Pounds and the PillSubtle lifestyle changes are more likely to cause weight gain than oral contraceptives.
Q: I’m 35 years old and I went off of the pill after being on it for six years. I then gained seven pounds in two months without changing my diet or exercise routine. Did going off the oral contraceptives cause my weight gain—and how do I lose the weight?
A: You’re an interesting case! Most women worry about putting on extra pounds when they go on the pill. In fact, several studies have found that women went off the pill because they reportedly gained weight. But this fear of getting fat appears to be unfounded. A recent review of research found no link between being on commonly prescribed oral contraceptives and weight gain.
Why you experienced such fast weight gain after going off the pill is unclear. It usually takes several months for the body to get back on its regular menstrual cycle after stopping the pill. But there’s no proof that this affects body weight.
Weight gain is caused from changes in body fluids, and increases in fat and muscle. Over the course of a day, body weight can fluctuate as much as five pounds from fluid changes alone. And it’s certainly possible to put on a pound a week by eating more and moving less, so that in a couple of month you end up gaining seven pounds.
You should discuss your weight gain with your gynecologist. Your doctor can monitor your hormone levels, such as thyroid and cortisol, to determine if they might be playing a role.
Meanwhile, take a closer look at your lifestyle. Even minimal changes to what you drink or eat, and how much you move, could have had an effect. If all you did was add a coffee drink every day and cut your daily workouts short by 15 minutes, you could have gained this extra weight.
Regardless of whether your weight gain is hormone-related, making a more concerted effort to eat more nutritiously and do more cardio-based activity every day should help stabilize your weight over time.
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