Whether it's close to, during or just after your period, not only do your moods get crazy, but if you're like me, your cravings and hunger levels are higher than usual. But this shouldn't stop your weight loss efforts. Here are some things you can do to make sure you continue your progress even when that time of the month rolls around.
Around that time of the month, many women — whether it's scientifically proven or not — crave sweets more than usual. This isn't detrimental only to your weight loss efforts, but sugar might actually worsen PMS symptoms. How do you combat this while trying to shed pounds? Trick your sweet tooth. Opt for dark chocolate with at least 60 per cent cocoa, as it contains health benefits and less sugar. Melt the dark chocolate, and use it as dip for fruit for an extra treat. The magnesium in chocolate will help lighten your mood, minimize bloating and reduce anxiety. If you feel like baking, sub whole-wheat for white flour, and instead of using sugar, look up recipes that include fruit juice or applesauce as sweeteners.
During our periods, we bloat. We bloat and feel bloated in anything we wear, and this can be even more discouraging while you're trying to lose weight. One way to ease this feeling, since your body is hanging on to every bit of fluid, is to make sure you drink enough water. Drinking water throughout the day keeps you hydrated, meaning you feel less hungry and more energetic. Water is also a better choice over coffee, since caffeine can make bloating and other PMS symptoms worse.
Like many of my girlfriends, I'd rather have something rich in carbohydrates, like a big bowl of pasta, over something leaner, like a salad. If you're going to indulge in extra carbohydrates, do it the smart way. Choose whole-grain pasta over the white stuff, and load your sauce with vegetables. If you're itching for french fries, choose sweet potato fries, since yams have less starch than white potatoes do. If you want a huge peanut butter and jelly sandwich, use whole-grain bread, natural peanut butter and full fruit jam. Choosing smarter carbohydrates helps control your blood sugar and insulin levels while leaving you feeling fuller. Furthermore, having these complex carbohydrates promotes serotonin production, a hormone that makes you feel happier and calmer.
And finally, be sure to not skip your workouts around that time of the month. While you might not feel comfortable working out while on your period, sticking to light exercise like walking on the treadmill or keeping a steady pace on the elliptical is better than nothing. Rest on your heavy-period days if you must, but don't ditch the gym the whole week. The exercise might even help alleviate menstrual cramps as you shed some extra calories. What's more is that we all know the endorphin rush we get from exercising is a welcome plus, especially around your period.
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