Avoiding PMS Cravings

By Laura Kelly-Pifer

As a woman and mom of two girls, I’ve learned lots about PMS these past few years.  From my own experiences to hearing and seeing what my girls are going through, I’ve found that there are things that we crave one or two weeks before that time of the month and sometimes, even  afterwards.  PMS isn’t something that’s openly talked about but when you’re trying to lose weight and you’re a woman it’s good to know how to avoid or best handle those cravings.

So, you’re probably wondering why we crave that sweet or salty goodness or why we feel so hungry.  Well, Experts have their theories on what causes this.

For one, scientists believe low progesterone and high estrogen levels generate a drop in blood sugar levels, which leads to sugar cravings.  When you eat a sugary treat, it will raise blood sugar levels.   Unfortunately, that’s just a quick fix that is then followed by sharp blood sugar declines, creating a roller coaster of irritability, anxiety, and more sugar cravings.   And there begins our mood swings.

Another cause of cravings may be due to serotonin levels, which are generally lower during PMS. Serotonin is the “feel-good” chemical in your brain.   When our levels are low we begin to crave sugars like chocolate and carbohydrates like potato chips, French fries and pizza. That’s because the body uses carbs to make serotonin.

There are things that help me feel better and help me stay on track in getting to my weight loss goal.  My girls use these same tips and I’m going to share those with you.

Eat five to six mini meals. Eating smaller, more frequent and balanced meals throughout the day helps regulate our blood sugar levels and keeps cravings from becoming binges.  This is something that I actually do all the time and not just during that time of the month.  I space these meals out about every 2-1/2 to 3 hours and it gives my body constant fuel.

Choose complex carbs.  Complex carbs are fiber-rich foods.  Fiber helps us stay fuller longer and helps curb our appetites.  Some examples are whole-grain breads and cereals, as well as produce like legumes, fruit, and some starchy veggies.

Go for protein.  Include protein at every meal and at every snack.  It helps moderate our blood sugar levels and helps us from feeling hungry.  Some examples of protein sources are eggs, chicken, turkey, nuts, tofu, fish, or peanut butter.

Enjoy your Chocolate. Research indicates that women can experience low levels of magnesium during PMS.  Chocolate has been found to contain high levels of magnesium.  I enjoy my Chocolate Shakeology, guilt free and it curbs my sweet tooth.  Another thing that I’ll do is freeze bite size dark chocolate and have from time to time.

Relax and take a deep breath. When you start to feel irritable, crampy or a craving hits, relax and take a deep breath.

Bring on the sunshine.  The lack of sun can reduce our serotonin levels and that can lead to an increase in our appetites and also mood swings.   I like to get outdoors or let the sunshine in by opening the doors or drapes when I can.  And, I always feel better when I can incorporate this into my day.

Get moving.  I know that when you’re feeling this way that one of the last things you might want to do is exercise.  One of the best things to do though is to move.  Walk, run, pop in a DVD or hit the gym.  Exercise helps boosts our endorphins and decreases our appetites and keeps us on track.   Even though we might not want to, think about how good you feel after a workout.

How do you avoid PMS cravings?  Please share with us.  

Wishing you good health!


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Laura Kelly-Pifer is a Fitness Coach who strives to help others by giving hope and support to those that are dissatisfied with their current situation. Whether you are lacking physically, emotionally, financially, or nutritionally she is here to help you see REAL RESULTS!

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