I’m not big on rules, but I had a no-exceptions RULE that I was not allowed to make any judgment about my body or changes to my way of eating while hormonal. So, period week and the week before, it was just a given that any kind of weeping panic and need to change everything now had more to do with hormones than reality. My perspective would skew negative. Any nutrition or fitness plans I would come up with to “fix” the way I was feeling about myself tended toward delusional punishment. Now, that’s me, but maybe someone can relate. It took me years to recognize the hormonal element of that pattern. Once I did, I’d notice the panic rising, feel the urge to shame myself, blame my body and eating for everything, and take drastic action, but then I’d realize what week it was and go, “Oh, duh. Never mind.” This policy alleviated so much struggle and pain. The crazy week would pass, the cravings and water weight would diminish, and the majority of the time I would realize there was nothing actually wrong. If I still wanted to make an adjustment or try something different, I’d do it then, when I could make decisions that were calmer and more objective. And it was never, starting tomorrow, I’m going to run ten miles a day and eat nothing but kale. It was more like I didn’t feel so great eating that whole pan of brownies myself, so next month I’ll plan to get myself a deluxe frosted fudge brownie from a coffee shop during PMS week. Or, I realize that I’ve been stress-eating and not noticing hunger and fullness cues, so I’m going to take one minute to relax and breathe before I start eating. Those kind of thoughtful adjustments have big payoffs in terms of aligning your eating with your values and feeling better right away, plus, they tend to be sustainable. Panicked restriction will always cause more problems than it solves. So, for me, never making any big changes to my food or workouts while hormonal is what kept me from going there.
The most important thing is to veer toward kindness and humor, not the scale and a plan. The scale in that scenario can be a bit like stepping on a land mine.