You almost always feel heavy during your red days so much so that you believe you actually gained weight. The bad news is, you’re right – you have packed in a few pounds. The good news is that it can be temporary.

According to Dr. Raquel Dardik, a gynecologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in a feature on Shape.com, this is due to water retention. “Weight gain happens five days before your period,” she explains. “But you’ll be back to normal once you start.” The culprits are your hormones. When your progesterone levels fall, your cells retain extra water, which can make you feel bigger.

While water weight is temporary, those pounds caused by cravings may be a little harder to shed. Your hormones going haywire can cause you to eat more partly because you're PMSing. Also, your body is thinking that it has a fetus to perpare for, and partly because your body chemistry is pushing you on an emotional rollercoaster, causing you to stress snack.

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To avoid feeling bloated, you need to watch what you eat during your time of the month. Avoid salty and processed food, as well as processed sugars. You can also try working out because it can reduce the symptoms of PMS, not to mention also burn carbs. "The more active you are [overall] and more regular you are with your activity, the better your periods end up being—less cramping, less heavy flow,” explains Dr. Stacy Sims of the USA Cycling Women's Track Endurance Program on Health.com. If you're still in pain, it's okay to take it easy. "Your best bet is to do some light and easy movement that helps reduce inflammation via blood flow," says Sims. "If you really feel terrible, it’s all right to take a day or two off."

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