As mentioned last week, I had my weigh in on Friday and to my utter amazement (and I mean I had one of those out loud ‘yas’ moments) I found that over the past three weeks of doing the Herbalife diet, I have lost 5 pounds.

Now, had I been doing the diet strictly, I would have expected to have lost anywhere from 6-9 pounds in the same time period – take for example a friend who recently lost 3 pounds in 3 days – but as you all know, there has been nothing controlled about my efforts and so I’ll take 5 pounds unquestioningly.

So I of course celebrated the weight loss this weekend with copious amounts of gin, 2 takeaways, many a strip of a family size Dairy Milk bar with Crunchie bits (bloody lovely by the way) and of course my favourite Colpi ice-cream.

And, currently experiencing the apres weekend eater’s remorse, I find myself asking WTF is wrong with me?  It’s like I do good and then all of a sudden a destructive urge comes to the forefront and I try to sabotage all my hard – well I guess not so much hard, but decent and sustained – Monday-Thursday efforts.

The dreaded bloat (and not the boozy variety)

Another reason I am surprised at the 5 pound loss, is due to the fact that last week I was riding the monthly cycle of doom, and it is always at this time that I feel at my heaviest with an intense bloating that is enough to depress even your most cheerful of CBeebies character or Blue Peter presenter (I always wondered how they could be so enthusiastic and smiley throughout the whole show with not a hint of a scowl or sullen facial expression at any point…but then I guess Kevin Bacon gave us a bit of an insight into his glazed smiles…)

It strikes me that during a period of one month, I only truly feel at peace with myself for a week of it.  Here’s how my month generally goes…

Week 1 – dragon (of the fierce variety, none of your ‘Puff the magic…’ or ‘Neverending Story’ dragon malarky)

Week 2 – bloated and bedraggled (puffy everything, including face, and tired all the time…infact tag that tiredness across the other 4 weeks too)

Week 3 – anxious idiot (for a full week I feel sick with nerves over nothing in particular or with deadlines I have to meet, whether it be at work or personal deadlines I often seem to challenge myself with…)

Week 4 – Relaxed and at peace (look in the mirror and feel ok, cue turning to the side in the mirror and sucking the belly in and out, relatively pleased with the aesthetics with the outward belly push)

Poor Lee really does take it tight on this angst-ridden rollercoaster and like many boyfriends/ partners and husbands, I am sure, he often can’t do right for saying wrong.  I mean there is nothing worse than feeling like a water balloon and then your husband doesn’t understand why you keep focusing on the negative aspects of life in general…I mean they just don’t get it eh?!!

So I wanted to take a look into why we ladies experience bloating during the monthlies, which makes the process of dieting all the harder.

It really is like some kind of sick joke of nature.  One minute we can see progress, only for the next day to bring with it the dreaded bloat, with our clothes feeling tighter, all happy skinny vibes gone, and if you are anything like me, you are left feeling convinced that overnight, you have put every single pound ever lost back on…

So here comes the science bit, the feeling of being bloated comes from fluid in our bodies that works to push the skin out, literally making us slightly bigger.

In the menstrual cycle, our hormone levels change, particularly estrogen and progesterone. About a week before our period, progesterone levels fall, and that causes our kidneys – that pass out fluid – to release less of it in our urine.

Ironically however, when one is on a diet this should be the time when the bloat is most controlled, as the Feminax website further suggests the best way for us to beat the bloat:

You could try changing your diet a week before you normally start to retain water. Try to avoid processed meals and other food high in salt. Drink lots of water – not too much, but at least a litre or two a day. A good rule of thumb is: if your urine is dark, or you feel thirsty, you need to drink water or another non-alcoholic drink. Avoid alcohol – it dehydrates you, or removes water. Stay away from coffee, strong tea, and other caffeine-rich drinks like colas, too. They can be ‘diuretic’ because of the caffeine, which means they make you pass more water.

Healthy food can enhance the way you feel. Like fresh fruit and vegetables, green vegetables and wholegrain bread. You could also take a modest vitamin and mineral supplement too. Never take more than the recommended number of vitamins on the packet, and if you take medication, check first with your doctor that it is safe to begin using a food supplement.

Anything to help with those extra inches, but let’s face it, easier said than done 😉 x