Every woman is different, but recent research suggests that women may lose weight differently than men. 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.1Combining 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. Talk to your doctor about certain medications that may be affecting your weight. Getting more sleep and dealing with stress can also help you lose weight.
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. Those extra calories can lead to weight gain. Salt can make the body hold on to more water, which can raise your body’s weight.
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 are obese may also have irregular periods. A regular period is a sign of good health. Reaching a healthy weight can help women have more regular cycles. 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, unhealthy eating habits, and/or 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.