How to Work With Your Cycle and Harness Your Womanly Power
Do you ask yourself why you can’t stick to a strict morning routine? Do you wonder why you seem to crush a high-intensity workout one day, but the next day you barely wanna go on a walk? Do you wonder why you can’t stick with the same diet day-in and day-out?
In the medical community, women have always been under-represented in comparison to men. And this under-representation – in clinical trials, research studies, medication studies, etc. – has led to a lot of confusion.
In truth, we’re wired completely differently from men. And it’s time for us women to embrace our power.
Here at YourCosyShop, we get it. And like you, we’ve been frustrated when it feels like our lives, health, and plans aren’t working out the way we’ve been told they would.
But guess what? There’s an answer! And it’s pretty cool.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with you. It’s that you haven’t been given the manual to the incredible tool you have – your female body.
So, let's dive into what you may not know about your body.
The Circadian Rhythm. Everyone Has One.
Did you know you have an internal clock tuned to the natural rotation of the earth?
The circadian rhythm is best known as the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Before the time of electricity, we followed the sun – waking when it rose and sleeping when it set.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds amazing.
The circadian rhythm is how your brain regulates daily activity. It corresponds with mental and physical systems – from sleep to metabolism to hormone regulation².
Recently, harnessing the power of our circadian rhythm is the reason for the consistent morning routines. The strict diet and exercise regimens. The optimal times for crushing it at the office.
The same thing. Everyday.
And for men, it works! This consistent routine aligns with their biology. Because their biology is linear.
But for women, it’s a bit different.
Yes – we live by a circadian rhythm, too. But it doesn’t function the same way.
If you’re like most women, there are certain times of the month that you don’t feel the same at 7 a.m. one day as you do the other. Maybe you’re tired. More hungry. Less motivated to work and more thoughtful and reflective.
Why is this?
Your Body Is Giving You The Signals You Need.
According to Alisa Vitti, bestselling author of WomanCode and In The Flo, we’ve been living in a system designed for men. For much of history, women have been left out of medical research. So much so that in 1996, a task force was assembled to tackle the issue of female disclusion. And 20 years later, hardly any progress has been made.¹
In the last 10 years, women have experienced a 50% rise in hormone imbalances and autoimmune disorders. This is in direct correlation with the rise in diet, exercise, and biohacking trends.³
Besides the horrific toxins we’re exposed to (more on that later), a lot of this has to do with the lack of attention we give to our body’s signals.
It’s important to follow the cues your body is giving you.
Because your body is powerful! It intuitively knows what it needs and what it doesn’t.
So when you’re energized and crave a salad, or when you’re tired and want a nap – your body is telling you the exact type of self-care it needs to perform at its best.
When you listen to your body, the world is your oyster. No extreme, male-enhanced regimen needed.
We women? We’re kind of a big deal all on our own. Our biology works not just in a linear fashion, but a circular one.
And this is all due to the Infradian Rhythm.
Infradian Rhythm Is Designed Especially For Women.
Unlike the circadian rhythm, the infradian rhythm follows a cycle of 28-35 days. And over the course of a month, the infradian rhythm causes a 25% change in brain chemistry and composition.³
Think about that – one fourth of your brain chemistry fluctuates in the course of a month! So, if you listen to your body’s cues and hone into your infradian rhythm – you’re going to know so much more than just what week you need to pick up tampons from Target.
Your infradian rhythm is working hard. It causes your metabolism to speed up and slow down. Your appetite to increase and drop. Your energy, stress hormone levels, body temperature, sleep, emotions… all these everyday functions fluctuate depending on which phase you’re at in your infradian rhythm.
You have 4 phases in your infradian rhythm:³
- Menstrual: 3-7 Days
- Follicular: 7-10 Days
- Ovulatory: 4 days
- Luteal: 10-14 days
Understanding these phases will help you live your best life. So, let’s dive into each one.
Menstruation Phase – Take A Break, Girl!
This phase starts when you reach for a Lillypad on the first day of your period and ends with the ovulatory phase. From beginning to the end of this phase, your metabolism is high and energy levels are low.
This is because your body drops hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone to their lowest point, which causes your period.⁴
During this phase, it’s especially important to listen to your body.
Chances are, you’re tired. Take that cue and get some rest. Now’s the time for that quick cat-nap in the middle of the day when you need it. Or turn in early to get some much-needed sleep.
And speaking of rest now’s not the time to hit the gym for that boxing session you’ve been wanting to try out.
Before you ignore this advice and power through your workout, consider this: your stress hormone levels – called cortisol – are at their highest during the menstrual and luteal phases. This means high-intensity training will:
- increase your chances of burnout
- raise your stress level
- increase your fat production
- lead to muscle wasting
So all the hard work you think you’re putting in will actually do the opposite for your weight loss and fitness goals.¹
All this to say, if you feel your energy levels starting to tank, take it as a cue to slow down. Instead, do low-intensity workouts such as restorative yoga or walking.⁵
Additionally, the added stress from high-intensity workouts will increase your irritability – PMS, anyone? So do yourself a huge favor and take a break.
Foods will most often lean on the comfort side. And because your metabolism is high, you’ll be more hungry. Take this as your green-light to dig in! Lean into your cravings – into the warm, comforting nourishment your body is needing and intuitively telling you to reach for.
Why is this?
Your body is replenishing the nutrients lost while menstruating.⁵ During this phase, it requires an extra 279 calories daily.¹
Pretty precise, right? We know.
- plenty of fruits and vegetables
- healthy fats
- complex carbs.
In other words, this is not the time to feel guilty. Because it’s time to go inward. To rest. To recharge.
Look. Life happens. Even during your menstrual phase. When it does, consider the self-care you need to feel and perform your best.
Follicular Phase – Go Get It, Girl!
Even before your menstrual cycle is over, you may start to notice a change in your energy levels and cravings.⁶
The follicular phase is when your body starts producing more hormones. This is also the time when your metabolism starts to drop, along with your cortisol levels.⁶
This means you don’t need as much to eat, and you won’t over-tax your body with intense workouts.
So, this is the time to eat lighter, colder foods like salads with protein, berries, and fermented foods. Take advantage of your suppressed appetite and stay away from the heavy comfort foods.⁶
Challenge your body. Do higher intensity training. Try different forms of exercise that move your body in new ways.
Wanna crush it at the office? Schedule the conference calls and meetings. Collaborate with the team. Be more active and outward.⁶
In other words, the follicular and ovulatory phases are most likely the times when your stringent morning routine is spot-on. When you’re motivated and crushing it.
Ovulatory Phase – Keep The Good Times Rolling
Much like the late follicular phase, the ovulatory phase is a time of high energy and suppressed appetite. This phase usually occurs 3-4 days prior and the day of ovulation.⁵
During ovulation, hormone levels – including estrogen – are at their peak, prompting the egg to release from the ovaries. Use this to your advantage. Now’s the time to try those boot camp classes and HIIT workouts.
Again, your appetite will still be suppressed, meaning you should focus on more light foods and steamed vegetables.
It’s also important to focus on your magnesium intake since it will inevitably drop. Put an emphasis on foods high in magnesium like: nuts, seeds, quinoa, spinach, and dark chocolate.
Your body temperature will be high. Because of this, your sleep may be interrupted, or you may experience bouts of insomnia. If this occurs, try wearing lighter pajamas, using a lighter blanket, or keeping your room cooler.⁶
Luteal Phase – Transition To Chill Mode
During this phase, your released egg will form into a structure called the corpus luteum. This is when your body releases progesterone and some estrogen to build and thicken the uterine lining to prepare for pregnancy.⁵
If at the end of this phase the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum will disintegrate, estrogen and progesterone will decrease, and your period will start.⁵
The first part of this phase will most likely resemble the ovulatory phase – with high levels of energy. But as progesterone takes over, you’ll notice a change in levels from high energy to “chill mode.” ⁵
This is a time to start with moderate-intensity cardio and then transition to strength training and yoga.⁵
This is also when you’ll most likely begin to experience food cravings. Again – listen when that happens. In other words, don’t restrict carbohydrates. Instead, curb your cravings for sweets by reaching for low glycemic, high-fiber carbs to stave off the sweet tooth.⁵ These foods include beans, lentils, oats, brown rice, and whole-grain bread.⁸
How Your Go-To Products Are Toxic To Your Cycle
Now more than ever before, toxins have bombarded our everyday lives. It’s for this very reason that YourCosyShop was launched.
But why does this matter?
These toxins have a drastic effect on our hormones, cycles, and the natural functions of our bodies. This causes menstrual cycle imbalances, autoimmune disorders...
And So. Much. more.
It’s important to remember that the cleaner your lifestyle is, the more in-sync you’ll be with your infradian rhythm. That’s why choosing products and nourishment that supports your monthly cycle is so important.
So, how do we nourish our cycles?
On top of understanding how to properly exercise and eat during each phase, there’s another aspect of self-care you may be overlooking.
You may not realize it, but your feminine hygiene products may contain toxic chemicals that negatively affect your cycle and overall health.
These chemicals include:
- Furans and Dioxins: These are leftover from the bleaching process. They can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, and interfere with hormone production.⁹
- Pesticides: These are found in products that use cotton, and cause cancer and hormone disruption.⁷
- Fragrance: These are found in pads and some tampons, and cause cancer, allergies, and hormone imbalances.⁷
In other words, these chemicals all have a common theme: cancer and hormone imbalance.
These imbalances – also called endocrine disruption – can cause your hormones to increase, decrease, or mimic your natural hormones. Meaning your body will be out of sync with your monthly cycle and natural rhythm.
Another issue that can arise is toxic shock syndrome. While toxic shock syndrome can affect anyone for various reasons, 50% of all cases occur in menstruating women. And it’s most prevalent in women who use super-absorbent tampons and menstrual cups.¹⁰
This potentially fatal condition, while not caused by chemicals, is a result of toxins produced by staph bacterial infection.¹⁰ The result is a deprivation of oxygen to the organs due to a sharp drop in blood pressure.¹¹
Toxic shock syndrome can advance quickly, leading to shock, renal failure, and death.¹⁰
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to what goes in and on your body.
A Lillypad Is Safe For You And Your Cycle.
At YourCosyShop, our Lillypads are the answer to your menstrual needs. Our reusable menstrual pads are all natural and made with ultrasoft bamboo fiber. They’re odor-free, ultra-absorbent, and above all – comfortable. And because they’re made with our ultra-thin GhostProtect layers technology, there are no visible lines through your clothes. (Even in your yoga pants!)
But there’s more!
Besides being leak-proof and breathable, Lillypads are also toxin-free, plastic-free, and washable. Meaning you receive the ultimate in menstrual care for your body and the planet.
So embrace your beautiful design. Embrace nature. And be one with both.