One for the ladies - When Mother Nature visits

For many women their time of the month can result in emotional calorie consumption and lack of motivation to work out. I, for one, know that when my time of the month approaches I want to do nothing more than curl up on the sofa and consume vast amounts of chocolate. Problem is, this can have a huge impact on your progress, so I’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you avoid emotional eating and lack of motivation so that your progress doesn’t suffer on a monthly basis.

Give me all the sugar

When eating emotionally, it’s usually comfort that is being sought as opposed to craving the food itself. When these desires hit, question what it is you are actually seeking. If it’s the comfort you require, consider achieving it via alternate methods. Candles, blankets, hot drinks and chick flicks quite often work for me!

If you still can’t shake the craving for a specific type of food (in my case sugar - more specifically chocolate), consider ways in which you can satisfy the craving via a healthy alternative. Fruit drizzled with chocolate, a few squares of dark chocolate or sugar free banana bread are always winners in my book. When opting for the healthy alternative, always be conscious of when the craving has been satisfied. I can’t count the number of times I would eat an entire bar of dark chocolate, only to spend the rest of the day feeling guilty. Now I predefine the amount I’m going to eat, ensuring that any extra is kept out of sight.

It’s also worth noting that intense food cravings are usually short lived. As a rule of thumb, when I crave a specific food I delay consuming it for at least 20mins. If I still can’t stop thinking about it - then I have some but more often than not I’m over the urge.

So that’s a bit about the food cravings during this time of the month - now let’s take a look at lack of motivation.

Motivation or lack thereof

First and foremost, it is crucial to identify what it is that’s causing your lack of motivation. For some it’ll be increased fatigue, others will experience a change in mood and sometimes it’s the dreaded period pains! The cause will determine how best to address your lack of motivation.

As a victim to low mood when the time of the month hits, I’m well experienced in an emotional lack of motivation to workout. When low mood hits, remind yourself of the positives that have come out of your fitness journey. Look at progress photos and data you’ve tracked to remind yourself why you workout.

If this still doesn’t provide you with the motivation you need, it’s important to remember that exercise releases endorphins. This fact can actually change the focus of why you’re working out - you’re doing it to boost your mood! When embarking on my fitness journey, I used to use my period as an excuse to not workout due to a low mood. I now recognise that I will actually feel happier if I venture to the gym, making my time of the month all that bit more bearable.

If you suffer from increased fatigue during your time of the month, the last thing you’ll feel like doing is a full on workout. In this instance, look for ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Whilst this may not be as effective as your usual training programme, it will slow any regression you would otherwise experience if you didn’t engage in any exercise at all. Walking rather than driving, taking the stairs as opposed to a lift, carrying your child rather than using the pushchair - all are great ways to work your body a little harder than you would in a usual day to day basis.

Finally, it’s important to realise that occasionally a complete rest week isn’t going to be too detrimental. It can take anywhere between 2-6 weeks to experience a regression in progress (loss of muscle mass or cardiovascular stamina) and having a break can actually result in a boost in your metabolism. So, if you are having a particularly painful month, or are feeling more fatigued than usual, take the opportunity to have a rest - just be sure to adjust your calorie intake accordingly to avoid unwanted weight gain.

Hopefully these tips will help you avoid regression during your time of the month. If you’ve got some other tips, then do let me know. We’re in this together - GIRL POWER!!

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