WRITTEN BY Shelby Turner
Every month can feel like a roller coaster. It’s easy to feel like our hormones are in control of us, not the other way around, and that there is almost no way to balance them in a natural way.
Our menstrual cycles play a huge role in hormone fluctuation, affecting our emotions, appetites, thought processes, and energy levels. While there are no quick fixes to syncing our cycles to our wellness practices, and it is always recommended to speak to a professional, here are some things to get you going on your journey to balance.
Tracking Your Period: There are many apps, like Flo, that allow you to track your cycle throughout the month. Keeping track of your own personal mood, pain, craving, or energy patterns can help you become better in tune with your body and your needs that time, or any time, of the month. Tracking these things also help you to better understand the phase of your cycle you’re currently in, to better honor the functional needs of your body.
These phases include:
- Menstrual phase: estrogen and progesterone levels are low
- Follicular phase: estrogen and progesterone levels begin to rise
- Ovulatory phase: days estrogen levels peak, testosterone and progesterone rise
- Luteal phase: high levels of estrogen and progesterone.
The timeline of each phase varies from woman to woman, which is just another reason to begin tracking it.
Maximizing Fitness: Sometimes when we’re on our periods working out just doesn’t sound fun, or makes us more miserable than we already feel. The good news is, we can better benefit our bodies by listening to them and basing our workouts around the phase of our cycle.
When in the menstrual phase your body is going through a lot, so keeping your heart rate steady is best. Think prioritizing your rest by taking walks, or doing light yoga.
In the follicular phase, your body may allow you to increase your level of exercise with light running, flow yoga, or hiking.
While in the ovulation phase, with the highest level of estrogen and testosterone you can best maximize your physical potential with high intensity workouts.
With the drop in estrogen and testosterone levels in the luteal phase and rise of progesterone, strength training and pilates are a great way to work up a sweat.
Some fitness influencers, like @/collegecleaneating on Instagram offer workouts and a hormone balancing meal plan! Remember, through every phase, to listen to your body and always do what feels right for you – that’s what this is all about!
Balancing Nutrition: It can feel almost impossible sometimes to find things to eat that consistently make us feel good, instead of tired, bloated, or sluggish. Paying attention to your cycle can help with this! During each phase our body naturally produces an abundance of, or lacks, certain essential nutrients.
In the menstrual phase, it’s important to get in nutrient dense and iron rich foods, since our bodies are lacking it then. Drinks like camomile or lavender tea can help soothe cramps and ease stress, whereas caffeine and extra salty foods can intensify them.
In the follicular phase, fermented fruits and veggies are great to get in your diet, and they can also help with gut health.
In the ovulatory phase, high magnesium foods like avocado, bananas, and dark chocolate are great options that support your body’s detox pathways.
The luteal phase is a good time to begin looking out for your digestive system with rich berries and fiber rich foods.
The Clean Eating Kitchen has lots of great recipes for each phase you find yourself in. As always, it’s more important to be true to your body and your cravings.
Remember! This does take time! There really is no quick way, and it can take a lot of trial and error. It’s always recommended to talk to a professional and do your own research to best decide what works for your body. Any step towards honoring and protecting your body is a good one. She’s the only one you get!
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