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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.