Hugs & Massages = Serotonin = Less Cravings
Have you ever sworn up and down that you’ll never do that again, then do it again a few moments, hours, or days later? In Romans 7:15, the New Living Translation of the Bible says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Case in point; I know I shouldn’t pig out on pizza or chocolate, but just like Paul says in Romans, I do exactly what I hate. Like clockwork. Every 28 days. When all normalcy goes out the window.
Low Serotonin May Be to Blame
My first thought after picking up on this pattern a few years ago was, “Why does this happen?!?” This article does a great job of explaining the ins and outs of womens’ cycles, and of particular interest is the tid-bit regarding serotonin levels. The article states that, “Serotonin is lowest in the two weeks before the period.” I happened to notice that around that time-frame is exactly when my cravings are strongest! I’m not saying all women who crave sugar or carbs are PMS’ing, just eating sugar will make you crave more, but there definitely seemed to be a correlation between my cycle and the most insane cravings for specific foods I’ve ever experienced! That said, do a quick Google search on the symptoms of low serotonin… no surprise… it’s PMS to a T!
So, how do we solve the crazy craving problem? We find ways to boost serotonin!
Raising Serotonin Levels
There are a few different approaches to increasing serotonin levels. Nutrient therapy and herbal remedies are options, but I’m going to focus on actions we can take to naturally increase serotonin levels to help fight cravings during PMS. This awesome cheat sheet from LifeHack lists things we can all do to increase the serotonin in our brains.
I’m a firm believer that there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy for anything. Just about every adversity we face in life requires a personalized approach. So, while exercising more often might help one woman increase her serotonin levels during PMS, another might be better served with some extra vitamin C, and yet another by adding in a meditation session each morning before heading out the door. For a bit more detail on each of the eleven ways to increase serotonin, check out the complete write up here.
My point here isn’t to get into the details of each method of increasing serotonin (you can do that easily enough on your own with Google), but to point out that it could help to seriously evaluate each known method and see which one, specifically, will impact you the most.
Here’s where my Love Languages comes in. For those of you not familiar with Love Languages, click here. The language in which I most organically receive love is touch, and take a look at method #2 on the LifeHack list for increasing serotonin. Book a Massage. For this loves-to-be-held girl, the notion that a massage could increase my serotonin levels is wonderful news but at the same time it’s no real surprise. As an aside, my husband and I are recently married and in the interest of serving each other as best we can, have had extensive conversations on the Love Language topic. We each want to give each other what we need most, but agree that how we each give and receive love may not match how the other gives and receives. As an example, getting a new piece of jewelry (from a partner who shows love primarily through gift giving) isn’t nearly as important to someone who receives love through physical touch. As someone who deeply enjoys being held and holding others, I can attest to the fact that touch has a huge effect on me. Little did I know it could help me avoid sugar and carb binges! So, why am I sharing my intimate details? Because reviewing a fun-fact list of ways to increase serotonin isn’t going to make a big dent in increasing my levels, but when I noticed touch on the list, it jumped off the page at me! It’s something I knew would affect me.
Instead of grasping at straws when trying to get rid of your insane PMS sugar and carb cravings, pick one thing that jumps out at you as a way you might be able to boost your serotonin level and give it a try.
Are you the person that’s up at 5am every day to get in some gym time because you find your days go better after such an intense start? Are you the one that gets depressed in the winter when the sun barely shines and enjoys laying out all summer to soak in the rays in order to smile more? Have you found that adding some magnesium supplements help your migraines? If so, consider that those activities might also help you fight your cravings for sugar, so work out like crazy, buy a sun lamp for when winter hits, or start a conversation with your doctor about what sort of magnesium supplements are a good choice.
In my case, hugs and massages get to me-in the best way. Years ago I didn’t connect the pattern of sugar and carb cravings to my period, and although I knew that hormones fluctuated during my cycle, I didn’t know what serotonin was or that PMS could make me hungry. Now, when my cravings kick in and all I want to do is lay in bed and binge on chocolate, you can bet I’ll be asking my Hubby to rub me down!!! …and I’ll also be sure to return the favor.
My prayer for you is that you find hope in Jesus. We’re not perfect, that’s why we need Him. I have often let myself down with my own actions, just like Paul in Romans 7:15! I feel like a complete failure as I’m reaching for the chocolate but even so, the feeling of failure is not enough to close the cupboard door! But just because that’s what I’ve done in the past, it doesn’t mean I need to keep doing the same thing. We have options!!!
This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it!Psalm 118:24 NKJV
Ladies, be glad yesterday is in the past! It’s time to let yesterday go and give something new a shot today. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Take another look at all of the different ways to boost serotonin levels and take action!
Lord, I pray that the ladies reading this have a method of boosting serotonin levels that jumps out at them! Please fill their minds with that method when they experience the intense cravings that often come along with PMS. Help them recall what made so much sense to them when they first discovered it. Remind them of the options they have to affect their cravings! Lord we all want to be healthy, we want to honor our bodies, the temples you’ve given us. Please Lord, help us help ourselves! Help us turn away from the raging sugar and carb craving beasts we become and help us remember our options!!! I love you Lord, it’s in Jesus name I pray these things. Amen.
Blessed Be Today!