How to Prevent PMS Weight Gain

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms plague 8 out of 10 women at some point in their lives and PMS weight gain can be particularly frustrating if you are trying to drop a few pounds or maintain a weight loss.  You might feel like you only have 2 weeks out of each month that you can progress with your weight loss. The other 2 weeks involve a week of PMS weight gain and a week of work to try to lose the pounds put on during PMS. Here are some ideas regarding how you can prevent PMS weight gain.

Combat Your Cravings

Like many other women, you may have a hard time eating healthy during PMS. Your body may seem to take over your best intentions, and even if you are the most dedicated health nut, you may find yourself dipping French fries into a chocolate shake.  Salty processed foods trigger water retention, which is often the culprit behind spikes in the scale during this time of the month.  If you can’t beat your cravings, outwit them. Be proactive and try to satisfy your cravings with healthy, minimally processed choices. One option is to have a square of quality dark chocolate a day. Pair it with fresh raspberries for a real treat. Calcium has been shown to help reduce PMS symptoms, so enjoy a nice tall glass of chocolate milk.  It will give you calcium as well as satisfy your chocolate cravings.

Eat Right

Plan ahead to make sure your kitchen is stocked up with healthy foods. Eat plenty of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Leafy green vegetables are a good source of iron and will help your body replace red blood cells lost through your period. Remember that you are more likely to stay on your plan if you have healthy foods at your fingertips.

Drink Plenty of Water

The main villain behind PMS weight gain is water retention. You can minimize water retention by avoiding packaged, salty foods. It is also important to drink plenty of water during PMS to encourage your body to release extra fluid. Drink to quench your thirst and avoid caffeinated beverages. Caffeine can prompt or worsen insomnia, which can lead to nighttime eating.


When you’re not feeling well exercise can be the last thing you want to do, but exercise is a great way to address PMS symptoms and preempt weight gain. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormones in the brain. Go on a hike for the dual benefits of exercise and enjoying nature. Consider a kickboxing class to work off any irritability or angst.

Skip Your Periods

Some women choose to try to avoid PMS by limiting the number of periods they have.  Oral contraceptive pills can be structured to allow you to have 4 periods a year instead of 12. Some drug companies package pills to be taken this way, but generic pills can be adjusted for the same result at a lower cost. Talk to your health care provider about how to structure your birth control pills to skip your periods and reduce the number of times a year you have to deal with PMS.



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