Phase 4: The Late Luteal Phase (the week or so before your period, PMS week)
Research has shown that food intake naturally increases in this premenstrual phase and more so in women who have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. This could be due to mood disturbances in the week before your period that lead to more emotional (or F it style) eating. Interestingly, studies show that eating chocolate in the premenstrual week increases adherence to a weight loss diet (3). This means that if cravings are coming for you, you might as well work with them so that they are more easily managed.
In this phase you will still have increased energy needs, less stable blood sugar and hormones favouring an increase in appetite. Decrease carbohydrates slightly, ideally from processed sources and up your protein and fat intake to manage appetite and cover your increased energy requirements.
Sodium retention increases in this phase and that means water retention. Don’t weigh yourself in this phase. Especially if you’re feeling emotional too, just don’t! Increasing potassium containing foods such as potatoes, spinach, bananas, shellfish etc. and limiting sodium can help with this. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it though, this is not affecting your health or much about your appearance, it will pass.
Food intake will naturally increase. Allow yourself some of the food you are craving, it can help you stay on track in the long run. Slightly decrease overall carbohydrate and slightly increase fat and protein to help your appetite. There may be water retention in this phase, don’t worry about it!