It was a beautiful, sunny weekend in New York City and that tells me Spring is around the corner! But what often comes along with the Spring blooms, blue skies and fresh farmer’s market? Dieting! We come out of our winter hibernation, look in the mirror, and decide we must lose 15 lbs by the time our summer beach vacation rolls around.
The Earth’s Spring time is, for us ladies, the follicular phase. In our follicular phase we can find it easier to eat light and avoid junk food – we might actually crave green salads, fruit bowls and simple, light dishes. However, when we come into our luteal or premenstrual phase (which we do once a month in comparison to Earth’s only yearly Fall season), we find our resolve to eat this way is broken and we have cravings for unhealthy foods that we have a hard time keeping under control. We binge and we regret it, and we hope we can get back on the wagon on Monday.
I must admit, when I was younger I struggled terribly with my cravings – my family loved breads, pastas, cheeses and cookies my mother would serve up daily. When I got older, I looked to mindful eating as a way to control my bingeing on these kinds of foods. I would sit down to eat, bless my food, chew slowly, and take time with each meal. But it just didn’t have a strong enough effect to counteract what was going on hormonally inside my system.
What your cravings mean
- You’re missing a micronutrient. Craving a specific type of food means that your body is deficient in a particular micronutrient. Your cravings also have a cyclical nature because your micronutrient needs change throughout your cycle. A deficiency in a vitamin or mineral will trigger a craving as your body’s way of warning you what’s happening.
- You’re hormones are off balance. Hand in hand with this is the craving as an indicator of hormonal imbalance. If your cravings are multiple, stronger, and more difficult to ignore during your luteal phase then they are trying to alert you to a hormonal imbalance – your levels of estrogen and progesterone are not in harmony. What you might see as “emotional” eating during your pre-menstrual week is actually “hormonal” eating. That overwhelming desire to eat the whole bag of chips? That’s your body saying loud and clear – “Your hormones are out of whack!”
How the meaning of your cravings can help you
When I was struggling with cravings it was because I was dealing with a hormonal imbalance – I was not getting the nutrients, vitamins and minerals I need for my body to produce, use, and process the hormones needed to keep me happy and healthy. If you take the time to listen and understand your cravings then you will see they can actually save you from your diet mistakes. Mindful eating coupled with craving understanding can help you reach your health goals. It definitely helped me achieve mine!
The secret is to understand what your body needs and instead of reacting to cravings with an impulsive, knee jerk grab for the chips or a chocolate binge, you give it what it actually wants – the foods that will help you build, use, and process hormones and regain your hormonal balance.
Switch out the junk for pro-hormonal foods. Instead of eating junk food, eat another pro-hormonal food that will fend off the craving without making you put on the pounds, feel lethargic, and develop symptoms like acne, bloating, and mood swings. Eat well – eat a lot of the good foods your body needs and don’t leave yourself starving. If you’re plain hungry because you’re depriving yourself of nutrition than you won’t be able to hear your cravings talk over the sound of your hunger! You won’t be “giving in” to your cravings, you’ll be taking action to give your body what it needs for you to feel good.
The 3 steps to stop the binges!
- Eat “Defensively”. Don’t wait for the craving to hit during your PMS week. If you know you feel more “hormonal” in your luteal phase, you’re dealing with an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone in your body. Then eat a generous serving size of at least one PMS food each day. You can treat the premenstrual symptoms, including cravings, with pro-hormonal foods. Make sure you’re getting all of my top 5 foods for preventing PMS every cycle. Make them a big part of your meals during your luteal phase.
- Know which craving means what. Sometimes you might crave sugar, other times steak. What does this mean? What is your body trying to say. Every food you can crave – from chocolate to pasta to soda – is telling you something about your hormones and what your body needs you to be eating right now. Discover what your personal cravings mean and switch out your knee-jerk choice with a pro-hormonal choice.
- Ditch the depriving diets. Stop punishing your body in the first half of the month and then feeling bad, guilty, and bloated when you “give in” to your cravings the second half of the month. Don’t leave yourself so hungry you can’t not eat that cookie and then the whole box. Don’t start everyday on an empty stomach and a cup of coffee and then end it with spaghetti carbonara. Instead, Cycle Sync™ your eating habits to align with your hormonal patterns. Harness your body’s programming and use it for your own good.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, do you have cravings?
Second, do you always try dieting in the Spring?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social (buttons)
Need more Hormone Help?
If you’re needing some health upgrading, it’s time you started you looking into what’s going on with your hormones.
I’ve designed a 4 day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.
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This is a great article, and I’m not being rude, but the “you’re” under the headline Craving number two should read “Your hormones are off balance.” Keep up the great work. 🙂
Thank you for all the detail. It’s amazing how eye opening all of this is! I.e. emotional eating vs. hormonal eating!