Today, I am about to make a LOT of chicks HAPPY!!!
You know how sometimes the figures on the scale are going up despite your good behavior, and you are just wondering what brand of nonsense and ingredients this is…?
Well, today I have come to let you know that there are certain times in a chick’s life when the weight goes up as a result of hormonal changes, not just during pregnancy alone. While this is not the case for all women, a good number of us certainly experience this.
So let us discuss three (of the many) times in a woman’s life the scale figures go UP!!!
Yup, the dreaded few days before Aunty Flo makes her grand entry can lead to ‘it-is-not-my-fault’ weight gain. PMS, which is pre-menstrual syndrome, refers to a group of changes that happen just before your period appears.
For MOST ladies, one of PMS side effect is bloating, no thanks to water retention by the body, usually manifesting as a tight swollen feeling in your abdominal region. You actually see a physical distension/swelling of your stomach and the numbers on the scale rise, with some ladies experiencing as much as 4kg increase.
Good thing is that it is WATER WEIGHT and not FAT and what this means in simple English is that even though it shows on the scale, it usually leaves as fast as it came.
That is good news right?
Now pull a seat darling, and lean in while I ask you this sincere question…
Is the weight gain SOLELY as a result of PMS, or did your diet play a part in the increase?
Truth is, I have learned that a lot of us are quick to pass the buck, blaming anything but ourselves and lack of discipline for our weight gain.
So don’t say the scale shifted because of your imminent period if you have been bowing down to the god of cravings and eating without control.
Err, yes I intentionally used the word BOWING DOWN!!!
What that would lead to is FAT WEIGHT not WATER WEIGHT so long after the period is gone that FAT will remain and the scale figures will still be up, until you clean up your diet and start to work out.
Ok back to hormones…
I just wanted to be sure we had that sorted out before we start to talk hormones.
Now let’s give a dog a bad name and hang it…
Enter PROGESTERONE and other hormones.
During the days leading up to your period (PMS), a couple of hormones like progesterone and estrogen increase in the body and high levels of it can indirectly lead your body to retain fluid, making you feel bloated and potentially causing you to gain a few pounds of water weight (not fat).
If only the matter ended there.
Progesterone ,especially being an appetite stimulator, makes you want to eat more. These cravings are usually for high sugar, high fat, high calorie foods, and with a weak will, you give in as long as the hormones persist, and wham, the weight gain happens the next time you climb the scale. While this is known as comfort feeding, it hardly ever brings comfort.
And we know that most times we don’t work out during those PMS days because we are tired, lazy and feeling blue, so that also impacts.
High calorie foods + No workout = FAT gain
Working out is especially important because beyond burning calories, it also helps with fluid redistribution around the body thereby easing the bloated feeling.
So while PMS can lead to WATER weight gain in a very direct way that is not your fault, it can also lead to FAT GAIN that is YOUR fault.
What to do?
First, do nothing if it is not critical. It will pass. If the feeling of discomfort that comes with bloating and water retention is much, there are drugs that can help so talk to your doctor.
For the cravings and all, please make healthier choices because hormones or not, you still have a choice so choose right. For instance, if I desire sugary stuff, I can have pineapples, dried fruits and the likes which are high in natural sugars and so satisfy the ‘sweet tooth’ without packing on the pounds that ice cream and small chops would have brought.
You should also drink more water and workout despite the blue feeling as both help fluid redistribution around the body. Plus exercising of course also helps with weight loss, and mood improvement as it allows for the release of endorphins aka feel good hormones
Now let us move on to the second culprit
When you are pregnant, you most likely heard at antenatal classes that breastfeeding will help you lose the Preggo weight easily. Somehow, you started breastfeeding and somehow again, you found that you had gained weight. Haaaa. This was especially the case for me with my first pregnancy. I had hit 106kg by the time I was done exclusively breast-feeding, and that was from my 75kg pre-pregnancy weight.
Those Nurses LIED mehn!!!
A whooping 30kg yawl!!!
As with PMS, there are also two sides of the ‘weight gain while nursing’ coin…
The hormonal and the environmental…
I recall when some family members mentioned how much weight I had gained, I was quick to say it was because of PROLACTIN, the breastfeeding hormone (which a friend had told me). What I forgot was that I had a Doctor right there who laughed me off saying it was FOOD not any stupid PROLACTIN.
So yes, prolactin, the hormone behind breast milk production, is high when nursing and that guilty-as-charged niccur stimulates your appetite. No wonder breastfeeding makes you SO HUNGRY and THIRSTY!!!
Then can we quickly talk about the second guilty hormone called CORTISOL, which is the STRESS HORMONE. We would all agree that the new mommy and breastfeeding periods can be one of high stress and once that kicks in, our cortisol levels rise, our blood sugar levels dip, and this actually works to increase our cravings and appetites ,especially for sugary (and fatty foods), and at such a vulnerable time too.
With stress-induced hunger, we hardly make the best choices. Don’t forget that caring for a baby takes a toll on our ‘kitchen/market/me time’ which further slims down our chances at healthy eating/snacking (which needs time to prepare), so not only are we overeating to keep up with both legit hunger and illegit cravings, we are also eating the wrong foods.
Did you see that?
LEGIT hunger and ILLEGIT cravings.
Hello extra pounds, and a tummy that won’t stop looking pregnant even at 9months post-partum!
Again, we see another indirect relationship between hormones and weight gain.
Has anyone else noticed that a crying, whining, fussy baby just makes you want to EAT? This was certainly the case with my first baby and with my second, I had a few odd days of that too, but I was MORE disciplined, thank GOD.
That is what I mean by environmental factors.
Caring for a baby can be time consuming, and sleep depriving and most times, we comfort-feed just to get through yet another day and then we pile on the pounds while at it.
Like I said, comfort feeding is hardly comforting in the long run.
Someone reading this is probably shocked that I am saying all these about breastfeeding? You thought the BF months, especially EXCLUSIVE, are the best months to lose the weight, right?
Well, truth is, DIET and LIFESTYLE play a MUCH HIGHER ROLE than any amount of breastfeeding can do in a woman’s body.
If you get both right (Diet&Lifestyle) during those months, then breastfeeding plays a MAJOR support role and can fast track things, but on its own, my sister, breastfeeding is not that powerful abeg.
In fact, MOST women gain weight while nursing because they neglect all I have shared with you.
Which is why you need my services while nursing to help you MAXIMIZE what benefit nursing will bring to the table. I still believe that the best time to jump on board with Mother Nature to lose weight would be while breastfeeding but you need to navigate it with professional, aka CoachE’s help
3. Birth control
The fear of weight gain while on contraceptives is MAJOR for most women, me inclusive. This one actually put me off getting any contraceptive after my first baby cos I was SO SCARED. I mean it is one thing to gain weight as a result of food, but when it is something I can do nothing about like contraceptives? My sister, mba.
However, clap soon started to enter dance after my second baby which signaled the end of my ‘be fruitful and multiply babies’ phase, I decided to close eye and get one.
I must disclose that I was on the INTERMITTENT FAST program at the time and also at my ideal weight, with food discipline on lockdown when I got the implants, so it was a good time to monitor things.
I also figured that if I saw any stupid uncontrollable weight gain, I would be back at that hospital removing the stupid implants lol, because then, we would all KNOW for sure it was as a result of the implants. Recall, I mentioned that I was eating clean.
Ok let me do a quick amateur education on contraception. Don’t take my word as law ooo. Talk to your Nurse or Doctor.
So there are two broad kinds… hormonal and non-hormonal. The hormonal (Implant and pills) are the ones that make most women gain weight, while the non-hormonal (IUD/Coil) don’t.
Pills seemed too cumbersome (take it daily at the same time. Miss a day and you CAN fall pregnant), and I am still traumatized from the induction and dilatation-check experience from my first birth which was vaginal, and catheter experience from my second delivery which was CS, so I was NEVER going to do the coil which had to be inserted in through your private area (God forbid)!!
Implants were the only option but I was mentally prepared for (and against) any weight gain.
OK so do these hormonal ones really lead to weight gain?
Yes. Because they contain estrogen and can lead to increased appetite and fluid retention. Even the Matron told me weight gain was a side effect as she educated me before the implant was inserted but EXACTLY like PMS, it is mostly water weight and disappears after a few months.
However, again most times, some of us don’t have food discipline on lockdown so we indulge our cravings, especially when we are still breastfeeding, so all the environmental factors come into play. The result is not just weight gain, but increasing weight gain. One whole year and 15kg heavier, we say it is contraceptives, but is it really?
Like I said, contraceptives can play a part but it will pass, most times. And if you are doing all right and the weight is still climbing, (usually with other discomfiting feelings beyond weight gain), then that particular contraceptive is NOT good for you and you should take it out.
Personally, implants had no effect on my weight, but it completely messed up my cycle. Story for another day.
JESUS GIRL TIP
I love to give these!!
When it comes to hormones, I am typically brutal. Yes hormones are real, and so are the cravings that they bring, but we ACTUALLY HAVE POWER OVER THEM. There is NO HORMONE that holds you at gun point and insists you eat crap.
I love this scripture
James 1 v 13-14
Hormones are a gift from God and so we cannot use it as an excuse. We can control and check its excesses, and really I have seen people live vicariously and blame hormones, but one day, a health scare and Doctor’s diagnosis brings on the discipline FAST. So before we get to that stage, let us be DISCIPLINED.
Hope you enjoyed this? Drop a line and share your own HORMONE based weight gain experience. Or that time you falsely blamed the hormones, like me.
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