Ep 108: Understanding Food Cravings Through Hormonal Shifts During Menstruation + Menopause

Jan 14, 2020

 

Welcome to the Eat with Confidence podcast, where we talk all about how to become a confident eater. Our mission is to support you through your process of becoming a Confident Eater.

Today we’re talking about understanding food cravings during hormonal shifts, particularly during menstruation and menopause.

Disclaimer: this is not a substitute for individualized health care. We only hope to provide guidance and education on common misconceptions around hormonal health and how it impacts food and body image.

Your body loves rhythm - sleep, hormone, digestive, and more. Your body functions well with rhythm. This does not have to be militant or rigid, but if you can get into rhythmic patterns with eating, it will really support sleep, digestive, hormone health, etc.

 

Menstruation

 

Menstruation is a metabolically active function. As such, it requires adequate nutrition. If there isn’t adequate nutrition, menstruation is the first function to go. If you can’t support your own needs, you won’t be able to support the growth of another human for sure.  

Your metabolic needs will increase 20-30% in the days/weeks leading up to menstruation.  

Often people feel more “cravings” around this time and report more impulsive food decisions.  While hormone fluctuations can cause various physical and emotional changes, impulsive food behaviors are more likely a cause of lack of adequate nutrition. You may feel a lack of appetite, bloating or overall blah, making it even easier to under eat.  

It may be wise to become familiar with the week of the month where this is more likely to occur and be proactive in eating consistently and adequately.  You may find you feel more level headed around food and better physically and emotionally as well. 

Connecting with your body is about MUCH more than just hunger and fullness cues, although that’s a great place to start and a really effective practice for making peace with food. But it’s also about sensing changes, shifts and needs in a variety of ways and circumstances.

 

Menopause 

 

Estrogen is a key part of blood sugar regulation.  When your ovaries quit producing estrogen, you may notice you become more sensitive to blood sugar swings. Aim for a fairly predictable eating pattern (as we’ve discussed already) to help with that.

Menopause doesn’t change your nutritional needs as much as it may just necessitate being more proactive about variety, balance, consistency and adequacy. 

We also do see that as women (and men) age, they are at an increased risk for muscle wasting.  This is likely due to less weight bearing activity, decrease in appetite and lower protein intake. It may just be wise to aim for a protein source at each meal/snack. 

If you are taking a multivitamin, make sure it doesn’t have iron. Because you aren’t losing blood each month, you are at as much of a risk of iron toxicity as men are now.

If you’re concerned about hormones, we have a course on hormone balance in shop at eatconfident.co/shop.

We also have a free workbook you can download to help you establish a more stable eating rhythm. Grab it at eatconfident.co/flexiblestructure, and make sure to listen to the accompanying podcast episode 87.

Want more of Eat with Confidence?

If you’d like more support + guidance in your process of becoming a Confident Eater, we’re here to help. Learn more about our group coaching program, Eat Confident Collective.

If you like this episode, we’d love to hear from you! Take a screenshot, share it on Instagram, and tag us @eatconfident.co. We’re cheering you on, and we love knowing how the podcast is helping you!

 

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