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.

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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.

4. Ex­er­cise

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.

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