Why Your Weight Changes in PMS and Menopause
There’s no need to be alarmed if your weight fluctuates throughout your 28-day menstrual cycle.
Before you bleed, there is an increased volume of blood flow that goes to the uterus. The uterus swells, along with other areas of your body. You might feel heavy… bloated from additional water fluid retention and notice you weigh a bit more.
No worries, this is quite normal, unless the bloating is excessive.
High progesterone levels are culprit here, as they draw fluid from the blood vessels to other tissues of the body… which is why your breasts feel fuller too!
Additionally, high estrogen levels towards the end of your luteal phase can also affect the swelling, causing breast tenderness. Really sore breasts are also a sign of a hormonal imbalance.
At this time, it incredibly important to lay off the sugar, salt and caffeine…. which is typically what we want at this time of the month to boost our energy and fulfill our cravings!
Caffeine can cause gastrointestinal issues that can cause bloating to become worse. As well as it can increase breast pain, cramping, and exhaustion.
Also, sugary sweets and salty foods can further impact water retention as well as cause us to crave more of the same, increasing potential weight gain.
What to have instead?
I love making a tonic with sparkling water, organic liquid stevia, and apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can naturally help boost energy levels and improve digestion. Plus, with the sparkling water and stevia, it tastes like Kombucha without the additional sugar!
Another option is to make a caffeine-free chai tea concentrate. Great for boosting digestion, as well as anti-inflammatory to reduce cramping, chai will warm you from the inside out, and it makes a great substitute for a caffeinated beverage.
Relief comes after you get your period as all hormone levels drop, and the additional water weight releases. However, weight gain from going carb and sugar crazy due to cravings may cause there to be more of a weight gain than a little extra fluid retention.
Know your cycle- know your body, and have healthy go-to alternatives! That’s my personal trick 😉
So, what about menopause?
Weight gain specifically around the abdomen is very common in the menopausal years. As estrogen levels immensely decrease and shift from being manufactured mainly in the ovaries to the adrenals, lower estrogen levels can impact our cells response to insulin.
If we have been eating a little too much sugar during our menstrual years (more than 25 grams of added sugar daily) … we’ll start to experience unwanted effects during the perimenopause and menopause shift.
In addition, low thyroid function is common in menopausal years, which controls the metabolism. Try increasing thyroid boosting minerals such as selenium, from 1-3 Brazil nuts daily. Or enjoy sushi on the regular to receive iodine from the nori seaweed the sushi is wrapped in.
Estrogen levels aren’t the only hormones that decline… so does testosterone, which can lower muscle mass, also impacting metabolism.
Strength training can naturally boost testosterone levels… (including the libido!) which is important to include during menopausal years, as the menstrual years naturally got a high boost in testosterone during ovulation (which is why you felt so good in your body during ovulatory phase/a.k.a. baby making phase!)
So maybe your diet has been 100% super star perfect… and you’ve been nourishing your inner divine feminine well…
Unfortunately, excess weight can still cling to your body from stress.
High cortisol levels can make your body store more fat as a survival mechanism to reserve energy for later. It’s time to ramp up that juicy feminine self-care!
Regular orgasm can indeed, lower cortisol levels. Also, human growth hormone is released during orgasm, which stimulates collagen to support skin elasticity. As declining estrogen levels deepen laugh lines, increasing collagen may help the skin to look supple. One more reason to prioritize pleasure!
Perhaps your stress is coming from digestive stress, from eating foods that your GI tract is sensitive to… which can cause gas, bloating and intestinal discomfort.
Try eating a diet high in fiber, 35-40 grams daily recommended by Dr. Sarah Gottfried, author of The Hormone Cure.
Get a big boost of fiber with sprinkling 2 teaspoons flax meal over your salads or in smoothies. Make sure to purchase whole flax seeds and grind it in your blender or coffee grinder, as the omega-3 fatty acids in the flax oils are delicate and can go rancid from sitting on shelves if already pre-ground.
I hope this has helped you understand a little bit more about weight fluctuations. I truly believe that the best approach with food and your body is to always love yourself and honor your body as a temple. Shaming only lowers self-worth, which can cause distorted eating.
You are radiant and divinely perfect. Shall we make that our daily affirmation?
Allie, Modern Goddess Lifestyle
Allie McFee is a certified Women’s Health and Nutrition Coach through the Integrative Women’s Health Institute who helps women balance their hormones naturally with nutrition and divine feminine practices in her cooking classes, one-on-one coaching sessions, online programs, retreats, and red tent support groups. She travels internationally to chef her hormone balancing meals at women’s health retreats, with colorful meals that honor even the fussiest digestive systems. She is exquisitely in the process of birthing a cookbook, which became her focus after she holistically healed her two-week long period.
Allie also facilitates Red Tent ceremonies and Intuitive Womb Clearing sessions to help women energetically activate their creativity, self-love, and clear out blocks from traumas residing in the sacral chakra.