Exercise During Periods? Just Deal With the PMS Symptoms

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Hormones that trigger PMS, stress and fatigue can be a pain. How do you cope on days when the world seems to be falling apart around you and you’re too tired to hold it together? How do you maintain a good attitude and the willpower to stick to your diet?

The good news is that you are not alone. Seventy percent of all women suffer from PMS-related symptoms like food cravings, bloating, fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and irritability.

Some women experience these negative side effects more during ovulation and others during the actual period. For many, it means stepping on the scale and seeing a two to five pound weight gain.

We know that it takes an extra 3500 calories to gain a pound of fat. So, when you experience menstrual weight gain, don’t freak out. Instead, ask yourself: Did I over-eat that much yesterday? Typically, the answer is “no,” so logically we know the excess weight is water, not fat. Regardless of the cause, many women still have emotional difficulty coping with the fluctuation.

Period Weight Gain: Don’t Freak Out – It’s Only Water!

Period CrampingDuring that dreaded “time of the month,” anything can tip a female over the edge. When you are tired, can’t sleep, don’t want to work out, and all you want is chocolate – how do you deal with it?

Rather than death by chocolate or peanut butter, think of other things that make you feel good. Perhaps you have somebody in your life that you can call and ask for help. Sometimes you just need and time to yourself.

Luckily, having the right information can give you the power to control or at least cope with the temporary nuisances.

Be kind to yourself

Even the physically strongest women need a break from time to time. Many women suffer from low serotonin levels while PMS-ing. Serotonin helps regulate several processes within the brain, including mood, aggression, sleep, appetite, anxiety, memory, and perceptions.

If you are feeling “crazy” during this time, your hormones are most likely to blame. Sometimes, simply telling a friend or spouse that you’re struggling alleviates stress.

Eat clean and don’t go off your diet

We have a tendency to break the rules and make exceptions when we’re not feeling well.

Instead, accept that the day will suck and get through it one step at a time, one hour at a time. Tomorrow the challenge is over and you have won!

Drink water

Feeling bloated and retaining water is uncomfortable, but the answer is not cutting water. Instead, lower your sodium intake and drink more water to flush out your system.

Stay strong

When you are suffering from PMS or high stress, your estrogen levels spike, releasing cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels initiate the body’s “fight-or-flight” response, which results in an increased need for carbs and fat.

This is likely the reason it is so easy to say, “to hell with the diet” and turn to the food our bodies crave. It’s very important to remember your body is not asking for these foods because it needs them, but because your body is getting ready to defend itself. Sit down, read a book, and try to relax.

Woman With Period Cramping

Seventy percent of all women suffer from PMS-related symptoms like food cravings, bloating, fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and irritability.

Control blood sugar by eating often

Many women get dizzy or lightheaded during menstruation. Simple sugars may provide a quick fix, but this is not ideal if you have a show around the corner. Instead of binging on refined carbs to temporarily curb the problem, divide your meals so that you are eating more often.

Sleep

To help regulate bodily processes, you must prioritize sleep. The dishes can wait and the laundry will still be there tomorrow. This is not the time to work too strenuously. If you’re worried about missed workouts or chores, try to make up for them on active rest days.

Supplementation

In addition to incorporating the above habits to combat the symptoms of PMS, there are also vitamins and minerals that can help reduce stress.

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    B6: The vitamin helps reduce blood estrogen and increase progesterone. It can also prevent water retention by balancing serotonin and dopamine levels.

  • B-Complex: This vitamin, comprised of eight B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12) is a great supplement to take daily. For a woman suffering from PMS or stress, it is even more important. B-Complex stabilizes mood swings and helps with fatigue and irritability. B-Complex is a good choice because B Vitamins work best when taken together.
  • B12 and Folic acid: This powerful combination helps to alleviate fatigue, headaches, forgetfulness, lack of motivation, and feelings of paranoia.
  • Vitamin C: This water-soluble vitamin helps fight free radicals that increase during high stress. Vitamin C supplementation is important since your body does not produce its own.
  • Vitamin E: This powerful antioxidant helps against cramps, hot flashes and menstrual cramps.
  • Vitamin D: The “sunshine vitamin” is necessary for the absorption of Magnesium and Calcium, two minerals important for stress reduction.
  • Magnesium: This miraculous mineral helps stabilize blood sugar, reduce food cravings, and balance estrogen levels.
  • Calcium: This important mineral helps ease water retention, mood swings, cramping, and pain. Be sure to look for non-dairy sources of calcium, such kale and broccoli, as dairy products can actually worsen PMS symptoms.
  • Zinc: This “period friendly” mineral can promote feelings of well-being and improve feelings of depression.
  • Iron: During menstruation, women can lose between 30-40 mg of iron. Iron supplementation can help lessen feelings of fatigue brought on by blood loss.

Editor’s note: This article by Marie Gibson originally appeared at Machine Muscle.

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