4 Reasons You Gain Weight During Your Period—And What to Do About It

Woman's feet in colorful socks on  scale

Weight gain during your period is common, but there are a bunch of small, easy things you can do.
Image: Shutterstock

Weight gain during your period is common—most women gain anywhere from one to ten pounds leading up to and during menstruation. But why does the weight gain happen…and what can you do about it?

Basically, it all comes down to the fluctuation of hormones and the changes happening in your body.  Some common reasons for weight gain:

  • Water retention. Bowel problems and the natural drop of progesterone during your period seem to be the most common reasons for this.
  • Bloating. This could be caused by increased gas in the intestine or just more inactivity than usual (sometimes it’s hard to keep the exercise regular when you’re not feeling your best!).
  • Food cravings and overeating. With sugar levels fluctuating, period cravings may begin affecting what—and how much—you eat, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Decrease in magnesium. The magnesium levels in your body tend to go down just before your period, which causes insulin levels to rise. That’s why you crave sugar, which can lead to reaching for an extra candy bar…and gaining a few pounds in the process.

So that’s the bad news. Now…what can you do about it?

It’s important to note that period weight gain is often temporary. Particularly when you’re younger, you’re likely to lose the weight again right after your period without having to switch up your diet or exercise much.  As you get closer to menopause, however, the weight gain can get worse—as much as 15 pounds or more—and harder to lose.  So here are a few tips on stopping that weight gain in its tracks:

  • Reduce sodium intake. Yes, it’s hard to cut out the fast food when you’ve got the craving, but too much sodium can cause water retention and weight gain. So you’re better off cutting back on the salt as much as possible.
  • Reduce bloating. We’ve got some great tips on how to do that over here.
  • Increase your magnesium and calcium intake. Cooked spinach, black beans, and pumpkin seeds are all good sources of magnesium. Keeping an eye on your calcium intake by drinking milk and eating leafy green veggies can help prevent water retention. You can also look into taking a nutritional supplement.
  • Try yoga. The exercises can be soothing while still keeping you active. Depending on how you feel, there may be certain poses you need to avoid, but it’s worth giving it a try with these yoga poses for menstruation.

Weight gain during your period is no fun, but it’s not necessarily something to worry about. Just keep these tips in mind, and stay as active as you can, and you’ll find maintaining your ideal weight much more easily.

Valentine’s Day Fitness Routine

Fitness tips on the goIt's Valentine's Day soon, and to make sure you show your best ASS-etts, focus on a chest and glutes workout this week.

L is for Lift Your Butt

No pain, no gain! Do 100 Squats with 10lbs dumb bells in each hand.

Break it up into 4 sets of 25 repetitions.

If you don't have dumb bells, then go ahead and use body weight. Try to go a little faster though since you won't have much in terms of resistance.

For a complete squat, make sure your hips are parallel to the top of your knees at the end of the squat.

Ahem: Stand up all the way - no cheating! You want to aim for quality with your movements. Do not rush through them.

O is for Operate the Rounded Booty

Next up, 100 2nd position ballet squats. How you ask?

Get a chair and put one foot on the seat of the chair. Keep your toes turned out as if they were pointing to a mouse on the floor.

Break the set up into 4 sets of 25.

No dumb bells need here, just your body weight. If you want to spice it up, unleash your inner bootcamp instructor and make yourself do this exercise with dumb bell bicep curls as you squat down. Fun right?!

Same as before with full deep squats and TAKE YOUR TIME.

V is for Vaporize the Armpit Fat

Let's keep it moving girl! 50 Triangle Arm Push-ups.

Get on your knees with a yoga mat and get into your knee push up position.  Make a triangle shape with your opposite thumbs & first finger and place it on the floor right below your boobs. Flatten your back, tuck your butt under.

Total of 50 push ups and break them up into 5 sets of 10.

Make sure you go has deep as chest in line with bend of elbows and drop your shoulders from your ears.

E is for Express the Cleavage

Finally, show some love for the girls. Do 45 Chest flys on your back with 15lb weights in each hand. If you don't have any dumb bells, although by now you might want to consider investing in some, then take a 1 gallon water bottle and use that.

Lay down on your mat and tuck your hips under and engage your core muscles. Bring the weights together right above your chest and bring them open so you feel the pressure in your chest and upper back muscles.

Make sure you open all the way out until the the back of your hand almost touches the floor. Again, go slow and work on squeezing your chest muscles.

You can break it into a 3 sets of 15 reps.

That's all for today! Now go show your body some L-O-V-E!