You vs. Your Period: A Diet and Exercise Story

Let me paint a little picture for you. A picture of a very unathletic, easily distracted woman who has had more than her fair share of love affairs with Reese’s eggs, heaping bowls of parmesan and sauce covered pasta, and late night (oversized) bowls of Golden Grahams. A woman who finds dieting to be one of the most frustrating and difficult things she’s ever faced in her life. This woman has tried and failed at so many diets, lifestyle changes, and exercise regimens.

But this woman has now found the ever-elusive concept called motivation. Motivation hit her like a ton of bricks  when the bridesmaid dress for an October wedding arrived in the mail. The seams of said dress made an audible and agonizing scream when this woman squeezed into the dress. This woman cringed even more audibly than the seams when she saw herself in said dress.

It was then, staring at that sad and out of shape reflection, that this woman knew it was time to make a change.

…and if you haven’t figured it out by now, that woman was me.

I found a “diet” that works for me. I cut out as many sugars as I could, including the Diet Mt. Dew I used to drink each and ever morning. I eat smaller portions, eat less processed and more fresh, watch my carb intake, and exercise regularly. I have also put a massive dent in our aquifer with all the water I’ve been drinking. It took me a bit, but I’m actually seeing results. It’s working and that’s my greatest motivator.

When I can compare myself the first day I tried on my maid of honor dress to now, I see just how well my diet and exercise regime has worked. It makes me want to add five second to each one of my reps. It’s intoxicating and incredibly reassuring.

And then, it happens.

My period.

She comes with a rage and a hunger. She craves everything. All the food. She demands I put it all in my mouth as a sacrifice to the gods of menstruation. She wants the popcorn and pretzels at the baseball game. She orders me to get seconds with each meal. She makes me salivate for the fruit snacks I keep in the cupboard for my kids that I normally don’t ever want to eat. But she wants them. And not just one package, three.

She is insatiable.

My monthly visitor gives me a headache. She brings me this annoying, unrelenting headache that pings in my head, screaming for the Diet Mt. Dew I used to enjoy daily. It’s the kind of headache that makes you want to nap, be lazy, and steals away all physical motivation to stick to that 30-day plank challenge.

Don’t even get me started on the bloating. Just when my yoga pants start fitting me more like sweat pants, the next day, they feel like they’re painted on. Talk about a real confidence killer.



For someone who isn’t naturally wired to handle the rigors of a healthy lifestyle, these few days in the thick of my cycle – not to mention the days leading up to the arrival of “Aunt Flo” – are the hardest days. And it happens every month.

I know I’m not alone. Ladies, it’s time we rise up and show our period who’s boss.

There are subtle things you can do to hold strong to your diet and exercise routine while riding the crimson wave.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

Yes, the bloating and water weight and cramping will make you look and feel less-than. Keep reminding yourself it’s only temporary. In a few days, your body will regain its composure as you bid your period adieu. All will be right in the world and you’ll feel more confident.

Guilt Doesn’t Have to Be Guilt

Did you allow yourself a sweet treat after dinner? Eat an extra snack on the first day of your flow? Don’t feel guilty. Your body is telling you you’re hungry because you are. Biologically, you’re draining a lot of calories during your time of the month so, naturally, you’re going to want to supplement that loss of calories with more food. Just snack smart and wave good-bye to the guilt.

Hurts So Good

Just the thought of getting to the gym on my heaviest days makes me groan. However, working out during your period is actually a really good thing, as annoying as that sounds. Exercise-induced endorphins can help relieve anxiety, fatigue, and even the headaches normally associated with PMS. So, no matter how hard it is to muster the motivation to get in the gym, go out and get it girl!

For more information on how to diet smarter on your period, visit this site.

And to read up on the benefits of exercising on while battling your monthly, click here.

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