I've long used my periods as excuses to let go and treat myself to all the things I normally avoid. As soon as I sense a dip in my mood around that time of the month, I head to the nearest shop and stock up on my favourite chocolate bars in anticipation of a week-long bad mood.
While this monthly cycle of overindulgence is definitely not doing me any favours and is fostering an unhealthy habit, period cravings are real. The main explanation for them is that during PMS, women experience a drop in the happy hormone, serotonin. With the decrease in serotonin levels, we tend to crave things that provide us with temporary highs like sugar.
Don't Be "Hangry"
Being hungry and moody is a sure fire way of getting hangry. You're much less likely to snack on whatever you can get your hands on when you're fed, so make sure you're eating fibre-full meals and drinking enough water to alleviate the cravings before they even happen.
Anticipate Your Cravings
Get rid of the refined goodies hiding in your kitchen cupboards and prep some filling, healthy homemade snacks like protein balls so that when you do reach for a little pick-me-up, you're not overloading your body with empty calories, excess salt, and refined carbs, which will only make you feel worse once the temporary high is gone and your blood-sugar levels drop back down.
Let It Go
Fixating on whatever goodies you've overindulged in while PMSing will add to your stress and might actually lead you to making more unhealthy decisions. Giving in to a few not-so-great cravings during the emotional upheaval of a period won't unravel all the hard work and clean eating you usually stick to, simply draw a line under it and let it go.
Work It Out
Working out while cramping doesn't sound great to us either but the happy, accomplished feeling you get from the endorphin rush in your brain at the end of a workout might just be worth the struggle. If the idea of a sweat session doesn't excite you, try some gentle ways to stay active when you just can't face a workout.