You’ve just embarked on a new diet + training regime & things are going well. You’re doing your meal prep, following your plan, getting results, then suddenly, the cravings strike. Before you know, it you’ve devoured an entire block of Cadbury’s and half a bag of preztels. Damn that PMS messing with your willpower again!
Firstly, it’s entirely normal to feel hungrier in the days leading up to your period. This is because oestrogen & serotonin – your natural appetite suppressants – suddenly drop, leaving you with more progesterone, which is an appetite stimulant. It’s not all bad though, because progesterone is also a metabolism booster, so you’re naturally burning more calories at rest (another reason why you’re hungrier).
Here’s what you can do to overcome PMS cravings & stay on track:
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Sleep regulates appetite, blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. It is your PRIMARY line of defence again premenstrual sugar cravings.
CONTROL YOUR HUNGER
If your hunger levels are unbearable, eat more! But try to stick to low calorie, high fibre foods like vegetables that are less likely to push you too far out from your calorie targets. Make sure you’re eating regularly (every 3hrs or so) and include a quality protein source in each feeding, which leads to my next point.
Aim for at least 20g protein per meal (eg. 100g chicken breast or rump steak, 120g white fish or 4 large eggs). Protein promotes satiety which will reduce cravings.
It’s addictive, and continuing to indulge will only make your cravings worse, as well as exacerbating other unpleasant PMS symptoms. It’s worth noting too that if you crave sugar all the time, PMS cravings are just a magnification of a bigger problem.
Magnesium and Vitamin B6 calm the nervous system, reducing inflammation and improving insulin resistance. Craving chocolate during PMS can actually be a sign you are low in magnesium. Instead of Cadbury’s opt for 85% extra dark – it’s low sugar and a great source of magnesium.