Ever noticed how that graceful women in your life suddenly wants to gorge down on that entire plate of ‘oh-not-so-healthy’ food? A girl who always said “I’m not very hungry. I’ll just have a salad” suddenly wants that brownie with extra ice cream, laden with rich chocolate sauce. Well, don’t be surprised cause your friend there is most probably going through the much dreaded time of the month – Chums!

As if being painful AF was not enough, women also experience unexplained cravings and hunger out of nowhere and are generally inclined to consuming more calorie dense foods. We spoke to Gympik’s in-house Diet Expert and Nutrition Consultant, Sujetha Shetty, to understand why this happens and how to deal with it. Want to know what we found out? Read on!Cravings during chums

Why you’re always hungry during your cycle!

Believe us when we say this – it’s more common than you think! Women do tend to feel more hungry during their periods. And this hunger is not justified. So, put that chocolate, ice cream or bag of wafers down, right now! This common experience has a lot of different theories that are related to it. But the most viable reason could be because of the hormonal changes that your body undergoes during your cycle time. Premenstrual phase is the time when a woman’s body is more responsive to insulin which results in alterations in blood sugar levels. Also, during your chums, your hormonal levels fluctuate which affects the metabolism resulting in higher energy requirements during the cycle time. Sujetha says, “The hormonal changes that happen during periods are the major culprits. Along with estrogen and progesterone, there is also cortisol (a stress hormone) that is released and with the increased cortisol levels in your body, you tend to become more metabolically charged. Hence the appetite spurges.” Due to the hike in progesterone levels a woman’s BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate increases by about 9% too.Why you’re always hungry during your cycle!

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Craving for high calorie sugary foods

If you see closely, you’ll notice that there’s a slight irritability and crankiness in women during the menstrual phase. The cravings for high carb and sugary foods increases. Why? Well, it’s because of the drop in serotonin levels during periods. Serotonin is a brain chemical and a drop in its levels triggers cravings for carbs and sugar. According to the hormonal changes that one goes through during their period, the spurge in appetite is a sign that your body needs additional energy for metabolising. It’s your body’s way of saying that it needs these carbs and sugary foods to produce more serotonin. As a result, women reach out for comfort foods or simple sugars like chocolates or pastries as they metabolise quickly and offer a quick serotonin fix.Craving for high calorie sugary foods

Do you actually burn more?

They say you burn a lot more calories during your chums. Really? Well, it’s partially true though. You do burn more calories than usual but not like 500 calories extra per day! Maybe 500 calories more on your entire period cycle. So if you’ve been convincing yourself that it’s okay to eat like a pig during your chums then we’re sorry to say – it’s not! Though we’re asking you not to indulge in unhealthy options, we know well that it isn’t fair at all. But here’s a fix. Try healthier options for your cravings – like strawberries in chocolate dip instead of ice cream sundae. And since we mentioned earlier, serotonin, helps burn calories so why not use this chance to help yourself get to a fitter new you? Working out during your chums increases the chances of you burning more calories during one sweat sesh. So if you’re going to do this – workout during your chums – then there’s a good chance that you’ll burn more calories too.Do you actually burn more?

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All this said and done, as women, only we know how horribly bad it can get. But don’t you worry girl! We got your back. Here are 6 tips that’ll definitely help you manage those uninvited and unexplained cravings:

1. Maintain a clean diet: carbs, proteins, whole grains, and limited amounts of good fats. They’ll give your body the strength to deal with the period pains. Need we say more? We hope not.

2. Consume liters of water: You need to hydrate yourself with ample water to replenish those lost electrolytes. Water has a lot of benefits, it’s a natural curative, and your cramps are going to be relieved too. So chug loads of water!

3. Workout: Period or no Period, working out is a must. Don’t overwork yourself but then working out during your chums is beneficial to rid those terrible cramps. Simple yoga stretches and a short session of cardio could be great for you. You could also give swimming a shot. No, we aren’t kidding!

4. Get plenty of sleep: No not the beauty sleep silly. Cause not getting enough sleep (like at least 8-9 hours) could lead to a rise in your hunger levels too. You become more cranky and hunger takes over your life. So be safe and sleep well.

5. Distract yourself: Watch a movie or indulge in a book. Distracting yourself with something that you love to do will take your mind off those wild cravings and you’ll be guilt free after that. *pat yourself on the back!*

6. Indulge in healthier options: If your cravings are a little too overwhelming, then try a healthier option. Bananas are said to reduce the cravings greatly so you might want to keep that handy. How about some healthy swaps? Like dates or raisins, and dark chocolate with strawberry for something sweet and masala oats instead of that bag of wafers. Give them a shot. We guarantee you wouldn’t be disappointed.6 tips to curb the craving

So that was it ladies. We’re sure that by now you’re armed well with the knowledge of what to do when hunger strikes you during your next cycle. Remember, nothing is impossible and following just some simple conscious steps will go a long way in making sure that you actually do have a happy period. Until next time ladies, eat healthy, workout well, and enjoy! Found this article relatable? Don’t forget to hit the like and share button. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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