You’ve been sticking to your diet all month, your exercise program is going along just great, and you’ve lost a few pounds… Then, toward the end of the month, you feel swollen, tired, and cranky. PMS has struck yet again, and according to the scale you’ve gained back four pounds. What’s going on? Is this nature’s cruel joke?
Remember that swelling? It’s water retention, related to hormone shifts, and that’s the culprit behind your “weight gain”. Don’t lose hope now. You’ve had a great month, and your weight loss program is still on track, regardless of what the scale says. But since PMS can be a real downer, follow these steps to get through the next week or so.
Don’t weigh yourself. Avoid the temptation to weigh yourself every single day, especially during this time of the month. Weighing yourself when you know you’re bloated will only lead to disappointment at a time when you’re feeling extra sensitive. Weekly weigh-ins are a much better way to gauge your progress, anyway.
Keep exercising. Regular exercise can boost your mood and energy levels, and over the next few months might even relieve cramps and other PMS symptoms. If your cramps are particularly bad, you might need to scale back on serious exercise like running or Crossfit classes. Try to at least go for a walk each day.
Reduce your caffeine intake. Some studies have demonstrated a link between caffeine and PMS symptoms. Try reducing your caffeine levels during this week. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot.
Take care of yourself. Now, more than ever, it’s time to set aside a few moments for meditation, a yoga class, a bubble bath, or whatever helps you feel good.
Snack smart. You might feel tempted to over-indulge in sweets at this time, but that won’t help you reach your weight loss goals. Remember to consume enough protein, to keep your blood sugar levels more even and prevent cravings. Keep yogurt, cheese, nuts, and other protein-rich snacks handy during this week. If you must indulge in chocolate, choose a small serving of mood-boosting dark chocolate, which also contains valuable anti-inflammatory compounds.
Stay conscious of your feelings. If you know that you suffer from PMS, you also know that a few days of depression can be part of the package. When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to become distracted and criticize yourself harshly. Remind yourself that these feelings will pass, and that you’ve made significant progress toward your weight loss goals. A few days out of the month won’t change all of that.