Many women who take Depo Provera experience weight gain, according to Virginia Commonwealth University. Since this contraceptive only contains progesterone, which can increase your appetite, you may eat more than usual and then extra pounds can sneak up on you. The average amount of weight gained is 5 pounds in the first year and 8 pounds after two years. The potential to put on the pounds remains as long as you take Depo Provera, but that doesn't mean weight gain is inevitable. If you stay aware of the calories you consume, get regular exercise and eat healthy meals, you can keep those extra pounds away.
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Increase your fluid intake. Depo Provera may make your body retain water. This fluid retention, especially in the breasts, hips and thighs, can make women feel like they're gaining weight quickly, but the water retention should pass as your body adjusts to the medication. Although it may seem counter intuitive, drinking more fluids helps this problem, so be sure to get eight glasses of water or other beverages daily.
Monitor your caloric intake. Progesterone-based birth control may increase your appetite, but the change may not be noticeable. If you're not tracking your food and calorie consumption, you may not be aware you're eating more calories than you need.
Eat a balanced diet. The University of Illinois McKinley Health Center advises being proactive about your diet to avoid gaining weight. Choose nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and lean proteins. These foods all support healthy weight loss.
Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity three to five days per week. Exercise will balance any extra calories and boost your metabolism. Increase the amount of exercise gradually until you reach a level that supports weight loss. Choose activities that you enjoy and that are easy to work into your schedule, such as walking bicycling and dancing.
Increase your metabolism. Progesterone may lower your metabolism, but even if it doesn't, it's easier to lose weight if you keep your metabolism running. Eat the right amount of calories for your age, weight and activity level. If you drop caloric intake too low your metabolism slows down to conserve energy. Don't skip breakfast -- your metabolism won't reach optimal level until you eat in the morning -- and keep it fired-up by consuming smaller meals on a regular schedule.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Virginia Commonwealth University: Hormonal Contraception: Depo-Provera
- Columbia University, Go Ask Alice: Birth Control Pills and Weight Gain
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Highlights of Prescribing Information: Depo Provera
- Penn State University: Boosting Your Metabolism 101
- University of Illinois McKinley Health Center: What is Depo-Provera IM and depo-subQ Provera?
- University of Utah: Human Reproduction: Contraception
- Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion: Estimated Calorie Needs per Day by Age, Gender, and Physical Activity Level