How To Lose Weight On Birth Control – 10 Proven Ways To Lose Birth Control Weight In 2024


Reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN
how to lose weight on birth control
10 effective strategies to help reduce weight on birth control. Photo: ViDI Studio/Shutterstock

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The relationship between birth control and weight loss[1] can be difficult to understand. Some women gain weight after taking it, while others lose weight. That means the effects of birth control on weight differ amongst individuals.

Weight gain from taking hormonal birth control pills may be due to fluid retention or water weight, increased body fat, and muscle gain. Conversely, weight loss may occur if you take diuretic birth control pills, such as Yasmin.

Nonetheless, there are tactics on how to lose weight on birth control. Read on to find out how.

How To Lose Weight On Birth Control

Can you lose weight on birth control? Here are 10 effective ways to help you lose weight on hormonal contraceptives:

  • Create a calorie deficit.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Assess your birth control method.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Manage stress.
  • Practice mindful snacking.
  • Seek professional advice.
  • Be consistent with lifestyle changes.

10 Best Ways To Lose Weight On Birth Control

how to lose weight on birth control
10 proven ways to lose weight on birth control. Photo: ViDI Studio/Shutterstock

In this section, you will learn ways of losing weight depending on various circumstances. Remember, these methods of losing weight also apply to women who do not use birth control.

Here are ten ways of losing weight with birth control:

Create A Calorie Deficit

If you want to learn how to lose weight with birth control, creating a calorie deficit is the way to go.

This method entails losing weight by consuming fewer calories[2] than you can burn. The average man should consume 1,500-1,800 calories[3] daily to lose 1-2 pounds weekly, and women should consume 1,200-1,500 calories to lose 1-2 pounds weekly.

Drink Water

When you start or stop using birth control, it is normal to experience some changes. Typically, you may experience PMS-related symptoms, including bloating.

Bloating occurs due to increased water retention, making you heavier. If you are curious as to how to lose weight on birth control, you must ironically drink 6-8 cups of water per day to lose water weight. Dehydration causes fluid retention as well.

 Eating less sodium will also help reduce bloat. Aim for limiting sodium[4] to 1,500 mg – 2,300 mg per day for optimal blood pressure and fluid maintenance.

Do Some Exercises

For women who want to learn how to lose birth control weight, they should exercise. Fortunately, they don’t have to exercise by lifting barbells or doing squats. Cardio exercises like walking, cycling, and swimming will do the trick.

How much cardio should you do to lose weight, anyway? That depends on how much weight you want to lose.

Assess Your Birth Control Method

Are you interested in learning how to lose weight while on birth control? If your answer is yes, you should determine whether your preferred method works for you. If you suspect it is causing you to gain weight, you should visit your healthcare provider to discuss your options.

Usually, birth control methods, such as hormonal IUDs and birth control shots, trigger weight gain. Generally, doctors will recommend non-hormonal methods to prevent pregnancy, like condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and certain IUD devices to avoid weight gain.

Eat A Balanced Diet

Some birth control pills contain high estrogen levels. Too much estrogen leads to increased appetite and bloating, which will cause you to eat a lot and retain fluid. As a result, you will get a hormonal belly. If you are curious about how to get rid of a hormonal belly, you must eat a low-sodium, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet with fewer processed foods and refined sugars.

Although carbs make up a balanced diet, you do not need them in large quantities. If you aim to lose 1-1.5 lbs per week, you must eat 500-750 calories a day less than what you normally eat from all food groups.

As for fiber – A majority of fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes — 25 grams per day should help you lose a pound a week if you consume 500 fewer calories daily.

Lastly, your daily protein intake should be at least 1.2 grams[5] per kilogram of body weight to lose weight. Protein not only enhances satiety, but it may also promote thermogenesis, which will help you metabolize body fat.

Get Enough Sleep

Let’s face it; some people hate to exercise. As a result, they will be curious about how to lose weight fast without exercise. One way to do that is by getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep[6] each night.

Manage Stress

Another way to lose weight on birth control is by managing your stress.Taking birth control alters the stress response,[7] blunting it. There are lower post-exercise concentrations of norepinephrine.

Your body releases cortisol, the stress hormone, whenever you are stressed out. Cortisol levels are blunted in stress[8] with the use of the oral contraception pill. Blunted cortisol response is a risk factor for insomnia and other adversities.To better manage stress hormones, you should eat healthy foods, exercise, get sufficient sleep, avoid stressors, or reach out to your loved ones.

Practice Mindful Snacking

Too often, people choose unhealthy snacks, such as cakes, ice cream, chips, French fries, chocolate, etc. These snacks cause weight gain because they contain added sugars, unhealthy fats, and high calories. They also have a high glycemic index, leading to blood sugar spikes and food cravings that may only be exacerbated by taking hormonal birth control.

If you must snack, consider healthy options such as nuts, fresh fruits, vegetables, and other whole, unprocessed foods.

Seek Professional Guidance

It is not always easy to lose weight by yourself. For instance, what should you eat, and what quantity is appropriate for weight gain? Also, how can you avoid unhealthy practices, such as excessive exercise or crash dieting?

Luckily, you can visit a registered dietitian who will guide you on quickly losing weight.

Be Consistent With Lifestyle Changes

Some people expect to lose weight by doing the bare minimum. For instance, they may expect to shed some weight after only exercising once a month. Others start off exercising properly and give up along the way.

If you are keen on losing weight, you must be willing to pull your weight. — No pun intended.

Admittedly, discipline is a hard habit to cultivate. In that case, you can ask your loved ones to keep you accountable.

Does Birth Control Really Make You Gain Weight?

how to lose weight on birth control
Weight gain is a possible birth control side effect. Photo:

Birth control weight gain is a possible side effect from that some women may experience. For example, combined oral contraceptives influence appetite, causing you to consume excess[9] calories, even resulting in binge eating behavior. And combined oral contraceptives influence glucose and carbohydrate metabolism,[10] with some users doing better on low-carbohydrate diets.

Other Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills

Typically, the side effects[11] of birth control pills tend to be mild.[12] Luckily, these side effects disappear within a week.

These side effects include:

  • Nausea.
  • Headaches.
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle.
  • Breast tenderness, mood changes, bloating.
  • Changes in blood sugar metabolism.[10]
  • Changes in weight or appetite.

 The side effects are even more adverse in women with diabetes mellitus[12] and a pre-existing cardiovascular condition.[12] Such people must consult a doctor before taking birth control pills.

Birth Control Pill Alternative Options

You may consider other birth control methods that do not cause significant weight gain, such as using a copper intrauterine device or CID. A CID is a T-shaped device that you insert into the uterus for long-term contraception. Since it contains no hormones, you are unlikely to gain weight. That is because the device will not cause hormonal imbalance.

You can also consider barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms. Since they don’t introduce hormones into the body, they don’t cause weight gain. Their purpose is to physically block sperm from reaching the uterus without altering the body’s metabolism.

Lastly, you can use birth control implants, such as a hormonal intrauterine device, or IUD, to prevent weight gain. IUDs release small amounts of synthetic progestin into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Due to the slow release of the hormone and the fact that progestins are not associated with weight gain,[13] this might be a more weight-friendly option for birth control.

Additionally, the hormone does not remain entirely within the uterus[14] but exerts its effects throughout the body on target hormone receptors. So, one must consider the systemic effects of taking birth control when oral contraceptives influence hormones and nutrient metabolism.


Women need to learn how to lose weight on birth control. As you have seen, it is possible to gain weight using it. To make matters worse some women exacerbate things by not exercising and eating unhealthy snacks. Before they know it, they are obese.

Therefore, women should adopt healthy ways of losing weight while using birth control or switch to non-hormonal birth control methods.

More importantly, we should use birth control pills for their intended purpose — to prevent pregnancy. If you want to lose weight, stick to exercising and eating a well-balanced diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to lose weight while on birth control?

Yes, you can lose weight while on birth control. Since weight gain is a side effect that some people experience, you can manage your weight by adjusting to healthy lifestyle habits, exercising, and eating a balanced diet.

Is it hard to lose weight on birth control?

Yes, but it is important to remember weight management on birth control is a process involving diet, genetics, exercise, and overall lifestyle. People are different, and, as such, different women may react differently to birth control pills.

Does birth control slow down metabolism?

Combination birth control pills have a slight impact on metabolism, so their effects are minimal. However, some people may experience changes in appetite or metabolic rate. Therefore, birth control affects individuals differently.

Does birth control change your body shape?

Since combined hormonal birth control pills can contribute to gaining weight, it makes sense your body shape will change. Some birth control pills change your shape by depositing more subcutaneous fat in the hips, thighs, or breasts.

Which is the best birth control pill for weight loss?

There is no specific best birth control pill for weight loss. That is because birth control pills have varying effects on individuals. If you want a pill for losing weight, your doctor can help you out.

Can I switch birth control pills to manage weight?

If you suspect you’ve gained weight due to birth control pills, you are better off speaking with your healthcare provider. Your doctor will assess your specific situation and prescribe birth control pills that align with your weight goals.

How long does it take weight changes to occur when using birth control pills?

Women may experience weight gain may occur in the first weeks or months. Other people may not experience any weight changes at all. Therefore, it is upon you to monitor your body’s response to them and act accordingly.

How to lose weight after stopping birth control?

Synchronizing an active lifestyle with a healthy diet can help women successfully shed a few pounds after stopping birth control pills. 

+ 14 Sources

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  8. Gervasio, J., Zheng, S., Skrotzki, C. and Pachete, A. (2022). The effect of oral contraceptive use on cortisol reactivity to the Trier Social Stress Test: A meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, [online] 136, pp.105626–105626. doi:
  9. Klump, K.L. and Di, A.M. (2022). Combined oral contraceptive use and risk for binge eating in women: Potential gene × hormone interactions. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, [online] 67, pp.101039–101039. doi:
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  11. (2015). Estrogen and Progestin (Oral Contraceptives): MedlinePlus Drug Information. [online] Available at:
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Sarah Hickel is a licensed dietitian who enjoys writing and sharing health and wellness information with others. I’ve written captivating content for a number of organizations. My years of writing experience, as well as my education… See More