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Living in Alignment with Your Cycle

Learning to sync with your cycle is a powerful tool for women to optimize health, productivity and everyday life by working WITH your body. Understanding the ins and outs of how intricately our bodies are designed to work will help lead you to a happier and healthier life, and empower the next generation of daughters to lean into their cycle and not fight against it. Our cycle is our 5th vital sign - so why do we constantly try to silence what it is telling us about our health?

We often hear about our circadian rhythm, a 24-hour cycle experienced by both men and women. However, women also have an infradian rhythm. Our infradian rhythm lasts about 28 days and consists of 4 phases - menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal. As women, we typically learn basic information about our menstrual phase only. Learning how to optimize the other three phases and bring awareness to what is happening to your body will increase your overall well-being, ease your period and the symptoms that can accompany this time, and increase chances of a healthy fertility journey.

The menstruation phase is referred to as our “inner winter”. These are the days of active bleeding which makes it the easiest place to start when learning how to sync with your cycle. This phase should last anywhere from 3-7 days. At this point in your cycle, you have a major dip in hormones and will experience the lowest energy levels. Just as you would in the winter time, you should try to cozy up and rest as much as possible. Because of the shedding of the uterine lining, you will also want to make sure you are replenishing your body with nutrient dense foods that are easily digested - think soups, stews and warm foods that are cooked down. This is also the best time to reflect, journal and turn inward because there is an increased communication between the right and left brain hemispheres.

The follicular phase - also known as your inner spring - follows menstruation and typically lasts 7 - 10 days. Your hormones and your energy levels are starting to increase over the course of this phase. Just like when you are coming out of the feeling of hibernation during those cold winter months, your follicular phase will cause you to feel more energized and ready to move your body. Brainstorming and trying to create new habits will be the easiest at this point in your cycle. Your goal should be to focus on eating fresh, vibrant and light foods to help balance estrogen. When preparing food at this time, try steaming or sautéing as you transition into ovulation.

Ovulation is the next phase and most commonly talked about in regards to family planning. This is your “inner summer” and lasts 3 - 4 days. Your body is trying to produce the best possible egg during this phase, so there is a lot going on with your hormones. Your brain’s focus during this time is connection, so communication skills are at their prime. It is also likely that during this point of your cycle that your mood is the most stable and your energy is at its highest. To help your liver metabolize and detox any excess estrogen (which is what can lead to PMS, acne + weight gain) you will want to eat fiber rich foods that are fresh and raw. Your body is also ready to move, so save your hardest workouts for this time and shoot for those new personal bests!

The luteal phase is your inner fall. Energy levels are starting to decrease as you near another menstrual cycle OR as your body is reserving energy to help a fertilized egg make its way to implantation. This is the longest phase, lasting around 10-14 days. Your attention and awareness are at its highest, so it is the time of completion, domestic chores and detail driven responsibilities. You will want to focus on consuming more calories and B vitamins to help curb cravings and stabilize blood sugar since your body is naturally burning more calories during this time. Opt for roasting or baking slow-burning carbohydrates and start to slow down your movements to what makes your body feel best as this phase progresses.

Interested in learning more about living in alignment with your cycle? Stay tuned for future posts and resources that will be available soon


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