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sara's picture

Does anyone else find that even if you are practicing body awareness and eating well, that during the week or so before your period, it all goes weird? What I mean, is that my body is craving LARGE amounts of salt, fat and sugar. Its making me feel awful! How do I manage this without binging?

runner4230's picture
dealing with the same thing

I am dealing with the same issue...although I didn't realize it until this month..I would be going along doing ok and then all of the sudden my mind and body just go nuts...anxiety, irritability and major intense sugar cravings...I didn't do so well this month and gave into it on month I am going to try to add in some sugar and fat with my meals the week before and see if that calms it at all and it helps me to know that it is because of my period so maybe that will help me to deal better next month...

change is progress

Ali's picture
Monthly cravings!

An enormous percentage of women crave sugar and carbohydrates roughly around a week before their monthly cycle starts.

This is perfectly normal; one study revealed that in the last week of a menstrual cycle woman can experience food cravings because their body needs additional energy. As a result they can eat about 4 % more during that time. However, the study also showed that women can burn approximately 4% more in calories around the same time, so their calorific intake balances out.

During your menstrual cycle your body temperature rises and excess calories can be burnt off through heat. Therefore go with your cravings, your body needs the extra calories and will only continue to send out powerful cravings until you satisfy them.

Ali Kerr
Recovery is so very very possible!

sara's picture what if you start and cant stop?

I know that I have an addictive personality when it comes to sugar. Its something I try and keep out of my eating plan and have been doing extremely well at it for over a month. When I do crave those types of things with sugar, I try and have a complex carbohydrate, such as the "understanding cravings" section mentions to have. My comment above was for:what if I can't have sugar, like its physically and mentally not a good thing for my body. I do crave it intensely around my menstrual week, and that was my question. What do I do then? To give into it to me, seems rediculous as it makes me tired and depressed to the point of XXXXXXXXXXX. I guess Im asking what to do if I crave it during my menstual week anyways...anyone?

jessica87's picture
I'm not sure what would help

I'm not sure what would help - I struggle with the same thing. I will be doing very well until about a week before my period and then I am ravenously hungry and just want salty, fatty, sugary foods! Eating enough throughout the month has definitely helped. I've tried to have a treat food every day for that week but I only made it a few days before binging on what was left. I've added vitamins and minerals that are supposed to help with cravings. I just don't know what to do. I'm going to keep experimenting, and if I find something that works I'll post it here!!

katzcurrent's picture
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. PMS

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. PMS is so difficult. Appetite increases at the same time emotionality and water retention are on the rise. Really tough combo for bulimics such as ourselves.

I haven't found any fool-proof tricks yet, but here are some things that do help a bit:

1. Vitex! It's the anti-PMS supplement. A lot of women's vitamins include it, but you can buy it on its own. It really works: (disclosure = I am not a doctor or a salesperson or anyone with technical knowledge or vested interests):

2. water with lemon juice.
3. apple cider vinegar
4. hobbies, cleaning, and artistic projects. Other/earlier cultures regarded PMS as a time of great creativity. Women's metabolisms increase during this time and you often don't require as much sleep as usual. Stay up all night and paint or organize your closet!
5. Do NOT weigh yourself. I once read a diet book that said women should never weigh themselves within 10 days of getting their periods.
6. Food craving issues: I usually crave peanut butter, meat and popcorn (not together). I just go ahead and eat them.

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
It can be a really difficult

It can be a really difficult time. I suppose the "fool proof method" I created to deal with these times was a combination of a few things.

1) Changing up my structured eating
In the few days leading up to my period I would start eating even more often - maybe every 2 1/2 hours. I'd add in a few more snack to my day and really listen to my cravings like Kat said.

I knew that as soon as that time was over I wouldn't want to eat that often, but doing so reduced my binge urges and stopped me from going over the edge. I also found that in the week or so after my period my apetite was always at it's lowest.

In many ways I think that shows the true nature of how the body really does work to balance everything out, we're just so caught up with fear sometimes that we don't realize we can trust it!

2) Trusting in "the balance"
Just drawing on my second point this is something else that helped. Trusting that eating a little more in that time was natural, it was what my body needed. I'm not sure about how reliable the studies are that suggest we burn more calories around that time, but I like to think they are true and I really switched my own mind onto believing it at that time.

I knew if I didn't eat more during those times I would relapse so sticking to my usual meal plan was not an option, therefore the only thing I could do was to trust it would be okay - and it was!

3) Keeping busy
Just like has been suggested here keeping busy is always a great way to take your mind off binge urges.

I hope this will be helpful :)

Catherine x

sagit1212's picture
I am so right there with you

I am so right there with you too!!! I use Vitex and the other supplement I take is a powdered magnesium (you put it in water) is supposed to help. But definitely give yourself some wiggle room, make sure to drink as much water as you can, get some rest (I usually need extra sleep around that time as well which makes my cravings worse if I don't get it) and keep busy!!!!

rachee08's picture
I JUST got my period back

I JUST got my period back AFTER 8 MONTHS. Which is a huge positive step I realize, but I forgot how vicious bloating and sugar cravings (and a cruddy complexion, and emotions don't help), can be.
I just got off last night, and STILL, my hormones are raging, I've literally only slept and eaten for 2 days straight :( I'm thankful I'm at a solid enough place in recovery and have so many people praying for me that this doesn't send me right back to square one. While I do feel like garbage, I've been able to forgive myself a bit, know that 2 or 3 days of eating more than I would like isn't going to end my world, (though I do need to aim a bit healthier, I think ;), and just avoid mirrors and add concealer. haha It has been KILLER though, being bloated and having quite a bit of discomfort since I haven't had a flow in so long. AGH.
I really appreciate this post. It helped me step back and realize- "I am not alone, and THIS TOO SHALL PASS." :) So thank you for being open everyone!

- Rach <3

Shannyn8877's picture
I struggle with the crazy

I struggle with the crazy unstoppable hunger around my period as well.

My nutritionist suggested a Fish Oil Supplement.. and it seems to have decreased my cravings. Granted, I still get them and I still do notice an increase in my appetite but it does not appear to be as bad. I can not say if it is the fish oil for sure but it seems to be helping!

Hang in there ladies.. we can do this!


Sakura's picture
Hey guys I just got my period

Hey guys I just got my period after not having it for three years I'm happy but am eating so much chocolate and crave meat alot... It's scary mad how much I want to eat all the time! I just don't know wat to do.. I thought exercise like walking wud help but it's really painful I guess this is a good thing!

meredith.grubbs27's picture
It has really helped me to

It has really helped me to remember that almost ALL women have food cravings around their periods. Ours may be more severe because our hormones are even more out of whack, and we're having to re-learn how to handle those cravings. But the cravings themselves are normal, biological, happenings. It means our reproductive systems are working!

ElsieSoproni's picture
For those of you that

For those of you that mentioned difficulties with sugar, something that has (mostly) worked for me is having fruit with peanut butter when I am absolutely craving sugar. It is full of fiber and water so it takes up space in your stomach and it's carbs, fats, and proteins so it should last. That way, if I am still having cravings afterwards, I know that it isn't rational/something my body genuinely wants, and I need to tough it out/distract myself/listen to an audio and get back on track. Personally I have a really hard time avoiding sugar altogether at such times and it's much more effective for me to try and channel it in a less destructive direction than try to abstain completely and then lose it altogether. For a sugar hit (that doesn't spike my blood sugar too much) I do raisins with peanut butter because they're even sweeter (MUST be the snack boxes or bad things happen). That way, even if I have more than I planned at least it isn't of no nutritional value, doesn't take up too much space in my stomach (trigger), and there is no way for me NOT to know how much I am eating. For those of you that struggle with peanut butter also, Tupperware has these tiny 2 tbsp containers perfect for dips and things, and if I know I am in danger I measure out the pb into that first. Then I have permission to finish that serving--if not right then, then later maybe. Hope that helps a little! (Also drink lots of water)

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