Should you sync your activity level with your hormone cycle?
We spoke to Juliet Kelly-Wong, The Natural Clinic Founder & Therapist to get some advice on how to feel our best throughout our cycle.
What is cycle syncing?
Cycle syncing is literally when you live your life according to your cycle. We have three phases to our menstrual cycle – Follicular ( Menstruation and before the egg is released), Ovulatory( when the egg is released) and Luteal (after the egg is released) – each phases requires different hormones and can effect our bodies and our minds in different ways as the hormones ebb and flow – if the hormones are not balanced these phases can be quite negative on our mood, energy and even our appetites.
For example during ovulation and just before menstruation we can feel very tired and our mood can fluctuate and we can often feel a bit negative and irritable. This is possibly not the best time to be faced with difficult decisions and high energy activities.
When you cycle sync ( by charting where you are in your cycle) you recognise this and can acknowledge that at different phases you may be feeling and making decisions with a different mind and energy set to what you normally would.
Therefore you may choose to avoid making a decision or planning a high level activity until you know you are through this phase in your cycle or you may withdraw from engaging in a situation that you aren’t sure is best for you at this phase in your cycle.
Who can benefit from cycle syncing?
Everybody! And I mean everybody – men, women and children can all benefit from cycle syncing.
For as a woman understands the different phases of her cycle and how each phase effects her, she can then monitor and even explain to those around her what might happen or what to expect.
This means everybody, say in a family, will know what to expect from their female members and can adjust their own expectations, emotions, demands and understanding of what is happening to avoid unnecessary conflict and unpleasant situations.
I'm always confused with the 2 types of female hormones - estrogen and progesterone. Can you give us an easy way to remember what they do during different phases of our cycle?
The easiest way to explain and remember what the main functions of estrogen and progesterone do during our cycles is this - Estrogens help prepare our bodies for pregnancy and progesterone helps to maintain and keep a pregnancy.
We have three main phases in our menstrual cycle - the Follicular Phase, the Ovulatory Phase and the Luteal Phase.
There are four hormones that come to play throughout the cycle - Luteinizing Hormones (LH), Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Estrogen and Progesterone.
The two hormones that affect our moods the most are estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen starts to increase from around day 4-6 of our cycle (counting the first day of your menses as day 1 ) and peaks at ovulation, then slowly starts to decrease. Progesterone then takes over and starts to increase
(in hopes that you are pregnant), when no pregnancy occurs both the progesterone and estrogen drop and we start to menstruate.
The two most sensitive times in our cycles ( mood, fatigue, irritability, headaches etc) occur normally at the ovulation peak (day 12-15) and when the progesterone and estrogen start to drop a few days before our menses are due (days 24 onwards).
These are the two times in our cycles that we need to understand what is happening internally, be kind to ourselves, retreat slightly from the crazy circus of life and honour our bodies for the amazing symphony that it is.
Does our nutrition or food intake affect hormone levels? If so, how can I prevent those regular monthly food cravings? Or rather how do I manage them
Foods can definitely effect our hormones! If you are eating bad foods and foods that are hard to digest and lack nutrition.
The liver and stomach both have a lot to do with our hormonal balance so any foods that effect our liver and stomach will throw off our hormonal balance off.
The foods that affect our hormones the most are the following - processed junk foods, heavily fried foods, foods high in refined sugar and refined flours, alcohol, too much caffeine and a lack of fibre rich foods will all effect our hormones.
The classic sugar cravings that people feel during their cycle can easily be avoided if you are eating a balanced nutritious diet that is high in fibre and healthy complex carb (barley, beans, lentils etc).
Supplementation can also be key here – magnesium and B6 are two of the key vitamins here.
Does the intensity and type of workout matter in different stages of my cycle? Do we always have to push harder through that workout?
Intense workouts during your ovulation and before and during menstruation should be avoided at all costs!
Instead stretching, walking and low impact workouts should be done during these two key phases in our menstrual cycle.
This is key to hormonal balance and for good womb health.
Is it possible to work with the hormones to avoid the "general feeling of ‘meh’” toward sex outside of the prime baby-making window?
Absolutely!! Our libido is definitely heightened during our pre-ovulation phase, but should not be the only time we want to have sex. Maintaining a good sex drive throughout our cycle is so important for our mental, physical and hormonal health.
If your sex drive is low it should be addressed, as well as a women’s ability and need to orgasm regularly!
If you find your sex drive is low outside of “the baby making window” this can (and should) be addressed and can easily be done so with foods, supplements, acupressure and essential oils.
Never think it is normal to not want to have sex!!!
About Juliet Kelly-Wong
With over a decade of experience, Juliet brings her signature blend of natural therapies to every consultation with adults and children with a wide range of issues. Juliet takes the time to tailor her treatments and therapies on you as a whole rather than the specific issue. Natural therapy is most effective using this custom approach for treating acute and chronic conditions as well as focusing on prevention.
Listening with care to your symptoms and understanding what your body needs, she applies the effective techniques of acupressure, aromatherapy, moxibustion, food as medicine, and if needed, Bach Flower Remedies.
Diagnosed at 19 with MS, Juliet Kelly-Wong was warned by one doctor that she might be in a wheelchair by her 30’s and the idea of children was not likely. Refusing to believe this, she turned fully to alternative healing and never looked back. Now with two (almost) adult children and decades later, she has been symptom freed for over 25 years.
Her unwavering belief in the body’s ability to heal, as well as the power of what nature and food has to offer, is her driving force behind her therapies and her success.
It is also Juliet’s life’s mission to teach as many people as possible the knowledge she has learned during her health journey and practice - to empower people to know that “every body can heal itself”!