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Periods and Cravings... What Women Need To Know

Found yourself going crazy the week before your period with higher than normal hunger levels, wondering why it is so hard to follow your diet plan?

Well, I'm here to reassure you that it’s not all in your head, it’s actually happening due to science!

Our bodies actually require more energy in the week leading up to our cycle as a result of our physiology and this energy increase is required for the production of tissue to build the uterine lining. This regrowth, which occurs every month thanks to hormones in the lead-up to our cycle requires energy to make this happen, which is why we have an increase in demand for energy and therefore actually genuinely need more fuel!

So, how much more energy do we actually need?

It’s around 10% more than our total energy requirements (or in calories, approximately 300 extra calories per day)

It’s not just activities such as exercise that use and burn through calories. Food is fuel and it provides energy AND nutrients for our body to do its thing, even when you aren’t realising it. Every little biochemical reaction and physiological function

So next time when you’re in the depths of PMS and in the lead-up to your period and you feel like you are hungrier than normal - don’t beat yourself up or try and fight it!

When I’m working with a weight loss client we always make accommodations for additional food during this part of their menstrual cycle so we are working with the body, not against it

  • Remember, you are hungrier than normal for a reason and there is nothing wrong with eating when you are genuinely hungry

  • The more you try and resist the cravings and hunger cues, the hungrier (and more specific) your cravings will get

  • All we do is just try and meet our hunger in a way that aligns with our health goals and that leaves us feeling both mentally and physically good

My advice is to fuel yourself with snacks that are..

  • Filling - so you actually meet your need for more food and give your body the energy it needs

  • Satisfying - so you mentally feel like you have had something that meets your fancy

  • Nutritious - so that you are staying aligned with your health goals and making the most of an opportunity to cram in extra nutrients

Here are some of my go-to, healthy snack suggestions for when you are in the depths of PMS!

Now if you end up having your favourite sweet chocolate bar or salty chips. Don’t sweat it! Sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants and as long as we aren’t consuming excessive amounts of this all the time, a couple of extra bits of chocolate each month won’t do much in the grand scheme of things.

What we do 80% of the time is more important than what we do 20% of the time.

Nutritionists Tip

If you always find yourself going for these more indulgent snacks and you often end up thinking 'why did I do that?! It just makes me feel rubbish afterwards' - next time try asking yourself...

"how do I want to feel when I finish this meal/snack? While I think I really want to smash a bag of chocolate, is there another snack I could have that would still be tasty, but won't leave me feeling super rubbish afterwards?"

So if you're working on a weight loss plan, make sure you take your menstrual cycle into account to give you the best chance of success.


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