Periods: Appetite & Training

(Warning this post is for women readers only. Men, read at your own risk.)

If you’re like me, the week before ‘that time of the month’ can put you in a mood and if not tamed, can affect your workouts and your training. This week for me is worse than the actual period week itself. All my body wants to do is nap and my eating habits transform into that of a 200lb. man. (Obviously there is nothing wrong with eating like a 200lb. man, if you are a 200lb. man. However, being only a 105lb. woman and eating this way isn’t so great). So how can you stay on your training track and manage the 200lb. man from within you?

1. Plan ahead. You probably know when this week is coming, or at least can read your body to know when you are starting to feel it’s close to that time. Stock your cabinets and fridge with healthy, low calorie snacks to munch on when you just can’t seem to get full. Your body burns an extra 100 to 300 calories per day the week before your period (thus the transformation into an eating machine)! My husband and I like to have chips and salsa every now and again, but this can be a fast go-to for me when it’s pre-period hunger time, so I have my husband hide the bag on me when I know it is going to be that week. Even though they are tortilla chips and not the worst thing in the world to eat now and again, shoveling them into your mouth to satisfy a pre-period hunger is going to make training harder and the amount of calories to burn off much higher.

Low-calorie snack ideas:
(Since I often crave salty foods during this time I try and stock up on at least one healthy low-calorie salty snack to satisfy my spike in hunger. However, if you get bloated during this time, avoid the salty foods and stick to the other options below. Salt makes you retain water and if you’re feeling bloated this will only make it worse).

  • Pretzel Crisps®. A 10-11 pretzel serving size only contains 110 calories and 0-2 grams of fat.
  • Fruit: like apples, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
  • Celery with almond butter.
  • Nuts: like cashews, almonds, or walnuts. Try and limit yourself to a handful or two.
  • Greek yogurt. (This will also help with boosting your energy level).

Also, if you’re like me, you turn into a sloth. (You mean I can’t sleep all afternoon?!) Try adding in these foods and beverages to your mid-afternoon snack routine to help boost your energy and make it through the rest of the day:

  • Coconut water or fresh or dry coconut flakes.
  • Tea.
  • Dark chocolate. (A reason to eat chocolate, I’m in! Seriously though, it can provide a mental and mood boost thanks to stimulants within—like caffeine and theobromine).
  • Ginger. Use fresh or dried ginger root steeped in tea, or in an afternoon fruit and yogurt smoothie.

2. Don’t get discouraged. Gaining 3-5 pounds of water weight is considered normal for this time of the month. If your body starts to lose a little of its tone and definition don’t worry, it will come back! Instead of getting discouraged and upset by the body staring back at you in the mirror (what happened since last week?! I know I splurged and had a bite or two of that dessert after dinner, but yikes!) use it as motivation to get yourself to workout and make it a great workout at that.

3. Listen to your body. If you just don’t have the energy to workout, don’t force yourself to do so. Your form will suffer and you could end up injuring yourself. This also goes for your appetite increase. During this week live by the ‘if you’re hungry, eat’ philosophy. Your body is burning extra calories so it needs the extra input into your body, just be smart about your snack choices.

Sometimes a week can feel like a lifetime, especially when it affects your mood and your goals, but in reality you’ll be back to normal in just one week! And remember, you aren’t the only one that feels this way.

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