Most women who experience PMS & PMDD symptoms are familiar with PMS food cravings—the kind that ruin many a well-intentioned diet and exercise plan. There is another type of PMS weight gain that results from PMS bloating, but since that is water weight it generally comes off soon after the cycle completes. That’s a very small consolation, though, if you need to fit into a certain outfit on a certain day on which you happen to feel swollen and bloated, not to mention if you are simply tired of getting a bloated, blah feeling for days or weeks every month.
The real culprit in PMS weight gain is those uncontrollable food cravings. PMS cravings can feel downright overwhelming and impossible to control. Never mind that nearly every woman intuitively realizes that the foods she craves before her period: salt, sweet, fat, and starch, usually, are the very foods that can make premenstrual mood, cramps, and bloating worse, while they’re also packing on the inches and the pounds.
We have a couple of suggestions for this PMS weight gain problem. First, focus on what you eat the rest of the month, when you don’t have to battle cravings. By the time the chips are calling to you from the grocery aisle, it may be too hard to resist. If you start eating right from day one, it will actually help reduce premenstrual cravings and overeating. Second, take a good multivitamin with adequate calcium and magnesium (meaning, not a one a day vitamin—those never have enough calcium and magnesium.) You’d be surprised how boosting your nutrition level over the course of a few months can help control cravings: it could be that the vitamins and minerals are what your body and your brain is actually hungering for. Third, drink plenty of water and steer clear of addictive sweet and salty foods. This will help control bloating, and help prevent the cycle of food craving. Finally, try not to beat yourself up about food and weight.
Having PMS or PMDD is bad enough without berating yourself for cravings that are beyond your control. We’re not suggesting you plow through a pint of premium ice cream every day for a week before your period, but you can try to take it easy on yourself; remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can; and remember that you didn’t choose for your hormones to be topsy-turvy. Then, the next chance you get, start over, and get back on your plan. This is the best way to succeed at weight loss and beating those PMS food cravings.