Girl Uninterrupted Blog

Aug
20

Genetics Vs. Lifestyle – What is the Real Cause of PMS?

Posted by in Fitness, Health, PMS, Tips

Genetics-LifeStyle-PMSMore than half of all women who menstruate have some form of cramping, and 15 percent of women have severe cramps. Menstrual cramps usually (but not always) improve, as a woman gets older, especially after giving birth. Of course, this doesn’t mean cramps go away as you age—they just often become a little more manageable.

Like many other things in life, genetics affect everything – even PMS! Unfortunately, if your mom and grandma had bad cramps, chances are you probably will too. Regardless of what runs in your family, don’t let nature rule your life!

Many women overlook the influence that their lifestyle and health has on the symptoms of their period. Being overweight and inactive can actually exacerbate symptoms of PMS. This is because high amounts of body fat indicate higher levels of estrogen, which can worsen your PMS. Being inactive also means that you aren’t letting your body help you out. Working out causes your body to produce nature’s painkillers, endorphins. Even though we don’t usually feel like it, it’s always a good idea to stay active during your period – and all other times of the month.

What you eat also has an effect on how good or bad you feel. Too much sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can worsen PMS. Too much dairy consumption can also worsen symptoms, due to hormonal imbalances. High stress levels can also worsen the symptoms of PMS.

The moral of the story: there’s a lot to thank our moms for – just maybe not the cramps! Luckily for us ladies, we have the personal power to stay healthy and active before, during, and after our periods. Not only will this help with PMS symptoms, but it will also produce a healthier you. What’s not to love?

Aug
13

Why Does PMS Cause Water Weight?

Posted by in Health, PMS, Tips

Water Weight During Period

UGH. Do you ever get that balloon-like feeling? PMS and other hormonal changes can really affect how your belly feels. Many women get cramps, headaches, back pain, and more during their periods – but your body changes before your period as well. That uncomfortable bloating around the abdomen, hips, and thighs that we disdainfully refer to as “water weight” is a product of an imbalance of magnesium and potassium in the body. This is due to a change in hormones.

While it may seem like a lot, it is common to gain between 1 to 6 pounds before and during your period. This can happen regardless of how healthy you are. Some women will have a noticeable weight gain, while others don’t. Remember not to panic either way – this is totally normal!

Some girls try diuretics to reduce the bloat, but in the long run, diuretics rob you of important minerals that your body needs to function. Here are a few options to reduce this water weight gain:

  1. Avoiding salty foods will reduce the chances of water retention.
  2. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium.
  3. Keep yourself hydrated. Drinking more water doesn’t mean you are going to gain more water weight!
  4. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
  5. Cut back on refined sugars.

While these are great tips, we also just recommend a “roll with it” approach. Help your body out with these tips, but don’t feel bad if you occasionally give into that chocolate bar. Whether it’s yoga pants to the library or a flowy dress to the office, wear something loose and comfy so you don’t feel miserable all day. Plus, remember that the mind tends to blow the actual appearance of bloating waaaaaay out of proportion. You still look great, and the bloating will go away as soon as your period comes!

Jul
31

Why do I crave junk food when I am PMSing?

Posted by in The science of food cravings

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You’re about to sit down for your weekly network TV episode and while you might not even be hungry, your brain starts in with “I want nachos or ice cream or a cupcake.”  That is your brain “craving” a carbohydrate fix!   Junk food cravings are usually a response to a stress hormone in your body called cortisol, but mostly, they’re all in your head! The carbohydrates in the sweet and salty foods we crave promote the production of serotonin, a stress-relieving neurotransmitter. Essentially, our head tells us to satisfy the craving as a way to deal with the stress.

Food cravings are also linked to our memories. The brain attaches feelings of happiness and satisfaction to certain foods depending on the memories we associate with eating them.   But that still doesn’t justify sitting down to eat half of Mom’s good ole’ apple pie just because your hormones are fluctuating!

PMS-related cravings are relatively predictable. If you know that your hormones are in flux around a certain week of the month, then you can predict when your food cravings are going to happen.  There are lots of apps out there to track all of the elements of your cycle.   If this is the case, try to reason with yourself on these cravings.  You really won’t feel better if you get to the bottom of a potato chip bag or eat an entire sleeve of packaged chocolate chip cookies.

But, don’t expend all of this energy fighting yourself either.   Think about stocking the pantry with healthier snacks- hummus and pita instead of chips and dip, fruit instead of candy, Greek yogurt instead of ice cream, or a dark chocolate bar instead of M&M’s.  There are substitutions that will satisfy that sweet or salty tooth without completely destroying a healthy diet.

Jul
24

Sleepytime Snacks

Posted by in Nutrition, Snacks to help you sleep

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Tummy grumbling before bedtime? Steer clear of tempting processed foods while finishing up a late-night TV show, and try one of these! They all have 5-HTP, or oxitriptan, a neurotransmitter associated with aiding weight loss and regulating sleep patterns. Note: we’re talking sleepytime snacks here, not meals, so watch the portions!

1. Cherries. Fresh and dried cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body’s internal clock to regulate sleep. Researchers who tested tart cherries found that they contain high levels of melatonin. Eat them an hour before bedtime or before a plane trip to help you catch your much-needed and much-deserved beauty rest.

2. Bananas. Bananas are an excellent source of both potassium and magnesium, which are natural muscle relaxants. They also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain. The 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin (a neurotransmitter that helps you snooze.)

3. Toast. Carbohydrate-rich foods trigger insulin production, which induces sleep by speeding up the release of tryptophan and serotonin to relax you and send you to sleep. A piece of whole wheat toast is the perfect snack to satisfy your stomach and help you catch some z’s.

4. Oatmeal. Like toast, a bowl of oatmeal will trigger a rise in blood sugar, activating insulin production and the release of sleep-inducing brain chemicals. Oats themselves are also rich in nature’s best sleep aid, melatonin.

5. Warm milk. Like bananas, milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases serotonin. It’s also high in calcium, which also promotes sleep.

Sleep is such an important part of overall health and wellness, and you know you will toss and turn if you go to bed hungry, so choose one of these snacks to quiet a talking tummy.  Sweet dreams!

 

Jul
16

Is PMS Cramping Your Style?

Posted by in Health

cramping

What is actually causing the pain of cramps

It’s that time of the month. Like a snake shedding its skin, the lining of your uterus must contract to bring the uterine lining down and out of the body. The uterus is made of smooth muscle tissue, and just like any other muscle in your body, doing hard work can cause it to cramp. Unfortunately, this muscle movement must happen for your period to occur. For most women with moderate cramps, an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medicine works well.  If the pain is unusually severe, please see your doctor just in case there is something else causing that pain.

Though getting up and moving around may be the LAST thing you feel like doing during your period, exercise helps manage the discomfort and pain of cramps. The endorphins released during and after exercise are natural painkillers that help alleviate the pain of cramps.   Go for a walk or a quick bike ride so you can take your mind off your misery and put all of your muscles to good use.

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