Cycle Syncing: Going with the Flow

Updated: Oct 16, 2019



Cycle syncing is a method where we can sync our lifestyle (diet, exercise, moods, etc) with our menstrual cycles to create a more energetic, productive life.


The logic behind this is just as our hormones are different through the four phases of our cycle, our emotions, energy levels, and nutrition needs are varied as well. A lot of times as women we feel like we have to be “on” 24/7. We think we should always be in a cheerful mood, have high energy, feel slim, no anxiety, and the list continues. This is a one-sided way of thinking.


The moon, the seasons, and women go through a four-phase cycle. Our energy levels, food cravings, and willingness to be open and social are all varied throughout the four phases of our cycle. This can even affect our approach to fitness. We do not need to push our bodies exercise-wise every day of our lives. There is a time and a place for strenuous as well as light activity. Being an extremist in the areas of food, exercise, or fasting limits our ability to listen to our bodies wisdom. We were meant for the change and that change brings balance.


Life is a flowing, ever-changing cycle and our bodies are no different.

We rarely view our cycles in a positive light. We are often times at war with our bodies, or just simply frustrated, because we were never really taught how to care for ourselves holistically. Cycle syncing is one of the most powerful ways for us to reconnect to our body + mind and to start living a more energetic, balanced life.


Our bodies are not our enemy.


Mending our relationships with our bodies is one of the most powerful things we can do. When we become in tune with our bodies, and learn to listen to their Creator-instilled wisdom, there is a very real shift in our lives. Instead of feeling in the dark about what our bodies are experiencing, or being dragged along for the ride, we are able to embrace our bodies and be in awe of them. When we understand that these shifts, moods, and needs are purposeful, we begin to see things in a different light. Just as in any relationship, communication is key between us and our bodies.


The more we cycle sync, the more we will begin to deeply understand our bodies and sense what we will need through each cycle. This will keep life moving smoothly and keep us mindful and energetic. The MyFlo app is perfect for tracking your cycle and making notes along the way. It gives helpful nutrition, exercise, and planning tips as well!


Who Benefits from Cycle Syncing?

In short, every woman! However, there are some groups that may benefit the most and they include women

Who have low energy

With PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)

Who feel out of control or “crazy”

Who would like a better relationship with their bodies

Who want to learn how to listen to their bodies

Who want to conceive

Who are trying to balance their hormones


What Are the Four Phases of Our Cycle?

Menstrual Phase (From Day 1-5) (Day 1 of bleeding is Day 1 of your cycle)

Follicular Phase (From Day 1-13)

Ovulation Phase (Day 14) (Can be 3-5 days long)

Luteal Phase (From Day 15-28)

Every body is different. A “normal” cycle can be anywhere between 24-32 days long, so these phase lengths may vary.


Menstrual Phase (Inner Winter)

This phase is marked by the arrival of our periods. Progesterone drops, while estrogen peaks and then drops once again, stimulating the start of the next cycle. At this time, women experience bleeding, but also possibly backache, fatigue, and cravings. Estrogen and progesterone both surge and then wane during this period.


Activities

The right and left hemispheres of our brains are communicating most strongly during the menstrual phase, helping us to clearly assess and make decisions, tune into gut messages, and problem solve. “We have higher levels of delta brainwave activity during menstruation, which increases our desire for rest providing rejuvenation, and can lead to increased creativity and flow states.” (Kara Maria Ananda) Take time to slow down and reflect inward, as our bodies will naturally ask us to do this. Our intuition is higher at this point in our cycle as well. Take time to reflect and regroup. Now is also the time to let go of whatever is not serving you and your purpose. Be mindful of who you surround yourself with and give your energy. What changes do you need to make in your life to pave the way for breakthrough. Set goals and intentions. Winter is a time to give and nurture ourselves. Self-love and care is especially important at this time. Journaling is a great idea during this time as our brains will be primed for thinking most clearly. Warm baths, creating, reading in bed, writing, being in nature, and also enjoying time at home are some of my favorite things to do during this phase.


Nutrition

During menstruation, hydrate!

Our bodies are depleted of iron and zinc during this time, so seafood, dark berries, grass fed beef, beets, and pumpkin seeds are a good choice. Nourishing, grounding foods such as bone broth, soups, almonds, sweet potatoes, potatoes and chamomile tea are helpful. Eat foods that will produce serotonin such as leafy greens, quinoa, and buckwheat. Vitamin C and magnesium are very important at this time as well. I like to take both in supplement form throughout my full cycle if I know I am not getting the required amount.

Foods to avoid or limit: fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and overly salty foods.


Exercise

Now is the time to scale back on exercise and focus more inward. Light exercise is best at this time. Opt for meditative walks, restorative stretching, or peaceful bike rides. Have no guilt in this type of exercise, as repairing and resetting our bodies will give us that much more energy during the later phases of our cycle.


Key Words

Wisdom, letting go, renewal, peace and quiet, rest, alone time, give me space, feeling cozy and safe, sensitivity, creativity.


Follicular Phase (Inner Spring)

During this phase of the menstrual cycle, the body is preparing to release an egg. Hormones are at a low point and your body is starting to increase estrogen in particular. After our menstrual cycle is done, our physical energy is much higher and we become more social. This is a time of rebirth, renewal, and fresh starts.


Activities

At this point in the month, you will have the most access to creative energy and activities like networking, brainstorming, and teamwork come a lot easier. Plan ahead and dream big! Inner Spring is a re-emerging after a period of hibernation from the world. During this phase, dedicate focused time to projects, reading and researching, learning, and performing physical tasks. It’s the perfect time to start a new project as your brain craves structural thinking in particular. Your mind will feel sharper at this point and willing to problem solve.


Nutrition

Steer clear of dairy and soy at this point since they are both estrogenic. I would also always recommend staying away from soy as it mimics estrogen and the body recognizes it as a toxin. Light and fresh foods are perfect at this time. Think fermented veggies, kimchi, citrus fruits, lean proteins such as free range chicken or nuts, and sprouted greens/beans/seeds to incorporate foods that will metabolize estrogen. Vitamin E and magnesium are also beneficial in this phase.


Exercise

Hiking, aerobic stretching, and long walks are good. Mentally challenging activities such as dance (choreograph something even if you “aren’t a dancer”!) and kickboxing are also encouraged.


Key Words

Challenge-oriented, energized, rebirth, renewal, focused, fresh-start, productive, independent, learning, strong, concentration.


Ovulatory Phase (Inner Summer)

When we are ovulating we experience a spike in the hormones FSH and LH, estrogen begins to increase, and testosterone drops. We may feel pelvic pain or twinges, headache, bloating, and/or cravings. The ovulation period can vary between women but generally lasts between 2-5 days.


Activities

The communication centers of our brains are particularly sharp during this time. Our minds and spirits are far more expressive and we have the need to be much more social and outward focused. This is the perfect time for writing clearly or presenting important information to others.

The brain chemistry you have during this phase heightens your verbal skills. This phase is the prime opportunity for community building, collaborating, and communication are all. During ovulation, beta brainwave activity is high which creates enhanced learning and alertness. Now would be a good time to schedule a public speaking event as ovulation leaves you with a magnetic glow. Also, spend time nurturing your relationships as communication levels are much higher.


Nutrition

Go light on carbs (they increase bloating) and heavy on leafy green vegetables and fiber, which help combat the surge of estrogen. With your estrogen at an all-time high, you should eat foods that support your liver. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods like whole fruits, vegetables, and almonds. A glutathione supplement helps to flush out excess estrogen. Magnesium is still in need at this time as well as B vitamins.


Exercise

Exercise during this time can be high-impact and social, taking full advantage of this maximum level of energy. Try spin classes, high-intensity interval training, or sprinting.Your body can take on strenuous exercise like running and weight lifting. You’ll also be yearning to socialize and meet new people, which means group classes for spinning or dancing will be fun and enjoyable.


Key Words

Outward and expressive, playful, creative, community-focused, relationship building, nurturing, creating, building, holding space for others.


Luteal Phase (Inner Fall)

Women may notice that during these two weeks, energy gradually declines and PMS symptoms may appear. Bloating, irritability, headaches, mood swings or cravings often increase just before menstruation.


Activities

Time to start slowing down and becoming introspective. We may still feel social and upbeat the first half of the luteal phase, but towards the second half, agitation and discomfort with excessive demands might appear. We begin to crave more spaciousness and time alone. Wanting to stay in and clean or organize sounds more enjoyable than going out. This is a wonderful act of self-love when we choose to acknowledge the inward phases of our cycle. We can save our energy to create in our time of quiet. Planning for your career or business, painting, writing poetry or task-oriented goals are a good idea at this time. It’s easier to focus and pay attention to details in this phase and we can absolutely use this to our advantage. We’re able to think outside the box and channel this strategic thinking into productivity.

Nutrition

Eating foods that are rich in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and fiber (via dark, leafy greens) will help to keep fluid retention and irritability under control as they help the body flush some of the build-up of estrogen through the processes of digestion and elimination. Since the luteal phase is before your period, you’ll want to really focus on eating healthy. Avoid any foods that may trigger discomfort or cramps like: caffeine, alcohol, pop, artificial sweeteners, red meat, dairy, & extra salt. Keep it simple and lighter in this phase. Think foods like salads, almonds, and salmon.


Exercise

While the first half of this phase is still relatively high in energy and our style of exercise can reflect that, as we near menstruation, choosing less vigorous activities such as yoga, light jogging, swimming or hiking will help our body to slow down. When you’re heading towards your menstrual phase you might feel like scaling back on intense exercise. Light or moderate exercise is best. Your energy might wax and wane, so adjust your exercise level accordingly. Our wombs actually double in weight and size right before your period so that in and of itself will cause discomfort if you are planning to do a strenuous run. Opt for something more in tune like restorative stretching or a long, chill walk for right before your period.


Key Words

Lower energy, hormones dipping, need space, moody, less focus and concentration, I want to create, less coordinated, less physically active, heightened creativity, strategic.


All women deserve to be informed about our bodies in order to lead a productive + creative + energetic life. Cycle syncing has been such a great tool for me to really track where I am physically & mentally & I hope it’ll be beneficial to you ladies as well! Check out the MyFlo app for tracking your cycle- super user friendly & so many great tips!


Peace,

Lo

lauren@laurencrawfordwellness.com


2019 Lauren Crawford Wellness