to keep caffeine and alcohol levels low. Too much coffee and alcohol can irritate your bowels which can lead to an upset tummy.
6. Stay away from sugary drinks and aerated water: Not just on your periods, but in the long run too, particularly when you are trying to lose weight and get health, give up sugary delights, packaged juices, fizzy drinks, etc.
7. Drink more water: You might have water retention on your periods, but the more you drink water, more are your chances of getting rid of bloating and water retention. Your energy levels are usually low during this time and it is best to have water to keep yourself hydrated and keep the energy levels high.
8. Follow a Healthy Diet: Not just on your periods, eating healthy will help you lose extra weight. Being on a weight loss diet such as Rati Beauty diet, will help you lose extra inches off waist too. Download the Rati Beauty app for more details.
9. Don’t skip workout: Don’t stop your workout routine during periods, instead make it less intense. Keep it light and spend some time doing yoga or go for brisk walk. You can also do upper body exercises during these days. Also, try to be on your feet as much as possible.
Summing up, do understand that, going through periods is a natural biological phenomenon and it’s okay to if you gain some weight during this period. But once it’s over, do remember to eat healthy and workout regularly.