Alisa Vitti first mentioned the process of Cycle Syncing in her book WomanCode, and since then, people who have come across the process have come to love it and swear by how much easier it is to manage and optimize their energy levels, focus and intuition.
What is Cycle Syncing & how does it work?
Cycle Syncing refers to leaning into the fluctuations that come along with the menstrual cycle.
It involves making lifestyle choices according to the phases of your menstrual cycle. This means we're using our menstrual cycle as a framework to live in harmony with our hormones. Rather than doing the exact same thing everyday while our hormones are causing shifts in our mood, digestion, and energy.
Whether it's in relation to food, work events, dating, exercise - literally anything that can be disrupted by our hormones, so we should be taking a closer look at our cycles.
How should I start Cycle Syncing?
Well, you’re already about ¼ of the way there just by knowing when your period is going to grace you with their presence. The best place to start is by tracking your cycle. Figure out the nuances of your cycle so you can determine the best strategies that will work for your body.
Tell me this, would you leave the house without checking the weather? Then, why live blindly without figuring out the flow of your hormones?
Those who menstruate go through four main phases of a cycle with distinct hormonal fluctuations. These fluctuations have been researched and it’s been discovered that going through the different cycle phases can have different effects on mood, energy levels, metabolism, sleep quality and even vulnerability to injuries.
What are the phases of my cycle?
Phase One: Menstruation
During this phase, blood and tissue from inside the uterus is shed through the vagina. It's also when you get your period.
Phase Two: The Follicular Phase
The brain lets the ovaries know they need to prepare an egg that will be released. During this phase, our memory and overall awareness is strong.
Phase Three: Ovulation
An egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube. Usually happens about midway through the cycle, but can change from cycle-to-cycle. During this phase, our hormones stimulate the centres that make us more social and verbal.
Phase Four: The Luteal Phase
The sac that contained the egg starts releasing progesterone, along with small amounts of oestrogen. In this phase, our metabolism speeds up and our appetite increases.
Cycle Sync your way to better nutrition
Often, we tend to eat the same foods on a regular basis to save time, effort and frustration. But the different levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone we fluctuate between each month require different nutritional and detoxification needs.
Here’s what you should eat, drink and avoid depending on where you’re at in your cycle:
1. Menstruation: During this phase your estrogen is on the rise. Drink soothing tea, like chamomile, to combat cramps. Try to avoid fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine and salty foods during this phase (this is hard though, so don’t be hard on yourself for indulging every now and then while on your period).
2. Follicular phase: Try to incorporate foods that will metabolize estrogen. Focus on sprouted foods like nuts, seeds, chickpeas, etc.
3. Ovulation: With your estrogen at a very high level, you should eat foods that support your liver. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods like whole fruits, vegetables, and almonds.
4. Luteal phase: Estrogen and progesterone both surge and then wane during this phase. Try to eat foods that will produce serotonin, like leafy greens, quinoa, and buckwheat (or just watch videos of cute dogs, a sure-fire way to produce serotonin). You’ll also want to focus on magnesium-rich foods that fight fatigue and low libido, like dark chocolate, spinach and pumpkin seeds.
What can we learn from all this?
There's not a whole lot of research on cycle syncing but what we do know is pretty profound. Many people who suffer from endometriosis, unknown to themselves, began cycle syncing. They were preparing themselves for the pain they were due to endure during their period and from that, they began noticing regular occurrences during their cycle.
Claire Baker, period coach and author encourages us to start with simple awareness:
"Charting your cycle every day is important, because it’s not easy to look back. Notice where the strengths and challenges are, and a pattern will emerge after about three months.”
The bottom line is… Your period is kind of a superpower, you just have to figure out how to work it.