Do you know that menstruating women change every week? Our hormones fluctuate on a monthly cycle, and our bodies react differently during each phase. This is why one week, we might feel so much energy to get things done, and two weeks later, we want to lay on the couch and watch Netflix. It’s not in your head, it’s real! And these hormonal shifts change the way that we react to diet, exercise, and stress.
Typical advice that you find about eating keto or practicing fasting doesn’t put our hormonal shifts into account. Our bodies will do great on keto during menstruation, but we will optimize our health and energy by eating healthy carbs in the luteal phase. When we consider what our hormones are doing during each phase, we can energize our cycle and feel great all month long!
To help optimize your cycle, here is a quick summary.
The menstrual phase is considered the beginning of your cycle and is the time you have your period.
It usually lasts about 3 to 7 days and is a great time to rest your body because your hormones are low, and you are more susceptible to stress.
Exercise: Walking or gentle yoga are good workouts. If you feel like a rest day, take it! Try sleeping in and catching up on sleep instead of waking up early to work out.
Diet: Soups, stews, keto
Productivity: The left and right hemispheres of your brain work together best during menstruation. It is a great time to assess where you are and how to move forward with your goals.
You may feel less social and want to be alone more often.
The follicular phase is the 7 to 10 days between your period and ovulation. Our hormones are steadily increasing, and we are likely to feel great!
Exercise: High-intensity cardio workouts
Diet: Great time to try intermittent fasting! Eat foods that help metabolize estrogen to minimize estrogen dominance symptoms. Include garlic, onions, fermented foods, and produce during the follicular phase.
Productivity: Most women feel a surge of energy during the follicular phase. It is a great time to work on household projects that require a lot of energy.
Ovulation is the whole point of the menstrual cycle! In cycle syncing, you can consider three days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after ovulation to be your ovulatory phase.
Exercise: Add intensity, your body can handle the stress. Running intervals, HIIT training, and boot camp classes are great right now. But make sure to warm up. High estrogen levels can increase your risk of injury.
Diet: Eat to eliminate the high levels of estrogen. The ovulation phase is a great time to eat lots of raw veggies. Try to add salads and smoothies to your diet.
Productivity: During ovulation, you are likely to be and feel radiant. People will want to be around you, and you’ll find you can convey your thoughts better than ever. Try to schedule important presentations and go to networking events during ovulation.
The luteal phase is the 10 to 14 days between ovulation and your period. It’s the longest phase of your cycle, and you can break it into two mini phases. Your body will be a lot more prone to stress during the last five days than in the first part.
Exercise: Measure your HRV to keep track of your stress levels. At the beginning of the luteal phase, you can maintain some higher intensity exercise if you take some rest days afterward. As your energy starts to decrease, switch to lower intensity exercises like swimming, pilates, low-intensity bike rides, or barre.
Diet: Our metabolism increases during the luteal phase, which is why we often feel hungrier. Our bodies become more insulin resistant, so it’s essential to maintain our blood sugar levels. Even though we crave sugar, this is the worst time to eat it! Instead, never skip a meal, eat consistently, and eat foods that keep you feeling full. In the last five days, you may feel like eating more carbs. If so, try it! But increase carbs with healthy carbs like potatoes, brown rice, and beans. Some say that increasing carbs during these five days can improve our hormones during the next cycle.
Productivity: In the luteal phase, we aren’t feeling incredibly creative in developing new ideas, but it’s a great time to finish projects that we’ve started. When our energy is beginning to decline at the end of the luteal phase, it is good to do administrative tasks. You can schedule doctor appointments or make returns at the store. Getting these smaller things done may seem easiest now.
If you get cravings during ovulation, you may be miscalculating ovulation, trying to cycle sync too hard, or have a hormonal imbalance. Women tend to have high estrogen levels that suppress food cravings during ovulation. It’s helpful to troubleshoot the issue so we can be at our peak performance. Are you tired and craving chocolate…
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