These posts often stem from a question or comment from a client and this one is no different. Recently, I had a client say the following:
“My eating habits are so good for 3 weeks of the month, and then the week leading up to my period are insane binge fests. I feel like I can’t lose any weight because anything I might lose in the first 3 weeks is offset by the bad stuff I eat when I’m PMSing.”
I will start with prefacing that while mild PMS isn’t cause for alarm, severe cramping, breast swelling, bloating, or mood swings are actually a sign of a hormonal imbalance. So, you would want to get to the root cause to prevent it long term.
Ensure your digestion is spot on so that you’re actually eliminating excess estrogen properly. Estrogen dominance (or too much estrogen) can be a main cause of hormonal imbalances and PMS. Funnily enough, if your digestion isn’t working properly, that can lead to hormonal imbalances because you end up holding on to the excess hormones. Taking a good quality probiotic supplement or ensuring you’re eating good fermented foods is a step in the right direction for this. (We’ll be talking lots more on this topic in the May Wellness Challenge.)
Balance your blood sugar properly. If you are eating too many refined carbohydrates and sugar, your insulin levels rise. High insulin leads to the production of androgens, which are associated with hormonal imbalances like PCOS. Don’t forget – insulin is also a hormone that tells your body to store fat. All of the recipes, and a huge portion of the Wellness Challenge will focus on high protein, blood sugar balancing meals.
Focus on anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients. This means eating 100% whole foods, reducing stress whether via yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises, and fitting in some time for exercise. Certain anti-inflammatory ingredients are turmeric, ginger and Omega 3s, while gluten, dairy and non-grass fed red meat are pro-inflammatory.
Listen to your body. You may feel more tired. Don’t force a crazy schedule that week. Instead, plan for an easier week so that you have more time to rest and sleep. Pushing it too far will only fuel the craving fire, so to speak. This could also mean taking to yoga instead of an intense workout.
One of the most common cravings is chocolate, and not that I’m telling you to sit down and eat a chocolate bar, BUT if you choose >70% dark chocolate that has no dairy or gluten and is low in sugar, it’s not so bad. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium. My favourite brand is Giddy YoYo.
Similar to the chocolate recommendation, try adding 2 tsp of magnesium citrate powder to a glass of water before bed. Magnesium helps calm the body and also helps alleviate cramping. Foods high in magnesium are as follows:
If you do succumb to a craving, don’t beat yourself up about it, and don’t let it mean that the next week is a gong show of sugary sweets. Instead, enjoy what you had and move on! Back to another healthy day.