Can’t be arsed to go to the gym? Does the mere thought of slipping on lycra this time of year fill you with dread? Perhaps you’d prefer to absorb that cancellation fee and tuck into some cheesy pasta and wine? You’ve forgotten what your body looks like naked anyway and your libido isn’t exactly sky high. You could go to yoga with a friend but you’re mentally drained and hardly in the mood to socialise.
You let this go on for about a fortnight until you’re so full of self loathing that you decide to do something about it. The next thing you know, you’re 20 minutes into a class, feeling that old familiar endorphin rush, that confirms your love of exercise. You leave feeling energised and motivated for the week ahead.
So where did it all go wrong?
Firstly, don’t try to blame the weather. We all know that within minutes of warming up you’ll be practically cooking in those thermals.
About the comfort food cravings. Does a brief spell of apathy really warrant packing in 1,200 calories – let’s be honest, one or two glasses soon turns into a bottle… and that creamy, mature Cheddar mixture isn’t suddenly saintly because it’s gluten free.
As for forgetting what your body looks like naked, it’s time to buy yourself some new clothes and underwear for that matter. There’s nothing like a high street dressing room to reveal the cold, hard truth.
As for the low mood, we hear you. Don’t punch us in the face for asking you this but are you a teeny, tiny bit hormonal? Because if you are, that’s OK. We all get moody sometimes. In fact, premenstrual syndrome is thought to affect up to half of us.
According to a survey of 500 women by wellbeing experts Pukka Herbs’, 76% said they suffered with erratic mood swings and felt feeling irritable or angry before their period; 62% said they suffered with bloating and 61% were troubled with appetite changes, food cravings and fatigue.
It’s really no wonder we experience these changes when our ovaries are linked to the brain, nervous system and endocrine system. But it’s not something we should put up with. PMT shouldn’t automatically turn us into lethargic, exercise deprived monsters that can survive only on pizza and ice cream. It’s time to take the power back.
If you know that your hormones give you gyp at this time of the month, do yourself a favour and cut the C.R.A.P. That’s caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods. It may sound boring, but it’s crucial for happy hormones.
“As much as a glass of Pinot or a G&T at the end of the day can feel like manna from heaven, alcohol can wreak all sorts of havoc on hormone balance” says nutritionist Cassandra Barns. “It upsets blood sugar balance and depletes the body of hormone-regulating and energy boosting B vitamins.” The last thing you need.
OK so you’re on top of your diet… as for your yo-yo relationship with exercise, and er, relationships in general. Don’t fret, there’s a reason behind it.
“During menstruation and the build up to it, levels of oestrogen are low. These low levels of oestrogen also influence low levels of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin, which can cause feelings of reduced motivation and a general ‘slowing down’ resulting in feeling less mentally alert, more fatigued and less sociable”, says medical herbalist and wellbeing expert Katie Pande.
“As oestrogen levels then begin to rise after menstruation, it brings back our physical and mental energy levels, as the levels of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin also rise.”
So don’t beat yourself up. You’ll soon return to your bubbly, dynamic, outgoing self. But while you’re doing battle with those hormones, take a supplement like Pukka’s Womankind to boost your mood and energy levels.
In an online survey, 90 participants took two Womankind capsules per day over the course of three full cycles. By the end of the three months, 73.6% admitted to spending less time away from work. 78.2% spent less time in bed. 76.9% spent less time avoiding social engagements, while 47.3% saw an improvement in the severity of PMS symptoms.
One participant commented: “PMS did impact my life a lot prior to the trial and has lessened a lot. I get very emotional, and grumpy, easily irritated. I also suffer from terrible headaches, hot flushes and poor restless sleep. My acne gets much worse too. Since the trial, although I get these symptoms, they have definitely lessened, period pain (immediately prior) is reduced and I have fewer mood swings”.
Pukka’s Womankind supplement is packed with energising and hormone regulating B vitamins and anti-inflammatory turmeric root. Just remember, it’s all totally normal and it will pass – you’re only human.