foodLike clockwork, every time my Week 3 rolls around right after ovulation, my cravings for sweet, salty, fatty and carb-rich foods spike. Like hard.

Chances are, this happens to you, too. And, it’s all because of rising progesterone–a hormone that reeeaaallllyyy wants you to eat more higher-calorie foods in case you got pregnant during ovulation and now need to chow down for two.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I want to avoid overdoing it on high-calorie foods because I’m getting up there in years (just five more years till 50–how did that even happen???) and so want to keep my heart healthy and counter the metabolic slowdown that occurs in we middle-aged gals.

But, at the same time, I wanna eat yummy foods!

So, I want to share with you how I deal with this conundrum because maybe it’ll help you manage your Week 3 food cravings, too:

First, I make a plan to eat one or two super-junky foods during my Week 3. Because I know if I restrict myself to just healthy foods (a total yawn in the second half of my cycle) and avoid treats altogether, I’ll just end up cracking and eating way, way, way more junk food than I would have if I simply allowed myself an indulgent snack or two.

Then, I make sure the treat is something special. Something I don’t normally have. Something that maybe I have to travel out of my way to get or is little on the pricey side or is a once-in-awhile indulgence because it’s that unhealthy.

This part is key for me because then I don’t end up wasting my splurge on whatever’s around the house. I know that if I cave to my cravings by eating stuff I barely enjoy–like my husband’s potato chips or the candy we leave out for his guitar students–then I feel like I’ve used up my treat allotment and my craving didn’t even get satisfied. Which makes me feel lousy.

When I can look forward to a Week 3 indulgence that’s special and pre-planned, I appreciate it more. I savor it longer as I’m eating it. I remember it hours, even days, after I’ve enjoyed it. Then, the craving goes away and I feel happy and fulfilled.

After that, I can go back to eating my favorite regular healthy fare, like tofurkey sausages and bean burgers and whole grain bars, and not feel like I’m missing out.

I hope this helps you with your Week 3 food cravings. Do you have your own tricks that work for you? If so, let me know!

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[Photo: Tomi Tapio K]