I eat right and exercise regularly, but when PMS hits, I lose control. I binge on any junk food I can get my hands on, and then end up feeling horrible afterward. Do you have any advice on how to control this?
You’re not alone. A study that was done at Louisiana State University showed that for some women overeating is linked to their menstrual cycles. And what you eat during that time can further fuel your appetite. When a group of women who had a tendency to overeat were given high-fat, high-sugar chocolate pudding while they were premenstrual, their appetites went out of control. The more they liked the pudding, the hungrier they were and the more they ate. And when they were offered pasta afterwards, they ate three times more than a group of women who did not have overeating problems. When the same experiment was done earlier in the women’s menstrual cycles, there was no difference in the amount of pasta eaten by each group.
So how do you avoid such binges? Here are three ways to keep your appetite under control when you’re PMS-ing:
Get physical. Regular exercise may alleviate mood swings that can send you to the fridge by raising endorphins — brain chemicals that promote a sense of well-being. And exercise can reduce that common bloated feeling you may get this time of the month.
Choose the right foods. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta, breads, and cereal can halt your cravings for cookies and chips. These foods raise levels of mood-enhancing serotonin, a brain chemical that tends to dip during the premenstrual period.
Eat more often. Eating every three to four hours can stave off cravings by keeping blood sugar levels even.