I used to have huge chocolate cravings during PMS. They were so uncontrollable that I could eat a whole chocolate bar, not just a small one, in a matter of minutes. I would get out of the craving like coming out of a trance, wondering what the hell happened. I’m not a doctor so I’m not going to explain to you how to balance your hormones and how food cravings and the menstrual cycle interact. But I’ll share with you what I do to control my cravings and curb my hunger. Also, I may gain weight during menstruation but I’ll lose it all again a few days later.
It’s OK to gain two or three kilos for a few days, as long as my average weight doesn’t change. Let me share with you what I do so that PMS and menstruation don’t make me put on weight long-term
2019 Update: this BBC news article claims that chocolate cravings are culturally related and that its ingredients cannot explain why we crave it so much.
I find this very exciting news. As years after writing this blog post, I still don’t binge on chocolate nor crave it as I used to. And, I’m not doing much about it. I haven’t exercised much either since I got a herniated disc. And, that hasn’t had any consequence on my chocolate cravings either… I eat chocolate. But in much more reasonable amounts. And, I don’t go crazy if I can’t eat it.
Lifestyle and Diet Tips to Stop Cravings and Curb Hunger During and Before Periods
I have found that what causes cravings before periods is sometimes a lack of a certain nutrient. When I added certain supplements to my diet, the intensity of cravings was greatly diminished.
Take some magnesium If like me, you have incredible urges for chocolate but mostly during PMS and menstruation, take some magnesium supplement. For me, nothing except magnesium chloride works quickly enough. I take it in the form of organic nigari, a plant extract usually used to turn soy milk into tofu. It contains about 90% magnesium chloride. I mix 22g of nigari flakes with a liter of water to make magnesium chloride water. I drink a glass about an hour before bedtime. It helps me sleep better, reduces stress and greatly diminishes chocolate cravings.
Drink a lot of water: I always recommend this but it’s even more important during PMS and menstruation
Drink a very dark chocolate beverage: If you still want to have a taste of chocolate, you can take 90% to 100% dark chocolate or create a homemade hot cocoa with two tablespoons of unsweetened, raw, 100% organic cacao powder, hot water and a tablespoon of coconut cream (optional). You can sweeten with a little bit of stevia. I use maple syrup. I use this when I’m really too hungry after a meal and I know my hunger is related to my menstrual cycle. I use coconut milk because my body seems happy with it. Please use this option sparingly and only if you can’t binge on very dark chocolate. It works, but I feel it triggers a bit of inflammation in my digestive system. If you want to remain healthy, young and slim, you must limit your intake of anything that irritates your bowels.
Eat Some Spirulina: Spirulina seems to help only if I take it on a daily basis, but when I do, I feel my menstrual cramps are reduced. I’m calmer, and if I take it before meals it can be an appetite suppressant. I’m against the idea of suppressing hunger, but in this situation, hunger can sometimes get out of control, so I think spirulina is a good option. It’s a great source of calcium, iron and other nutrients which, if you’re deficient in them, can cause cravings. Several people craving carbs during PMS report improvement in their situation, likewise for sugar cravings.
Eat grated coconut and fiber: I often get really hungry 5 to 6 days before menstruation. I’m not craving any particular food like when I craved chocolate but I’m just really hungry most of the time. If you’re not sure whether your overall hunger has increased or you’re having food cravings, read my article about hunger or cravings where I explain how to differentiate between the two. I always eat when I’m hungry but when I’m close to my periods, I eat more fiber-rich foods. I find that grated coconut is the one thing that helps me curb my appetite. I love the taste and I feel full much faster. I have tried coconut flour but I think it contains a lot of fiber too.
Avoid processed foods, bakery products, candy and sodas: I feel that I’m most likely to gain weight before and during my periods. That’s why I watch what I eat a bit more at those times. I stay away from bakery foods like “croissants” and choose custard instead because it contains more proteins and less carbs. Most of the time, I don’t eat desserts but instead opt for bigger meals with more vegetable and salads, as well as any water and fiber rich food, but I sometimes also cook some red beans in a nice chili. It all depends on the intensity of my hunger. If it’s intense, I will choose foods that make me feel fuller, and things I feel like eating. I never force myself to eat anything I don’t like.
Take Cinnamon: I find that I feel much better when I drink a beverage made of one tablespoon of cinnamon and one tbsp. of dehydrated wheat grass juice in a glass of water. It seems to regulate my blood sugar very quickly and also easy my sugar cravings. If you’re craving candy and sugar mostly during your periods, read my article about how to stop craving sweets and how to stop eating sugar.
Exercise during PMS: Exercise cleanses the liver. It may help you sleep better, flush out excess estrogen and release stress. It will help you control emotional or stress-related eating and limit any symptoms.
Monitor your breathing and practice deep breathing: Set an alert on your mobile phone to ring every hour. Check your breathing, how you’re feeling; look for any tension in your body. If you feel your breathing is shallow, stretch out and practice deep breathing for three minutes.
Avoid any stimulants or foods which may promote bowel inflammation: These may cause stress and worsen your PMS or menstrual symptoms. These include coffee, tea (except some herbal teas and white teas), all alcoholic drinks and sugars.
Eat large meals at regular hours: Dieting before and during periods is simply a bad idea. It’s normal that hunger fluctuates with your menstrual cycle. Use the tips I have given you above but make sure you do eat, and eat large enough quantities so that you don’t feel hungry all day.
Take a snack between lunch and dinner or whenever you’re hungry: Once again, to do this properly you must know the difference between hunger and cravings. For more information on this subject, please read my article Hunger or Cravings? If you’re getting too hungry at any point, eat something. It can be a fruit or something nourishing, but you should avoid fried, processed or unnatural foods. Eat something home-cooked or fresh and simple. These tips will help you go through your menstrual cycle without overindulging and without feeling deprived. Refrain from weighing yourself daily. Use only your clothes to assess your weight and accept that you will probably gain some weight when getting closer to menstruation. It will go away a few days after that if you stick to the plan above.
Coaching Tips and Mental Tricks to Eliminate Period Cravings and Beat Emotional Eating:
Prevent depression: I used to experience mild depression during PMS. My symptoms would get worse two days before my periods and then disappear two days later. If this sounds like you, read my article about how to stop overeating and sugar cravings during depression.
Use the fastest (drug-free) relaxant of all: I give all my email subscribers access to training videos that will show you exactly what to do to stop a craving in eight to twelve minutes (click on the link to get started). This technique does wonders and also releases stress. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to my newsletter. Fill out the form at the bottom of this article to start enjoying busting any cravings in eight to twelve minutes.
Use the 8-12 minute craving buster technique: Click on this link to stop cravings in eight to twelve minutes
Control Stress Eating: Periods can create subtle bodily changes and mood swings that increase stress levels. If you feel stress eating gets out of whack before or during your periods, then read this article: how to stop stress eating All the tips combined in this article and related articles will help you turn your period cravings into a bad memory. They are easy to follow and take very little time to do. Try them to prevent menstruation and PMS weight-gain and cravings and enjoy the results; normal eating throughout the month and stable weight and shape. Please leave your comments below and, if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to my newsletter now and lay your hands on the most powerful technique to stop a craving in eight to twelve minutes
My eating is so out of control at the moment. Flow is late and the cravings are crazy until she finally arrives. Will definitely start incorporating magnesium into my diet if that’s the case. Glad I came across this. I feel huge right now! It’s so hard to stay on track with my weight loss when every month the same thing happens especially when I’m late!
Yes. Magnesium can help a bit. But the craving busting technique I share with people who subscribe by using the button at the top of this post, has been a life-saver for me.
Let me know how it goes.
Very good/useful article. I had this under control for a while but the past year and a half my pms has gone CRAZY. Will try the spirulina, cinnamon and magnesium – I pray it works as my pms is living hell 🙁
Thank you for reaching out to me.
Magnesium seems to help a lot of women.
Let me know if it helps you as well.
Great tips, i was looking for more holistic way to deal with PMT and cravings. Thanks.
Glad you found it helpful. I have tried all these tips myself and they do help.
This was helpful but even when I eat I'm getting hungier it hurts
OMG ! I thought it was just me. I eat and get hungrier too. It’s driving me crazy.. This really sucks!
Totally me..I had weight loss Surgery a year ago in January and I’ve lost almost 190 pounds..my pms wants to sabotage this and today was awful just like you said..eating and feeling hungrier!!!! I’m still searching for my solution but this article was great..thank you Laura houssain!
My pleasure Valerie!
Happy you found it helpful. Which tip did you like best?