Phase 1: Menstrual phase
This phase should last 3-7 days and this is a time for rest. Your body is searching for comfort during this time so don't be surprised if your cravings are very high and you just want to settle in and watch TV. Do not succumb to the cravings for sweets, instead reach for nourishing foods and comfort your body with warming teas, comfy blankets, and your favorite book to help provide your body with the comfort it's searching for.
- Support your body with nourishing foods that are rich in iron and zinc to help replenish what is being lost (seafood, red meat, seaweed, kidney beans, chlorophyll, mushrooms, beets). To help with the cravings try some dark chocolate or fruits and go easy on the foods that you eat to help with digestions since your body is busy shedding the lining of your uterus.
- For exercise this is not a time to try for reaching goals, this is a time for you to walk and stretch.
- Your creativity is high during this time so take time to take lots of notes and plan but don't move forward with implementation during this time as it may be to much.
You are in a hibernation type mode during this time, so relax and enjoy it.
Phase 2: Follicular phase:
As soon as your period ends you are now in the follicular phase. Estrogen and testosterone are low but are starting to increase as you get closer to ovulation and this is a time when you will feel more energetic and ready to get back into your life.
- Eat foods that are good for the gut with pre and probiotics, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, tempeh, miso, and different sprouts; and light and fresh foods. Make sure you are supporting your body with the nutrients it needs to help sustain your energy. Lots of healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates (think all of your root vegetables), and some grains if your body can tolerate them, and lots of healthy protein. If you don’t have a sensitivity to soy this is a great time to add it into your diet
- You can add in more vigorous workouts like Spin, HIIT, runs and boot camps are great to do during this time.
- Go out with girlfriends, or on a date night as you are going to be feeling more confident during this time. You have more energy and are able to go for longer periods of time. This doesn't mean you should be staying up later (listen to our Sleep Masterclass to learn more about sleep-in our Membership), but if there is a time to be out later than normal, this is the phase where it will affect you the least. If you have worked through the menstrual phase and you had some creative ideas, now is the time to begin acting on them.
Phase 3: Ovulation phase:
As your hormones rise it stimulates the release of an egg. Ovulation is the shortest phase in your cycle and will usually only last for 2-4 days and is important whether or not you are trying to conceive as when you ovulate your body produces progesterone. Progesterone is that calming hormone that helps with anxiety, mood swings, hair loss, irregular cycles, and low sex drive. Make sure you are practicing healthy habits to ensure you are ovulating each month. If you notice spotting during this time, it may mean you didn't ovulate so be aware of that as well as it may mean you need to really focus on health the following month to ensure you get back on a normal cycle. Practicing all the things within our Membership (listen to the Masterclasses to help you understand more things you can do for your sleep, stress, and overall health).
- Always make sure you are eating healthy foods, but now is a time to be eating more leafy greens, lots of vegetables especially cruciferous vegetables just in case you have to much estrogen in your system to help it get the excess out of your body, and fruits along with healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and avocado.
- You can continue to do the high intensity workouts along with more cardio but make sure to listen to your body; if you deal with pain during ovulation (mittelschmerz syndrome) than take it down a bit and make sure to take a bit more time with the recovery and stretching. This is also a great time for heavier lifting
- You will usually feel confident and at the top of your game during this time, so now is the time to take on the world! Turn all those plans into action!
Phase 4: Luteal Phase:
Your hormones are at their highest phase and will start to drop down to prepare for menstruation, so you will start to notice lower energy, if you are dealing with PMS at this point then you are probably still carrying around extra estrogen so make sure to continue to eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables. The Luteal Phase is when your body is reabsorbing the corpus luteum from the egg and progesterone levels will start to drop. This is usually 10-14 days.
- You are going to be craving sweet and salty foods during this time, do not fall into this vicious cycle of unstable blood sugar by going to those favorite foods. If you are one who likes to settle down in the evening with an alcoholic drink, please know this is going to affect your cycle and will cause it to be heavier and longer, breasts will be tender, and your mood will fluctuate more. Make sure to eat foods that are high in magnesium to help stop chocolate cravings, Vit B enriched foods (Swiss cheese, eggs, fish, meat, leafy greens, and dairy) to keep you from wanting sugar, and also note that if you are hungrier than normal it is ok to eat more just try choosing healthier options. Foods rich in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and fiber are important during this time to help with the sugar cravings and will help to decrease water retention and bloating. Make sure you are supporting your digestive system with fiber to help ensure you are getting rid of the excess estrogen during this time. Up your complex carbohydrates during this time to help with mood swings. Enjoy brown rice, sweet potatoes, all of the squash and root vegetables are great during this time. Enjoy fruits and now is a fine time to allow the higher sugar fruits into your diet to help with the sweet cravings. Think about adding fruits (pears, apples, and bananas) to sweeten things up or adding dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, and dates into your baking rather than sugar. Add some magnesium in the evening to help you calm down. If you are craving chocolate go for the darker chocolate, preferably above 80%. If you are craving wine during this time, try some kombucha instead.
- Start to ease up on the HIIT and cardio sessions; going from 3-4 days a week, down to 1-2 days of HIIT, start adding more yoga, pilates, and going for walks instead of running. Your body needs more calming things during this time or you will start to overload the adrenals, so do not push through this time. If you are attending fitness classes you will want to not push yourself to hard during this time, maybe do mid-level work rather than pushing yourself to hard. (Feel free to speak with me in regards to your options for things you can do instead during this time). You may start to feel achy during this time, so listen to your body and do what feels best.
- Your body is starting to slow down a bit, don't overbook your schedule during this time, and make sure you have some time to move through things at a slower pace. You may want to ensure you have a few extra minutes between each thing you are doing to take some extra breaths and relax.
Once you begin to lean into your cycles you will notice that you will start to feel better within each cycle. If you are not having a regular cycle, than you may want to follow the moon as your cycle to help create a rhythm within your own body.