Thursday, September 1, 2011

oh girl. I get it.

Let's get real here for a second. The majority of my readers are women. Don't worry, I know there are a few men too, and I love you for it! However, this post is for all the ladies out there.

Today I couldn't keep my hands away from this guy.
Snack attack.
It is so ridiculously clear to me when that time of the month is about to make itself known. I don't get cramps. I don't get emotional. I just get SNACKY. I always want to be munching on something, and it DRIVES ME CRAZY. I am usually very self controlled when it comes to my eating, so I hate that insatiable feeling.

I have a lot of women ask me about the effect that their period has on their body, diet, and exercise, so hopefully I can help answer some of these questions.

Why do we have cravings for certain foods? 
Research has been done on the subject of PMS and food cravings, namely chocolate, and not much has been found. I would say that it is a positive association with food that gives us these cravings, period related or not. It is the same principle that goes with mindless eating, we associate food with positive emotions. We go out to eat with the people we love. We eat at fun parties. We eat when we celebrate. The hormonal ups and downs we go through during our menstrual cycle can cause us to feel lethargic, down, and just plain blah. We then use food to get rid of those negative feelings and bring positive ones instead.

Why do we cramp and feel bloated prior to our period? 
Increased production of hormones are the cause of these fabulous sensations. Prostaglandins, the hormones of which we are speaking, are responsible for making the muscles of the uterus contract. Exercise is actually a great way to lessen the effects of cramps and bloating, so keep moving. If you are really feeling the pain a hot bath and some ibuprofen can do wonders.

What's with the weight gain? 
The question I get asked the most is about weight fluctuation during menstruation. I know. It sucks, but remind yourself that its all part of the program. Each women is different, but I generally see a 3-5 pound increase when my clients are on their periods. The good news. It always seems to even out. So, don't freak out if this is happening to you. Some things you can do to lessen the increase? Decrease the salt intake, keep up with your exercise, and try to fill your diet with healthy whole foods.

What does a skipped period mean? 
Those who are extreme/intense exercisers, who have an extremely low body weight, and or body fat percentage, may have experienced a skipped period. One skipped cycle isn't a huge issue, however if you are noticing several skipped in a row, or you have lost your period altogether go see a doctor. These could be signs of exercise addiction or eating disorders, and both of these scenarios can be life threatening. If this is the case please, please, please seek help.

The good news is that exercise and eating a healthy diet really can help lessen the effects that PMS can have on you when that time of the month arrives, so aside from the many other reasons to exercise...add that to the list. I have always been lucky to stay fairly cramp-free, and I really believe it's because I am a diligent exerciser. Try to eat a healthy diet, drink a lot of water, and combat the cravings with good healthy foods. It isn't uncommon for women to feel tired during their periods, bur this lack of energy doesn't mean you need to check out of life and sleep for days. You'll be surprised at how getting moving can actually help to boost your energy levels.

Do you have any other female-ish questions for me? Please...ask away. Are you one that craves certain things or becomes very snacky when that fab time of the month rolls around? It is great to be aware that you are because it can help you to combat it! Now, let's hope I don't have to hide the Skippy Natural tomorrow.


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