FEWE Crew: How to hack your hormones with Nicki Williams
30th September 2021
How to hack your cycle: How to sync your life to the ebb and flow of your cycle
Now that you understand your monthly cycle and some of the hormonal changes happening in each phase, you can start to harness your natural cyclical rhythms and get yourself in sync with your body.
Cycle syncing or ‘hacking’ is looking at what your body needs in each of the phases, and planning your diet, lifestyle and activities around the different phases so that you start to work with your body not against it.
Hormonal fluctuations can affect your energy, mood, sleep, brain function, weight, sex drive, pain levels, digestion and overall wellbeing, so making sure you’re in tune with the different phases can make a big difference to your life.
This type of hormonal leverage can really make a difference to how you look, feel, think and perform.
1/ FLOW- In your Menstruation phase, your hormones are low and you may be feeling tired, withdrawn and emotional. This is the time for some radical self care!
Diet; focus on warming soups, stews, dark leafy greens, root vegetables and healthy comfort foods. Foods rich in iron will help to replace any iron lost during your period (eg meat, dairy, bone broth, beans, legumes).
Exercise; your energy may be low so don’t overdo things in this phase, focus on gentle walks, yoga and stretching.
Activities; slow down, schedule in some self care like a massage, or facial. Sleep as much as you can (try a nap when you’re tired), and spend some time reflecting or planning – try writing in a journal or doing some meditation. Try not to plan any demanding work activities.
Products; use Thirst Trap to give your skin a moisture boost, Take a Deep Breath for relaxation and mood and Don’t Cramp My Style if you’re having any period pain.
2/ SOAR – in your Follicular phase, your oestrogen is rising so your energy and mood should start to improve.
Diet; focus on protein and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale) for good detoxification, and seeds like flaxseed and pumpkin to support oestrogen balance. B vitamins and Vitamin E help to support a healthy ovulation.
Exercise; your energy is good so this is a great time to up the intensity and try some HIIT or heavier weights. Try something new!
Activities; you may feel more sociable in this phase, so book in time with your friends and family. Plan in your most difficult work tasks (the ones you’ve been putting off!), problem solving and productivity are going to be higher in this phase.
3/ TRANSFORM – in your Ovulation phase, your oestrogen is peaking as you ovulate. This is a very short phase but you should feel on top of the world!
Diet; focus on foods rich in B vitamins (meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, grains) and Vitamin E help to support a healthy ovulation.
Exercise; your energy is still great so keep going with the more intense exercise and maybe a group class for extra social connection and show off your glow!
Activities; you’re in the mood for love! If you’ve got a partner, schedule a date night. If not, go on a new date or meet up with friends for a fun night out.
4/ RESET – in your Luteal phase, your progesterone starts to rise as oestrogen drops, you may get some PMS symptoms as you head towards the end of your cycle.
Diet; Load up on healthy fats and protein to stave off cravings, eat plenty of fibre and hydrate well. Here you might want to get your sunflower and sesame seeds in to support progesterone balance. Also focus on foods rich in magnesium like green leafy veg, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate to help with any excess stress or pain. Supplements can help too.
Exercise; Your energy may dip so take it easier on the exercise, and be kind to yourself. Long baths with magnesium rich Epsom Salts are great in this phase.
Activities; Start to wind down the social and heavy work stuff, make sure you get enough good quality sleep and relaxation. Deep breathing exercises can help to relieve tension and stress (try this; inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8 – repeat 5 times).
This is obviously a general guide and everyone is unique so the most important thing to do is listen to your body and tune in to what you need at any point in your cycle.
And respect that your body has a powerful inbuilt natural cyclical rhythm - fight it at your peril!