Weight loss in periods: The Link Between Weight and Your Menstrual Cycle – PMS Center
The Link Between Weight and Your Menstrual Cycle – PMS Center
Significant weight loss or gain can have an effect on your menstrual cycle, and in turn, PMS can indirectly cause changes in your weight.
By Melanie WinderlichMedically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
You probably worry about your weight for two reasons: your appearance and your health. Besides affecting your self-esteem, being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health conditions. At the other extreme, being underweight may cause low blood pressure, heart palpitations, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and other issues.
It may surprise you to learn that body weight can impact reproductive health as well. In addition to conception and pregnancy problems, weight loss and weight gain can both significantly affect your menstrual cycle.
The Effects of Estrogen
A woman’s ovaries produce the female sex hormones progesterone and estrogen, after getting certain cues from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Estrogen helps build the cushiony uterine lining, known as the endometrium, that will nourish a fertilized egg. If fertilization doesn’t take place, a woman’s body naturally sheds that lining through the process commonly called having a period, or menstruation. Every woman’s menstrual cycle is slightly different, but over time, most women’s cycles follow fall somewhere between 21 and 35 days.
The Weighty Side of the Menstrual Cycle
The biology is simple: Basic cholesterol compounds in fat cells can get changed into a type of weak estrogen called estrone. Overweight or obese women carrying extra fat cells have “little estrone-making factories, which have an estrogenic effect on glands,” explains Maria Arias, MD, a gynecologist at Atlanta Women’s Specialists in Georgia.
This added estrogen can cause bleeding or menstrual disorders. A woman may go months without ovulating, for example, but the uterine lining is still accumulating — to the point that it becomes unstable. Eventually, says Dr. Arias, a woman can have a period that “lets loose like a flood gate,” with prolonged or very heavy bleeding.
Overweight women aren’t the only ones who may have problems with their periods. Underweight women and women with eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, that result in extreme weight loss may also be unintentionally impacting their menstrual cycles. Women without much fat on their bodies may have fewer periods or go longer without ovulating. Starvation, as well as extreme exercise and stress, can trigger an effect that suppresses the hypothalamus. These women may be so underweight that their bodies simply stop making estrogen. Additionally, the lack of fat doesn’t allow cells to convert cholesterol into extra estrogen.
Can Your Period Cause Weight Gain?
Weight loss or gain can trigger changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle, but can it ever go the other way? It often seems like that time of the month moves the needle on your scale a few notches in the direction of weight gain.
“The menstrual cycle isn’t the cause of weight changes, it’s just a bystander,” explains Arias. The menstrual cycle does not directly impact weight loss or gain, but there may be some secondary connections.
On the list of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms are changes in appetite and food cravings, and that can affect weight. Studies show that women tend to crave foods high in fat and carbohydrates during specific phases of the menstrual cycle; women also tend to take in more calories during these phases.
Bloating, another uncomfortable yet temporary PMS symptom, leaves some women feeling heavy. Because salty foods can cause the body to retain water, which will show up on the scale as a temporary weight gain, it’s best to watch your salt intake and focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet, full of fruits and vegetables, before, during, and after menstruation. Drinking lots of water may help reduce that bloated feeling as well.
Your menstrual cycle maintains a delicate balance, so it’s good to be aware that gaining a large amount of weight or exercising excessively and losing a significant number of pounds, can impact your production of hormones, specifically estrogen, and hypothalamic functioning, potentially changing the regularity and length of your menstrual periods.
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Weight loss and women | Office on Women’s Health
What is the best way for women to lose weight? Every woman is different, but recent research suggests that women may lose weight differently than men.
What is the best way for me to lose weight?
Most women will need to eat and drink fewer calories and get the right amount of healthy foods to lose weight. Increasing exercise or physical activity may help with weight loss, but choosing healthy foods (lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits) is what works best for many people to achieve a healthy weight. 1 Combining healthy eating with increased physical activity is best. Talk to your doctor or nurse before starting any weight-loss program. He or she can work with you to find the best way for you to lose weight.
Your environment and other parts of your life may make weight loss more difficult. You may be able to take other steps, such as talking to your doctor about any medicines you take that may lead to weight gain, getting more sleep, or dealing with stress, that can also help you lose weight.
How many calories should I eat and drink to lose weight safely?
Everyone is different. How quickly you burn calories when you are not physically active can be very different from other people based on your specific genes, biology, and past. While scientists know that there are 3,500 calories in one pound, simply eating 500 fewer calories every day for a week (or 3,500 fewer calories in a week) does not always end in losing exactly one pound.
If you have overweight or obesity, counting calories may help you lose weight. Weight loss also happens when you focus on eating healthy foods. Getting calories mostly from lean protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables may help you lose weight safely.
No diet for an adult woman should be less than 800 calories per day. If you decide to limit the amount of calories you get each day to lose weight, talk to your doctor or nurse first. Your doctor or nurse can help you figure out a healthy and safe amount of calories for your body while trying to lose weight.
The exact calorie number to aim for depends on your age, your height and weight, and how active you are. Use the MyPlate Plan tool to find out how many calories you need.
Do women lose weight differently than men?
Yes and no. Men often lose weight more quickly than women. But, over time, weight loss usually evens out between women and men.
Men may lose weight more quickly because men usually have more muscle, while women may have more fat. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, men may be able to burn more calories at rest than women.
Because men are larger than women on average and have more muscle to support, men can usually eat more calories while still losing weight, compared to women. Portion control may be especially important for women. In one study, women who ate smaller portions of food (and less food overall) had lower BMIs than women who limited or avoided a certain type of food.2 This approach seems to work better for women than men.3
How does the menstrual cycle affect weight loss?
The menstrual cycle itself doesn’t seem to affect weight gain or loss. But having a period may affect your weight in other ways. Many women get premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS can cause you to crave and eat more sweet or salty foods than normal.4 Those extra calories can lead to weight gain. And salt makes the body hold on to more water, which raises body weight (but not fat).
Also, while your menstrual cycle may not affect weight gain or loss, losing or gaining weight can affect your menstrual cycle. Women who lose too much weight or lose weight too quickly may stop having a period, or have irregular periods. Women who have obesity may also have irregular periods. A regular period is a sign of good health. Reaching a healthy weight can help women who have irregular periods to have cycles that are more regular. Learn more in our Menstrual Cycle section.
How does menopause affect weight loss?
It can be harder to lose weight after menopause. In fact, many women gain an average of 5 pounds after menopause.5 Lower estrogen levels may play a role in weight gain after menopause. But weight gain may be caused by your metabolism slowing down as you age, less-healthful eating habits, and being less active. You also lose muscle mass as you age, so you use fewer calories.
Staying active and eating healthy foods can help you stay on track with your weight-loss goals.
How can I avoid gaining weight as I get older?
Women usually need fewer calories than men, especially as they age. That’s because women naturally have less muscle, more body fat, and are usually smaller than men. On average, adult women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day. As you age, you need to take in fewer calories to maintain the same weight. You can also keep your weight healthy by increasing how much physical activity you get.
Find out how many calories you need based on your age and level of activity. You can also talk to your doctor or nurse about ways to eat healthy and get enough physical activity.
Will weight-loss medicines help me lose weight?
Maybe. Your doctor or nurse may recommend weight-loss medicine if:6
- You have obesity (BMI of 30 or more)
- You have overweight (BMI of 27 or more) and you have health problems related to extra weight, such as:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- You have been counting calories and getting plenty of physical activity for at least 6 months, but you are losing less than a pound a week on average
The Food and Drug Administration approved several weight-loss medicines for the treatment of obesity. 7,8 Most are not recommended for women who could get pregnant, because the medicines could cause serious birth defects in a baby.
Can over-the-counter or herbal weight-loss drugs help me lose weight?
Maybe,9 but you should always talk to your doctor or nurse before taking any herbal or dietary supplement. Find the main ingredient in your supplement on this fact sheet to see if it is safe and works.
There is no guarantee that “herbal” or “natural” weight-loss products are safe for everyone. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. Supplements often have side effects and can interfere with medicine you are taking. Learn more about dietary supplements.
What surgical options are used to treat obesity?
Weight-loss surgeries — also called bariatric surgeries — can help treat obesity. A doctor may suggest surgical treatment for weight loss if you:6
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
- Have a BMI of 35 or higher and weight-related health problems, such as heart disease or diabetes
Bariatric surgery is not a “quick fix. ” It is major surgery. Learn more about weight-loss surgery.
Is liposuction a treatment for obesity?
Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity. In this surgery, fat is removed from under the skin. Liposuction can be used to reshape parts of your body. But if you gain weight following the surgery, fat may return to the places where you had surgery or develop in other places. Learn more about liposuction.
I carry extra weight, but I’m fit. Do I still need to lose weight?
It’s great that you are active and taking steps to improve your health! Sometimes your body mass index (BMI) may show that you are overweight even though you are fit. And some people may argue that how physically active you are is more important than how much extra weight you are carrying.
But this is only partly true. Being physically active can reduce your heart disease risk even if you do not lose weight.10 But your risk may be higher than that of someone who exercises and has a healthy weight. In other words, being active does not cancel out the dangers of having overweight.
Talk to your doctor or nurse to find out what a healthy weight is for you.
How fast should I try to lose weight?
It can be tempting to follow a “crash” diet and drop many pounds right away. But women who lose weight gradually are more likely to keep it off. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your goals. Your doctor or nurse can help you develop a healthy eating and physical activity plan.
I’ve lost weight but have hit a plateau. How do I continue losing weight?
After losing weight for about six months at the rate of up to 1 pound per week, most people hit a plateau, or a weight that doesn’t continue to go down. Once you lose weight, your resting metabolism (how many calories you burn at rest) goes down. At a lower weight, your body needs fewer calories to sustain itself.
Many people can lose about 10% of their original body weight in about six months. If you want to continue losing weight, you may need to adjust the amount of calories you eat and drink every day and your level of physical activity.
However, if you are eating healthy foods and getting regular physical activity but are still struggling with weight, you may want to talk to a doctor who specializes in obesity or weight management. It can also be challenging to keep off weight that you have lost.
Did we answer your question about weight loss?
For more information about weight loss, call the OWH Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 or check out the following resources from other organizations:
- Aiming for a Healthy Weight — Information from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
- Weight Management — Tools and resources from Nutrition.gov.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2016). Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Rideout, C.A., Barr, S.I. (2009). “Restrained Eating” vs “Trying to Lose Weight”: How Are They Associated with Body Weight and Tendency to Overeat among Postmenopausal Women? Journal of the American Dietetic Association; 109(5): 890-893.
- Jastreboff, A.M., Gaiser, E.C., Gu, P., Sinha, R. (2014). Sex differences in the association between dietary restraint, insulin resistance, and obesity. Eating Behaviors; 15(2): 286-290.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). FAQs: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
- Polotsky, H.N., Polotsky, A.J. (2010). Metabolic implications of menopause. Semin Reprod Med. 2010 Sep;28(5):426-34. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1262902.
- Expert Panel Members, Jensen, M. D., Ryan, D. H., Donato, K. A., Apovian, C. M., Ard, J. D., Comuzzie, A. G., et al. (2014). Executive summary: Guidelines (2013) for the management of overweight and obesity in adults. Obesity; 22(Supplement 2): S5–S39.
- National Library of Medicine. (2017). Weight-loss medicines.
- Food and Drug Administration. (2012). Medications Target Long-Term Weight Control.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2017). Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss: A Fact Sheet for Consumers.
- Klein, S., Burke, L.E., Bray, G.A., Blair, S., Allison, D.B., Pi-Sunyer, X., et al. (2004). Clinical Implications of Obesity With Specific Focus on Cardiovascular Disease: A Statement for Professionals From the American Heart Association Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism: Endorsed by the American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation; 110(18): 2952-2967.
The Office on Women’s Health is grateful for the medical review by:
- Kathryn McMurry, M.S., Nutrition Coordinator, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
- Fatima Cody-Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., Obesity Medicine & Nutrition, Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center, Harvard Medical School
All material contained on these pages are free of copyright restrictions and maybe copied, reproduced, or duplicated without permission of the Office on Women’s Health in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Citation of the source is appreciated.
Page last updated:
February 17, 2021
How does weight loss actually work? | Diet Menu Recipes
Many of us think that counting calories consumed and taken in is enough to make our body lose fewer calories than it consumes. It or not the truth, to be exact a part of “truth”.
What determines the number of calories consumed?
There are only three components:
- Basic metabolism (or metabolism), which provides energy for life processes and consumes the largest number of calories;
- Physical activity level;
- Ensuring digestive processes.
Basal metabolic rate is usually many times greater than the amount of physical activity – so when trying to get rid of extra pounds, you should pay special attention to it. An increase in basal metabolic rate, for example, for 7%, an increase in total daily energy intake of up to 15% can be expected. Of particular note is the fact that calories will be burned even at rest and even during sleep. Muscles play an important role in accelerating the basal metabolism. 1 gram of muscle fiber at rest consumes 17 times more calories than 1 gram of adipose tissue.
In addition, 1 kg of muscle takes up at least 2 times less weight than 1 kg of fat, and a trained body also looks much better compared to an untrained body of the same weight.
Fat or Muscle
The human body is designed to resist fat loss – at the dawn of mankind, the ability to store fat was a matter of survival. Primitive people could not schedule meals, so to survive, the accumulation of fat was required in order to go without food for some time. Fat was essential for the human body to survive.
We store fat easily and we have to work hard to build muscle mass.
Depending on the nature and amount of exercise, our hormones determine whether we lose muscle or fat. Prolonged running, aerobics, or heavy mention of bicycle pedaling are bound to lead to muscle loss and possibly even depression. testosterone formation processes. Repeatedly such training can lead to chronic fatigue, decreased metabolism and weight gain.
On the other hand, 30 minutes of strength training will stimulate muscle growth, testosterone production – increase basal metabolism, which will manifest itself as an increase in strength. Increasing your basal metabolic rate, in turn, will burn additional calories even at rest.
Maintaining muscle mass is very important, as mentioned above, the energy consumption of 1 gram of muscle tissue at rest is up to 17 times the energy consumption of 1 gram of adipose tissue (Kcal). Research (e.g. Chambel et al., 1994) show that with an increase in muscle mass of 1.3 kg, metabolic activity increases by 7%, and daily calorie intake increases by 15%.
With the so-called fad/fast diets, muscle mass is mostly lost because it is easier for the body to convert it into energy. As muscle mass decreases, metabolism slows down, making it even more difficult to shed fat, as muscle mass, which consumes more calories, decreases, and fat mass, which consumes almost no calories, remains the same.
That is, as the metabolism slows down, it becomes more difficult to lose weight – even with a diet, a person can gain weight and become less physically fit.
The sex hormone system and the insulin system play a key role in the weight loss process. Together with growth hormone, these two systems are the most effective in the process of losing weight. Various nutrients and exercise set off chain reactions in these systems, affecting bodily functions, from energy stores and appetite to quality of life elements such as libido. The tips outlined here will help you stimulate these systems through exercise and changing your eating habits.
Sex hormone system
The male sex hormone – testosterone and female – estrogen, are found in both the male and female body and are responsible for many important processes in the body, this time we will focus on two. And this is the stimulation of muscle tissue synthesis and the burning or accumulation of fat.
Estrogen has a very high ability to store fat. Since women have higher levels of estrogen than men, they have more natural fat. Estrogen not only contributes to the accumulation of fat, but can also inhibit the process of losing weight and fat burning.
Testosterone, on the other hand, has an excellent ability to promote fat burning, which is a natural advantage for young men over women when it comes to weight loss. Men under 30 can quickly and effortlessly get rid of extra pounds. Boys, especially teenagers with especially high testosterone levels, can eat unlimited amounts with minimal weight gain. Testosterone contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, so the number of calories burned increases even at rest. The same hormone that gives young men a strong sex drive also helps them stay lean.
As you get older, sex hormone levels gradually decrease between the ages of thirty and forty. Adults who do not engage in strength training lose 3 to 5 kg of muscle mass every 10 years (Forbes 1976 / Evans, Rosenberg 1992). As the muscles weaken, injuries, bruises and back pains increasingly occur, excess weight increases, metabolism slows down and excess weight increases again.
Unfortunately, from time to time various types of excessive aerobic exercise become popular, which are combined with various diets. In this case, the body loses muscle mass quite safely, and as a result, the number of calories needed by the body decreases. Improper diet and insufficient exercise can lead to obesity.
The addition of testosterone in the body is determined by many factors. Studies have shown that, for example, during a football match, testosterone levels rise in both teams and decrease in the losing team. The same thing happens with men who compete for a woman’s attention. The level of testosterone in their body rises. A man who prefers a woman keeps his testosterone levels high, while the loser returns to his previous state. In women, testosterone levels rise at the time of ovulation, which encourages them to have sex and conceive a child, as sex hormones stimulate reproduction at the most opportune time.
However, testosterone levels can also be increased through well-designed strength training and testosterone stimulation, as well as a healthy diet, which in turn will stimulate fat burning, energy, and increased libido.
The right choice is to increase muscle mass by reducing overall body weight. This can be achieved with high-intensity short-term exercises designed specifically to maintain, build and increase muscle mass. Such strength training for 30-45 minutes once or twice a week, combined with a healthy diet, will allow you to use the power of natural sex hormones and improve the quality of life.
The insulin system plays a very important role in the fat burning process.
After a meal, the body’s insulin levels rise to release excess sugar from the blood and transport it to the muscles and other cells that they use for energy. Carbohydrates cause a strong insulin response as they are converted into blood sugar, causing a rapid glucose levels. Once the body supplies the muscles and other cells with enough glucose, the excess insulin begins to turn into fat. Because insulin “protects” and builds our fat stores, fat burning can become a near-impossible goal when insulin levels rise.
This risk exists if you have bad eating habits. If carbohydrates are used correctly, insulin prevents obesity. The insulin system reacts differently to different foods at different times of the day. If eaten at the right time, carbs can be stored as sugar, helping your muscles work out. If you follow an insulin control diet, you can reduce the role of insulin in fat storage.
How do you regulate your insulin system so that you get enough nutrients to keep you alive, maintain and build muscle, and at the same time promote fat burning?
- Eat protein-rich foods to promote the release of the hormone cholecystokinin, which signals the brain to eat enough. An additional advantage of such food is that it does not increase insulin levels and does not contribute to the accumulation of fat. When you eat foods that increase insulin levels, you may feel full, as these foods are satiating, but they do not release cholecystokinin, and you may soon feel hungry again. This has a negative effect on appetite: firstly, it causes you to consume more food and therefore consume more calories, and secondly, stimulation with insulin can lead to the accumulation of calories in the form of fat.
- Eat high-fiber vegetables or lean protein foods to satisfy your hunger while consuming relatively few calories.
- Choose the right time for meals and snacks – 1.5-2 hours before training, because when the stomach is empty, insulin levels are low. If you eat a sugary snack before a workout, your insulin levels can peak, and the higher your insulin levels, the harder it is to lose fat. Exercise on an empty stomach encourages the body to burn less carbs and more fat. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods, just plan your meal times correctly.
- It is important to eat 4-6 meals a day so that blood sugar and insulin levels do not depend on insulin. You should not stay without food for more than 3-4 hours, because if you have not eaten for too long, the body perceives this as anxiety, a possible start of starvation, and insulin begins to actively accumulate fat reserves. Skipping a meal almost certainly guarantees that the next meal your body will create reserves and you will not lose weight, but in a moment it will add.
- When you start strength training and change your eating habits, the weight change doesn’t matter as it will most likely be a change in the amount of water in your body that will quickly return to normal within a day or two. It is advisable to buy an electronic scale that shows the percentage of body fat and tracks the dynamics of fat reduction over a long period of time.
- Continuing strength training and healthy eating principles, from the third to the fourth week, weight loss should not exceed 500 grams per week. Weigh yourself, for example, on Monday mornings after going to the toilet. Do not weigh yourself every day – this only creates additional stress and does not reflect the dynamics of fat burning, but only various states of the body’s life support processes – the amount of water, intestinal filling, which is very variable during the day. Losing weight too quickly is associated with many risks and side effects, which often lead to the opposite – weight gain.
Weight category – articles from the specialists of the clinic “Mother and Child”
— What norms of weight gain during pregnancy are doctors guided by today?
– The average increase for all nine months is from 9 to 14 kg. The exact figure depends on many factors, but a sharp deviation in one direction or the other from the norm should be alarming. To calculate the allowable increase, the initial weight of the expectant mother should be taken into account: for example, women of a fragile physique (asthenic type) must gain more than initially obese women. In addition, it is important to consider the trimester of pregnancy.
— How does weight change in different trimesters?
– Weight gain throughout pregnancy is uneven: at the very beginning it is almost imperceptible, increases significantly towards the middle and may begin to decrease two weeks before delivery. In the first trimester, both weight gain and weight loss are considered normal. On average, during this period, the expectant mother is gaining from 1.5 to 2.5 kg. In the second trimester, the baby begins to grow actively and the numbers will be different: about 500 g per week for thin women, no more than 450 g for pregnant women with normal weight and no more than 300 g for full ones. In the third trimester, the weight of the expectant mother should not increase by more than 300 g per week.
— Why do pregnant women gain weight?
– Contrary to popular belief, weight gain is not only due to the mass of a growing baby and body fat – they make up about half of the total figure. For nine months, a woman’s uterus increases, the volume of circulating blood and intercellular fluid increases, amniotic fluid and the placenta form.
— Why is excess weight dangerous?
– Rapid weight gain is common in multiple pregnancies, underweight women and too young mothers whose bodies are still developing. Often it is the result of normal overeating and requires adjustment of the diet. Diets and fasting days (especially the so-called “hungry”) during the period of bearing a child are strictly prohibited even if the pregnant woman is overweight. It is very important to ensure that the baby receives all the nutrients, vitamins and trace elements, so you just need to balance your diet accordingly.
Excess weight may occur due to fluid retention, which manifests itself in the form of edema. By the way, this is especially true for working pregnant women: sedentary work provokes stagnation of fluid in the lower extremities and pathological weight gain.