The Monthly Cycle - It's a delicate topic, but after having a few crazy cycles after having Sammy, and then finally having a normal one, I was curious about how it affects weight loss. I found a great article on Web MD, called "Is PMS Sabatoging Your Diet?" Go read the whole thing, but a few key points are:
1. "As levels of estrogen go up and down, so do levels of the stress hormone cortisol... And when cortisol levels are high enough, the body turns on its fight-or-flight response, a woman becomes more metabolically charged, and her appetite is stimulated. This, in turn, causes a woman to seek out carbs and fat."
2. "Most women with PMS experience a drop in serotonin levels, which triggers cravings for carbs because the body uses carbs to make serotonin."
3. "Other research has linked PMS to a state of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, in the second half of the menstrual cycle... 'Women in these studies experienced a significant drop in blood sugar after eating, accompanied by edginess and irritability... Then within an hour or two, they are hungry again and craving more food.'"
4. 12 Ways to Fight PMS Cravings: Eat complex carbs, avoid processed sugar, try foods high in essential fatty acids, drink plenty of water, shun salt, avoid fat (slows absorption of carbs), limit coffee and cola, cut meals in half (meaning spread out your calories), avoid stress, abstain from alcohol, get plenty of sleep, and have a routine.
5. Tackle food cravings with exercise.
24 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting - also from Web MD
It's presented in a slideshow format, with small paragraphs on each section, but here's a summarized list:
1. Time your meals (take longer to eat your food)
2. Sleep more, weigh less
3. Serve more, eat more veggies
4. When soup's on, weight comes off
5. Go for whole grains
6. Eyeball your skinny clothes
7. Skip the bacon
8. Build a better slice of pizza (Papa Murphy's thin-crust spinach artichoke is awesome!)
9. Sip smart: cut back on sugar
10. Sip smart: use a tall thin glass
11. Sip smart: limit alcohol
12. Sip smart: go for green tea
13. Slip into a yoga state of mind
14. Eat at home
15. Catch the "eating pause" (the difference between full, but not stuffed, a difference I think is critical to discover in fighting hunger)
16. Chew strong mint gum
17. Shrink your dishes (I'm also a big believer in this)
18. Get food portions right (ditto)
19. Try the 80-20 rule (similar to "eating pause")
20. Eat out your way (tips for healthier eating out, managing portion sizes)
21. Reach for the red sauce (marinara instead of alfredo on pasta)
22. Go meatless more often
23. Burn 100 calories more
24. Celebrate your food successes
25. More reading on losing weight (links to more articles)
Enjoy! And use one of these tips - I'm going to "eyeball my skinny clothes."