How to Start Cycle Syncing

I discussed what cycle syncing was in my last post, but now I’m sure you’re wondering how to get started. Here are my top 5 tips on how to live according to your cycle without overcomplicating things.

  1. Read Alisa Vitti’s “In the Flo” book. This book is what sparked my interest in women’s health and biohacking your hormones .It’s a fairly easy read and account of how women are neglected in terms of diet and exercise advice compared to men (which many studies are based on). *hard eye roll*
  2. Take up seed cycling. Seed cycling is eating sunflower seeds and sesame seeds during your luteal and menstrual phases (the week before and of your period) and eating pumpkin and flax seeds during your follicular and ovulatory phases. These seeds contain phytoestrogens and other specific micronutrients that support your hormones during these phases. It is recommended to eat these seeds raw and to consume 1-2 Tbsp/day. *more on this in an upcoming post
  3. Exercise according to each phase.
    • Follicular phase: cardio
    • Ovulatory phase: HIIT, weight lifting, circuits
    • Luteal phase: pilates, yoga
    • Menstruation: walking, restorative yoga (Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube has a killer Yoga for Women sequence that helps ease cramps!)

*Each phase fluctuates in estrogen and progesterone levels, ultimately providing different levels of energy. This guide can help you give your body the grace and movement it thrives off of during each phase. Note: afternoon workouts are best as to avoid spiking cortisol levels.

4. Eat more whole foods in general. If you read “In the Flo”, you’ll notice that nearly all of the foods recommended are whole foods. Whole foods contain more fiber, active enzymes, antioxidants, and micronutrients that support your reproductive and overall health. Aim to consume 2-3 fruits per day and 3-4 veggies/day, along with whole food proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. *Those with PCOS or endometriosis should consult with a Registered Dietitian to set up a plan specific to their needs.

5. Eat or drink 1 fermented food per day! Good gut health impacts nearly every other bodily system. 80% of our immune cells are found within the GI tract. Eating healthy fats can result in glowing skin for our integumentary system, and a diverse microbiome encourages regular bowel movements. The list goes on and on. In relation to reproductive health, when gut health is rich in diversity, the estorbolome (what regulates estrogen) is also balanced and can maintain normal levels of this sex hormone. If the estrobolome is disrupted with dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) and inflammation, it strains its efficiency to maintain estrogen homeostasis.

Summary

Cycle syncing can be as simple or complex as you make it. I started out with these 5 changes listed above before diving into eating specific foods for each phase. With the stresses of everyday life, it can be difficult to take on new challenges and create new habits. Believe me, I know. Take on what amount is right for you, and remember, small changes add up!

What questions do you have? Leave a comment or message me on Instagram to discuss if you’d like. Happy syncing!

I Don’t Have a Period. Now What?

Since I started sharing content on reproductive health, I have had several people reach out asking how to cycle sync if they don’t get their period. Good question!

The short answer is that while not impossible, it is difficult to cycle sync and see optimal results without getting your period. Our bodies are wired to communicate its needs, and knowing which phase you’re in is really important and valuable in providing our bodies what they need at a specific time.

The long answer is that amenorrhea (absence of a period) can be caused by a variety of things- low energy intake, overexercising, stress, and birth control (just to name a few). Despite the cause, the goal should be to regain your period. Period.

For those undereating and/or overexercising, the next step is to consume adequate calories + essential nutrients while taking a break from aggressive activity. Don’t worry. This is just temporary until you regain adequate nutrition and maybe weight to support your reproductive system.

RED-S (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) is very common in athletes due to diet culture and the false belief that the thinner you are, the better you will perform. This is WRONG! And RED-S and amenorrhea puts you at higher risk of injury and osteoporosis. Fun fact: I ran my best marathon after gaining weight and my period back after 4 years of its absence!

For those on birth control, you can eat and exercise according to your birth control’s placebo week (which should be when your hormones drop and you menstruate). You count the days of each phase from there. However, talk to your doctor and OB of other bc options if you’re concerned about an absent period. Once again, I recommend that every premenopausal woman experience their period for optimal overall health.

Follow these steps to gain knowledge and power over your amenorrhea. 👇

💥 See your primary care physician & OBGYN.

💥 Get your hormone levels tested.

💥 Get blood work done.

💥 Track xenoestrogens (toxic materials in cleaning + beauty/skin products) you’re exposing yourself to.

💥 Consume enough calories!

💥 Ease up on exercise if you’re overdoing it.

What questions do you have?

 

Get to Know Your Hormones! 101

As promised, here is a brief introduction to hormones you should know that are very important in maintaining a woman’s health status, period, and fertility. Knowing these hormones will be a good starting point before attempting to balance them.

Think of your hormones as friends. It sounds cheesy, but hear me out. If you don’ t get to know your friends, your relationship suffers. If you don’t check in with them, know what they like or dislike, or neglect to care for them, well, they will most likely neglect you in return, go a little haywire, or even MIA. Putting in the effort to get to know your hormones will ultimately empower you to optimize your relationship with them. 😉

Meet Estrogen.

Estrogen is one of the major female sex hormones, alongside progesterone. They actually counter one another, with estrogen dominating the first half of your cycle, and progesterone the second half. Estrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries, but it’s also secreted by the adrenal glands and fat cells. It is responsible for the development of our female characteristics (mainly our breasts and pubic hair), but did you know that estrogen also plays a role in nurturing bone health, our cardiovascular system, and brain function?

Estrogen peaks during ovulation (which ramps up your sexual desire and drive). Yeehaw! While this sounds appealing, it is also when women in their reproductive years are most likely to conceive. This is why your body is making you want to have sex during these 3-4 days. This hormone is crucial for reproduction, but if deficiency or excess is present, it can also cause nasty side effects that are not fun to live with. I will write an article laying out low estrogen vs. estrogen dominance and their side effects soon.

Meet Progesterone.

Progesterone (also known as the pregnancy hormone) is a major female sex hormone that counterbalances estrogen. It peaks during the luteal phase of your cycle, right before you menstruate. If you are pregnant, progesterone is secreted from the placenta. If you are not, this hormone is secreted from the corpus luteum (the empty ovarian follicle) in the ovaries. It’s main function is to thicken and maintain the endometrium. As levels decline, this is when you shed your uterine lining and menses begins. Low levels of progesterone can cause missed periods. More on this later.

Meet Cortisol.

Cortisol, as many of you may know, is a hormone released in response to stress. It has been proven that stress negatively impacts health and is a risk factor for many diseases, including PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), anovulation (missed periods), infertility, and other endocrine disorders.

Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands, along with adrenaline, when an individual experiences stress. Not only is this correlated with increased blood pressure, but your body begins to make sugar in our liver to help “feed” our stressed body (which it believes to be in need of). This process called gluconeogenesis (meaning “creation of new sugar”), influences our blood sugar. This leads me to our next hormone…

Meet Insulin.

Insulin. We’ve all heard of it. We know diabetics take it to maintain their blood sugar too, but do you actually know how it works? Let me break it down for ya.

  1. An individual eats carbohydrates.
  2. Blood sugar rises.
  3. Insulin is secreted by the B-islet cells of the pancreas.
  4. Insulin carries glucose into cells to “feed” them and produce energy.

That was the simplest way I could explain it. 🙂 Now, we want to produce healthy and sufficient amounts of insulin to transport glucose, no more or less than we need. We want to be insulin sensitive because that means our body can detect and produce enough insulin to uptake glucose (sugar). Insulin resistance is what happens as a result of many health conditions, including pre-diabetes, diabetes, obesity, and more. It is crucial to your health to maintain a normal range of blood sugar. Self-monitoring devices are available to measure this at home, but you can also get tested by your doctor.

Meet Testosterone.

Yep! Women produce testosterone too! -only in very small amounts though. Testosterone is made in the ovaries with estrogen, and it actually works in unison with estrogen for growth and muscle and tissue repair. So it’s beneficial for females, in normal amounts. However, excess testosterone can cause a myriad of abnormal physical side effects, including unwanted facial hair, thinning hair on your head, acne, infertility and more.

Once again, I will share how to begin balancing your hormones in future posts. I simply wanted you to meet and get acquainted with your hormones first! See them as friends, not foes! They are here to stay, so you might as well to know them and make the best of your relationship and interaction with one another. ❤