Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why PMS = More Chocolate & How to not let it sabotage Weight Loss Goals

Its that time of the month, again!
And the quantity of chocolate I gobble up from my kids stores' makes me wonder about my self control.

I dunno if anyone ever wanted a scientific reason for something so badly as I did-


This is what the doctor calls PMS-C, a type of PMS characterized by cravings for sweets, increased appetite, fatigue, headaches, and hypoglycemic episodes that may lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, or- in severe cases- fainting.

It is suggested that those suffering from PMS-C respond to hormonal fluctuations that affect blood sugar, making cells more insulin-sensitive leading to blood sugar crashes that trigger cravings to candy and potato chips.

However, after you stuff your face with Ho Ho’s, your insulin levels spike, causing your blood sugar to drop yet again. And so the cycle closes.

One reason could be magnesium, needed to help insulin bind to cell receptors. Magnesium deficiency may worsen chocolate cravings because chocolate contains magnesium.
Doc says that supplementing with 300-400 mg of magnesium may help. Evening primrose oil, chaste tree berry, and natural progesterone may also alleviate PMS symptoms.

For those of us with long-term weight loss goals, much of our ambitions are sabotaged by our own bodies - we're up (or lowering weight steadily & feeling great) and then down (stuffing it & feeling bad) on a rather rythmic & regular basis. But theres help.

To avoid weight gain during the second half of your menstrual cycle, resist the urge to indulge in sweets and carbs and stabilize your blood sugar with low glycemic index foods that don’t bump up your insulin levels much.

Healthy choices include lean proteins (fish, chicken breast, eggs), veggies, and whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or barley. For even more effective blood sugar stabilization, drink green vegetable juice.
Keep healthy snacks, such as almonds, olives, or carrot sticks, on hand to combat cravings.

This kind of diet will knock out most of your cravings, so that, even if PMS hunger leads you to consume more food, you should still be on track for your weight loss goals. 

Personally, every time, I stick to reasonably good eating choices in those days, I reward myself with a piece of indulgent chocolate for dessert.

Pic from Divine Fairtrade chocolate on Flickr

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