Today marks a HUGE success for me.
Women’s health is an issue I am SO passionate about because too many women needlessly suffer every month, just like how I have for the last 14 years. Let’s chat period health for a minute. It’s not talked about nearly enough.
Since my first period at 15, I have had irregular and abnormally painful periods. For the first few years, I only menstruated about 4 times a year, and in my early 20’s I once had 8 solid months of light flow/spotting! I’ve missed school, work, social/family events, and even lost whole weeks at a time because of the associated pain, fatigue, and PMS. The pain can get so intense that I vomit and break out in sweats, unable to move, breathe, eat, drink, function. This not normal, but it’s been my normal for 14 years.
I don’t even want to know how many Costco bottles of Ibuprofen I’ve choked down to no avail. Herbal teas like raspberry leaf and supplements like ginger have little to no effect. A heating pad is my go-to, but it still barely soothes the pain. Nothing has worked. Every doctor I’ve ever told has the same solution: go on hormonal birth control. Absolutely not. (Check out this excellent book for some solid info on how and why I choose to use natural birth control)
The last few months I have been on a personal health mission to naturally balance my hormones and regulate my menstrual cycle using dietary intervention alone. After reading Alisa Vitti’s book WomanCode, which stresses the relationship between diet/lifestyle and hormone health, I decided to implement some dietary changes and just see what happens (I first wrote about this decision here).
And today, for the 2nd cycle in a row, my menstrual pain is almost totally gone!
How did I do this?
First, 2 months ago I completely eliminated all soy from my diet (FYI I do not eat meat, but cutting out soy includes factory chicken, which is raised on soy!). A few weeks later, I went sober and completely eliminated all alcohol (today is day 47). That’s it. These two simple changes have been total game-changers for me.
And now my cramps are a 1 or 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. Eventually I’ll bring them down to a 0, but I’d say a 1 is pretty damn good after 2 simple lifestyle changes!
Now, the work is not completely done. There is so much more to balancing hormones than cutting out soy and booze.
I still experience fatigue, PMS, and my cycles are still abnormally spaced apart–about every 42-57 days–but this kind of measurable progress with my cramps gives me hope moving forward. That is why I’m more motivated than ever to take this one step further.
The WomanCode protocol is called “Cycle Syncing.” Cycle Syncing is where you eat different types of foods depending on where you are in your cycle, exercise for your menstrual cycle, and even plan your social/work calendar around your cycle.
The idea is that by feeding your body the key nutrients when it needs them most and honoring the natural ebb and flow of your hormones, you can balance your hormones, stay in alignment with your natural energy cycles, regulate your period, and “cure” your PMS symptoms (cramps, irritability, fatigue, acne, mood swings, bloat, etc).
Now that I have successfully eliminated soy and alcohol with such positive results, Cycle Syncing is my next project to tackle my remaining symptoms. I’ve been waiting for this day -Day 1 of my period- to begin this process. I now know I am definitively in my Menstrual Phase, and can plan the next month or so accordingly.
Over the next month, I will share the specific action steps I’m taking to honor each of the 4 phases, and report back whether the associated WomanCode protocols are actually working. Stay tuned for that. But in the meantime…
Do you experience PMS, cramping or irregular periods? What has worked for you? Do you cycle sync? What is your experience with it!?
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