10/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Do You Sometimes Feel Fat?

Even if you are thin, that week before your period can be challenging. As women, we tend to get bloated and extra hungry 7 to 10 days before our monthly cycle. That means that if you get your period every 28 days, for 10 of those days you might feel fat and bloated and maybe even gassy. That works out to be about 1/3 of our lives, prior to menopause. That's right, 1/3. It works out to 130 days per year of feeling fat, bloated, gassy and generally yucky.

Thanks to Mother Nature for this, as it is completely normal. It has to do with the hormonal shifts prior to menstruation. The hormones conspire to make us hungry, moody, bloated and gassy. We aren't really 50 pounds heavier during this time, we just feel that way. We may be heavier on the scale, as water does have weight. When you fill a balloon with water, it will weigh much more, and be much bigger, than it was in its deflated state. Our bodies are much the same.

When we get bloated our fingers, feet, ankles and abdomens expand with water. If your tummy is normally flat, it will look pregnant during this time. It will be hard to get rings off and your clothes may feel tighter. Even your shoes may feel tight as your feet and ankles swell. Lovely.

Another aspect of why we feel fat, has to do with the images of women we are constantly exposed to in the media. I wrote this article about it for Strive Magazine and you can watch me on the news discussing it here. We are bombarded by super thin, super airbrushed images of women. Some are too thin to menstruate. Some are too thin to have breasts, so have implants instead.

For those of us human females, we have normal weight swings that we need to manage monthly. Some tips to deal with this include:

1) Track your cycle so you understand when to expect this.

2) Try to avoid salty foods during this time. They only add to the bloat.

3) Even though you feel like putting on sweats and hiding out, try to fight this urge. If we give into that monthly, we will be hiding for 1/3 or our young lives.

4) Drink a lot of water to help flush and cleanse the body.

5) Keep in mind that this is normal, healthy and even sexy to most men.

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