Losing weight is already such a challenge, especially having to summon every ounce of my willpower to reject my favourite foods. It doesn’t help that once a month I have to deal with this damn thing called The Period, which affects the weight loss process in several ways.
About seven to 10 days before the period is due to arrive, I will experience symptoms like water retention, bloated tummy, added lethargy and FOOD CRAVINGS. All these serve nothing but demoralisation to my dieting efforts.
Your clothes become tighter, you don’t feel sexy at all with that bulging tummy, you freak out in horror at the digits on the scale and you just can’t seem to resist pigging out. I go through ALL of that. I will find myself ditching my weight loss measures and polishing off that whole tube of Tim Tams or an entire tin of sugar-topped butter cookies. (This is actually called binge eating and I will write about this in a separate post.)
Well, the thing is, all those symptoms are temporary and should not interfere with your long-term weight loss progress. I know it’s really hard not to feel unmotivated when you are feeling fat, greedy and un-sexy. I just feel like throwing in the towel and give up dieting when I see the numbers on the scale go up although I’ve been faithfully keeping to the diet and exercise regime.
Well, as much as I sometimes feel like rolling my eyes when I say this, it is true – Try your best to keep motivated to lose weight during that time of the month! Just continue eating healthy and keeping up your fitness workouts.
Here are some tips to help you get through this dreaded time of the month:
1) Resist cravings as best as you can
I should so speak for myself – I have this tendency to finish an entire mega packet of Lay’s or a whole tube of Pringles in one sitting. Who cannot!? Anyway, it’s ok to take a few pieces and satisfy your craving but please exercise self-control (I’m damn bad at this, urgh). Don’t go over-indulging in all the fatty and sugary foods.
Let me tell you this – you will ignore all the rules you have been keeping to and for that moment you will just stuff your face with all these junk food and you will feel oh-so-good. Then, as good as it was while it lasted, you will feel guilty and defeated after. Worse, it may lead to weight gain if you are indulging on a daily basis. Try to stop at a few pieces (impossible I know!) or just don’t even touch it and go grab a green apple or something. In a way it’s like cheating on your boyfriend or husband and while the sex was good while it lasted, you will feel horrible for doing that to someone you love a lot.
2) Get some exercise
If you aren’t already exercising regularly, make the effort to get your butt off the chair and activate your sweat glands. If you already have an exercise regime in place, don’t use cramps or bloating as an excuse to take a break from exercising. Continue the workouts – perspiring will help to ease that water retention some.
3) Try to prevent bloating
For these two weeks (one week of pre-menstrual and another week of the period itself), avoid wearing your body-hugging clothes as the rounded belly spilling over your jeans or stretching the cloth at your tummy more than usual will make you feel worse. Water retention is already making you feel bloated so cut down on foods high in salt/sodium.
4) Do not cut down on water
Some people might think that drinking less water will reduce water retention, but that may actually worsen your water retention instead. Your body is just temporarily holding onto the water and if you keep up your healthy habits, the water will naturally flush out and go away at the end of the period. Stick to the eight glasses of water a day and take more fruits and vegetables too.
5) Avoid the scale like the plague
No matter what you do, there will be an increase of a few kilos (up to 2kg for me) due to water retention. Seeing the numbers on the scale increase has a very demoralising effect, especially if you have been doing well and dropping the kilos. I would suggest not weighing yourself once you feel the PMS symptoms and only weigh yourself when you are done with the period and your tummy has gone back to its usual size.
Keep up your healthy diet and regular exercise during the period and this temporary monthly pain-in-the-ass-of-a-biological-occurrence should not affect your weight loss progress.
Read the rest of my Weight Loss Diary series here.