Why do I really want to eat before menstruation and what to do about it?

Hunger can increase during the luteal phase (days 16–28). Scientists attribute this fact to the activation of the female sex hormone progesterone, but it’s not very clear why this happens specifically. Probably, progesterone stimulates the metabolism in the body, and because of this, the energy expenditure increases by 2.5–11%.

Here I would like to exhale and say: well, that’s the real reason why you can eat more – but, alas, this is not so. Firstly, not everyone feels hungry during this period, and various studies confirm the fact. Secondly, if you count the percentages in calories, it turns out that the body requires only 100-150 extra kcal per day, and therefore a whole chocolate bar, which is 2-3 times more nutritious and which you sometimes want so much to eat, to completely satisfy energy needs need not.

How an appetite depends on mood swings

Perhaps progesterone is also involved. By examining the effect of this hormone on lowering the concentration of serotonin in the blood, scientists found that the lack of the hormone of happiness is one of the factors in the development of depression, apathy, and serotonin (or emotional) hunger. It is not related to real, physiological hunger and refers to the emotiogenic type of eating disorder: not understanding the causes of a bad mood, instead of going to the movies or calling a friend, we are looking for support in food, which creates a temporary feeling of comfort.

Emotional hunger can also explain the craving for chocolates and cakes during menstruation – it is sweet that, when ingested, stimulates the production of dopamine (the hormone of pleasure). It turns out that you can part with sadness very quickly – just by eating cookies. True, the effect of this method will be short-lived.

How to eat during PMS

The simplest thing you can do: drink less coffee and alcohol, which stimulate appetite, and limit salty foods – an excess of salt causes edema, which already often appears a few days before menstruation due to hormonal changes.

Drastically changing eating behavior is not easy (especially if you have PMS right now), but it is possible. Start by analyzing your current habits: observe yourself, write down feelings (for example, whether you want to eat any particular food, how your mood affects the choice of dishes) – this will help during the next cycle not to eat everything that catches your eye.

What to look for

On craving for useless food. What to do: If you are more than usual drawn to chips, soda and crackers, buy and put healthy snacks in your bag in advance: yogurt, nuts or fruits. Such supplies help not overeat and not feel guilty after.

For craving for sweets. What to do: First, do not buy cakes, chocolate, sweets for the future. Sweets spread out around the apartment or in the office provoke overeating. It is better to always have at hand useful analogues (fruits, dried fruits) and eat them as needed.

I just want to eat a lot. What to do: Indeed, you can create the illusion of comfort not with specific products, but with a lot of food. Fighting yourself is useless, but choosing normal foods – vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, cereals – instead of unnecessary chips or sweets is quite real. After all, in fact, it does not matter what to overeat, but at least you control the quality of your diet.

I want to get in a bad mood. What to do: Make a list of pleasant things from 10–20 points and use it when you feel the urge to get unpleasant emotions. At the right time, switch to any business from the list that is not related to food.

local_offerevent_note May 4, 2020

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