This week’s reader question deals with something most women can relate to, and that is struggling to stay on track with their nutrition and training sometime before or during their period.  

Obviously every woman has different experiences in regards to their menstrual cycle, and often times a woman may feel very differently from month to month.  However, from a very general perspective, I would have to say that most of the time when I hear women discuss struggling to stay on a nutrition plan, the topic of PMS and their period inevitably arises.  

Below is a question that GGS supporter Helen Grice posted on our wall, and I am copying and slightly explaining on my original answer to her post below.  Enjoy!


I’m after a bit of advice if you’ve got a moment.  For 25 days of the month I’m like a machine – eating & training well, thinking positive and being just generally awesome. However for 3 days a month Aunt Flo decides she’s in control and I turn into a ‘fat’, spotty, cantankerous old cow, unable to resist any food or wine that might pass my way, and worst of all my training suffers as I feel less confident in what I’m doing.

Do you have any tips on how to exercise a little more self control and bring a little more positivity to the table, whilst Aunt Flo is trying her damndest to bring you down?

I’m pretty new to GGS so if any of you have blogged about this, I apologise for missing it but would really appreciate a link to it . =)”

Helen Grice


I think we’ve probably all been here at some point…and 100% denied it. =)


Helen – First of all, that description had me in absolute fits of laughter (assuming you aren’t really thinking these things about yourself, but rather using them for some comic relief.  If you ARE thinking these things about yourself, you need to read this post by my friend Jen.)

It sounds to me like when Aunt Flo is in town, you get a temporary case of the Eff-its, and don’t feel like following any sort of plan.  If you read my latest article about the Eff-its, you’ll see that occasionally that’s just fine. However, if you believe that it’s really impeding your results, you have several options that I will list below:


1. Remove any junk food from your house.  This makes it very inconvenient to eat garbage during that time of the month.  Sometimes you just have to know yourself, and if you cannot stay away from a certain food during that time of the month, just avoid it completely!


2. Make some “healthy treats” ahead of time.  Being preemptive and making yummy things to snack on for this time of the month can be a great alternative to feeling like you’re completely depriving yourself or totally indulging.  Obviously it usually takes some willpower to eat your treats in moderation, so if you know you can’t exercise that right now, you may want to avoid this tactic.  If you can control yourself, definitely go for it.  Click here to see one of my favorites recipes!


SOOOO yummy!

3. Find alternatives to food.  Find other things you can do during this time besides food that might make you feel better, and can help distract you.  This might be a walk with girlfriends, a hot bubble bath and a cup of hot tea, reading a book by the fire, whatever.  Experiment and figure out what works best for you.


4. Don’t be afraid to indulge a little bit.  Instead of having a “screw it! I already ruined my diet attitude,” plan ahead to have a couple of glasses of wine or some cookies on those days.  Then you won’t feel guilty and you’re less likely to go on a bender.


5. Train harder.  If you feel up to it, try training a little harder during that time of the month, so if you do eat more junk, you will likely do less “damage.”


6. Give yourself a little GRACE!  Like I mentioned above, all of us experience our menstrual cycles/PMS differently.  For some it’s much worse than others.  If you are spot on with your nutrition/training the rest of the time, 3 days a month shouldn’t ruin the hard work you put in the rest of the month.


There you have it!  6 tactics to help you deal when Aunt Flo comes to town!  Please let me know what you think below!  Did I miss any good tactics?  Was I totally off on some of them?  Let me know your thoughts!



7 Responses to Weekly Reader Question #4 — Controlling Cravings When PMS Hits…

  1. Karli says:

    I JUST blogged about my PMS/Stress/withdrawal induced cookie craving! I’m in the middle of a 9week strict Paleo eating challenge where I have 35 pts a week and lose 5 for every cheat. I have gone clean for 3 weeks, but today starts the PMS and I have been crying all day. I just devoured a warm gooey chocolate chip cookie from starbucks. I figured, if I’m going to cheat, it won’t be to eat something sub-par on the cookie scale! Truthfully, I feel better.

  2. Kim says:

    Thanks for this post! I will definitely try some of these, especially the food tips. However, I have a slightly different issue that I’d love some advice for. I get very depressed and, at least for a couple of days, extremely tired and run down. (I usually have to skip the gym on these days.) My flow is very heavy and can be very painful as well. I do not want to take the pill, and I have been following a primal lifestyle for the past year, so I’m not sure what else to do! Thanks in advance for any suggestions anyone might have.

  3. Michelle says:

    The so called healthy junk foods really do help me out a lot, once a month I start breaking out my paleo baking supplies! I made a crustless paleo-sugar free pumpkin pie last go around that knocked my socks off. One thing I would like to add though, is that the extra calories don’t really matter that much during that time of the month. You body is actually burning more calories which is where some of those cravings for extra food come from. As long as you keep it reasonable, you will be fine.

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  5. I don’t know about you but I always try to eat real, healthy food. In times like this I might eat more, but it is still good food. I never indulge in junk food. I’ve found that raw nuts with raisins or banana with homemade yogurt and some cinnamon on top, kill every craving! :))

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