Although annoying, cravings are at least predictible—when it’s that time of the month, and you see a raging pimple pop up, you know you’re going to inhale that emergency chocolate stash like there’s no tomorrow.
What’s more mysterious is that insatiable hunger that can arise right before and during your period. So if you’re wondering why the triple-stacked turkey sandwich you had for lunch didn’t even begin to fill you up, don’t worry: That lurking hunger is totally normal, and actually comes down to our primal instinct.
The Hunger Games
During ovulation (around 12 to 16 days before your period), your body is getting ready for a potential pregnancy, says Jamé Heskett, M.D., author of The Well Path. It wants to be stocked and ready just in case, so the hormones that peak during that time—estrogen and progesterone—trigger a hunger response, telling you to get some food (yep, your body sounds a lot like a Jewish grandma).1
On top of that, your body’s basal metabolic rate speeds up just before and during the early part of your period to fuel the process of menstruation, says Gerardo Bustillo, M.D., an OB/GYN at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center.2 Up to 15 percent more calories are burned (around 100 to 300 calories more per day), which can also make you feel hungrie…