Why Am I So Hungry 2 Weeks Before My Period?

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Is it common to feel hungry two weeks before a period?

We’ve all been there—two weeks before your period is due to arrive, and suddenly, you find yourself reaching for a snack every hour—not just any snack, but the most indulgent and calorie-filled ones. 

It’s easy to blame it on a lack of willpower or self-control, but the truth is that your raging hunger may have a valid explanation. Many women experience increased appetite and cravings in the days leading up to their period, and it’s all due to hormonal changes in the body.

As someone who has experienced this myself, I know the frustration and confusion that comes with sudden, intense hunger before my period.

It can feel like an uncontrollable urge that we can’t resist. But the truth is, our hormones are primarily responsible for these intense cravings and increased appetite. 

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle is a complex process involving several hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate various body functions, such as ovulation, menstruation, and pregnancy. Throughout the month, these hormones fluctuate to prepare the body for potential pregnancy.

During the first half of the menstrual cycle, estrogen levels increase and peak right before ovulation. This is when many women experience a boost in energy and mood and may not feel as hungry as usual.

However, after ovulation, estrogen levels decrease while progesterone levels rise. This change can lead to increased appetite and cravings for certain foods.

Hormonal Influences

  • Progesterone, known as the “pregnancy hormone,” can increase hunger levels as it prepares the body for potential pregnancy.
  • Estrogen also regulates appetite and food intake. As estrogen levels drop before menstruation, so does leptin, a hormone that signals fullness to our brain. This can lead to an increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods.
  • The hormone ghrelin stimulates appetite and may also increase before menstruation due to hormonal changes.

Biological and Evolutionary Perspectives

From a biological perspective, the increased hunger and cravings before menstruation can be seen as a protective mechanism. Our bodies are preparing for potential pregnancy, which requires extra energy and nutrients to support a growing fetus. This evolutionary adaptation ensures our bodies have enough fuel to sustain ourselves and a developing baby.

Moreover, during the second half of the menstrual cycle, our metabolism may slow down slightly to conserve energy for potential pregnancy. This can also contribute to feelings of increased hunger and difficulty maintaining weight.

Common Cravings and Nutritional Tips

  • Many women report cravings for high-fat and high-sugar foods before their period. This could be due to the hormonal changes mentioned above, as well as emotional factors such as stress and mood swings.
  • It’s essential to listen to your body, honor your cravings, and make healthier choices when possible. For example, try a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar if you’re craving something sweet.
  • Eating regular, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day can also help regulate appetite and prevent overeating. Include protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates in each meal to satisfy you.
  • Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet may also help with premenstrual cravings. These include foods like fatty fish, leafy greens, and berries.
  • Stay hydrated! Drinking enough water can help curb cravings and keep your body functioning at its best. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day.
  • Consider talking to a nutritionist or healthcare provider about incorporating supplements such as magnesium and B vitamins into your diet to help with premenstrual symptoms, including cravings.
  • Practice mindful eating. Take time to savor and enjoy your food rather than mindlessly snacking. This can help you feel more satisfied and in control of your cravings.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you find that your premenstrual cravings are severely affecting your daily life and causing excessive weight gain or unhealthy eating patterns, it may be time to seek professional help. 

Additionally, if you have a history of disordered eating or struggle with managing emotions during this time, seeking support from a therapist can be beneficial.

Furthermore, if your intense hunger is accompanied by other premenstrual symptoms such as severe mood swings, depression, or intense physical pain, it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance or an underlying medical condition.

In this case, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Remember that premenstrual cravings are a normal part of the menstrual cycle, but they should not negatively impact your overall health and well-being. By incorporating these tips and seeking professional help when needed, you can manage your premenstrual cravings in a compassionate and empowering way. 

Take care of yourself, listen to your body, and trust that it knows what it needs during this time. So, make sure to prioritize self-care and nourishment during your menstrual cycle to support your

Is it common to feel hungry two weeks before a period?

Yes, feeling hungrier than usual in the two weeks leading up to your period is standard. This phenomenon is mainly due to hormonal changes during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle. During this time, levels of progesterone increase, which can boost your appetite. Additionally, the body burns more calories in the luteal phase, potentially contributing to increased hunger.

Understanding these hormonal shifts can be empowering. By recognizing that these cravings are a regular part of your cycle, you can better plan your meals and snacks to support your overall well-being. Check out our hormonal health and nutrition article for more insights on managing these changes. If you’re interested in maintaining balanced energy levels throughout your cycle, our guide on cyclical eating might be helpful.

Remember, everyone’s experience with menstruation is unique. Embracing a holistic wellness approach that considers physical and emotional health can make this time of the month more manageable. For further reading, explore our resources on self-care practices and emotional well-being.

How can I stop feeling hungry during my period?

  1. Prioritize Nutrient-Dense Foods: Focus on consuming whole foods rich in nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods can help you stay satiated longer and provide the necessary vitamins and minerals to support your body.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Sometimes, what feels like hunger can be thirst. Ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, which can help mitigate hunger pangs.
  3. Eat Balanced Meals: Eat meals that balance macronutrients—proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. This combination helps stabilize blood sugar levels and reduces cravings.
  4. Healthy Snacking: When you feel hungry between meals, opt for healthy snacks like nuts, yogurt, or fruit. These options can provide lasting energy and prevent overeating.
  5. Mindful Eating: Pay attention to your body’s hunger signals and practice eating mindfully. This involves eating slowly, savoring each bite, and recognizing when you feel full.
  6. Regular Physical Activity: Gentle exercise, such as walking or yoga, can help regulate your appetite and improve your mood. Physical activity also aids in reducing stress, which can sometimes lead to emotional eating.
  7. Manage Stress: High-stress levels can increase hunger and cravings. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature.
  8. Sleep Well: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Lack of sleep can disrupt hunger-regulating hormones, leading to increased appetite.
  9. Listen to Your Body: Everyone’s body is different. Pay attention to how you feel and adjust your eating habits accordingly. Eating more is okay if your body needs it; ensure it’s balanced and nutritious.

When do period cravings begin?

Period cravings typically begin during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, which starts after ovulation and lasts until the beginning of menstruation. 

This phase generally occurs about two weeks before the start of your period. During this time, hormonal changes, particularly increased progesterone levels, can lead to heightened appetite and specific cravings.

These cravings are a natural response to the body’s hormonal fluctuations. The body often seeks quick energy sources, like carbohydrates and sweets, which can lead to more noticeable cravings for these foods.

Conclusion

In summary, managing premenstrual cravings can be challenging, but it is possible with self-awareness and proper strategies. By understanding the hormonal changes during this time and listening to your body’s cues, you can find balance and control over your cravings. 

Seeking professional help when needed is essential for those who struggle significantly with their premenstrual symptoms. 

It is also important to remember that your food choices do not determine your worth and value, so be compassionate towards yourself and prioritize your overall well-being above all else. 

So, embrace this time as an opportunity for self-care and empowerment rather than a burden. Remember, you are strong, resilient, and capable of managing your premenstrual cravings holistically.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.

@jared_levenson

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