PMS is that time of month that all women dread. Bloating, cramps, water weight gain, and mood swings, are only a few of the symptoms and these can usually be controlled with an over the counter medication. There’s also the intense cravings, ravenous appetite, and extremely low energy levels that can derail even the healthiest eaters and most consistent exercisers.
According to nutritionist, Joan Slage Blake,
not unheard of for a woman to consume 500 calories more PER DAY on the days
before her period starts”. If you
multiply that by 7 days that equals 3500 calories. This type of monthly pms diet sabotage combined with lower energy levels is often the reason women have such a difficult time making progress with their body makeover plans.
Fitness expert, Johnny Bowden reports that “the typical PMS sufferer consumes 275% more sugar, 62% more refined carbohydrates, 78% more sodium, 79% more dairy products, 52% less zinc, 77% less magnesium and 53% less iron than non-PMS sufferers.” Fortunately there’s plenty you can do to prevent or minimize the effects of PMS diet sabotage.
Not all women enjoy grazing or eating 5-6 meals a day. In fact most women I've trained can't stand it. They prefer eating 3 small meals and 1-2 snacks and believe it or not this is just as effective for weight loss, fatloss, and fit toned body as the 6 meals a day the food pushers are always recommending BUT the days leading up to your period may require that you be a bit more flexible with this and eat more often.
Not only can a temporary change in meal
frequency speed up your metabolism a bit, it can also help you stay in control
of cravings and hunger. Eating
something healthy and small every 3 hours can boost energy
levels, reduce hunger and cravings too.
Once you're past the PMS you can go back to your 3 meals and 1-2 snacks
per day routine.
Pamela Peeke, author of Fight Fat after Forty, recommends the “pms cocktail” consisting of 1,000 mg of evening primrose oil, 400 mg of magnesium and 100 mg of B6, taken twice a day, beginning about 10 days before your period.
According to Peeke, this helps alleviate all pms symptoms including diet sabotage that blocks fatloss results. Another way to reduce cravings is to be sure you’re getting 100mg of calcium daily, whether from diet or supplement or a combination of both.
Even though you may have no energy, feel bloated, and exercise is the last thing on your mind, just do some intervals. Interval training has been found to decrease appetite and boosts endorphin levels which make you feel better. The only types of exercise you may want to avoid is any exercise that makes you uncomfortable if you’re experiencing bloating or cramping.
I tend to avoid core training or twisting yoga poses when experiencing PMS but every woman is different so a good rule is to just do what feels good and avoid what makes you feel gross. My clients love this rule because it takes the pressure off and they often end up doing something vs. skipping exercise all together.
If you have a craving it’s o.k. to indulge a tiny bit but don’t go overboard. Buy a mini chocolate or have a bit of dark chocolate but keep it small. Overindulging in sugar only sets you up for increased sugar cravings and binges. Coffee and alcohol on the other hand can intensify irritability and moodiness which could weaken your will power and drive you to binge on junk plus kill your workout motivation. Keeping the stimulants to a minimum during PMS is also a good way to prevent energy crashes.
Lack of sunlight can reduce serotonin levels which typically leads to increased appetite, intense cravings for carbs/sugary sweets, and contribute to low energy levels. Dr. Marie Annette Brown, author of the Body Blues recommends a brisk 20 minutes outdoor walk to suppress appetite, burn more calories, and improve mood. Getting outside is also a great distraction if you're experiencing false hunger and cravings for something you don't really want to have. No time to get outdoors? Try dancing to walking on sunshine. Dancing is also known to boost feel good endorphins!