Do you get massive cravings before your time of the month for all things salty and sweet?
You’re certainly not alone.
Personally, I know my period is about to arrive when I feel extra hungry for no apparent reason. I usually eat more calories the 1-2 days before my period.
Period hunger is very real. It’s not just in your head.
There are real reasons why your appetite increases before your period.
THE ACTUAL (SCIENTIFIC) REASONS
REASON 1: Falling estrogen leads to lower satiety
Estrogen helps control hunger by increasing leptin, the satiety hormone in our brain. When estrogen falls, we might feel a little more hungry. In addition, estrogen affects our “happy chemicals” serotonin and dopamine and low levels of these hormones can drive cravings for high calorie, high sugar foods.
REASON 2: Higher progesterone can induce carb cravings
Progesterone can cause some degree of insulin resistance, which means that our body doesn’t utilize carbs as effectively. As a result, blood sugar levels can become unstable and drop thus stimulating hunger.
REASON 3: Your metabolism may increase
During your period, your Basal Metabolic Rate (how many calories your body uses just to survive) may increase. The metabolism change varies a lot from person to person, and can be anywhere between 2.5-10%. That’s potentially an extra 20-200 extra calories burned in a day, depending on your body.
REASON 4: Emotional eating / Emotional hunger
The falling levels of serotonin and dopamine can make us moody. Many people are prone to emotional eating or using food to cope with the negative feelings around this time of the month. (PS. If you struggle with emotional eating, make sure to grab our FREE End Emotional Eating toolkit HERE)
FIVE TIPS TO MANAGE IT
1. If you need to, increase your calories slightly on those days!
It’s better to go a few hundred calories over your targets (in a period where your body needs the fuel) than to binge and go several thousand calories over.
2. Drink LOTS of water.
This will help keep you full and flush out bloat.
3. Stick to lower-sodium foods.
High sodium foods can cause you to retain water and feel even more bloated, so stick to lower-salt options.
4. Focus on protein and fiber-filled snacks.
5. Try to fit in a few of the foods you’re craving.
Restricting the food can sometimes make you want it more. If the craving is strong, enjoy a treat mindfully.
PS: Want more ideas to manage cravings? Make sure you’ve downloaded our FREE Cravings Cheat Sheet HERE.