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How to Thrive During the 4 Phases of Your Menstrual Cycle


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Happy Spurling - Regular Font

Kayla Lanier - Bold Font 

 

Hey guys, thanks for joining us today for our podcast on how to be in control of your menstrual cycle for optimal health. We're gonna be talking about how you don't have to just survive your cycle from month to month, but you can thrive in it. We're so excited to share what we do in order to optimize our cycle from week to week.


We're not talking about how to channel your inner Yoda or become. Some kind of she warrior. This is about everyday women learning to embrace God's design for who we are meant to be.


So actually, I was probably in my late thirties before I realized that we actually had different phases to our cycle, and maybe I should have known that way earlier in life, but I just really never thought about it because I just started my period as a young teen and then just had one forever and I just didn't really contemplate, Hey, what's actually going on in my body and why are there some weeks that I feel really great and other weeks that I feel really crappy and tired and I don't wanna do anything. I think every young woman should honestly be taught about the different phases in our cycle from the time that we start having a cycle, because I think it would help a lot of women to better understand how we're made so that we don't fight against it as much as trying to use it as a rhythm in our life.


Same for me. Here I am, 28, just now realizing that there was actually four phases in your cycle and it's been really hard through it every month and just try to get by and survive and being very physically active is very demanding on your body to have a menstrual cycle. It's different if you're sedentary. Not taking that away. It's still hard on people who are sedentary, but if you're physically active, you walk or run, or you have a demanding job, you really gotta take care of yourself when you're on your cycle.


It's very important. But yeah, I mean, some weeks I would have the appetite of a water buffalo, and then some weeks I would just have mad rage for no reason. Anyways, there are four phases and we are gonna talk about them today.


So when you're talking about the four phases, I'll admit that, honestly, it feels like the period is like the grand finale, and it's actually like the last part of your cycle. But in reality, menstruation is the first part of the cycle. So day one of our period is when it kind of all starts. I've just always thought all the weeks before my period or when I'm normal, and then that week of the period or just before is like the, we're almost to the end of it all, but it's actually the first part of the cycle.


Right.


There's a lot that goes on during that time, which is important to follow how you feel.


Right. Actually, your progesterone plunges and your energy will be at your lowest, which I'm sure you've all been aware of. So it's important at this time to really just. Focus on pausing and taking a break. Maybe going for really like low-intensity walks, meditation, yoga, and possibly yin yoga. Nothing crazy. No hot yoga or power yoga or anything that gets your heart rate up. Just slow stretching things that will reduce inflammation and actually help you mentally.


And also, it's important to hydrate. Maybe take a bath and just. Slow down, read a book, do something for you during this time because your body's going through it a lot and it's, it's doing a lot.


I think sometimes as a woman, I felt guilty for not exercising like the same all month long and feeling lazy. I re, I mean a lot of times I feel like I, I just feel like I'm lazy this week. But what's really happening is that progesterone has left the building, and so because of that, we don't have that energy reserve of that feel good hormone.


I think as women, we kind of work out like men a lot, where we think we're supposed to be able to do the HIIT training every single day or whatever we're doing, and that we really don't have any mercy on ourselves.


Right.


And I think that actually causes us to maybe not have as much improvement or increase during our workouts because we're pushing so hard and really our body's telling us, this is not the week to do that. This is the week to be gracious with yourself.


Right. To really slow down. And I have to say the week of my period is when, well, for a long time, I actually worked out the hardest because I felt the worst about myself, and that's not how we are supposed to exercise. Exercise is supposed to be something that encourages positivity in your life and about yourself and your self-awareness. It's not supposed to beat you up or, I mean, for me, I just had such terrible bloating. I felt running five miles would make it go away, but I do have to say that it's even in the marketing.


Unfortunately, like if you go and buy a box of tampons and you get the one that says sport, it makes you feel like a badie for a second because you're like, oh, I'll just stick this in and it'll really help me be super athletic this week during my menstruation. But it's not really true. It's, this is a time when we need to slow down and pause.


And know that that is actually not just okay, but it's part of the rhythm of how we're made.


Right.


And that's kind of like giving into that and not feeling like you have to push through, but that you can actually give yourself some space during that time. It is kind of like the marketing of tampons that, you know, on commercials and stuff or like, yeah, you can still do all these intense exercises, and it's this magic tampon and when really you still feel that crap and you need to give yourself a little bit of grace.


Yeah, exactly. I mean, you can't lie to yourself, you know, it will catch up with you. But anyways, I guess we can talk a little bit about the second phase, which is one of the better phases.


Right. Please tell me the good news because that one's kind of rough.


Well, this follows directly after menstruation, and it's when the pituitary gland releases FSH, which is a follicular stimulation of ovaries, so it stimulates your ovaries. Which is basically just releasing eggs or growing eggs. How does that work, Mom?


Yeah. It's actually kind of just getting ready for ovulation, so it's like that preparation time.


Well, this is definitely my favorite phase because I get the boost of energy. My mood is so much better. Testosterone is definitely higher. Right?


Yeah.


So you can, I guess you feel stronger and more ready to get up and go.


And that's really cool because testosterone for men is actually produced every 20 to 30 minutes daily they get a surge of testosterone. Wouldn't that be nice sometimes? As long as you didn't get facial hair or something.


But that for women, we really get like this little bit of window of time where it's like we get a lot of testosterone for women. We get a lot, but it actually has to last us. And so that's why it starts to kind of phase out as these other hormones pick up. And so, You've really gotta capitalize on that because if you're gonna have any kind of libido, this is your window, you know?


Yeah. This is fun time.


This is your best time. And as far as energy goes, that's one reason because of the testosterone boost that we get. And there are ways with nutrition to boost that level so that what you are getting during that, Phase can actually be more, and one of those would be that hit training time where you would do weights and resistance and kind of really maximize the testosterone production so that you have enough to last you and reserve throughout the month.


Right. Like hitting a PR or going for some personal best when you're weightlifting. Definitely the time or cleaning out your closet. 'cause that's what I do.


Yeah.


During this week, every month.


So it's almost kind of like a nesting behavior, you know?


But yeah, it's really great. And I had no idea that it was an actual phase. I just thought I was an actual normal person for like one day of the month.


Right. And I've noticed my appetite during that time. Like I tend to feel like if I'm gonna do like an intermittent fasting window, it's not hard during this week.


Right.


Estrogen is very forgiving and that's what's building during that week. And it's like you really feel more like a superwoman instead of like, whatever it is coming down the road in a few weeks, you know?


Yeah. I feel leaner, less bloated and like, it's not that I'm starving myself, but like I can wait till like, Nine, 10 o'clock to eat something and it just feels good. Like I'm still like full of energy. I can't explain it, but I get really excited about that phase.


And I don't think it requires as much. So estrogen tends to be that hormone that it doesn't need you to bring in so many carbs and everything because it's really able to do its job without that now.


That is until menopause or pre-menopause. And that's a whole nother discussion, but, but it is the great time to kind of maximize on that and maybe push yourself, like you said, harder during that time.


Right, right. And just hydrate up your protein and really just put what you can into your workouts or whatever you get into.


But yeah, I guess I should move on to the third phase, which is also not that bad. This is actually pretty great too. Ovulatory phase. So this is a culmination of all the hard work your body has done in the past two phases. So your estrogen and your testosterone rise to peak levels, which is really good, right, Mom?


Yeah. Amen.


So your confidence is actually at its at its highest, which I definitely can agree to that.


Yeah. And like for job interviews and things, this is a great time. Yeah. It's not that you can always plan that, but you just feel better about yourself and that's what estrogen is, that amazing hormone that's like you do feel like you look good and you feel good and it's the best it's gonna get, you know?


So you might as well use that window of time to really maybe do some things that you enjoy and it's a good time to go shopping. Because you feel like you don't look bad in anything that you put on. Like it's a better time.


Yeah.


I don't know that I feel that exactly. I mean I would, it's supposed to happen, but I really don't like to try on clothes.


The mirrors are liars.


Yeah, I think they do something to those. I'm like, you would think they would invest a lot of money in like a mirror to make you look really awesome, but instead, you just look like a Mr. Potato head in there, you know? But this would be the week that you wouldn't have that issue because you'd be like...


Yeah, it major confidence.


You may still look like Mr. Potato Head or Mrs. Potato Head, but you feel good about it. And that's where estrogen is like, yes, it's the champion in the story.


Yeah. So job interviews, ask that guy out at the church potluck. Do something crazy. Go skydiving. But yeah, so also, Great week to up your physical activity, hit some kind of personal best at the gym, or maybe some mileage during the week.


I don't know, try a different workout class, do something crazy like maybe SoulCycle or Spin or swimming or...


I've always thought about the Trapeze yoga.


I know that's on my bucket list. those stretchy women, I wanna do it.


I feel like I might look like a tennis ball and a tube, so, but I...


*laughter*


Oh goodness. So anyway, now we're on the fourth phase, which is the luteal phase, right?


Yes. The one that everyone hates.


Yeah.


Well, the first half can feel similar to phase three, the ovulatory phase, but the last half is when your body starts producing more progesterone and it can feel difficult for some women, more cravings, soreness, cramps.


It's definitely that time to wind down and just chill out, read a book, just listen to your body.


And progesterone does require a lot of carb intake and you can, I mean, you do crave the chocolate and stuff, but you can do like nature's carbs where you're using that really as a more of a carb loading week, not in sitting there and eating a, you know, a bag of m and ms.


Yeah. But I mean, we all do it.


Yeah. The chocolate actually has a purpose, and I always make myself feel better with this, that, you have a lot of need for magnesium during this cycle because it's a co-factor for progesterone development. And so there's a lot of magnesium sourced from chocolate and dark chocolate of course, is the healthier choice to have, but you truly connect to those cravings in the brain because there are minerals in that, that your body's like, okay, we've had chocolate before, and that meets that magnesium need.


So even allowing yourself a little bit of chocolate and saying, Hey, instead of pushing through and just being like, I don't need to eat that. It's actually probably better to just have an ounce or so. Just have a normal serving. Get it out of your system and allow yourself that during that time, because it's very taxing on the body to produce progesterone requires a lot of carbon intake, and I think it's important that if we give that, then we're able to have the enough progesterone to carry us through, which actually helps with that serotonin production helps us to feel better.


Oh, that's such a good, helpful tip because I think we feel guilty during that week when we try to like satisfy our cravings and, and then often we'll wait until the end of the week and then we'll just start binging on whatever we can see and that's not healthy. That makes you feel guilty. A lot of shame. And also you don't feel the greatest as far as your gut goes. But yeah, I think just listening to your cravings as soon as they happen, the dark chocolate trick is really good. So I love to mix that with like MedU dates 'cause they're really sweet and satisfying.


There may be a little more sugar in them than you'd like, but they're healthy and nature's candy.


Yeah, I love dates like that and I like to do like a pecan trail mix where you just do some raw pecans. With some little dark chocolate chips and just a, you know, put 'em in like a little container so that I don't eat the whole thing. That helps me too just to kind of be like, this is mine and I'm okay with this much. I don't need the whole bag.


Right.


And try not to go back for the second one, but yeah.


And if you do, it's fine, but at least you're going back for nuts and dark chocolate, you know? It's not chips and hardcore junk food.


So. And the healthy fats are really important during that time too, to build that progesterone level. So it, it's nuts. And even some chocolate are, I think a good thing may not be prescriptive really, but it does help you get through that week.


Oh yeah. And I always like to have like hot water bottle. Or, some heat pads like on hand for that last phase.


And then also just like some really good, like reading material or maybe some good Netflix shows or, you know, focusing on buying really like high nutrient foods to cook myself some good meals, like for dinner every night, like some good leafy greens and lean meats and some good well sourced eggs, maybe some organic eggs.


And then just, you know, Just cooks things that are satisfying, so you're not constantly craving, you know, any snacks.


Yeah, and I think that's important, like the folate, the B9 that's in the leafy greens, and even in the in the eggs, it's a time when you really need to concentrate on protein-rich foods as well, just to get your B vitamin level up so that you have what you need for what's about to happen again in that wonderful menstruation cycle.


And there's some pretty good apps now. I think there's like flow and a couple other ones that you can actually track your cycle really easily. And I think they even kind of give you some of these clues.


Right.


So it's a lot easier I think now than it used to be where you're just like writing it down on a calendar that's hanging up on the wall or something, you know?


But this one is like, and it's more private and you're like, you have that cycle to follow. And I think it's good to just, if you don't do that, Maybe it's something good to start doing, and if you're a postmenopausal woman, you may feel like this podcast doesn't really apply to you, but it actually does because even though you don't have the menstruation weak and you're actually not having that cycle, you still have a cyclic rhythm.


And so your body is still producing estrogen and progesterone and testosterone, and it uses the adrenal glands to do that. So this can still apply to someone who's not. Technically cycling because I have a lot of clients that are postmenopausal and they still crave chocolate one week out of the month, and they still feel like they feel better at other weeks.


And I think that you've been doing something in your body for your whole life. And just because one week of that is altered, it doesn't mean the process stopped and so I encourage people to still follow a cycle of sorts. And because you do still have a lot of that happening in another way, You know, not through those exact glands, but you are having it through the adrenal, so to give yourself that time as well.


Oh yeah.


Well, I've had a blast on this conversation. I'm sorry about the analogy there with the tube sock, but it just seemed to fit.


It was perfect.


So well you guys, we'll try to dip into this a little bit more on another podcast and maybe even talk about intermittent fasting and how you can do alternate day fasting with your cycle to help with things like PCOS or hormone imbalances.


So we hope you guys will tune in next time. Thanks so much for listening.

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