Combating That Time of the Month

ATJ_4577-T3LO

You know what I’m talking about.

That time of the month when you burst into tears for no reason, or get totally annoyed by the tiniest things (like the sound of Chris’ chewing…which doesn’t bother me any other time of the month!), or can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep. That time of the month when you’re not in the mood for anything, except a chick flick and some ice cream. That time of the month, when anywhere from 1 to 6—or as many as 10—mysterious pounds suddenly appear on your body. Overnight. And those extra pounds can be soooo discouraging, especially when you’ve been doing your best to eat healthy and work out.

If you’re lucky enough to be among the 15% of women who don’t get to experience any of these wonderful things, that’s amazing…and we’re all just a tad jealous! 🙂 But for the rest of us who do, this post is especially for us (and those who love us!).

So why do you gain weight during that time of the month, when you already get to deal with so many other not-so-nice things? Those lovely female hormones, as well as a potential drop in blood sugar, and/or wacky cortisol and serotonin levels are all to blame, causing water retention, bloating, food cravings, and/or emotional overeating. The problem is, when you do see those extra pounds of fluid, or give into those cravings—or both—it’s tempting to say, “To heck with it!” and overindulge even more! It’s easy to forget that those pounds are temporary, and in a few days they’ll go away just as mysteriously as they appeared.

Here are seven strategies to help you win the battle against that time of the month:

  • Eat healthy! Fill your days with whole grains, lean meats, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats—like we do in Carb Cycling. Studies have shown that eating complex carbs can raise serotonin levels, which helps improve  your mood. Amen to that!
  • Watch your salt and sugar intake. Stay away from those processed, junk foods. Sodium can cause bloating, and sugary foods can actually increase your insulin levels, which can make those potentially problematic cravings worse. That’s the last thing we want to happen!
  • Exerciseespecially when you don’t feel like it! In fact, you can get some pretty awesome benefits from simply getting your heart rate up for as little as 10 minutes. Any type of cardio can help raise those serotonin levels, and you’ll feel better, burn calories, and handle all those crazy emotions more effectively. And get this: Inactivity can actually contribute to bloating! Yeah…that makes you want to get up and move right now, right? 😉 If those cramps make you want to curl up in a ball and do nothing, try some easy stretching, yoga, or swimming. Anything gentle and relaxing can  help!
  • Drink plenty of water. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces each day (150 pounds = 75 ounces of water). While this might seem counter intuitive, you’ll want plenty of water in your system to keep things running smoothly.
  • Eat 5 meals a day—like we do in Carb Cycling—to help control your blood sugar levels and fend off those cravings.
  • Keep a food and feelings diary all month long and look for patterns. If you’re able to pinpoint when that time of the month is going to strike, you can plan for stressful situations (or avoid them entirely) and have a concrete strategy in place so you won’t add permanent pounds to those temporary ones.
  • Get as much sleep as possible. Fatigue adds to your already increased irritability, makes it more difficult to want to exercise and eat healthy, and can cause other issues that can affect your health and make you feel not as good as you’d like to, even when it’s not that time of the month!

So hey, that time of the month—bring it!

We’re ready! 🙂

Xoxo,

Heidi

Related posts:

PCOS + Carb Cycling + A 9 Pound Miracle!

Stressed Out?

No Time for Exercise?

And get some more helpful info from this appearances on Dr. Oz.


16 Comments

  1. Eleonora - June 20, 2016

    Thank you for the article, it’s very useful and motivated me to keep doing exercise even in THIS time of the month, even if I’m not on the mood . This tips works, thank you very much!

  2. karvachauth - October 13, 2015

    These tips really do work. Exercise helps to reduce or eliminate the cramps for the rest of the period. It took me a while to embrace exercising while you feel icky from the cramping and bloating. It also didn’t help when my culture teaches women to “go easy” during this time. What helped me start was walking on my worst cramp days and I found I could go for 30 minutes. Over the years, I now exercise during my period with the same intensity and without taking the ibuprofen (been over 15 years – no ibuprofen during monthlies).

  3. Carolin - October 12, 2015

    Thank you for this post. This year was truly not my best. I gained some extra pounds and do not feel happy with my body anymore, I gave up my studies because it was not the right one for me. And sadly my boyfriend left me 3 weeks ago and it feels like I have lost the biggest support in my life. I want to make the best out of it, try to look ahead and learn how to deal with my new living conditions. Hopefully I can gain new energy to lose some pounds until christmas and to start my new studies next year. Your website, Heidi, will surely help me a lot! Watching ”Extreme Weight Loss” gives me so much motivation and reading your blogs feels like talking to a friend.
    Kind regards to all of you!

  4. Cecilia - October 9, 2015

    I’ve started looking at this time of the month from a totally different perspective after seeing the Ayurvedic take on periods. In Ayurveda, this time of month is a time of cleansing where the body is working hard renewing and detoxing. Because of this it is a time that we should really go easy on exercising, and limit it to light movement such as walking and light yoga (just not inverted poses). In our western culture we’ve been taught to just “push through it”, take some pain killers and carry on, when really, we should take this week to be gentle with ourselves, and rest while our body is doing a lot of work.
    It also points out that the more “junk” we eat throughout the month, the worse these symptoms are when our period come around. I’ve noticed that since eating clean, and as of the last month of quitting sugar, my symptoms are much, much better (and my mad chocolate cravings are gone)! Now instead of dreading this time of month, I look at it as a great opportunity to cleanse my body, and a reason to stop my hectic life for a moment and just take care of myself, rest and be gentle to myself.

  5. Kelly Norling - October 9, 2015

    Thanks sooo much for posting!!!
    Needed this♡♡

  6. MacKenzie Green - October 9, 2015

    Carb cycling has been one of the best things to happen in terms of PMS and that time of the month. The high carb days are great, and Sundays are when I gather every single thing on my cravings list and go to town.
    I always gained weight during my period, but since carb cycling I’ve lost weight during my period, and my cramps and bloating have been significantly better.

  7. Emily - October 9, 2015

    I’m so happy you posted this I am one of those women who gets all the unfun time of the month stuff BAD, I was just struggling with this and couldn’t have read it at a better time! Thanks! ?

  8. Heather - October 9, 2015

    Thanks for the article, Heidi! I love how you brought this issue out there and gave us some good tips, especially reminding us that it is temporary and the pounds will disappear as quickly as they came.

    I don’t agree with calling these emotions crazy. They are normal and prevalent in many women as your article has highlighted, and although we might feel crazy, it is better to recognize and validate the emotions, not brush them aside as crazy and give others and ourselves the perception that women are crazy that time of the month.

    I sent this article to my boyfriend to help understand and support me with your strategies, especially during that time of the month! Thanks!

  9. Carrie - October 9, 2015

    I feel like I needed to read this today! I am so thankful for this post. I am currently dealing with these issues and I feel like I have to start all over after my period and I get so discouraged. It doesn’t make me feel as crazy 🙂 Thanks so much! I am going to read this every month to remind myself what is going on with my body.

  10. Elizabeth - October 9, 2015

    There is something so comforting in being reminded that it is a shared struggle! Thank you Heidi for just being real, yet again. 🙂 xoxo

  11. Sian - October 9, 2015

    The older I get the worse it gets. I don’t seem to loose the 10 pounds. So every month, gets worse. I start loosing then bam.

  12. Debbie - October 9, 2015

    Thank you so much for the info. It seems to me that the closer to the change I get, the worse that time of the month gets for me. I use to be one of those lucky few that had no symptoms but not anymore. Now I get them with a vengeance. The last thing I want to do is be anywhere near a gym. Thankfully I don’t get cravings though.

  13. Sarah - October 9, 2015

    I am in awe of everything you do. This article came at just the right time for me (if you know what I mean). My husband and I have been on a very good health streak this past week, eating healthy, exercising, packing lunches for our day and eating dinners as a family, and I knew my Aunt Flo was on her way. I always have a hard time for those 5 days and I desperately did not want to go back on the progress I have made. This gave me the push I needed to stay healthy when my mind thinks I shouldn’t.
    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being so inspirational. My husband and I both admire you and your beautiful family ?

  14. Kellie - October 9, 2015

    Thank you so much for this article Heidi! I’ve always had a wicked time with THAT time of the month, and was recently hospitalized because my hemoglobin/blood levels dropped so low they were going to transfuse me.

    Now I’m trying to break old ‘junky’ habits by doing the carb cycling, and going for short walks until my blood gets back to where it should be (2-3 months, ack!), so I really appreciate this article. Much love to you and your family!

  15. Jill - October 9, 2015

    I am going throw that now and soon there will be candy in the house with 2 kids trick or treating this year I have 90 lbs to lose by june so I need all the help with weight loss I can get

    • Team Powell - October 9, 2015

      Hi Jill: All that Halloween candy definitely can make it harder! You might find some great tips and tools to help you reach your weight loss goals in this other blog post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. It outlines the basics of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, and it works! Be sure and follow all the links within the post too – there are some awesome things! You can do this! 🙂

Leave a reply