Last month I had a week where I was really deep down in my feelings. Some people eat their feelings, others drown them sad music. I am the latter. I was really throwing the sad girl Lana Del Rey vibes out there.
Then my period showed up and I realized I wasn’t actually a sad girl, just a regular hormonal woman. I wonder if Lana writes most of her music in her luteal phase. Anyway, turns out there are ways to support all your phases through activity and nutrition. Note, cycle synching is for women who have natural menstrual cycles a.k.a. are not on hormonal birth control.
So here is the run down…
Follicular Phase is a time of rebuilding and last about 7-10 days. This is your body preparing the egg. During this time all hormones are low and are slowly increasing their concentration to support the following phase.
What to do: This is a time for planning, brainstorming, vision work and scheduling. This is a good time for low/medium intensity cardio, biking, higher rep weightlifting, circuit training or pylometrics.
What to eat: Lean meats, chicken, fish, or eggs. Chia seeds, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, banana, apple, apricot, kiwi, blueberries, sugar snap peas, kale, green beans, green peas, carrots, sprouts, artichoke, parsley, sweet potato, brown rice.
Ovulatory Phase this is when the release of the egg takes place. During this time there is a sharp rise in Estrogen followed by a rise of LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicule stimulating hormone). Testosterone also begins to surge. This phase lasts about 3-4 days.
What to do: You may feel more social and energized during this time. This is the optimal time for meetings, social gatherings, calls, collaborative work, and talking through ideas. Exercise recommendations include HIIT (high intensity interval training), cardio, heavier weightlifting (a good time to try your P.R.!)
What to eat: Beef, poultry, eggs and shellfish. Veggies; Cauliflower, broccoli, all greens, tomatoes, potato, bell pepper, egg plant, zucchini, squash, lettuce, cucumber, radish, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, grapefruit, plums, pears, peaches, berries, goji berry, maca, micro-greens, spirulina, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pistachios.
Luteal Phase the body is thickening the lining for the egg. The estrogen, progesterone and testosterone hormones reach their peak and begin to fall at this time. This phase lasts 10-14 days.
What to do: This is a good time to write, concentrate on solo work, and crossing things off your to-do list. At the beginning of this phase you may find weightlifting/strength training to feel good but as the hormone levels drop you may find restorative movements like yoga or pilates to be better suited. Always listen to your body!
What to eat: Vitamin B rich foods to help keep away sugar cravings, such as fish or liver meats. If you use a butcher, an easy way to add liver meats without having to eat it straight up, ask to have a portion of liver (about 25%) added to your ground beef. For vegetarians opt for some lentils. Leafy greens and roasted or baked root veggies such as sweet potato, turnips, or beets to boost your liver and your large intestine which in turn helps flush out excess estrogen. Fats; avocado, ghee, nut butter. Magnesium; cacao, pumpkin seeds, black beans, leafy greens
Menstrual Phase, probably the phase with which most of us are already familiar. Hormones quickly decline to their lowest concentration. Duration is anywhere from 3-7 days.
What to do: Mentally, it’s a great time to tap into your intuition, evaluate, and meditate. As far as physical activity goes, it’s 100% ok to take a nap in lieu of a workout. If you’re feeling up to it, slow flow yoga, mat pilates, breathe/deep core work are all good options. Overall honor your reduced energy, it is temporary after all.
What to eat: Drink lots of water!! Protein, fats, seafood, kelp, nori. Low glycemic index veggies and fruits that keep blood sugar levels regulated. Veggies; Spinach, chard, kale, collard greens, broccoli, mushrooms, beets bell peppers, lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, citrus fruits, strawberries, cherries, pineapple, mango, papaya.
Other: Spices/Herbs such as Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom, cumin, garlic, parsley, curry.
If you got to the end, thank you! Please note the main thing about this information is that it doesn’t list any restrictions. Avoiding food groups can lead to a myriad of problems. Adding foods to your diet will more easily lead to substituting the ‘ok’ for the ‘much better for you, nutrionally’. Stay hydrated during all of your cycles and remember be to kind to yourself.