Why do we get period cravings? Why do we get bloated and gain weight during our periods? What can we do about it?
So, you’ve been following the Ketogenic diet, and it’s going great! Then, one day you wake up, and you’re hungry for carbs. All of a sudden your kid’s leftovers look delicious, and you want to binge on chocolate and chips.
Does this sound anything like you? Because this is me every single month. At first, I thought it was a lack of willpower and self-control, only to later realize when I went to the bathroom that Aunt Flow came to town
So why do we get so hungry when we are on our period?
While menstruating, our bodies go through a lot of changes. Our hormones are all out of whack — specifically Cortisol and Seratonin.
Cortisol is your body’s stress level. It is higher than usual when you are on your period. Higher stress = more hungry
This hormone is responsible for regulating your appetite and makes you happy. It’s decreased when you are on your period which means you’re appetite is higher than, and you may be feeling sad (which leads to wanting to eat your weight in chocolate).
That explains a lot for me. Even before my period comes, I get really hungry for sweets and I become super-duper moody, and sad. I feel like it has become worse with each pregnancy.
Speaking of chocolate…
Why do we crave chocolate when we are on our periods?
Chocolate cravings are not random when it’s the time of the month. The reason we crave them is that your magnesium levels are lower when you are menstruating. Isn’t that crazy?
So, because of all of these changes, you have cravings, but how about the weight gain and bloat?
(This is especially hard when you are following the Ketogenic diet because it’s devastating to see the scale go up 5lbs overnight and see that belly bloat when you have been working so hard to eliminate bloat by reducing carbs).
Why do we gain weight and get bloated when we are on our periods?
Again, it’s those stupid hormones, Estrogen to be exact for this issue.
Estrogen goes up when you are menstruating which causes your body to retain more water. Water retention leads to bloating and weight gain. Although it’s technically “water weight.”
It’s very common to see a 3-5lb scale change when you are on your period. I usually gain 5lbs. It freaks me out, but I know that it’s only temporary.
Ok, so now that you know why you get cravings and why you gain weight and get bloated, what can you do about it?
Well, nothing. Sorry. Sucks being a female.
Buahaha, just kidding. There are a few things that can help you deal with cravings and bloat.
How can I satisfy my period cravings?
First of all, I am going to tell you this, don’t fight your cravings because they will only get louder and cause you to cheat on non-Keto foods.
I am speaking from experience here. Know that it’s normal to have cravings for sugar and carbs and make them work for you.
What does this mean?
Eat the chocolate girl. Just do it.
I say this with a caveat.
Eat keto-friendly chocolate.
Allow yourself a serving or two of chocolate or a keto treat per day knowing that it will help you satisfy those cravings and prevent you from binging on non-Keto sugary and carb-filled foods.
Look, even if you accidentally eat the whole bar of Lily’s, it’s ok. It’s still better than eating a full bag of snickers (been there, done that, not pretty)
Allow yourself to eat more carbs during your period week
Now, I don’t mean bread and pasta; I mean that if you usually are eating 20 grams of carbs per day, raise it to 30 or 40g.
Don’t worry so much about tracking your macros that week. Let yourself have some extra fruit to help with those sugar cravings. If you are craving salty foods, allow yourself to have some extra nuts.
Again, you are trying to prevent yourself from going off the rails on non-keto foods so allowing yourself more of the foods that “satisfy” your cravings but won’t kick you out of Ketosis is critical.
Eat more protein
Protein is excellent because it keeps you full. If you usually eat 70 grams of protein per day, raise it to 90 that week. Don’t worry, too much protein will not kick you out of Ketosis, that is a myth that needs to stop.
Also, being kicked out of ketosis is a normal thing while menstruating anyway so who cares. You will jump right back in when you’re period is over and if you don’t, use these tips to help you get back into Ketosis quicker.
Take (more) Magnesium
If you are following a ketogenic diet, you should already be taking a Magnesium supplement because it’s an essential electrolyte. Now that you know that Magnesium is lower when you are menstruating and that it causes cravings for chocolate make sure you are taking a good dose of it during your period week.
Other tips to help you deal with weight gain, bloating and those crazy hormones:
This may seem crazy to you because I know a lot of you don’t like to exercise when you are on your period or think that it’s terrible for you.
News flash, it’s GOOD for you to work out when you are on your period because it helps to regulate those crazy hormones and tone things down a bit. Not to mention, exercise releases endorphins that make you happier.
Ok, let me be clear here though.
If you are like my best friend who has
You should ALWAYS listen to your body.
Yes, exercise is beneficial but if you are physically in pain, you should probably just Netflix and chill. (without the chill, lol)
Chug water like you are a horse
Seriously, drinking water will help you eliminate water retention (sounds counterproductive, I know, but it works. It will also help you control your cravings because sometimes when we are craving certain foods, it may mean that we are dehydrated.
Don’t weigh yourself
Just don’t do it. Trust me.
You will become more sad and depressed. Seeing that number go up 5 pounds can be very demoralizing, mainly when you worked so hard to follow a ketogenic diet.
It’s all water, and it will fall off when things get back to normal, so why torture yourself every day and keep stepping on the scale?
I used to do this all the time, and it would ruin my day and make me feel like crap.
I had to tell myself that during my period week I would not weigh myself.
I want you to know that you are not alone.
I get period cravings all the time. I want to eat all the chocolate and all the carbs, all day.
I also get super bloated, gain a bunch of weight and feel like a turd.
Blame those stupid hormones.
The point is to recognize that it’s going to happen and have the tools in place to deal with it.
It sucks, but at the end of the day, this is how I view it now, (after having two kids already) TGINP – THANK GOD IM NOT PREGNANT.
Can I get an Amen?
How do you deal with your period cravings? Comment below and let me know!
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