Hack your health, lady! Cycle Syncing
Cycle Syncing is a method for boosting female health by understanding the unique physiological and psychological set-up of the phases during the cycle and aligning our diet and lifestyle to our natural rhythm. It can help us achieve better hormonal health, higher energy levels, improved mood and digestion.
According to a study published in the journal Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, women have a unique hormone fluctuation which plays an important role in how the body reacts. Our hormones affect our moods, emotions, appetite, physical power and brain function. The term „Cycle Syncing“ comes from Alisa Vitti, functional nutritionist, HHCP, AADP. She is the founder of FloLiving Hormone Center and author of the book, WomanCode.
Many women struggle with irregular or painful periods, heavy PMS, bloating and acne before their period paired with mood swings. This is all natural, since our hormones fluctuate during a month and we can reduce the severity of our symptoms by paying attention to each phase and changing our diet and lifestyle according to each phase. Women follow the concept of Cycle Syncing when they have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), struggle from lack of energy, fatigue, overweight, skin conditions, want to conceive, get their libido back or simply just have an overall improved health. Aligning your lifestyle and diet with your cycle helps you stay on track and embrace your body’s needs gracefully, with joy.
The menstrual cycle has four phases:
Menstrual: starts on the day of bleeding and is usually between 1-5 days
Follicular: The week following menstruation: day 6-14
Ovulatory: The middle of our cycle, the only day we can actually conceive: day 15-17
Luteal: The ca. two weeks between ovulation and menstruation: day 18-28
We are of course all different, above are the general time spans for each phase. Those having irregular cycles or on hormonal birth control can still benefit from cycle syncing by attuning their lives to the different moon phases! We are all connected to nature and women have a special bond with the Moon. It is recommended to track your cycle in a calendar or in an app. This way you can easily keep an eye on where you are, what to expect and what to do to support your body during these phases.
Top period tracker apps
Here are some of the best period tracker apps you can download for free:
Cycle Syncing our way to a better health
To improve our hormonal health we must first understand what our bodies go through and how we can support it during our cycles.
Hormone levels are at their lowest during this phase. The lining of the uterus is shed, causing bleeding. This can cause discomfort in the lower abdomen and lower back. Since our hormones are low, our mood and energy levels naturally drop and we might feel more tired, introspective, not in a mood of going out or meeting a lot of people.
The body needs rest and hydration to ease the discomfort. Warm pillows, warm soups, stews and hot tea are amazing to help your uterus stay warm and less cramping. Intense erxercise during the menstrual phase can be harmful for the body as it releases cortisone (stress hormone) so be mindful about that: it’s a time for snuggling up on the couch with a warm cup of tea and your favourite movie. If you feel like exercising, some walking or stretching are more then enough.
It is recommended to limit or avoid inflammatory or endocrine disruptor foods or drinks: fatty foods, fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and processed foods. Nourishing, warm foods rich in minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium (sea food, mushrooms, beetroots) can help replenishing the body with the minerals lost during menstruation.
Because of the low hormone levels our skin has less collagen production which might cause that wrinkles and scarring become more visible, the skin can feel and look dry and dull.
Great activities for your menstrual phase: sleeping, napping, watching a movie, journaling, reading, walking, light stretching, meditation, resting, talking with friends on the phone, cuddling with your partner, kids or pets.
Estrogen and progesterone levels start to rise giving us a natural boost of energy and strength. This is a fresh start. With the rise of the happy hormones our mood improves, and it becomes easier and more fun to socialize, to plan new things ahead, to exercise.
In the beginning of this phase the hormones are still lower so it’s a great idea to exercise gently until you feel more energized. Light cardio, long walks and yoga are amazing for this time. Trying out something new might feel exciting because the brain is more open to learn new things.
It’s normal to feel less hungry during this phase. We might want to indulge in fresh salads, sprouted and fermented foods to metabolize estrogen and improve digestion. Raw fruits and veggies with a high vitamin C content (citrus fruits, grapes, broccoli), along with kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt and miso are the ultimate best for this time.
The elasticity of our skin improves with slightly more collagen production so you might realise having suddenly „good skin days“ with smaller pores and less blemishes.
Great activities during this phase are: planning, cardio, pilates, yoga exercises, trying out something new, socializing, networking, brainstorming, hiking, dancing, meeting friends.
Testosterone and estrogen levels are peaking during this time, maximizing mood and energy. This is the only phase you can conceive – fall pregnant. This naturally explains why you might feel radiant, full of energy, sexy and strong. (Because it’s mating time!) During this phase socializing and high intensity trainings feel the most comfortable and natural.
Trainings that boost your blood circulation and make you sweat are beneficial to use up all this abundant energy and detoxify the body from excess hormones. High intensity trainings, spin class, weight lifting, hot yoga, and dance nights feel amazing. Since it’s a time for socializing, group trainings can feel amazing!
Focusing on detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and liver cleansing foods help to cleanse excess estrogen and prevent PMS. Raw fruits and a lot of vegetables, lighter whole grains are among the best foods during this phase. Fennel, chard, turmeric, celery, leeks, mung beans, mango, papaya and citrus are all helping with cleansing your liver.
Your skin might feel radiant and glowing because oft he increased estrogen and collagen levels.
Great activities during this phase are: meeting your friends, family gathering, dancing, group training, going on dates, extreme and sporty activities, big hikes, cycling, game nights, concerts, bigger events.
Progesterone is on the rise before dropping while estrogen and testosterone levels sink. This hormonal fluctuation explains our mood-swings. We tend to be more analytical because the brain hemipheres show the most active communication during this phase. This explains why we are much more likely to recognize mistakes and get disappointed. It’s a perfect time to get things done from your to-do list, hold a review about your chores, organize yourself and actively reduce stress.
Since your body prepares for another period cycle your energy levels get depleted easier. Focusing on higher intensity trainings in the beginning, then as your energy depletes more relaxing forms of exercise is beneficial. Yoga, pilates, light cardio and and walks are great during this phase.
Trying to balance mood swings with serotonin-booster foods (like leafy greens, quinoa, dark chocolate), focusing on fulfilling complex carbohydrates (like sweet potato, chickpeas, carrots, brown rice) and minimizing hormone disruptors (like alcohol, caffeine, dairy, refined sugar, too much oil or salt) all help to prevent PMS.
Because of the hormone fluctuation it’s normal to experience breakouts and larger pores, increased oil production, this is the best time to pamper yourself with purifying, deep cleansing face masks.
Great activities during this time involve journaling, cleaning up, arranging duties from your to-do list, breathwork, walks in nature, going in the sauna or spa, getting a massage, popping up a cleansing face mask, reading, studying.
Do you feel inspired to look at your health from a new perspective and live your life according to the natural changes occouring in your body-mind? I’ve prepared a spreadhseet to help you understand what foods are the healthiest during each phase.
Click here to download your spreadsheet:
Alisa Vitti: WomanCode - Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source, 2014
Shannon Leparski: The Happy Hormone Guide: A Plant-based Program to Balance Hormones, Increase Energy, & Reduce PMS Symptoms, 2019