This one is for the ladies. It’s a pretty predictable pattern; you’re doing great with weight loss and then all of a sudden, you’ve got a bad weigh-in Monday and can’t figure out what you did wrong. You might be surprised to learn that weight loss and your menstrual cycle are interconnected. It can be a little discouraging to see that you’ve lost very little, or maybe even gained a pound or two from the last week. Don’t panic. Poor weight loss and your menstrual cycle are related, typically affected most around your fourth week.
Weight Loss and Your Menstrual Cycle – Tips
Week One (period week) –
At some point during week one of your cycle (starting the first day of your period), estrogen begins to build, which usually results in more energy and a boost in your mood. The build in estrogen is a great time to increase the weights you’re using during your workout at Fit for Life, because you’ll build muscle much easier. For diet, your cravings will begin to disappear, and it would be a great week for you to try to decrease your carbohydrate intake, especially after lunchtime.
Week Two –
This is the week your estrogen peaks, giving you the most energy you’ll have during your cycle. This is a great week to consider doubling your workouts if you have time. You will also want to focus extra on stress management because the higher estrogen may also make your stress response more sensitive, which can build up cortisol or contribute to chronic stress, neither of which are good for weight loss.
Week Three –
During this week, progesterone increases with a fat blasting boost, up to 30% more fat burned capabilities during aerobic exercises. Decreasing your weight and increasing reps will be helpful this week for more fat burning. You’ll also want to be diligent to keep up with your hydration, and add in some extra fiber by way of more veggies to minimize the impending water retention and bloat that’s coming with the increased progesterone.
Week Four (PMS) –
As more progesterone builds, you’ll notice an increase in cravings for unhealthy foods. You’ll need to find FTDI treats to avoid those powerful cravings as much as possible. Berries, tea sweetened with a stevia/erythritol, or half a Quest bar are a few ideas to help you get through this week. Continue to focus on hydration and extra fiber to avoid water retention and bloat (up to 5 lbs!). You may also find that increasing your healthy fat intake and decreasing carbs, especially after lunchtime, can help with cravings.
What About Menopause?
Menopause can be a difficult time for weight loss because of all the shifting hormones, but the good news is, that strength training – especially the HIIT style used at Fit for Life, is one of the most effective styles of working out you can participate in during menopause. It burns fat faster, especially the stubborn visceral fat that gathers around the belly. Avoiding processed foods is also key to weight loss or maintenance during this time, along with sleep, stress management and self care.