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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Don't Let PMS Get the Best of You

Dear Boys and Girls,

I disappeared for two days, not because I didn't want to blog, but because I wasn't quite comfortable blogging about what I really wanted to blog about:


What am I? 12 years old? Ya, I know I have male readers, and I knew that they probably wouldn't want to hear about Barbie's premenstrual symptoms. But, then I thought, I have to! I get questions about it all the time. And I'm sure some of my male readers will be able to pass on this information to their female loved ones. So, here goes:

I was doing great on my bodybugg. On Tuesday of last week I weighed in at 133.3. Only 3 lbs to go to reach my goal of 130lbs. On Wednesday morning, um, I turned into a werewolf. I woke up feeling fat, bloated, sad, and annoyed. The logical thing to do would have been to acknowledge that I was probably just PMSing and that I would have to try harder to control my cravings.

Instead, I took my bodybugg off to recharge it and um, I haven't put it back on since. The bodybugg offers a constant reminder of how much you are moving or not. Well, I was cranky and tired, and I didn't feel like moving, and I didn't want that pesty reminder that I should stay active.

And while I normally am able to stay strong and resist my cravings, this time, I indulged by having pizza and beer one night and then nachos the next. Way to go, coach Barbie!

It's Sunday morning, symptoms are over, I'm back to being me and now I'm asking: What the hell happened to you, Barbie!?! Where did you go? What did you do?

Now, let's not be overly dramatic. I didn't throw away my results. This is not the end of the world. Tomorrow is Monday and I'm putting on my bodybugg in just a few minutes and going back to super duper clean eating as of today.

However, I must admit, I let PMS get the best of me. While next month I will most likely once again transform into an unhappy werewolf for a few days, I'm going to try my best to keep my excercise and eating in check.

Below are some tips on dealing with PMS that I found on

To your health!
Barbie, PhD


Food, Mood and Premenstrual Syndrome

Most experts agree that a well-balanced meal plan that limits junk food and sugar can help ease PMS symptoms.

By Jane Harrison, R.D., Staff Nutritionist, myOptumHealth

Eating your weight in chocolate and chips? Yelling at loved ones all week? Feeling bloated and crampy?

Uh oh. Check your calendar. It might be that time of the month. It's estimated that four in 10 women of childbearing age have physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that are severe enough to affect daily routines and activities.

For the diet-conscious, food cravings (can you say "carbohydrates?") and weight gain can be the most aggravating PMS symptoms. Varying hormone levels may play a role in this. Some experts also believe that cravings may be related to a natural monthly dip in serotonin levels, the chemical that regulates well-being and affects appetite.

Women instinctively may reach for refined carbs because they're a quick way to raise serotonin. But self-medication with cookies, ice cream or chocolate can make the blues worse. The result is a quick upswing in blood sugar levels - followed by a rapid decline - and then hunger strikes again.

Some experts suggest that a well balanced meal plan that limits junk food and sugar can go a long way in helping ease some of the symptoms. But more studies are needed to see what changes may work.

Here are some healthy tips in the meantime:

Eat small frequent meals. This is the best way to keep your blood sugar stable and avoid cravings. For instance, breakfast can be a half-cup of whole-grain cereal with berries and low-fat milk. Mid-morning, have a handful of whole-grain crackers with carrots or a piece of fruit. For lunch, eat half a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread and an apple. Mid-afternoon, snack on low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, or the other half of your sandwich.

Stick with complex carbs. Wholesome carbs not only give you a carbohydrate boost, but offer a host of nutrients and fiber to boot. Choose whole-grain breads, pasta and cereals, beans/legumes, fruits and vegetables. Cut back on sugar and fat. Adding lean protein and/or healthy fat can also slow down the absorption of carbs, keeping the cravings at bay.

Avoid salt for the last few days before your period. This can help reduce bloating and fluid retention.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol. These can interfere with a good night's rest as well as affect your mood and appetite.

Take a calcium and vitamin D supplement. Research has shown that getting adequate calcium (about 1,200 mg) and vitamin D (400 mg to 700 mg) can help reduce PMS symptoms in some women. If you do not get enough calcium from food, take a supplement. Check with your doctor first to see which dose is right for you. Make sure to split your calcium dose so that you do not get more than about 500 mg at one time. If not, it cannot all be absorbed.

Your doctor may suggest that you take magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E to help reduce PMS symptoms. Further research is needed on these therapies, though.

Drink plenty of fluids. Often, women with PMS avoid drinking a lot of water because water retention is such a common PMS symptom. But drinking plenty of water may actually help reduce premenstrual bloating.

Relax and get moving. Staying physically active can help reduce PMS symptoms. Not only does exercise burn calories, but it's a natural stress-reducer and mood enhancer. Try new ways to relax and relieve stress, such as yoga or massage.

Diet and lifestyle changes should be your first line of defense. If this doesn't work, your doctor may suggest medication. Medications used to treat PMS include antidepressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics or birth control pills.


screwdestiny said...

Hey, sorry your PMS was screwing with you, Barbie. Glad it's over now though! I'm so fortunate to not have problems with that. Sure, I'll get a few cramps, but nothing terrible, and I never have mood swings or cravings (at that time). Oh, and it's also never made me feel bloated. I don't understand why it does for so many other people but not me. But don't like a gift horse in the mouth, right?

Coach Barbie, PhD said...

They say it's like 4 out of 10 women. SO you're lucky!!!