Most of us women know our cycle changes how we eat. We may always want chocolate when we are on our period, but crave popcorn when we experience PMS symptoms. Or whatever we craved last month may be completely different than this month. Or we might feel hungry all the time for several days. For many women, it’s “just a weird thing that happens.” But despite the fact that many women recognize the change, many experience a disconnect as to why our cycle changes our eating patterns. Instead of seeing these eating changes as a normal part of our cycle, you may instead think of it as a personal shortcoming or lack of willpower. Maybe you feel it’s somehow your fault for not being disciplined enough, or maybe you feel guilty and beat yourself up for eating that extra piece of bread (or that whole bag of chips). But it’s not that your weak or lack willpower. The reality is that hormones have a very real impact on how our bodies feel, what we crave, and how many calories we’re eating. They change our point of satiety, making us more or less likely to eat big meals during certain parts of our cycles. If you are experiencing frustration or disdain about what your eating or ate while menstruating, one of the best things you need to know is this is completely normal. There is nothing wrong with you or your body if you experience fluctuations in cravings, eating habits, and hunger signals throughout your cycle. In fact, this is your big opportunity here may be to shift away from a good-or-bad, pass-or-fail, all-or-nothing narrative when it comes to your nutrition needs.
Tip #1 - EAT SLOWLY TO HELP INCREASE THE FEELING OF FULLNESS AND AVOID OVEREATING
I encourage you to set a timer and take 20 minutes or more to eat your meal. This might feel painfully slow, but it helps increase the feeling of fullness and can help prevent overeating. (I also encourage you to practice this regularly, not just during that time of the month!)
Tip #2 - TRY TO GET SEVEN TO NINE HOURS OF SLEEP A NIGHT
Sleep deprivation tends to lead to overeating. I encourage you to get more sleep, not only will you feel more energetic in your workouts, but you will be less likely to overindulge. It’s a great way you can make things a little easier on yourself.
"There is nothing wrong with you or your body if you experience fluctuations in cravings, eating habits, and hunger signals throughout your cycle." - Elise Niu
Tip #3 - BE PREPARED, LIKE A BOSS LADY THAT YOU ARE
• Keep nutritious food on hand to snack on. (Have snacks in the car, work, etc.)
• Eat from smaller plates or with smaller utensils.
• Plan out meals and grocery shop accordingly.
• Avoid buffet-style or all-you-can-eat mealtimes (put the proper servings out in advance and make it a little more difficult to get seconds — this can help you avoid mindless eating). However, make sure you don’t go overboard on this, though. The goal isn’t for you to restrict her energy intake or avoid all the foods your craving. It’s simply to give you some tools you can use to manage your hunger and cravings according to your personal goals. If you want some chocolate or ice cream or pie or whatever other food your craving, you should eat it girl! But I encourage you to eat it slowly, savoring every bite so she feels satisfied.
Tip #4 - TRACK MORNING BODY TEMPERATURE REGULARLY
A drop in estradiol (one of the hormones that play a part in hunger and satiety) is related to an increase in body temperature. It also makes it take a little longer to reach the point of satiety. Put simply, a jump in temperature signals the phase in which women tend to eat more calories. If you know your temperature in the morning, it can help you feel better about your increased appetite and understand your body actually needs the extra energy. This is helpful for women who want to know exactly what’s going on with their cycle.
Tip #5 - DONT STRESS - PERIOT
“Lastly, knowing just a little bit more about your body can go a long way in helping you succeed in your goals. Changing your mindset from being down on yourself or thinking that you having zero will power wanting extra carbs, sweets or fats around your cycle can give us a bit of stress relief knowing this is all very normal. Don't sweat this, it will pass, and if you can minimize any extra stress on your body and mind at this time it will enhance your ability to think & respond better to nutrition choices
I HOPE THIS ARTICLE GIVES YOU SOME TOOLS TO HELP YOU
REMEMBER - its not you, its your hormones, be kind to yourself at this time and enjoy your body having extra energy requirements.