Getting To Know The Four Phases Of Your Menstrual Cycle - Podcast Episode 30

hormones menstrual cycle women's health Sep 02, 2021
Getting To Know The Four Phases Of Your Menstrual Cycle

Getting To Know The Four Phases Of Your Menstrual Cycle is the topic of this week's episode on the Simply Today Life Podcast.

Getting To Know The Four Phases Of Your Menstrual Cycle - Podcast Episode 30

In today's episode, I discuss the four phases of a woman's menstrual cycle. This is not discussed or taught to us in most cases, and we need to understand how our cycle works to support our body through each phase.

We discuss each phase individually with a simple explanation of what happens through each cycle phase and how to support your body through movement and food.

Supporting your menstruation cycle is important for balancing and healthy hormones. Get to know your body at a deeper level and what is going on during each phase.

In this episode of the Simply Today Life Podcast:

  • 3:10 Menstruation Phase.
  • 8:28 Follicular Phase
  • 13:00 Ovulatory Phase
  • 16:36 Luteal Phase

Links shared in the episode:

If you prefer to read this week's episode, I got you covered! But remember, this is a computerized transcript and there could be errors. I apologize for this.

Hi, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of The simply today life Podcast. I am so excited to have you here today. In this week's episode, I decided that we should go ahead and maybe talk a little bit about the four phases of your cycle and how to support them. This is one of the things that we don't really learn a lot about if we learn any of it in school or from those around us, you know, it's really important for you to be able to know how to nurture your body and the things that it needs throughout different seasons of life.

Just like throughout the years, we have different seasons, we go through spring, summer, fall, and winter, our bodies exactly the same women have this cycle that we go through which a lot of the times they compare it to the seasons, you know, that we go through in a year. But it is really important for us to be able to know how to support our menstrual cycle throughout every single phase because every phase is completely different. Unlike men who have a 24-hour cycle, women have a monthly cycle and it changes, you know, week by week, and day by day, it's just very different for us than it is for men.

So learning how to support our cycle throughout all of these phases is a great way to take care of our body and give it the love that it needs and the attention that it needs to be able to help our hormones, hormones really balanced themselves. And you know, in a holistic way, because having these hormones balance is only not only going to help our body and our mental health and our well-being. But it's also going to help us increase fertility if we know looking to have children, and will help decrease PMS symptoms, and really overall health as well.

So knowing how to support each phase of your cycle holistically, really begins with the foods that you're eating, the way you're moving your body throughout the phases, and how mindful you're being and compassionate you're being with yourself.

So I thought today, we would go ahead and start with the menstruation phase and go from there. because technically it is the phase that starts at day one of your cycle, which is the first day of your bleed. Even though typically, the luteal phase is actually the first phase itself. We always tend to, you know, menstrual, we tend to say that but the menstruation phase is actually the one that starts off our phases because our cycle sorry because it is day one of our bleed.

So why does this happen? So the reason is is that when progesterone and estrogen hormones drop, they cause the shedding and breakdown of the uterus lining in your body. And this phase can actually last anywhere from three to seven days. You know this is more so on somebody who has their hormones pretty well balanced. Because your hormones are at their lowest at this time.

This is also the time of the cycle that you really want to start slowing down as well. It's a great time to go inward, plan your self-care, maybe plan out monthly goals and see what you want to do for the upcoming months. But it's definitely a time that you want to kind of just lay back and relax and let your body do what it needs to do with that forcing it. This is also a great time if you're a spiritual person, your intuition is at its highest. So it's a great time to really sit down with yourself and journal out any goals or anything that you're really looking forward to or wanting to call in. This is a great time to ask for answers if you need them as well.

Because your energy is so low because your hormones have dropped. This is also the time that you don't want to be going out to social events and things like that. You kind of just want to be on your own you this is the time that we're mostly you know, craving our chocolate and our alone time and our quiet time and maybe our Netflix time which is not a bad thing at all if I do say so myself. This is also a time where your libido is very low because your body is going through a lot so again your energy level is pretty low so you are not going to want to fancy anyone at this point. Though it isn't it is not common for not one to have if your libido is you know a little high and Ashley just FYI, if you suffer from PMS are any type of cramping or things like that. Actually, orgasms can actually help diminish PMS symptoms and cramping as well. Just FYI, I wanted to tell you that. 

Okay, so let's talk a little bit about movements when it comes to movements. During the menstrual phase, you really want it to be more of a restored restorative type of exercise like maybe going on slow outdoor walks, doing some yoga, some stretches because Your energy is low, you don't want to be, you know, pushing your body it to its limit, you really want to just take it slow, but you still want to be able to move your body you don't want to just, you know, be sitting on the couch all day because that's not going to help your body do the things that it needs to do. And because we are our hormones are so low right now, we might be feeling a little bit of anxiety, maybe a little bit of depression and things as well. And by keeping that movement in your body will keep you know the good hormones, processing through, and being able to keep you a little bit more upbeat and wanting to get more things done.

When it comes to foods you want to you'll probably be cravings more grounding and warm foods. Personally, I love soups and like stews and things like that during this time of my cycle, making a pot of beef stew if you're not a vegetarian or vegan, it's fantastic because the meat is high in magnesium, and it's high in iron as well. And because we're losing more iron, our iron is usually lower at this phase, it's a great way to lift that up a little bit. Also eating dark leafy greens and nuts, seeds, sea vegetables like seaweed, bananas, or raw chocolates, like I said for magnesium is great and they're great for your cramps and PMS symptoms. Making sure you're getting your essential fatty acids-rich foods in like avocados, wild-caught fish, cod liver oil, hemp seeds, I love adding hemp seeds to my fruits if I have like a fruit smoothie or something like that. And of course, drinking plenty of water, you want to say make sure that your body is constantly staying hydrated.

Okay, so that was our menstruation phase. And I'll probably go ahead and do another episode later on. Well, I'll dig deeper into each phase individually, I just wanted to kind of touch base really quick on each of the four phases. So you're a little bit more aware of it, and how you can actually start working with it without making it so complicated because it really can be it can get really complicated. But if we can make it really simple as well. And that's what I want. Simplicity is what I strive for in life right now.

So let's go to the next phase. So the next phase we're going to talk about is the follicular phase. This phase actually follows your menstruation phase. It's called the follicular phase because your pituitary gland releases a hormone called follicular follicle-stimulating hormone also called FSH, which actually stimulates the follicles in your ovaries to mature. FYI, these follicles contain your eggs, in case you didn't know, this phase lasts between seven to 10 days. And this is when estrogen and testosterone start to rise. So the uterine lining begins to repair itself. And this is really important to know because this is the time you want to nourish your body for the work that's going to happen ahead, you know, you went to the menstruation phase, everything got broken down this because of what you didn't need. And now it's time to rebuild everything. So this is the phase that starts everything. Again, this is what I was saying earlier.

Technically, the follicular phase is where everything restarts again, it's like spring all over again. And your menstruation phases when everything you know, dies down finishes off, it's your winter. So this is really the time during the follicular phase that you want to worry about what you're eating and putting into your body. And that's including beauty products and things like that, to sustain your body instead of giving your liver and your gut more work to do and just in balancing your hormones and more than in need to be.

Okay, so now I'm getting off the talk, and let's get back. Okay, so the follicular phase, let's talk about energy. So so during this phase, you start your energy starts to come, you know, starts rising, your brainpower starts rising, which is a great time for you to start doing new things. Maybe even problem-solving. If there's a, you know, an idea that you have or a business that you're thinking about starting or something that you really want to do. This is the time for you to sit down and problem solves and create those new ideas. because your body is actually starting to re-energize itself. Your body is also going to want to start craving more movements. So this is a great time to kind of up your workouts as well. You can raise your workouts and maybe doing running quicker walks outdoors, some yoga, a little bit faster movement. I it's I don't tell my clients not to go all-in yet because your body is still kind of moving its way up, the energy is just starting to rise. But you can definitely go a little harder than you did during your menstruation phase because your body is actually starting to crave it.

Now when it comes to food, as I said, we want to really nourish this phase of our cycle. So you want to make sure that you're eating nutrient-dense foods with a heavy dose of protein and healthy fats. I always tell my clients to make sure that what's on your plate, you have good protein, healthy fat, you have some fiber, and you have some carbs. Those are the four things that a plate should always have when you're nourishing your body, especially when you're working with your cycle. Now, for this phase, you want to concentrate on root vegetables, you want to concentrate on maybe oat, quinoa, millet, lentils, eating salmon, eggs, nuts, seeds, and oysters. Because these all have a variety of minerals and vitamins that your body actually needs.

Don't forget to add healthy fats like ghee, avocados, and coconut oils are great to add when you're cooking things or sauteed. vegetables, make sure that you're focusing on foods that are not drastically increasing your blood sugar levels, you want to keep those blood sugar levels as constant or as even as possible, and not too low or not too high. You want to make sure that you're substituting simple carbohydrates for complex carbs. So that you're reducing that blood sugar spike, that's where it really sends us into that anxiety, the brain fog the moodiness because our hormones are going up and down because our blood sugar is going up and down. So by making sure that our blood sugar keeps a steady rhythm, we can actually control a little bit of how our body is reacting to it if that makes sense. As I said, make sure you're incorporating fats, proteins, and every meal fiber carb in every meal to make sure that your body is getting everything that it needs and maintaining that blood sugar level.

Okay, let's talk about the next phase. The next phase is the Ovulatory phase, which lasts about three to four days. And it is actually the shortest phase in our cycle. This is when estrogen and testosterone are at their highest it is when Lh causes follicles to burst open releasing an egg, which only survives in case you didn't know 12 to 24 hours in your body. Okay, so your egg will only last. And it is only fertile within this timeframe which of the 12 and 24 hours 12 to 24 hours, which means this is also the time that you can guess it get pregnant. So this is when we say that we can't get pregnant all month long is because of this. Um, so you can't get pregnant six days in your cycle because your egg like I said, is only fertile for about the first 2012 to 24 hours. But sperm can actually last in your body for about five days. So this is where that whole six-day comes in.

So you just need to be careful that if you don't want to get pregnant, but you're following your cycle not to get pregnant, this is the timeline where you can actually get pregnant. And another really interesting fact is that I find it super interesting and I think it's unbelievable, the way our body actually works and knows what to do when it's supposed to do it is that not only are you ovulating during this phase, right? Um, but it's also when your libido is actually at its highest, your body knows that this is the time to actually procreate and actually get pregnant. So it's also the time that you may feel your libido, you know at its highest, you may feel all sassy ready to go. And things like that.

This also means that this is the time that you're going to feel the most confident this is a great time to try new things to maybe try a new workout class. And because your energy is at its highest is a great time to start getting those high-energy impacting exercises like HIIT, high-intensity interval training, spin spinning class, and even running. So that's a great thing to do during this time.

Now, when it comes to if you have a let's saying you have a business or you know for work, it's great it's the perfect time for you to kind of get ahead of the game by batch creating and creating content and kind of getting ahead this you have your energy is really high. And your system is actually working to your advantage to be able to get as many things done as possible right now because your energy is so high right now. And if you're following your food cycle with synching your cycle with food as well, then you're only going to support that even more which is exactly what you want.

So when it comes to food, how do we support the ambulatory phase. So you want to make sure that you're getting in lots of leafy greens, things like vegetables, keen noir rice, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, magnesium-rich foods like spinach, dark chocolate, tofu, meats, eggs, fatty fish for omega threes, and fruit. Of course, you always want to make sure that your whole foods are always in there fruits and vegetables are definitely a plus. And of course, make sure that you're hydrating again, especially because your metabolism is kind of speeding up a little bit right now, you want to make sure that you're hydrating your body and giving it the things that you need for as much energy as you have.

So let's head on over to the last phase. The fourth phase is the luteal phase. The luteal phase begins about one week after ovulation and continues until the end of your cycle, which is the day you start your next bleed. Okay, so this is when the uterine wall continues to thicken to get ready for menstruation or to get pregnant one or the other. Um, I like to say that the luteal phase has two phases.

In the first phase, you're still going to have all this energy from your regulatory phase. So you're still going to probably want to do those, you know, high-intensity workouts, you're going to have more energy. But as the days go on about the third or fourth day, you're going to start seeing that energy decrease. And by the way, this phase actually lasts about between 10 to 14 days as just to let you know, and it is the longest of all of our phases.

Now during the second phase, um, the reason you start losing energy is that's when estrogen and testosterone begin to decline in your body. And progesterone starts becoming kind of like the forefront that becomes the star of the show because progesterone is what we need to maintain a pregnancy. So that's what takes, you know, becomes in the forefront and kind of takes over testosterone and estrogen because they are declining. So during the second part of the phase, you're going to start feeling you know, like more tired, your energies winding down, you're going to want to start feeling going inwards again, kind of like your menstruation phase, but not as deep Yeah, you're kind of getting ready for that stage.

And since progesterone is an anti-anxiety hormone, it's going to be a great time for you to start organizing decluttering finishing up any projects that you have, and it's going to be great for you. If you have detailed-oriented projects that need to be finished. This is the time to get them done. Especially if you know you own your own business, this is a great time for you to finish up what you have started and get ready to just take a break.

During this phase, you can also start feeling some PMS symptoms, cravings, like carbs or comfort foods, you may feel some bloating, some breast tenderness, some anxiety, moodiness, maybe even cramps or menstrual headaches as well. This is why knowing what's going on in your body. It's so important because when these types of symptoms start coming up, you know exactly what to do or what to give your body to sustain them and support them. So when you get to the menstrual phase, your body has already gotten what it needs and the symptoms and you know, all those things that we usually go through like the PMS and the bloating and things don't happen as frequent or as bad because our body's getting everything that it needs.

So this is also a great leeway into the next top discussion, which is about compassion and being compassionate and kind to yourself. Because our body fluctuates so much throughout the month, especially if you fall in your cycle, you know this, but somebody who is just starting to follow their cycle, this is all new. And it can be very overwhelming. And it can be very frustrating. When one second you have all this energy. And then the next day you wake up and you feel like crap because that's pretty much what it is. That's what happens. And I'm talking to myself here because this happens a lot. And all it takes is for you to be aware of what's going on in your body and know that you are now on that next phase. And then because if you have all of these tools in your hands, you know exactly what to do and how to support your body.

Okay, now that I did a little tangent there, let's get back to the conversation. So how can we take care of ourselves during this time? So during the luteal phase, you definitely want to add more self-care to your list, especially since you are one week away from your menstrual phase. You want to give yourself time to be alone. maybe do some journal writing, maybe take some outdoor walks to get your vitamin D, but you know not long walks and not you know fast walks. I'm talking about more like a stroll outdoors. Maybe do some yoga, some metta meditation Some stretching exercises, things like this.

Also, a great thing that I love to do and is so helpful is using magnesium as a supplement. I personally like to use it I use a spray version of magnesium. And I like to use it in the morning and at night. I actually use it throughout all of my cycle phase phases of my cycle. But I mainly like to use it during the luteal phase and during the menstruation phase, because that's when you're having the hardest time sleeping and things like that. So magnesium is actually a great supplement to help with PMS symptoms. It helps you kind of calm down and sleeps and it helps with headaches. So that's just a little tip right there that I personally love to use.

Um, also it's important so let's talk about now foods so when it comes to foods during the luteal phase, you're about to enter that menstruation phase next, so you want to make sure that you're increasing your protein and healthy fats. During this phase, you also may be starting to crave those warming foods, those grounding foods you can definitely start having those foods like brown rice root vegetable salmon, beans, avocado ginger is fantastic turmeric, curries, cinnamon, because is an anti-inflammatory and it also helps level your blood sugar's berries are fantastic because they are high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids which helps with cravings as well. Eating healthy fats I mentioned Turkey, lentils, kale, and carrots are fantastic.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you've seen that I've actually shared my carrot salad that is fantastic to be eating during the luteal phase and during the menstruation phase. Because it's great for free, it's great for all phases really, but it helps you get rid of the excess estrogen in your body that you don't need, which is fantastic. And then I also shared on Instagram reels, my Maka cacao hot drink, which is a great substitute for coffee during this phase. And I should mention during the menstruation phase as well because coffee is actually going to make your PMS symptoms and your headaches worse while drinking something like cacao is going to give you the magnesium and all of those things that you need. And I also add things like turmeric and cinnamon, and things that are going to support my hormones. 

So it's a great thing to substitute coffee for during these two phases. So if you want the recipe, just head on over to my Instagram, at @victoria__armijo how it is right there, I'll just go ahead and link it on the show notes as well just in case. And of course, make sure that you're hydrating your body as well. As I mentioned, avoiding caffeine during this phase. And also avoiding alcohol would be fantastic because alcohol and caffeine are just going to increase your PMS symptoms and are really going to drain the body of all the nutrients that you need during this phase. And during this time, especially when your body is getting ready for its upcoming bleeding phase the menstrual cycle.

Another great thing that you can drink if you're looking for something to substitute, you know your caffeine with is raspberry leaf tea is amazing during the luteal and the menstruation phase. And it's also fantastic for those PMS symptoms if you do have those. So that's about it. So we went through the menstruation phase, we went through the follicular phase, we talked about the ovulatory phase and we talked about the luteal phase.

So I hope that this gives you a little bit of an idea of what you know, what your phases do, why it's happening, what are the things that you can do to support it? How can you actually run your business, or even move your body according to what your body needs at that time, or even running your business and working when it comes to your cycles is so powerful to be able to do that not overextend ourselves when you know that, if you're in the administration phase, you definitely don't want to be booking any, you know, work assignments, or business assignments, or even meetings and things like that. And the better we know things like this, the we can actually support our body. And we can help balance our hormones a little bit easier, and heal our body from the inside out.

I also want to mention that if you're looking for a free guide, that's going to help you you know, break down what kinds of foods to eat every single phase of your cycle, I actually created a free cycle sinking foods guide, it's on the website at Victoria armijo.com. It's free, it's right on that homepage. If you click on that, I'll send you a small guide and it has the four phases on that and has a chart with all the things all the grains fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that you can be eating and even I even put some herbs in there that can help you during this time of your cycle.

And then I'm also going to mention that I decided to add an offer recently, I talked about it on Instagram, but I'm gonna go ahead and share it here really quick. So it's a one-hour health chat. So if you need any support, or any guidance or have any questions, and you need to talk about your hormones, you have any questions on your menstrual cycle, any of the phases, anything that has to do with nutrition and your cycle. Oh, do you have any questions at all? I'm offering $49. One-hour health chat. If you're interested in that, you can actually find that either on my link on Instagram or on the website as well, at Victoria army health calm right on the top where it says work with me or as I mentioned on my Instagram account at @victoria__armijo and the link is right on the bio. If you have any questions at all, please always feel free to DM me.

I actually did a q&a on Instagram and had a few questions come in. And I shared those on there. I might actually do a podcast episode with some of the q&a questions because they were fantastic questions and questions that I myself had in the beginning. And I think it would be a great conversation to have as well.

So I hope that this episode was helpful for you. I hope it gets you to know, an introduction into your four phases if you didn't know what they were and how they work and how you can actually support it. I hope that it helped tons. I hope to see you all or actually I hope to talk to you all next week. Have a fantastic day.

Cycle Synching Foods Guide

Get my free 9-page food guide to help you eat what your body needs during the four different phases of your cycle.