Health & Wellness

Q&A: How much weight gain is normal on your period?

The amount of weight gain in the second half of your cycle leading up to your period could be as little as none or as much as 5 pounds (yikes!). The amount of salt you eat during this time plays a huge role in the amount you will gain. Here’s the deal: in the two weeks between the time you ovulate and the time you get your period, your body is preparing for pregnancy and will retain water like there’s no tomorrow. If you eat salty foods more during this time (and let’s face it who doesn’t crave salty stuff at this time of the month), you will retain even more water and will therefore gain more weight. I know I seem to want to eat more and sleep more in the few days before my period, but I’ve found if I exercise and eat low-salt, healthy foods, I gain much less weight and feel a heck of a lot better overall in the final days before my period comes.
While the numbers on your scale might creep up a bit on your period, you're not necessarily gaining fat weight. A lot of us retain some water just before and during our periods. I can't even begin to count the times I've had to struggle to button my jeans during my period! You can battle uncomfortable bloating by eating a healthy diet. In particular, try to avoid salty foods like potato chips, microwave meals and french fries. Remember, it's also a good idea to be physically active during your period.
The number on the scale might go up – and it definitely goes up for me – but from my understanding, it's not actual weight gain. It's mostly just bloating from excess water weight.  Yes, those extra cookies and chocolate can cause weight gain eventually, but what you're experiencing during your actual period is probably temporary. To minimize the bloating that can make your waistband feel like it's trying to cut off your air supply, avoid salt as much as possible and drink lots of water. To satisfy my sugary, carby cravings, I try to reach for complex carbs and natural sweetness. Try a piece of whole grain or sprouted toast with an indulgent topping, like honey and almond butter or peanut butter and dark chocolate chips.