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OK, so the boys can go away now because I have a funny story that involves girly stuff, and you definitely don’t want to read it. This is girlfriend-to-girlfriend talk here. So buh-bye, boys!
Ok. Are they gone? **peering into all the hiding places**
All righty, coast is clear (I hope.) Here we go…
I have a funny story to tell you girls. Recently, my DH and I had this conversation:
DH: “I think Aunt Flo is going to arrive either tomorrow or the next day.”
Me: “Nah. Too soon.”
Fast forward to the next day.
Me: “You were right.”
DH: *beams with pride*
Yes, I had to say those dreaded words: “you were right, and I was wrong.” You know how he knew? My mood! It was apparently a total give-away, having that PMS-y edge to it that (thankfully) appears only during certain times of the month.
So now I’m on a mission to see if I can reduce those tell-tale signs of Aunt Flo’s imminent visit by making a few changes. I’ve done a little research (not extensive, mind you! I’m not a scientist by any means) online and identified 5 different habits that should make a significant improvement in PMS symptoms. (Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Just friendly suggestions from a fellow sufferer.)
Just in case I’m not the only one with the problem (ahem), I’m sharing those 5 habits with you.
Bloating is always an issue for me, and I know it is for many other women as well. The solution is counter-intuitive: drink more water! This is something I really stink at, so I’m making a concerted effort recently to drink more than I usually do. I also don’t believe it’s essential to drink a specific amount every day; I believe my body will tell me when it’s thirsty, I just need to heed the signs.
Stress just deteriorates your health all together: it affects mind, body and spirit. Women are particularly prone to allowing life to stress them out, which is why I asked my friend Leigh Ann to contribute her amazing article about emotional and spiritual health to this series.
Stress is particularly bad for PMS symptoms, because it depletes the “feel-good” hormones (serotonin and dopamine) that help prevent PMS in the first place. So if you’re on an endless cycle of stress, you’re going to be on an endless cycle of PMS moodiness. Reducing stress is easier said than done, though, isn’t it?! Here are some ideas for restoring balance to your mood on a regular basis:
- Pray and Meditate on Scripture
- Be Grateful (Get specific! List in a journal specific people and things that you are grateful for.)
- Sleep (8-10 hrs at night if you can)
- Relaxation Exercises (deep breathing, Pilates, yoga, etc.)
Get pro-active about reducing stress – exercising on a regular basis will help your body keep up production of those afore-mentioned “feel-good” hormones. Hate exercise? Don’t think you can squeeze it into your already jam-packed day? Check out my list of ideas for sneaking in exercise.
Controlling PMS is mostly about hormone regulation. Too much estrogen and not enough progesterone are a primary cause of the majority of PMS symptoms. This excellent article about PMS suggests that too little beneficial bacteria in the gut reduces the body’s ability to eliminate excess estrogen. The best way to solve this problem is to take probiotic supplements and eat a diet rich in probiotics.
Probiotics in the diet come cultured foods, like:
*Note: Cultures for Health is a great source for all kinds of starters to make your own cultured probiotic-rich foods at home. They always have a great sale going, so sign up for their emails to keep abreast of the good deals.
Of course, you know I would say that, right? What you put into your body directly affects how it behaves, so make sure you’re filling it with the good stuff. Naturally, not only will eating right help ease your PMS symptoms, it will improve your over-all health.
What does “eating right” really mean, anyway? Seems like everybody has a different idea of that these days. When it comes to PMS health, here are some basic guidelines.
Avoid or Reduce:
- Sugar (in any form!)
- Bad Fats (read this post about good fats you should eat)
- Healthy Fats (here’s that article again)
- Complex Carbohydrates
- Vegetables & Fruits
- Leafy Greens
PS. If you’re a boy and you’re still reading… do you regret it yet?
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