How to avoid the PMS pig-out
Don’t let your healthy eating plan fall off the rails during that time of the month; follow these steps to help combat symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.
Cravings for chocolate or sugar-laden foods, bloating, lethargy and feeling blue — many women will be familiar with these systems of pre-menstrual syndrome. However, you may be surprised to hear it’s possible to combat symptoms of PMS by following a carbohydrate-controlled eating program, according to Colette Heimowitz, nutritionist and vice president of nutrition and education at Atkins Nutritionals. “In the lead up to ‘that time’, many women may find themselves unable to resist reaching for high-carbohydrate, starchy foods such as white bread and white pasta, as well as sweet foods such as lollies, chocolate and pastries — all of which may seem to be a quick fix to boost energy levels and ward off the premenstrual blues, but in actual fact will only lead to a vicious cycle of sugar-highs and lows,” Colette said. “The key is putting strategies in place to combat your PMS cravings.” Colette gave five tips to keep bloat at bay and your blood sugar levels in check.
1. Avoid the scales
In the days leading up to and during that time of the month, many women find their weight fluctuates about 2.5 kg. This is due to water retention but it can be disheartening to see the number of the scales rise if you are trying to lose weight, so avoid the scales and stick to healthy eating and exercise, and weigh yourself after your cycle.
2. Control your carbohydrate intake
Keeping an eye on your carbohydrate intake can be a way to curb those pesky cravings for unhealthy treats, which can also be to blame for belly bloating. By decreasing the foods high in carbs and sugar such as white bread, chips and lollies and filling your diet with whole foods such as tofu, legumes and leafy greens, your body’s cravings for high-carb, highsugar foods will lesson and bloating is less likely.
3. Don’t skip meals
Eating regular meals and snacks is important in weight management, especially during menstruation because it aids in keeping blood sugar levels even, meaning you are less likely to reach for a quick fix.
If PMS has you feeling down, it is time to get your body moving. Even light exercise including walking or jogging will encourage your body to produce the feel-good chemical endorphins that can boost your mood.
5. Prepare healthy snacks to keep sugar cravings at bay
Eating a healthy, low GI snack will help keep you feeling full, while reaching for the chocolate will cause blood sugar levels to spike and then drop, leaving you feeling worse. If you really can’t pass up the chocolate or sweets, try a low-carb option instead — a high-protein option that is low in sugar and carbohydrates to get the flavour without the pay off.