Muscle aches, stomach cramping, bloating, cramping, low energy, acne, back pain, diarrhea or constipation, mood swings, headaches, trouble sleeping…periods are just the greatest aren’t they?
That time of the month comes along all too quickly for most of us. Just when we feel we’re getting on track with life, work, our health goals, BOOM, PERIOD. Though the symptoms of a period will differ for each of us, a lot of the symptoms of them trigger something common for most of us – eating.
Mood swings – Emotional eating
Low energy – Fatigue snacking
Trouble sleeping – Late night food
Hormone changes – Cravings
Headaches – Distraction eating
With so many symptoms triggering our ingestion of food, it’s no wonder our periods can also be linked to extra kgs on the scales. Now our periods may be a little out of our control, however, our reactions to them are not. Here are some simple strategies to help you stay strong with your nutrition the next time ‘that time of the month’ rolls around.
1: Control your nutritional environment
In the book ‘Why willpower doesn’t work’ by Benjamin Hardy, the author explores the concept that you are who you are because of your environment. If you want to eat better whilst on your period, change what foods surround you. Put healthy options in the fridge and make eating well the path of least resistance.
2: Drink more water
Drinking water can help us feel fuller for longer and can stop us from unconscious snacking. Keep a glass of water or water bottle by your side throughout your period so when you get tempted to unconsciously put something in your mouth – it’s water!
3: Reduce fat, salt and sugar.
Though these are the very things that we often crave during our period, these are also the food additives that make us want more. Find smart switches to fill the house with like fruit instead of chocolate and light crackers instead of chips.
4: Choose a relaxation strategy
There’s no doubt periods cause us to feel a range of different emotions, most of which are not pleasant. Sadness, anger, stress, these things can cause us to turn to food as a form of relieving the negative feelings we have during our period, trouble is that it’s only a temporary relief. Choose a relaxation alternative in place of the eating such as meditation, exercise or reading.
Not all strategies to break habits on our periods will work for us all, so how do we start to work out what works for us as individuals? Let’s get the ball rolling with the 4 steps to success!
1: Write down what period food habits you can identify with.
Example: Emotional eating and late night snacking.
2: Choose one to try to break this week.
Example: Emotional eating.
3: Brainstorm 3 strategies to help break the habit
Example: Fill the house with healthy food to change the environment, go for a walk when I’m feeling down, track my food for that week to bring more awareness to what I’m eating.
4: Choose one option to move forward with this week and write down your plan of action.
Example: Fill the house with healthy food – I will go grocery shopping tonight and fill up on fibre rich foods and healthy switches like fruit, nuts and light crackers.
Remember the 4 steps to success don’t work unless you do. Don’t keep telling yourself your period week is completely out of your control and allow cravings to take over. Take control of the resources you have and be kind to your mind and body.
When women support each other, incredible things happen.