One of the most impactful books I read in January of this year was WomanCode by Alisa Vitti. I’ve had a few of my friends recommend and talk about this book so much and had to see what it was all about. I’ve experienced estrogen dominance which comes with painful migraines before my cycle starts, heavy periods, bad cramps, acne and more symptoms. You can do a quiz on your period (yup, so informative though) on her website here to learn more about what your issues could be linked to and start you out. I find this stuff fascinating and have always been a researcher, as well as loved all things wellness!
After my miscarriage, my period came back but I noticed the symptoms were ramped up. I would contribute a lot of that to stress and grief, but going into the new year, I really wanted to get a handle on it and get my body and hormones back on track…
Lifestyle Change #1 – Eat For Each Phase Of Your Cycle
This made so much sense to me — each phase of your cycle requires different types of nourishment. I started being more mindful of giving my body more of each of these categories and increased my fibre. With estrogen dominance, your liver needs to metabolize it so that progesterone can rise (which also helps with getting and staying pregnant). Fibre helps your liver do that! Here’s a helpful chart from the book that I found on Pinterest…
Sugar and dairy are two things I try to avoid as much as possible as it is an endocrine disruptor to your system (of course I do have some cheese and enjoy a cookie, but I don’t do this in excess). In the book WomanCode, Alisa talks about the importance of keeping your blood sugar, adrenals and pathways of elimination stable and cared for. This is what alleviates the symptoms and balances your hormones so you can live in your flow in harmony! Another thing I do to support my hormones is taking a good prenatal vitamin with iron, as well as an herbal supplement called Vitex. This regulates your menstrual cycle (i’ve always been regular, but I’ve had more estrogen dominance leading to painful migraines before periods and this has helped tremendously). My naturopath recommended this to me and I also found it in her book (always consult your doctor before starting supplements or guessing about your hormones).
Lifestyle Change #2 – Remove Toxins From Home/Beauty Care
I’ve always been pretty mindful and aware about beauty/home products (filled with all kinds of ingredients) but I definitely have cleaned it up a lot more and taken it seriously. These can affect your hormones so much without even knowing, something as unknowing as perfume can disrupt your system and throw it off! I’ve switched over a lot of my skincare to clean brands like Drunk Elephant, Catcha, Tula and Primally Pure (use my code JOLLY10 for 10% off), as well as makeup! I don’t overwhelm my skin with all kinds of ingredients or too many products either. Makeup for filming or special occasions is an exception, but for my everyday, I either wear nothing on my face or a little tinted moisturizer/sunscreen from Tula or Drunk Elephant. Deodorant is also something I’ve switched over naturally (for a few years now). I love natural remedies and ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon and essential oils for cleaning. Of course, right now with the current climate and virus, I do have stronger wipes and sprays to kill germs completely (which I never handle with my bare hands, I always wear gloves and a mask). If we haven’t left the house and it’s just a tidy up, I use more natural products to wipe things down.
P.S. You can always use my Tula code that never expires: STEPHJOLLY for 15% off (they gave me a code to share with you because I talk about it so much)! Right now they only ship to the USA. My organizer rack is from Amazon if anyone is curious as well!
Lifestyle Change #3 – Working Out For Each Phase Of Your Cycle
Coming off a cold winter, not going to the gym or really any walks outside, I wanted to get moving in 2020. The number one thing my doctor told me to do a few months after my miscarriage and my cycle came back was to get moving to get the stress/grief out of my body. I went to the gym for a little (when it was permitted) in January and then the weather began to improve (a little) where I could take Lucy on an hour walk. I also just did at-home workouts and light yoga. I’ve shared my Top 5 Workout/stretching videos in this blogpost.
Here is an outline taken from FloLiving (source) down below:
Here’s the different types of exercise their website recommends for each of the four phases of your menstrual cycle:
Workout: Walk – keep your workouts mild, even if you’re not feeling major discomfort.
When: An evening stroll is the perfect way to get some simple movement.
Follicular Phase (the week or so after your period)
Workout: Run or other cardio
When: Mid-day – your estrogen will be low and your cortisol levels will be just right for a challenging cardio burst.
Workout: High-intensity interval training or bodyweight circuit
When: Early morning – you’ll have tons of energy during this time of the month, so take advantage of that natural high! Your testosterone is higher during this phase, so whatever you do, feel free to go all out.
Workout: Pilates, yoga
When: Keep it early during the first half, and then transition into the early evening. You might still feel full of energy during the first days of your luteal phase, so feel free to keep doing more intense workouts early in the day. But if you start to experience PMS symptoms in the days before your period, it’s time to tone it down and switch to Pilates or strength training in the early evening. Restorative (yin) yoga before bed can also be hugely helpful in combating issues like moodiness and bloat.
Lifestyle Change #4 – Hydrate!
I’ve always been pretty good about hydration – I don’t consume a lot of alcohol (I enjoy occasionally) or caffeine. Water is definitely my drink of choice! This helps flush out toxins, sugars, and eliminates anything we don’t want in the system. I aim for 3L of water a day and I have truly never felt better. I stick to it everyday and if I drink a little less in a day my body can feel it. If you have headaches, imbalances or any issues, try these two basic things first we highly overlook: sleep and water. Start there always!
Lifestyle Change #5 – Working For Each Phase Of Your Cycle
Source for above image.
Men have a 24 hour work cycle, we have a 28-day cycle! This is what I learned and really resonated through reading WomanCode. This chart above is how I now structure my projects and focus as a business owner. I’ve saved it to my phone to reference back to. I can’t always stick to this, as that’s life and it doesn’t revolve around my cycle (haha) but I give myself grace for the phases of my cycle I know I need to rest or take it more easy. I’ve had bad burn outs in the past that lead to a lot of anxiety and I just don’t work myself into the ground like that anymore. I won’t do it!
I hope you found this post helpful and you’ll pick up WomanCode (every woman should seriously read this whether or not they are trying to conceive). I’ve seen results in my symptoms, cycle, mood and productivity just through making these changes. It just makes me feel more empowered as a woman to not be taken down by my period but to be in a groove with it. Sounds odd, but it really isn’t, it’s part of our womanhood and I am embracing it. I move, work, eat and treat my body the way it needs in each phase. After miscarriage or struggling to get pregnant, you feel like your body has betrayed you. Like it isn’t doing what it was designed to do and I’ve removed that from my thinking. My body isn’t broken, my body is a gift and I want to honour it the best way I can. Realizing this and educating myself more about my body has put me more in tune with it, I hope you can experience that too!
Peace & Grace,