“Oh my goodness! I’m feeling so emotional / tired / hungry / cranky and I don’t know why!”
Anyone else ever say that and then your monthly friend visits you and suddenly everything makes sense? After a few days of misery, the world seems brighter, and those problems you were having last week disappear?
But do you know why? You would think that after years and years of the same monthly cycle we would have it figured out by now. But I can speak from experience that many of us don’t! We know that we feel different during different weeks of the month, but we simply chalk it up to “hormones” and leave it at that.
However, there is FREEDOM to understanding you cycle, knowing how your body is working, and then understanding how to schedule your life with your cycle so you are working WITH your body and not against it!
We are ALL learning here. This may seem totally overwhelming to you at first, but don’t worry! As we dive further into specific hormones and supporting those hormones, everything will start to make more sense. 🙌🏼
Your Menstrual Cycle is a roughly four week span of time where three key hormones – estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone – rise and fall in a specific pattern. Depending on the level of these hormones, they impact your mood, energy, libido, sleep quality, food cravings, and health. However, since it is a pattern every month we can learn how to support our bodies during each part of the cycle, taking advantage of high energy days and resting on days when our body needs to work.
The first day of your menstrual cycle is the first day of your period. The period usually lasts 3-7 days, and most period pains are the worst during the first few days.
Estrogen is at its lowest during the first day of your period and begins to rise after. This is why after the first achy, fatiguing part of your period, you tend to notice a boost in energy, mood, and productivity. It is important that you allow your body to rest as much as possible until your estrogen has risen.
You tend to be more outgoing as your estrogen rises and become interested in your favorite activities again. The rise in estrogen also causes a slight appetite-suppression making it easier to choose healthy foods and smaller portions.
Day 1 to Ovulation (which is typically around Day 14). Estrogen and Testosterone continue to rise until they peak. You continue to be upbeat, outgoing, chattier, and confident. You will have sharper brain skills and more creativity.
You will also become more romantically inclined as you have an increase in libido. You will have a higher self confidence in your appearance! Others will notice this too, as the rise in estrogen is actually boosting your attractiveness.
Pain also becomes more tolerable, which makes uncomfortable activities, such as a hard workout, easier on your body. Take advantage of this surge in energy by going on a day hike, scheduling your long runs, or cleaning the house from top to bottom. As the testosterone peaks during the later part of the week, you will find yourself more competitive and impulsive. Plan a game night with friends or surprise your significant other with a sexy date! This rise in testosterone makes orgasms more intense and easier to achieve. 😘
This happens around the middle of your cycle, averaging to about day 14. It is said that you are irresistible during your ovulation phase, that people cannot tell you no. This is a great time to try something new, take a job interview, ask for a promotion, etc.
Remember this in your relationships as well. Take this time to deepen friendships, as you will have the energy and desire to invest in others. And also make sure to block out some time in your maxed out schedule to devote to your significant other. You will feel very attracted to one another, and this is the perfect time to bond closer together.
You will also have tons of natural energy. Keep this in mind and choose a healthy diet with low carbs. Your body is needing more protein and healthy fats to support your muscles after a time of high activity.
From after Ovulation to the beginning of your next Menstrual Cycle. This tends to be a very difficult phase for many women. Let’s break it up into two weeks.
Early Luteal Phase – Estrogen plunges, and then rises again. Testosterone drops. Progesterone rises. Even if you don’t know what these hormones mean yet – you can tell there is a lot of movement happening! Some women experience pre-PMS with the influx of hormonal changes, particularly the falling estrogen. This may include irritability, fatigue, and pessimism or a down mood.
You will begin to feel more introverted and more comfortable as a homebody. Fill your day will low energy organizing, cleaning, and cooking. Don’t plan on redecorating or redesigning rooms, as the rise and drop in estrogen may make big decisions cause anxiety and stress on your body, but straighten up the junk drawer or go through your closet. Don’t make big plans with friends, as you will be tempted to cancel them or feel anxious about going out.
Late Luteal Phase – Then Estrogen plunges again. Progesterone also reaches its peak and falls. This causes PMS. You may experience moodiness, sadness, irritability, muscle aches, insomnia, headaches, fatigue and/or a variety of other PMS symptoms.
The low energy and low estrogen causes you to crave high-carb and high-sugar foods. Don’t feel guilt for treating yourself, but have a plan so that you don’t overindulge. You may notice a slight rise in libido, but difficulty “getting in the mood.” Make sure that your partner knows this, so that you can devote more time to intimate activities. This is also the Phase when most women suffer from low confidence and self doubt. Never make big decisions during your Luteal Phase. Take care of your body during this phase. The lack of sleep may lower your Immune System. (Ever been sick AND on your period at the same time? 🙄) Drink plenty of water and eat all those healthy meals you made during your early Luteal Phase.
Feel like you understand the craziness of your Cycle a bit more now? What is one thing you learned? What is one thing you are going to change during your month to work WITH your Cycle?