My No.1 Tip for Balancing Your Hormones
Updated: May 6
What is the number one thing I recommend for women who have a hormonal imbalance?
The answer is not some secret supplement (although there are some that can help, more on that in another post!)… it’s living in accordance with your feminine cycle, otherwise known as ‘cycle syncing’.
The term “cycle syncing” was coined by Alissa Vitti, although the concept exists in many other forms and names. Essentially it means living in a way that supports the natural fluctuations of our hormones throughout the month (which does not mean just accepting hormonal imbalance and giving up – quite the contrary, by supporting our hormones we actually come into balance). Unlike men, women have a 2nd biological clock or rhythm, the infradian cycle, which lasts roughly a month and is characterised by fluctuations in hormones which then affect everything from our mood, what food we want to eat, how our body is going to respond to exercise, and so on. Rather than seeing this as a curse, we should see it as a blessing – we have the opportunity to try different things each phase, to change things up and reinvent ourselves constantly! Embracing our cyclical nature is therefore hugely empowering, helping us tap into our ancestral feminine wisdom buried within (if you would like further support in tapping into this feminine wisdom, check out my life coaching packages). Crucially, it can also help balance our hormones, helping you to feel more content, energised, satisfied, and ‘at home’ in your own body, as well as turning the dread of ‘that time of the month’ into actually looking forward to your period as a chance to rest, recuperate, and take stock of your month.
So how do we start cycle syncing? The first step is learning about the phases of the cycles (since many of us have only heard of the menstrual phase) - what your hormones are doing in each phase and how this might make you feel.
Phase 1: Follicular
How long it lasts: 7-10 days
What’s happening with your hormones: Hormones are on the rise
What this means: You might feel more energised after the menstrual period (although this might take a few days).
Phase 2: Ovulatory
How long it lasts: 3-5 days (ovulation itself is only 1 day but the phase is generally taken to be a bit longer)
What’s happening with your hormones: Estrogen peaks
What this means: As our bodies want us to get pregnant at this time (whether or not that’s on our agenda!), you might experience a feeling of energy and desire to socialise, however due to the rise in estrogen (especially if you have excess) you might find that this causes mood swings, sensitivity, and other PMS-type feelings.
Phase 3: Luteal
How long it lasts: 10-12 days
What’s happening with your hormones: Progesterone rises in preparation for supporting a potential pregnancy (and then begins to fall in the 2nd half of this period if you are not pregnant), estrogen falls
What this means: You are likely to feel very focussed and driven during this time, as our bodies prepare for the hibernation that is menstruation (think of animals in autumn getting all their food collected and their dens in order, ready for the long sleep of winter). This is when most women get hunger cravings, as our metabolism speeds up, meaning we actually need around 200 calories more per day during this and the menstrual phase.
Phase 4: Menstrual
How long it lasts: 3-5 days
What’s happening with your hormones: All hormones are low
What this means: You might have quite low energy as the body needs to rest and recuperate.
Now that we know about the phases and what is (or should be) happening hormonally, the second step is then learning about (“tracking”) your own cycle – how long is it overall, how long is each phase, how do you currently feel in each phase, etc.? Obviously in order to do this you must have a cycle - i.e. not be on hormonal birth control (as hormonal birth control is designed to stop your natural hormonal cycle). If you are currently on hormonal birth control and would like support coming off it, please speak to your GP or health care provider in the first instance about how/when to safely stop and whether this is appropriate for you, and then check out my health coaching packages for support on what to do after.
The easiest way to begin tracking your cycle is with one of the various tracking apps available for your phone – I like Natural Cycles as it allows you to add in your daily temperature readings for a much more accurate overview of your cycle. Sign up to NC via this link to receive 20% off plus a FREE basal body temperature (BBT) thermometer! (For the most accurate understanding of your cycle you should take ovulation tests (not included) in addition to the temperature readings.) It’s also a good idea to keep a note of how you’re feeling emotionally and physically (bloating, sore breasts, etc.) throughout the cycle, either on the app or in a separate spreadsheet.
Once you’ve been tracking for at least 3 cycles you can begin noticing patterns, and matching your symptoms to different rising (or falling) hormone levels. Armed with this information you can then begin supporting your hormone fluctuations, paying special attention to the areas you need extra help with (for example, you might have excess estrogen, while for another woman the problem might be low LH, so it’s important to know what YOU need). You can do this through food, exercise, supplementation, how you work, and so much more... but more on that in part 2 (coming soon)!
I will be offering an online workshop early next year (2022) with more information on cycle syncing – sign up to my newsletter to be the first to know when booking opens!
If you’d like personalised support in addressing your hormonal issues, or if you’ve tried cycle syncing but you’re still experiencing problems, book in for a free health consultation here.
Is there a Goddess in your life who could benefit from this information? Tag her in the comments below!
To embracing our feminine power,