What to Wear with Period Bloating this Summer

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There are 15 precious summer weekends on the calendar this year from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but what if your cycle messes up one of those weekends with period bloating?  Not to worry because summer fashion options are plentiful for days with water weight gain.

Here are a few comfortable outfit ideas for those days when a waistline with a zipper and a button seem impossible and demoralizing due to PMS bloating!

The Maxi Dress – Whether you chose a jersey style fabric, or a more flowing chiffon style fabric, the maxi dress is a great way to keep it loose at the mid-section.  All you will need is an awesome pair of sandals and a few eye-catching accessories and you will be trendy along with comfortable.

Tunic + Leggings – Tunics are available in stores ranging from inexpensive at H&M and Forever 21 to more expensive, preppy labels like Vineyard Vines and Lily Pulitzer.  Either way, the shirt grazes the mid-thigh and leggings are totally stretchy around the stomach area.   All you will need is a fun pair of flip-flops or gladiators and you are set for a summer evening in the city.

Yoga Pants – Have you seen the different styles available these days? From tight to flare to jogger to pants that could easily pass for jeans!  Today’s yoga pants are stylish enough for the office and as comfortable as yesteryear’s sweat pants.

Overall’s – These have made the rounds on many, many fashion blogs so what is old is new again.  Since they hang loose at the mid-section, they are perfect for PMS bloating days!

A-line T-shirts – Even if you insist on squeezing into your white jeans, a loose, breezy A-line t-shirt is cut a little longer and doesn’t cling to the body.  If you are really uncomfortable, you can undo the top button of your jeans and no one will be the wiser.

Remember that this water weight gain is temporary and if you choose the right clothing, you can still feel and look good every single night and day this summer!

Monthly Cycle + Low Self Esteem

148027218The monthly clash of hormones can lower your self esteem in an instant.  As hormonal acne sends a blossom of zits across your T-zone and PMS bloating has the zipper of your jeans digging into your stomach, it is easy to feel horrible about the way you look!   The bloating and acne is never as exaggerated or as apparent to other people, but those PMS days can serve as a blow to your ego.

Wellness encompasses all aspects of our lives, like sleep, nutrition, friends, family and fitness.  What happens to us when we have negative feelings due to added water weight or acne?  I’ll insert another “ask” here for you to help us with our research by taking our survey on how PMS affects us at work because we wonder if low self esteem also plays a role in a woman’s reluctance to negotiate for a higher salary or not taking credit for her work.

Plus, as stated in this Huffington Post article, women are prone to dwell on the negative and ruminate, even on stupid things like thinking that everyone is talking about the pimple on your chin or that your skirt is a little snug.  And when you are busy mulling all of your perceived shortcomings, coupled with looking at people’s perfectly curated lives on social media…well, the self loathing can get worse!

Here are a few quick self esteem activities to boost your confidence:

Get outside.  Take a walk and be mindful of the sun on your face, the budding trees and the daffodils sprouting after a long winter.  Natural settings improve mood.

Avoid emotional eating.  This is the time when sticking to a healthy diet is truly difficult because you might want to stuff your face with donuts or ice cream or potato chips for that quick fix, but that junk food won’t help in the long run.

Take a nap.  Can you put your head down on your desk for 20 minutes?  Sometimes just a little rest will make you feel like yourself again.

Sweat. Take it all out on the elliptical or on the treadmill.  Feel good endorphin's will help you bust through your personal pity party.

Take a screen break.  Seriously.  For the next few weeks we will be writing about some analog pursuits!  Our #GirlUBeWell campaign will explore ways to spend an hour or two offline.  We are hoping this will spark your creativity and give you even more ideas for some positive self esteem activities!

Check back soon or look for #GirlUBeWell on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Which PMS “Type” Are You?

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Did you know there are different types of PMS? In 1980, Dr. Guy Abraham at UCLA developed a classification system grouping more than 150 reported PMS symptoms into “types.” Many of us are likely to suffer from more than one type, but in general, our symptoms fall into these five categories:

TYPE A (Anxiety)

Symptoms: You suffer from a high estrogen/low progesterone ratio, making you nervous, tense, and anxious. Your mood swings are legendary. Your period often starts suddenly and is heavy with clots.

What to do: Try increasing your intake of Vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium. Chamomile tea might be helpful, too.

TYPE B or P (Pain/Aggression)

Symptoms: Pain is what you feel most during PMS, particularly in your joints, lower back, abdomen, and head. You may also experience weight gain, swelling of the hands and feet, and breast tenderness. Some scientists theorize this is due to inflammation, which means the key to feeling better is to reduce that inflammation.

What to do: Try increasing your intake of Vitamin C with bioflavonoids. In addition, decrease your salt intake. When you do need salt, consider using sea salt, which has beneficial trace minerals.

TYPE C (Cravings)

Symptoms: Fluctuations in blood sugar levels cause headaches, fatigue, and moodiness. You’re dealing with increased appetite and cravings, often for sugary foods.

What to do: Eat smaller meals and snacks more often to keep your blood sugar level. You may also want to increase your magnesium intake.

TYPE D (Depression)

Symptoms: You’re troubled by emotional symptoms most of all, including depression, forgetfulness, and insomnia. It’s believed that this is caused by low levels of estrogen and serotonin.

What to do: EXERCISE! Even if you’re not feeling it, getting your body moving will do wonders for these particular symptoms. Certain herbs like red clover and chaste tree berry can help, too—and you can get both of those (and more!) in the GirlU supplement.

TYPE H (Hyperhydration)

Symptoms: You retain water like nobody’s business. Bloating, breast tenderness, and swollen hands and feet are the bane of your existence during that time of the month.

What to do: Even though it seems counterintuitive, keep hydrated! You’ll also want to increase your intake of potassium-rich foods like bananas, avocados, apricots, and broccoli.

No matter what your PMS type, all the usual suggestions apply: eat well, watch the amount of sodium, caffeine, and sugar you consume, drink lots of water, and run through all of your favorite de-stressing techniques.

What PMS type are you? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter…or take a snapshot of your favorite healthy remedy for your PMS type and share it with us on Instagram!

5 Ways to Soothe Period Bloating

Woman with puffed cheeks holding her abdomen

Many people deal with period bloating, but there are simple ways to fight the bloat!
Images: Shutterstock

Many of us suffer from period bloating during that time of the month, likely caused by hormonal fluctuations that happen naturally during the menstrual cycle. Just another uncomfortable symptom to put up with, right? Think again! There are plenty of small, simple things you can do to soothe the bloat. Here are just a few to get you started:

  • Cut the caffeine and alcohol. Or at least cut down significantly! Your body has a harder time dealing with hormone fluctuations if it also has to deal with caffeine and alcohol, so be kind and give it a break. Try a soothing herbal tea as an alternative.
  • Slow down on the sugar. Sure, you might be craving it like mad, but you do have other options—maple syrup, sugar-free honey, raw coconut sugar—that are likely to be less harsh on a body already dealing with overactive hormones.
  • Eat well. This holds true basically all the time, but it’s especially important when dealing with period bloating. Dark green vegetables (broccoli, kale, watercress) and complex carbohydrates (whole wheat, rye, brown rice) are especially good for providing needed nutrients, in particular fiber. You may also want to try up to six small meals throughout the day instead of the typical three to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  • Try avoiding soy. Soy contains estrogen, which can interfere with the normal balance of sex hormones. This means products like soymilk and tofu can cause problems with bloating during your period. You’ve got other options, though: regular cow’s milk, oat milk, and coconut milk can all be good substitutions.
  • Avoid cooking or re-heating foods in plastic. When plastic heats up, tiny traces can leak into the food, which can wreck havoc with your hormones. Better to use ceramic some other material instead.

You mileage may vary on which tricks to use, but in the end, it’s important to keep track of when the period bloating hits, how it interacts with other symptoms, and what the experience is like for you—so you know how to soothe bloat quickly and get back to living uninterrupted!