Updated: Sep 24, 2019
Has anyone ever told you that your hormones can help you manage your life better? As the chemical messages inside your body, hormones have the power to make you feel great, or want to hide under the covers.
Your body has many different hormones and each one carries out a different function. During mealtime, for instance, your body releases appetite hormones causing you to feel hungry. As you eat, it releases additional hormones to signal when it’s time to stop.
What happens when hormones aren’t balanced?
Your body will showcase physical and emotional symptoms like fatigue, headaches, bloating, acne, weight gain, irritability, brain fog, and accelerated aging, even at a young age. These symptoms are an opportunity to learn something more about yourself. Unbalanced hormones are no longer something that holds you back, but can propel you forward.
Discovering the role hormones play in your life is your biggest personal development project - it’s some next level $h!T!
Here are four ways you can use your hormones to actually change your life:
1. KNOW YOUR CYCLE
When we think about our cycle, most of us just think of our period. Your monthly cycle actually consists of four distinct phases, lasting between 21-35 days. This helps explain why men can’t keep up with our emotions! Your cycle looks like this:
Menstrual Phase (3-7 days from the first day of your period) - You may feel lower energy and experience symptoms like cramps, bloating, headaches, and moodiness.
Follicular Phase (7-10 days) - As you move through the week, you’ll notice your energy levels become higher and you become more extroverted.
Ovulation Phase (3-5 days) - Mother nature designed our bodies to reproduce and this is where it happens! Your energy is sky high and you love being around people.
Luteal Phase (10-14 days) - The first week you’ll still feel energetic and outgoing. The second week is when most women (reported over 90%!) experience PMS. Symptoms can include brain fog, irritability, acne, headaches, mood swings, bloating, fatigue, muscle aches, and more.
Why is knowing your cycle so important?
Understanding your cycle releases the pressure to always feel energetic, push past the point of exhaustion, and think, “I’m not doing enough.” You’ll live your life more freely and feel good about your efforts.
Has your cycle felt off with emotional or physical symptoms? Or fall outside the normal 21-35 day cycle? I love using Let’s Get Checked, a personal health testing company that delivers hormone and vitamin tests to your home.
Their Female Hormone Panel tests four hormones related to your ovulation phase and could provide great insight on any improvements you need to make in your cycle. Listen to my personal experience here. Save 20% off your purchase with coupon code - BOMBSHELLS.
2. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BODY
Your body provides a few cues to help you manage your life better, like:
Fatigue - Our minds aren’t meant to live in overdrive. Nathanial Kleitman, a pioneer in sleep research, discovered the “basic rest-activity cycle”, the 90 minute periods we filter through in our sleep. He found our body goes through the same 90 minute rhythm while we’re awake. After 90 minutes of sitting at your desk, get up and take a 10-15 minute walk around the block. This promotes more blood flow and increases energy. When you come back to work, you’ll notice your mind is sharper and you’re ready to get back to it. This is especially important during the second week of your luteal phase, when you may experience PMS symptoms.
Energy Shifts - It’s common to struggle through a workout one week, despite having crushed it the week before. Aligning your lifestyle to your current phase allows you to adjust your routine and manage your expectations accordingly. At work, try to schedule presentations and networking events during follicular and ovulation phases when you feel most like social interaction. Politely decline party invites during menstrual and later luteal phases when introversion takes over and all you want to do is catch up on Netflix with your cat.
Repetitive Thoughts - Have you noticed you go through times of the month where nothing bothers you, then right before or during your period you harp on every little annoyance? Because our estrogen levels peak during ovulation, we feel more carefree. As estrogen dips giving rise to progesterone (so you can have your period or get pregnant), your “go with the flow” attitude changes. You keep thinking about a problem you haven’t fully dealt with, like an unattained goal, or the fact that hubby still hasn’t figured out how to unload the dishwasher. Any time you notice repetitive thoughts like these, take out your journal and write them down. Ask yourself what is truly bothering you and what you can do to either find closure or take action.
Food Cravings - You just NEED chocolate! Or salty chips! I get it. Food cravings can come on strong. Especially during certain times of the month - like before and during your period when your body needs more calories (it takes energy to menstruate!). Food cravings don’t mean you lack willpower. They’re actually a sign your body is lacking or having a hard time absorbing certain nutrients. It’s then disguised in a “quick fix” option that’s never the healthiest. Here are four common food cravings women struggle with along with healthy options containing the nutrients your body actually needs.
3. EAT ENERGIZING FOODS
I’m all about those superfoods! Obsessed is a good word 😊 Filling your plate with energizing foods will put you in a better mood and give you more mental focus. Here are three of my go-tos:
Beets - As menstruating women, we need our blood to keep circulating. Cramps and irritability can come from blood becoming too stagnant in the uterus. Beets are great at providing more blood flow as well as cleansing the liver, your detox organ. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the taste. Hide them in smoothies, make a beet hummus, or sauté them for dinner.
MCT Oil - Mainly extracted from coconuts, MCT oil is a healthy fat with one really energizing characteristic: it bypasses the digestion process, which means it’s used immediately as energy! It’s perfect for blending into smoothies, adding to coffee, and making into homemade salad dressings.
Vitamin C - In addition to boosting your immune system, vitamin C can reduce stress hormones, increase energy levels, and elevate collagen production (the stuff that makes your skin, hair, and nails look amazing). Foods with the highest sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, mango, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and bell peppers.
Try this beet smoothie for an easy way to get all three energizing foods:
4. BOOST YOUR POSITIVITY WITH A WORKOUT
There are two workouts I love using to increase my mood and energy levels:
Walking - heading out for a daily stroll is a great way to lower your stress hormones. Walking is low intensity cardio that releases endorphins (a feel good hormone) and boosts your mood too! I use my daily walk as a time to reflect about upcoming projects or wins for the day.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - doing short bursts of intense exercise (20-30 minutes, 2-3x per week) is a convenient way to get your cardio in. But it also has a few other body benefits you’ll love. It increases your energy by getting more blood flowing, while releasing endorphins, which you need for a happy mood. It also increases your Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which otherwise starts to decline in women in our 20s. Raising HGH with interval training staves off wrinkles, reduces cellulite, and keeps your hair looking gorgeous.
Your hormones are your secret weapon to achieving your goals.
Dive deeper into the best times of the month for reflection, strategy, socializing, and tackling your to-do list in our free Hormones 101 Masterclass. Also included is our top food, fitness, and lifestyle tricks for each of your cycle phases!
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