PMS Overeating & Binges
PMS Overeating & Binges—and More on Cravings
In our PMS food and chocolate cravings article, we discussed how unbalanced blood sugar can create PMS cravings, and touched on premenstrual chocolate cravings—a phenomenon we think most women are familiar with! We continue the discussion with sweets and salt cravings and go further to discuss emotional eating, overeating, and binging, which often take a turn for the worse premenstrually.
Premenstrual Sweets Cravings
Sweets seem like they're all around us: the candy on a colleague's desk, the friend who is an expert baker, the cookies at the bank. Whatever your individual preference and your downfall, it can feel nearly impossible to resist those temptations anytime, and even more so shortly before your period. What's more, for women with severe PMS & chocolate food cravings, sweets become almost an obsession: some women describe it as a "sweets addiction."
You can get a handle on sweets cravings and stop overeating sweets—but remember, it's all about prevention. By the time you're dipping into the cookie jar or walking into the local ice cream shop, it's too late. Here's what we recommend:
- Following the blood sugar diet can help you beat your sweets cravings.
- Sweets are addictive: a little can make you want more. If you can cut back all month long, and you'll crave them less premenstrually and have less PMS too.
- Treat yourself to naturally sweet fruit. Any fresh fruit is great, though canned or dried fruit is usually too sugary.
- Get in touch with what you're feeling: it's easy to succumb to emotional eating, sometimes without even realizing you're doing it. You might be using sweets to cover up what's really going on inside.
Premenstrual Salt Cravings
People have always craved salt. Some nutritionists believe it's because our blood is as salty as seawater; others point out that salt is rare and precious in nature, so we're built to love the taste of it.
Too much salt can be harmful, though, contributing to an acidic environment in the body, raising blood pressure, and worsening PMS bloating. If you crave salty foods before your period, you may be craving starchy foods like pretzels and chips rather than the salt flavoring, so the general blood sugar-balancing guidelines from the food and chocolate cravings article may be helpful for you. These how-to steps will help you prevent PMS salt cravings:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated: 6-8 glasses per day.
- Eat mineral-rich foods: fruits, nuts, beans, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Try seaweed, a natural salt source, available in health food stores.
- Use real salt from the health food store: Celtic sea salt, Utah mineral bed sea salt, and the like. These balanced salt sources contain minerals your body may be craving.
PMS Binges & Overeating
Sometimes, all your best efforts just aren't enough to stave off binging, overeating, and emotional eating. It's important to recognize what a difficult challenge this can be, and to be patient and forgiving with yourself. When you're trying to stop emotional eating and PMS overeating, it's not uncommon to experience setbacks. Having a disciplined diet is hard enough anytime; it's much harder in the days and weeks preceding your period.
If you find your cravings aren't so much a desire for a particular food or flavor but rather a change in your appetite and ability to feel satisfied, there's plenty you can do to win the food battle, even if you're in the midst of PMS. We suggest you start with the following to help you stop overeating:
- Not to sound like a broken record: our blood-sugar diet really can help you stay on an even keel.
- Because sweets are addictive, we suggest cutting them out entirely if you find they are a real problem for you. It may seem intimidating at first, but once you get through the first few days sweets cravings tend to diminish or disappear. This is also true for any food that you eat compulsively, like chips, pretzels, and sodas (even diet drinks), so you're better off avoiding them completely.
- Alcohol lowers your impulse control when it comes to food and sweets. It only takes a little bit to make it much harder to say no to a food you'd ordinarily have the will power to avoid.
- Fiber is filling: fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, flax and chia seed all help keep you feeling full, which can help prevent binges and overeating.
- Drink plenty of water—it also helps you to feel full.
- Emotional eating is behind a lot of food binges and overeating. You can try giving some consideration to other ways to "feed" yourself emotionally. Another approach you may find helpful is to nurture yourself by asking, "What is the kindest, healthiest choice I can make for myself right now?"
This point of being kind to yourself is something about which we feel strongly. All the pressures that women face, especially regarding food and weight, can make it hard to stop emotional eating. Your ability to treat yourself with compassion is one of the best ways you have to lower that pressure and stress. Eating junk food, binges, and overeating, though it feels like an indulgence, isn't actually being kind to yourself. We encourage you to consider what you can do to feed yourself emotionally, whether at PMS or another time, to help change and avoid eating patterns that don't serve you.
Treating the Cause
Premenstrual overeating, binges, and emotional eating are often part of an overall hormonal imbalance that can interfere with your life in so many ways. The ideal approach to PMS and PMDD is a holistic one that addresses all its underlying causes: diet, nutrition, lifestyle, and emotions. In the process, you'll be improving your overall health and wellness.
Real, Natural Relief—So You Can Feel Great All Month Long
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