Project Cycle Syncing Update - Great News!
What if someone told you you could naturally minimize both pms and heavy periods only by changing a few things in your diet and lifestyle. Would you believe them?
I wasn't 100% convinced myself, but curious (and desperate!) as I was, I was ready to give it a try!
If you read my first post here back in May, you are familiar with my cycle syncing project. I have struggled with pms and heavy, painful periods the past few years - which as it turned out was related to fibroids. Estrogen dominance is the biggest culprit when it comes to fibroids and pms, so naturally eliminating the extra amount is key to healing. You can read more about it in the article "The worst foods for fibroids".
As I researched the possibilities to heal with the help of food and supplements, I came across Alisa Vitti's book Woman Code and her app MyFLO and have learned some amazing stuff along the way. I now know that there are a lot of things a woman can do to become hormonally balanced, and it's about all areas of our lives - work, lifestyle, exercise and so on.
My aim with this project is simply to get in balance with my hormones and to become more in sync with my body, in order to experience less pms symptoms and easier periods.
I bet you are curious to find out what I have done so far and how it went?
What I have done so far:
- May 2017 - started cycle syncing with MyFLO. Cycle syncing is a practice that involves incorporating specific micronutrient-rich foods and exercise at various points of the menstrual cycle to support the body's natural production of hormones.
- Less coffee (1 small cup/day with breakfast, some days no coffee at all) Instead: herbal tea, Chikko "Not Coffee" or adaptogenic lattes.
- Minimized my intake of dairy products. Not that I used to consume much dairy, but I realized I had to skip my daily portion of yogurt and have replaced it with homemade cashew yogurt. I'm not ready to completely cut out cheese yet though (LOVE that stuff) but we'll see how it goes...
- Threw out all of my toxic/non-natural beauty products and replaced them with natural/non-toxic products. Read more about it here.
- Less wine - eeeh... I wish I could say so, but this is definitely one of my soft spots. I don't drink much (2-3 glasses per week, mostly red wine) but WomanCode Protocol recommends not drinking alcohol at all. This is to maintain good liver function (to effectively flush out excess estrogen). However, wine IS the better choice if drinking at all (do avoid beer and hard liquor) and I will try to limit my drinking to 1-2 glasses/week.
- Added more magnesium. I have taken magnesium supplements for a long time, as it's a very important mineral, especially for women who exercise a lot. But I have now upped my levels by adding it in more ways. I will write a specific blog post on this soon.
- Exercise: I've always listened to my body and mood of the day to determine what type of exercise suits me best, but with MyFLO I learned more about it and why it's best for your body to practice weight training in the luteal phase, yoga in your menstrual phase and so on...
- I've learned little tricks like adding more vitamin E for tender breasts, taking flaxseeds for cramps and cinnamon for heavy bleeding (I drink it as a tea 3 times/day during the first days of my period - 2 tsp organic cinnamon stirred in 3/4 cup hot water).
My experiences so far - less PMS and easier periods:
- Less or no pms at all! I used to have tender breasts up to one week prior to my period, but haven't experienced this symptom at all the past few months. I also used to have mild cramps 5-6 days prior to my period telling me it was on its way (pew!) but haven't experienced this symptom at all lately either. I also believe my mood is more stable and I haven't fallen out on my kids (like I used to) the days before my period.
- I still have heavy cramps the first 2 days of my period, but it's definitely better and I take less pain killers now.
- Less bleeding - definitely! I used to consume up to 12 tranexamic tablets (!) of this brand per day the first 3 days of my period, but now I hardly need these tablets at all.
- Shorter periods! For as long as I can remember I've had 7-8 days periods, and surprisingly the past few cycles I've had a period of only 5 days.
To summarize, I think the results so far are amazing! To me the food changes haven't been overwhelming at all, since my diet before cycle syncing already included a lot of the foods recommended. However, I do more food prep now (to be sure I have what I need to help me eat healthily every day) and I do bear in mind what to shop a few days ahead in order to have the "right" ingredients at hand at all times. I try not to be neurotic about this, and I still eat sugar/candy once or twice a week if I feel like it, wine (see comment above) and sometimes bread/pasta/pizza, but I do add heaps of the recommended vegetables and other produce to each meal every day to support the phase I'm in at the moment.
Cutting down on coffee wasn't a big thing either, since I already felt less desire to drink coffee after a few weeks with our puppy Leia (we got her in March). She made us so exhausted, and when I'm that exhausted I have very little desire to drink coffee. So when I started cycle syncing in May I had already naturally cut down considerably on the coffee drinking. And I think cutting down on the caffeine is the main key to my positive experience with this project!
I've noticed that cycle syncing does get easier every month, and after a few months you naturally know what to eat, and when, without putting to much thought into it. And when it comes to exercise - If I feel like a heavy weight session at the gym during my period I still do it, but I don't push myself to do things I don't feel is good for me at the moment. And I don't get disappointed with my body if, at some point, it won't perform as I expected.
I will definitely keep on cycle syncing, and WomanCode is my "bible" whenever I need guidance on a specific matter. Alisa also prescribes a 4 day liver cleanse (recipes and more in her book) to "reset" your body before starting cycle syncing. I haven't gotten to this yet, but will do it as soon as I find a good week to do it.
How about you? Have you started using the app, read the book or perhaps even started experimenting yourself? Do you have any questions for me that I didn't lift in this blog post?
I'd love to hear from you in the comments!