Why I love PMS cravings

Yep. I know that PMS cravings aren’t exactly the coolest topic in the world.

For at least half the population, it’s just a subject of annoyance anyway, so I’m gonna suggest that if you are a bloke, you might not want to read this post.

(Likewise, if you’ve never found yourself stuffing the biggest pile of food in your mouth, and you never crave chocolate or highly refined carbohydrates at a certain time of the good old month, then go ahead and skip this post. You’ll think I’m a total waster if you do read it, and you’ll shake your head in a strange combination of sympathy and disgust which I don’t think I’m tough enough to handle just yet.)

If you’ve gotten this far – hurrah. I guess you are one of my friends.

Either that, or you just want to see how the other half live. And by the ‘other half’, I don’t mean the richer half; I just mean the half that like their carb-overdose at PMS-o-clock.

So, what’s it all about? Seriously seriously. I mean, there’s fancying a slice of pizza and there’s fancying a pizza, followed by some chips, a tub of chocolate icecream and then a milk shake because, stuff it, your period is due and you NEED it.

Why would you crave that kind of stuff when you are such a goody two shoes for the other 27 days every month?

There are plenty of nutritional reasons why you get your cravings: you need the additional calories, you need the magnesium in the chocolate etc etc. This post isn’t about that – although your cravings can give a huge insight as to what’s going on. When I see my clients, I always try to find out what they crave.

But: this post is about why I love PMS cravings, and why you should try to love them too.

Now, the reason I LOVE my PMS cravings are that they give me an excuse. An excuse to pig out a little (or a lottle, depending on how I’m feeling).

And we all need an excuse sometimes, don’t we?

I mean; yes, I totally LOVE good food – give me a good salad any day and I’m as happy as a happy chick in happy-land – and we all know that good food helps you love good food even more by giving you all the goodness you’ve been craving for most of your life. BUT, not only do I believe that it’s ok to eat pap occasionally, I also believe that it’s vital to have your occasional food-rebellion so that you don’t feel like you’ve given up on food fun and become the nutritional equivalent of a nun.

You know what I’m talking about. You go on a diet, or go through a healthy eating phase and then you hit a wall. That wall might be at a party, or a BBQ. Or it might be at the office when everyone is celebrating a random birthday with more donuts than is legal. It might be after a big old bike ride, and you feel like you deserve it.

Whatever that wall is, when you hit it, you know it. It’s like losing your senses and your body goes wild. Your arm muscles work at lifting food to your mouth like there’s no tomorrow, and your brain switches off, because if it didn’t, you’d soon start feeling guilty. Not guilty enough to stop.

Just guilty enough to feel rubbish enough to need to eat more.

Imagine how nice it would be to knowingly let yourself become a pig for a day or two, happy in the knowledge that it’s fine, no guilt required. In fact, how cool would it be to actually PLAN on being a pigster for a short while, perfectly content with the fact that it fits into your long term life plan of being fit, healthy and HAPPY.

I know I’m not a failure. There’s no need to chuck in the towel and eat take-aways and cronuts (have you heard of them? I can’t decide if they are crazy or amazing!) for the rest of my life just because I slipped up for a couple of days.

That’s why I love PMS cravings. They are a set-in-stone part of the schedule (which makes it sound as if I HAVE a schedule, which I don’t).

No negotiation required.

Should I feel guilty?

As a nutritionist, maybe I should do. But as a human being of the female variety, I know that depriving myself of a day or two of happy-stuffing would lead to all sorts of sadness in later life.

The key here though, is to treat your cravings with good manners.

By that, I mean, sure, head for the chocolate. But treat yourself to the good stuff.

Eat cake if you want. But bake that cake, or, better still, get someone to bake the cake for you and sit down properly to eat it.

Feeling wild for pastries? Excellent – just go for the real ones and ENJOY the lovely frenchness of a pastry in the afternoon.

Get my point?

If you are going to do it, do it properly, with manners, good thoughts, and even a little decorum, if you can muster some.

That also means you have to enjoy it too because there is nothing worse (at least in terms of eating lots) than stuffing yourself and feeling bad about it.

I’d love to know what you crave at that crazy time of the month – feel free to comment below. And if you are a chap, then I’d also love to know what you crave – fellas can be affected by the moon too you know!

Here’s the serious bit : if your cravings get waaaay out of hand, and actually cause you to eat more in those few vital days than you do in the rest of the month, then you might want to consider a bit of help. Yes, this post is about taking your cravings and running with them for the sheer joy of it, but if your cravings or other PMS symptoms are starting to rule your life, then let’s have a chat. You know that I am NOT going to tell you to give up chocolate for ever – I’m just gonna  get you enjoying every day of the month.

13 thoughts on “Why I love PMS cravings

  1. Hi Claire. 🙂 I always want cake during that time and English tea with honey. I always make my own banana bread which satisfies my craving so feeling bad about it 😀

      • Great suggestion Haroulla! If you know it’s going to happen (and for plenty of people, the exact same thing happens EVERY month) you can just plan for it. Something homemade and tasty is bound to be a winner. Even if you ate the whole lot, it’ll be better for you than almost anything that you might buy!

  2. Hi Clare

    I really get this. I do this myself. But it speaks to something wider in me. I have overeaten all my life, for emotional reasons. Until this summer when I did a massive detox. My whole eating patterns have changed. But if I feel like eating something high in sugar I do, or whatever, I do. However my body now always wants to return to its new home of abundant nuts, veggies, yoghurt etc. And I don’t feel a bit deprived. My cravings now are no longer chocolate bars from the garage – they are things like shepherds pie or baked custard! What you say speaks to those of us who have use food as a way to push life down as much as those of us with PMS. Thanks x

    • Fi, thank you. Food is so much bigger than just the process of chomping, swallowing and digesting. Glad to hear that you are more in tune with what you need – once you clear out the sugar addiction, it’s much easier to see what you actually need in that moment.

      I’m glad to that what I’m saying resonates with you. I am very much a believer that life is to be enjoyed in whatever way possible, and that food is one of the brilliant ways to help us – we weren’t given taste buds for no reason!!!

      That said, any time that I can disrupt the connection between food and the pushing down of life, I’ll have to do a little dance because it is shame to let food become a long-term crutch.

  3. I love this post, Claire. When I have PMS, I crave sugar, and fat (i.e. butter and cheese) and salt (i.e. crisps). I totally agree though – it’s about quality, so Booja Booja raw chocolate truffles, Dutch butter, and a recent discovery: Cofresh lentil or hummus crisps. And as you say, it’s important to enjoy it. As the old saying goes, ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’ – so true.

    • Leda, I’m sure you will have a lot of women knocking on your door after reading that! I love it – go for good quality and take the time to enjoy it. If it’s cheap chocolate, it’s easy to just shove it down, barely notice it and feel guilty. With something like a Booja Booja truffle, you can really luxuriate in the colour, taste, smell, and after eating it, you’ll feel special for the rest of the day!

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