Updated: May 23
Follow me on Tiktok for more Advice from your Certified Holistic Weight Loss Coach
Have your Cake and Lose Weight too!
It's time to kick the confusion and guilt of being hangry with period cravings to the curb! There is a hopeful light at the end of the cookies 'n cream ice-cream aisle - I mean, tunnel - where you can bring harmony to two seemingly opposing forces: your troublesome PMS Food Cravings and your Weight Loss Journey.
You probably know the pain in the a$$ of working hard to eat and train on point for 3 weeks of the month, only to go Godzilla for a week and possibly destroy any progress you've made!
Do you know when your Aunt Flo is coming to town for her visit? If so, you can use this knowledge to work to your benefit! By becoming aware of your start/end dates, your cravings and tendencies, as well as the (hardly spoken of, yet should be) basic understanding of how your period works, you will be able to design an action plan to progress in your weight loss journey.
The first step is to stop feeling guilty for going through the organic rollercoaster of womanhood. Be easy on yourself, because what you, and many other woman, experience is valid, justified and backed by science, sis.
The cravings (specifically) for carb-dense foods, sweet treats and intense hunger pangs are totally normal and actually have a purpose in what's happening during this time.
Be Aware: If you experience compulsive eating outside your ovulation stage, not sure if it's PMS or pregnancy or any abnormal irregularities, please consult a doctor or health care professional.
The Cravings Culprits: All of this happens 7-10 days before your period starts.
Our "feel good" hormone
Levels drop and makes you crave more Carbs to refill the to normal levels
The body uses Carbs to make Serotonin. Carb-rich foods make us feel "happy" temporarily.
Develops Female reproductive system and important for ovulation
Lower levels cause feelings of not being full after eating (so you might eat more)
Linked to cravings of carb-rich and savory foods ¹
Main functions are regulating menstruation and supporting pregnancy
High levels will increase your appetite
Linked to cravings of sugary foods ¹
Rises and falls with Estrogen levels. Fueled by Carbs and Fats
High levels put you into "fight-or-flight" mode which increases metabolism
Causes spikes and falls to blood sugar levels ²
High levels of estrogen and progesterone cause insulin sensitivity ²
Causes cravings for sweet treats to raise blood sugar levels when low ²
"The link between specific hormones and the kind of craved foods is essential to bear in mind. During the menstrual cycle, these two hormones can vary hugely and affect the types of foods women crave. Progesterone levels peak at the luteal phase (right after ovulation) of every woman’s menstrual cycle, between days 18-23. Estrogen peaks about a week after ovulation, between days 19 and 22." ¹
Intense appetite is at it's peak during Ovulation, where your body is building up and thickening the uterine lining in preparation for possible baby-making. Your body is essentially making you to eat more calories than usual to gain energy and nutrients for this process.³
Using this knowledge above along with the beauty of our periods having a pattern of some sort (which naturally varies for each woman), it gives us the opportunity to plan ahead.
Here are 4 valuable tips on how to prepare for your next period:
Substitute what you crave with Healthy Alternatives:
If, or when, you have a craving for sweet treats, get creative to find sweet alternatives that are still nutritional and not overly high in calories, carbs or fats. An example would be like having a chocolate protein shake in stead of a bar of chocolate.
And for your crunchy or salty needs, grab some veggies or fruits. Another example is making some tasty homemade oven/air fryer chips and popcorn.
COME BACK FOR PART 2 NEXT FRIDAY!
(Try to) Lower your Stress Levels:
You may be mentally and emotionally drained as it is. Reducing stress levels will lower your chances of eating a family sized pizza (or two) only to make yourself satisfied or comforted for a short while.
Exercise is known to boost levels of serotonin, so it's essential to keep active during this time. If you're unable to do your usual routine, try something less intense like walking, yoga, or even get dancing. Try to get out in the sunshine and exercise for 20-30 minutes per day.
Stick to your Program:
The guaranteed way to get results with ANYTHING in life is to have a plan/routine and sticking to it. When your serotonin is low (sad AF feels) and cortisol is high (super stress vibes), your self-control will be at an all time low. Staying consistent to your diet and routine will lessen the temptation of staying on the couch all week to binge watch Netflix and scoff your entire kitchen.
Do you need an accountability partner to help you stay on track? Or do you need guidance to build a customized routine to stick to?
Book a CONSULTATION call to get your personalized action plan that you can follow and rely on for weight loss results no matter the time of the month!
Go ahead and share this article with other Queens who could use saving from going full Cookie Monster on her next period and any Ladies, or Gents, who you know would appreciate deeper understanding of what happens when Aunt Flo comes to visit us - that it's not "all in our heads".. It's Science, Baby!
Written by: Andrea Thelen of AuthenticAndrea44
¹ Forsyth, J. (2022, January 25). How hormones affect cravings. Hidden Strength. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://hiddenstrength.com/for-me/well-being-and-health/eating-well/how-hormones-affect-cravings/
² Yoppie, Y. (2021, January 18). Your blood sugar's relationship with your menstrual cycle. Yoppie. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://yoppie.com/blog/blood-sugar-menstrual-cycle
³ Laurence, E. (2020, August 28). The science behind your wild food cravings on your period. Well+Good. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.wellandgood.com/period-cravings/