Most women who come to me for consultations are feeling overwhelmed, overweight, have low energy, some form of depression or even serious life-threatening illnesses. As women we are never taught the key to mastering (rather than feeling at the mercy of) our incredible bodies. I don’t want you to go through what I went through – struggling with adult acne, PCOS, mood swings, cripplingly painful periods and then finally having to have two operations to remove a fast-growing breast tumour.
I thought all of my physical “issues” were unrelated, but, I found out (after being prescribed a multitude of pills) that I only ever had ONE problem – my hormones were imbalanced – and not one doctor ever told me that! Every woman should know and be taught what I’m going to teach you. I’m going to give you the 4-point instruction manual of how your INCREDIBLE female body works – I think it will blow your mind, because it has utterly changed my life!
Most women know that they have a 28-day cycle. But that’s where most women’s knowledge ends. They think they only have two phases – having their period (which is horrible, draining, painful and just all together crappy) and not (when they possibly feel slightly less crappy).
BUT lovely ladies, you have FOUR distinct phases to your cycle – with varying hormone levels that if understood and supported means you can feel energised, balanced and truly alive all month long (yes, including when you have your period!) Did you know that each month (if your hormones are balanced) you have a phase that you should not exercise in (yippee!); a phase that you will feel naturally horny in; a phase where your communication skills are at their best AND a phase where you need to take naps? No? Well it’s time to learn about the secrets to being a Woman with (some serious) Sparkle!
The science bit: Your Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels are increasing to help your eggs mature.
What does this actually mean? It means that you have high levels of hormones that are designed to trigger the process of a potential new life. In this phase your brain and body are programmed to desire starting, and trying, new things.
So what should I do? If you haven’t done anything new in a while – do it in this phase! If you don’t, you’ll feel very frustrated and annoyed (wonder why one week you’re fine sitting on the sofa every night and then the next you’re so annoyed at how boring your life and relationship is??? Chances are you’re in the follicular phase!) Get creative! Brainstorm. Plan new projects. Try a hobby or new recipe. It’s what your body and mind want.
Exercise: Something new and fun and not routine and boring. Belly-dancing, Zumba, a brisk walk in a new area will all make you feel good.
Sexy time: Do something new together to keep the attraction alive and growing. Your hormones mean that you’ll need more attention/touch to be in the mood for sex. Anything that is “business as usual” will be a big turn off for you.
Food: Light foods that make you feel energised will support your hormones in this phase – salads, lots of vegetables. Nothing too heavy or that makes you feel sluggish.
The science bit: Levels of FSH and Luteinizing hormone (LH) rise which stimulate the follicle to release an egg. Oestrogen and Testosterone surge.
What does this actually mean? It means your hormones will be giving you the energy and ability to go, go, go without getting super tired or burnt out!
So what should I do? Enjoy being a social butterfly! If possible, schedule work presentations or important relationship chats as you have a magnetism and energy that is very attractive (your hormones literally draw people to you in this phase, (hence, it’s when you’re at your most fertile!)
Exercise: Yes! Your body really needs exercise in this phase to keep your hormones balanced. Burn your energy off with any type of cardio or HIIT as it will not impact your body negatively in this phase.
Sexy time: Hell yes! If your hormones are working as they should, then this is the phase that you will naturally want, initiate and crave sex a lot.
Food: Add lots of raw fruits and veggies to support your ovaries and hormones.
The science bit: Oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone peak and then begin to fall in this phase. If you have too much oestrogen in relation to progesterone, then this is the phase that you will get mild or severe PMS symptoms (everything from feeling depressed and overwhelmed, painful breasts and bloating etc).
What does this actually mean? In the first half of this phase you’ll still have the energy, horniness and magnetism of the ovulatory phase but, as your hormone levels decline your energy will drop too.
So what should I do? As you get into the second half of this phase you need to say “no” to unnecessary meet-ups and social activities. If you don’t you’ll start to feel incredibly tired, PMS symptoms will be raging and you’ll feel overwhelmed. Your brain is wired to do more organising and complete tasks in this phase. Getting things done will feel easier and very rewarding.
Exercise: Gradually scale back exercise from high energy (which is fine at the start of this phase) to gentler forms eg pilates, walking, yoga etc, (in the second half of this phase).
Sexy time: You’ll go from still wanting sex in the first half of this phase to wanting to slow things down, add more romance in and talk about your feelings. You must say what is on your mind and don’t push things down as good communication is all part of having a good sex life, it’s not all about the physical.
Food: Add in lots of leafy greens and root vegetables to your food this week to support your hormones.
The science bit: Your hormone levels are at the lowest concentrations. Your body is going through the intense process of menstruation (shedding your uterus lining). The left and right sides of your brain (the practical and the feeling sides) have the greatest ability to connect in this phase (ie. you’ll be more intuitive).
What does this actually mean? It means that physically you’ll have very little reserves so trying to “go, go, go” in this phase will have a negative impact on your mind and body. Your brain chemistry means you are best positioned to know and feel if something isn’t working for you in your life. What do you feel good about? What needs to change?
So what should I do? Rest, rest, rest! Retreat, reflect and take stock of how you’re doing. And lavish yourself with self-care – get your hair done, schedule in baths, keep saying “no” to people who want you to do stuff for and with them.
Exercise: At the start of your period – nope! This needs to be a time of calm, low activity and where possible you must nap so your body can restore its energy. Towards the end of your period you can go for light walks and do yoga but nothing more strenuous or you will be putting unnecessary stress on your body.
Sexy time: You will be very inwardly focused this week and if you give yourself time and space, you will know if you want sex or not. Just go with what your body is asking you to do. You are likely to need and want some time alone in this phase so if you have a partner, tell them to enjoy a night out – as having time apart is as healthy and needed as being intimate regularly.
Food: Soups and stews are wonderful in this phase so include lots of nourishing vegetables, fibre and nutrients. This is a physically intense time for your body and you lose iron and zinc – seaweed (kelp or nori) can help add this back in to your body (you can sprinkle this in your soups and stews).
So, in a nutshell, that’s how you’re designed to function as a woman! Incredible isn’t it?! You have two “outward” more energetic phases and two more peaceful, “inward” focused phases – giving you time to create, party, “go for it” and then time to rest, reflect and analyse your life. You have been designed to be in perfect balance and health and “go with the flow!”
But here’s the thing, men have a hormonal cycle too – theirs is a 24-hour cycle. It means they are hard wired to feel and do the same things at the same time every day and this is the cycle that the world is set up to work on! It’s why so many women feel disconnected with their bodies, overwhelmed, ill and are struggling. We do not have the hormones to support doing the same thing every day. We can achieve all we need to over 28 days, but most of us try and get everything done in a day or a week, like men. We are more powerful than we ever realised but we have to work with and not against our bodies if we want to have lives full of purpose, energy and health.
Don’t be at the mercy of your hormones, take control of your cycle, your health and your happiness and you’ll really feel like a superwoman – because you are!
Top tip: Get the MyFlo App– it will let you know what phase you’re in and how you can best support your body.