My head is telling me I don't need that brownie but my PMS does
August 1, 2011 10:09 AM   Subscribe

What do you do to fight off junk food cravings during your period?

I'm usually on the ball when I'm not on the rag, but that one week out of the month can throw off all my hard work. Have you found any satisfying, healthy alternatives to the typical PMS foods (carbs, sugar, salt) so you can keep on track towards your weight loss goal? Also, do you alter your workouts in any way? My flow is usually pretty heavy, and I don't want to look like I murdered someone at the gym.
posted by Anima Mundi to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Not really what you're asking about, but if your flow is heavy, try a menstrual cup. Absolutely changed my life.

Also, it's hard to go wrong with a spoonful of peanut butter.
posted by phunniemee at 10:13 AM on August 1, 2011

re: workouts
After some comments here on AskMe and a lot of research, I am now using the DivaCup. It's pretty rockin'. I mean, I feel comfortable taking a ballet class and wearing a leotard. Before DivaCup, I would have skipped class for a week.
posted by spec80 at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Edamame! A little salty, but lots of protein and very satisfying.
posted by smirkette at 10:16 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I just use larger, more absorbent tampons. I don't alter my training schedule in any way, and I eat whatever my body wants me to eat.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:16 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I eat carnivorously. More meat. Less other stuff. Gotta get that iron back.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:17 AM on August 1, 2011 [8 favorites]

Running is the only thing that kills food cravings for me at any time of the month (well, that and a cigarette, but that's not a very good craving-management strategy). When cravings hit, say, at the office, where I can't exactly put on my shoes and hop out the door for a sprint around the block, I'll do some jumping jacks or planks. Just a tiny bit of physical activity reminds me that I'm working really hard here and short-circuits the craving.
posted by peachfuzz at 10:17 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

3rding the cup. Worked quite well when I was in tae kwon do.

As for cravings... whole grain cereal or fruit seems to help my carbs & sweets cravings.
posted by luckynerd at 10:19 AM on August 1, 2011

Taking B vitamin supplements throughout the month seems to help prevent cravings a bit.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:29 AM on August 1, 2011

A piece of good dark chocolate used to get me through those days.
posted by Carol Anne at 10:31 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

nthing menstrual cups. I use the Instead cup which is a disposable menstrual cup. I basically use it because I'm not responsible enough to wash and not lose a Diva cup.

The Diva cup (or Keeper, or Mooncup in the UK) is also awesome though.
posted by oranger at 10:35 AM on August 1, 2011

Do what ever one should do when any other craving occurs, ignore it unless it is clearly related to a situational nutritional deficiency. Craving occurs under a number of metabolic conditions--stress, using drugs/alcohol, exercise, chocolate with drawl etc. This assumes one is eating a nutritionally balanced diet and taking appropriate replacement nutrients (iron etc). I doubt if brownies contribute much to iron replacement but it is an intriguing and seductive notion.
posted by rmhsinc at 10:40 AM on August 1, 2011

Chocolate chip bagel for carbs and chocolate (plain!), almond butter, lots and lots of skim milk.
posted by jgirl at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2011

I drink a crapton of Yogi Moon Cycle Tea during my period. Any time I have a craving for something, I drink this instead. I carry tea bags with me everywhere and sheepishly ask for hot water in coffee shops, the whole nine yards. It makes my period-induced sore back feel better (this could totally be placebo), and it's a good way to distract myself- all the fiddling around with the tea bag can make me forget what I was craving. Plus the bags all have inspirational sayings on them, which, though cheesy, can sometimes actually make me feel better in my hyper-hormonal state.

Yeah, also, get the cup. The cup is a game-changer. In 10 years everyone will be using the cup. Don't you want to be a cool early adopter? (Seriously it owns, get it now!)
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:46 AM on August 1, 2011

Drinking more water can help. So can sleeping more. Sometimes I really crave that full stomach feeling, so I eat a lot of something low calorie, like carrots. I also find avoiding sugar helps. A satisfying low carb treat is 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 2 ounces cream cheese, and some cinnamon heated in the microwave, mixed up, and eaten like a hot pudding. It's better than it sounds.
posted by medusa at 11:27 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, I really like gentle yoga during my period, it feels soothing. Classes called gentle yoga, restorative yoga, or yin yoga are good.
posted by medusa at 11:29 AM on August 1, 2011

maybe too much of a cop out for you, but i remind myself what my body wants is iron so i just matter of factly indulge in really good dark chocolate. not tons, just enough to take the edge off. and i take an iron supplement.
posted by ifjuly at 11:46 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gum helps me. Doesn't satisfy the same urge, but keeps my mouth busy until I forget about it.
posted by stennieville at 12:32 PM on August 1, 2011

If I can recognize my cravings and tie them to the hormonal cycle, I can often logic my way out of them (of course, it helps that for my stupid body the cramps-->indigestion-->misery cycle is intensified by adding fats and sugars, so I have a huge rational reason to no do that.) But the biggest problem for me is realizing what I'm about to do, so I can ask myself if that's what I really want or not.
"hmmm, I could go make myself a nutella sandwich and eat it with a whole bag of potato chips, BUT I don't actually want that, I will be miserable" is a fine thing to think is going to happen - but it always sounds like "huh, I wonder what's in the kitchen..."

Still, I am often able to convince myself that I do not want to eat X, it's just my hormones that want to eat X, and I am kind of miffed at my hormones at present, they shouldn't get what they want.
posted by aimedwander at 1:10 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have been making liver and onions (which I'm rather fond of) on the first (heavy) day of my period for the last few months. It doesn't do anything for pre-menstrual cravings but it cuts them off short, where otherwise I might keep eating crap all through my period.

Overall, having a relatively low-carb life seems to moderate the cravings. If I'm eating more fat and protein, I am generally full and less susceptible to random urges.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:35 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I usually just have a reasonable serving of whatever I'm craving.
posted by kamikazegopher at 7:04 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I find that exercising regularly and eating healthily during the month helps to curb insane PMS cravings. ( Since exercising regularly I no longer desire every piece of cake and bread in site during my period.) Also, being healthy normally (sounds like you are) helps you feel better about giving in a little bit. I don't think there's anything wrong with having some extra chocolate or carbs during your period.

Also, sometimes things like yogurt, milk or eggs help to satiate cravings for me.
posted by bearette at 7:32 PM on August 1, 2011

I find an avocado with vinaigrette and salt very satisfying; it seems to stop other cravings. Lots of water, room temperature not chilled. And a menstrual cup. (Each used appropriately of course)
posted by tavegyl at 12:51 AM on August 2, 2011

I've recently gotten protein bars from Quest Nutrition and they've been a delicious godsend. The Vanilla Crunch one has been especially good for that sweet-salty crunch. That plus meaty meat - mmmm bacon-steak.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:13 AM on August 2, 2011

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