WEIGHT GAIN AROUND PMS AND HOW TO AVOID IT

As women we go through a phase every month which ends up making us bloated and tired…all thanks to the incoming period alert. From pain, headache, water retention, mood swings…there are so many symptoms you experience just before your periods and to put it down in simple words you are PMSing. Around 90% of women go through PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome), so rest assured it’s just a part and parcel of being a “woman”.

PMS brings along weight gain and boom! That’s where most of us end up feeling paranoid…why weight gain? Why does this happen to us every month? Would I look plum all of a sudden?

It is normal to gain around 3-5 pounds around that time of month. You may wonder why…here are some answers.

HORMONAL CHANGES – 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 TBT OR TBH.

WATER RETENTION AND BLOATING – Water retention as stated above can be caused by hormones and hence period bloating or stomach cramps make you feel as if you have gained weight, making your clothes feel tight or uncomfortable. Bloating usually starts 5-6 days prior to your periods and lasts till the first few days of menstruation.

GASTRO INTESTINAL ISSUES – Do you experience constipation, diarrhea just before your periods? This is yet again related to PMS.The hormonal fluctuations are to be blamed if you end up with an upset tummy during PMS. This can again be a reason for weight gain, discomfort and bloating. Primarily the 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 diarrhea also.

OVEREATING OR CRAVINGS- Don’t most of us crave for something sweet or high in calories just before our periods begin ? A week before your periods there is a sharp increase in progesterone which to be frank is an appetite stimulant leading to more calorie consumption. All the more, estrogen levels drop which regulates serotonin a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and your appetite levels. Low serotonin levels force you to consume sugar and calorie laden foods, ultimately leading to a gain in weight. And you know what? Your metabolic rate increases during menstruation which helps you burn calories but in turn increases your appetite.

REDUCTION IN MAGNESIUM LEVELS-As soon as your periods are about begin,the levels of magnesium in the body drop. This drop can lead to sugar cravings and dehydration. Dehydration and sugar cravings can compel you to consume sugar filled foods leading to gain in weight.

SKIPPING WORKOUTS- Due to bloating and cramps you might not feel the need to work out leading to some gain in weight. Also sharp increase in the estrogen and progesterone levels a week before periods is capable of making you feel low on energy and endurance, ultimately reduction in activity and performance.

TIPS TO FEEL BETTER DURING PMS-

  • Drink enough water-Water is the best remedy for water retention and bloating. You might ask why ? when you do not drink water the body is capable of conserving more fluids.Hence avoid dehydration by drinking at least 2-3 liters of water and to add more flavor use mint leaves / basil, lemon/ oranges/ grapefruit/ strawberries to the water.
  • Eat fresh and clean food- Stick to foods which are loaded with complex carbs, protein and good fats.Consume fresh fruits and vegetables rather than consuming foods high in calories.For a snack you can consume fruits,protein bars prepared at home.For e.g.,- Green leafy vegetables, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds,oats,barley, ragi, sweet potato , yogurt, soy milk, almond milk, etc., can be consumed frequently.
  • Consume magnesium rich foods- As stated above lower levels of magnesium can lead to sugar cravings,water retention,bloating and mood swings and hence it is important to stock up on foods which are high in magnesium. Green leafy vegetables, banana, figs, nuts, seeds, peas, salmon, lentils, baked beans, brown rice and oats.
  • Remain active-Staying active can reduce the buildup of fluids in your body and hence moving around be it walking, gymming, playing a sport, jogging can help you sweat leading to removal of excess water.

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE-

  • Reduce your salt intake– Consuming salty or processed foods which are high in salt can lead to water retention and bloating. Hence reduce the consumption of salt and stay away from that chips packet please!
  • Avoid caffeine or sugar-Foods or beverages rich in caffeine and sugar can worsen bloating and too much caffeine can lead to dehydration ultimately leading to sugar cravings. You must preferably avoid foods which are high in sugar and contain caffeine.
  • Drink enough water- Drinking enough water will keep you hydrated and there are fewer chances that your body would retain/conserve water.
  • Avoid gas forming/producing foods-Stay away from gas forming foods because these can leave you bloated.Keep the consumption of these  foods to minimum is order to avoid acidity or gas.
  • Stay active-Exercising daily is a must.However it could be any form of activity you are fond off.It could be pilates, zumba,walking, dancing, jogging or simply yoga. Just do it!

IN A NUTSHELL GAINING WEIGHT DURING PERIODS IS ABSOLUTELY NORMAL.SIMPLY PAY ATTENTION TOWARDS YOUR DIET, EXERCISE ROUTINE AND YOU WOULD BE NORMAL IN FEW DAYS OF YOUR PERIODS.

HUDA SHAIKH

Huda is a Nutritionist, Clinical Dietitian, health blogger, motivational speaker, healthy recipe designer, a certified diabetes educator by profession and the Founder and Director of Nutribond an online healthcare centre where diets are completely personalized for the patients. She is also the founder of a movement named as the Period movement which is meant to
educate underprivileged girls with regards to menstruation.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wonder Women World. If you wish to write /contribute you can reach us at thewonderwomenworld@gmail.com or here-> CONTACT US

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