Let's Talk Hormones: Eating According to Your Menstrual Cycle

This week I was inspired to write this post because, if you didn't guess from the title, I have my period.


Now I know this is not earth shattering news, but for me it's very significant. I've been battling adrenal fatigue (chronic stress) for about 4 years now, especially after my last bodybuilding competition in 2016. Due to this state, I developed hypothalamic amenorhrea which is the complete loss of period due to low estrogen production. In my case, testosterone, progesterone and FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) were low as well.


I've had my cycle back for 2 months now and I'm so happy that my body is continuing to get back on track. However, with this hormonal restoration comes PMS times 100! Over the last two weeks I've "gained" 6 pounds, bloat no matter what I eat, constipation, mood swings, skin break outs, hot flashes and the list goes on.

Understandably, it was difficult to accept these changes because I haven't had to deal with them for 2 years! But then I remembered there is hope! You can definitely work with your body's hormonal cycles regarding nutrition and exercise to decrease the severity of symptoms.


Below I've outlined the exercise and nutrition regimen that works alongside your hormones for each stage of your cycle.

Cheers to hormonal health and hitting your health and wellness goals!


Follicular Phase:

- Starts with first day of your period and lasts about 14 days

- Estrogen increases

- Nutrition: Increase carbohydrates due to increased insulin sensitivity, lower fat intake

- Great time to practice some plant based eating!

- Exercise: high intensity cardio and weight training due to increase in pain tolerance

Ovulation:

- Day 14 lasting 24-48 hours

- Estrogen levels peak so it's definitely the time to hit some strength PRs (personal record/best)

- Nutrition: Continue with an increase in carbohydrate intake especially post workout

- Exercise: weight training increasing load instead of volume

Luteal Phase:

- Day 16 to 28 (last phase before cycle starts again)

- Increased progesterone = bloating, fatigue, mood swings, cravings aka PMS!

- Nutrition: lower insulin sensitivity meaning increasing fat intake while lowering carbohydrate intake

- Great time to practice fasting to improve insulin sensitivity

- DRINK WATER! this will help abade bloating and water retention

- Exercise: focus on steady state cardio and volume vs heavy load weight train ing

- Higher risk for injury, slowed recovery time and overheating during this phase so be gentle with yourself

- Lower serotonin levels occur here so try and stay active to increase endorphins to boost your mood naturally

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