If I told you all of the ridiculous things I’d done because of PMS we’d be here until we both hit menopause.
But every month it usually goes a little along these lines
I am so bloated. And I am so so very hungry. My stomach has become a bottomless pit and absolutely nothing I eat touches the sides. my usual low-carb diet simply will not do – no matter how much I eat. I’ve eaten my burger, half of my friends burger, a whole portion of fries and I’m going to order a milkshake as a dessert. And then I’ll order an actual dessert. OH, and this is my 7th meal of the day. Wait, wait, now I’ve got to fake tan and look at my bloated body in the mirror whilst hoping rubbing brown goo will make me drop 4 dress sizes. I’m crying! I’m crying because I have suddenly put on 90 stone and my jeans don’t fit and I’m still hungry. I’m hangry. I’m tired. I slept for 13 hours last night and it’s still not enough. I’m angry, sad, hungry and tired all at once and it’s a dangerous, dangerous combination. Why has a spot the size of mt Everest erupted on my chin???
They’re the main difficulties. But there’s others. Sometimes I get really bad pains in my heart/chest, which according to my local pharmacist, is actually quite symptomatic of being a pre-menstrual mess. I also get insanely horny.
My skin gets bad. I usually have to lift lighter weights in the gym. And it is all down to hormones. Every cycle (on average, 28 days) is a four-week timespan of when major hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – rise and fall. Depending on how high and low they are, they can affect your moods, energy levels, sleep habits, and food cravings significantly.
It took a few months to pick up on mine due to a few irregularities, but once it worked it out it presented me with the science I needed to justify why I was totally allowed to deliveroo cookie dough from the late night dessert delivery place at 12:30am last Tuesday night – my oestrogen levels were dipping! I had to replenish the serotonin in my brain and only delicious foods could do just that! Everyone’s cycle is different – they usually last between 21-35 days but everyone is different. I always used to guess at when my period was due, having an idea but no real clue about the length of my cycle. But now I know my cycle is around the 30 day mark and my period tends to last a typical 5 days.
Now my mother always told me that if you should never use fluctuating hormones as an excuse for bad behaviour, and I guess she’s right. But sometimes it’s really difficult. I’ve felt my lowest ebbs due to the fluctuating hormones, especially in week three and four when oestrogen levels dip down and cause you to be more emotional and irritable. When I input my temperature each morning into natural cycles, I have a clear indication of where I’m at in my cycle, so it makes it so much easier to rationalise how I’m feeling and deal with it all little better. There’s something relatively comforting to know there’s a reason for it all, and it helps it make it more manageable. I’m a true believer in listening to what your body wants. Sleepy? Then sleep. Food cravings? Get it out of the way and just eat that slice of cake.
Your cycle matters, and what’s great about tracking it and knowing the different stages is that you can use it to harness these moments and plan around things. So once you’ve started tracking your cycle, you can find out when is best to do things by taking a look here (pro tip – you burn 30% more fat during aerobic exercises up to a couple of days before your period due to your balance of hormones)
I’ve been using my data on my cycle to help plan my month more efficiently. I’m not going to start going all Gwyneth Paltrow Goop on you and start telling you to put crystals up your vagina but it is nice to have the insider info. I’ve learned the hard way in the past that periods and holidays don’t go hand in hand. My first romantic trip with my ex boyfriend was two weeks in Thailand. I was due on my period, I’m not sure if it was the bloating or the fact that I’d inhaled a giant pad Thai for lunch (dem cravings tho), but when I went to do bikini photos on the beach I was horrified by the result. I felt like a whale in a Heidi Klum bikini, and promptly had a melt down on the beach. Hormones, bloating, and bikinis do not mix. My body looks and feels so different, and I don’t feel my best, so now I’m avoiding bikini pic meltdowns via the strategic planning of my upcoming holidays.
Some may call it crazy, I call it genius.
This post is sponsored by Natural Cycles although all views, opinions and words are my own.