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Cycle syncing, a term first introduced by Alisa Vitti, an integrative nutritionist and women’s hormone expert, in her debut book Woman Code published in 2014, is a practice of adjusting aspects of your life, such as your diet, exercise, and home and work projects, based on the phases of your menstrual cycle so that you are working with your body’s natural rhythms. By syncing their life to their menstrual cycle, women can give themselves the permission to reconnect to the wisdom of their bodies to support improved mental health, physical wellbeing and a better quality of life.
Cycle syncing is centred on the Infradian Rhythm — a 28-day internal clock that women have which regulates their menstrual cycle and is controlled by their hormones. Unique to only women, it influences their brain, metabolism, immune system, gut health and stress response throughout the month. As they move through each phase of their cycle and their hormones change, so do their physical, emotional and energetic needs. This phase can be aligned with the seasons of nature — winter, spring, summer and autumn. Each phase requires women to make small-yet-significant changes to their nutrition, exercise and self-care, with each phase bringing forth unique qualities for them to utilise in their personal and professional lives!
Why should women cycle sync?
Working against your infradian rhythm is like living in a perpetual state of jetlag and working against the body’s natural rhythm. Much like the circadian rhythm guides the sleep-wake cycle, the infradian rhythm guides most aspects of a woman’s body. When those changing needs are not acknowledged throughout the month, it can lead to hormonal imbalances, compromised gut health and heightened stress in a woman’s body.
Many women experience mental and physical health difficulties while trying to do it all, as they strive to achieve the same fitness, nutritional, career and lifestyle goals throughout the month without stopping to consider or listen to the changing needs of their body as they go through their 28-day cycle. Many women who notice emotional and physical shifts in energy and ability throughout the month, just dig deeper and push harder, often becoming harsh and judgemental with themselves. Emotionally, this can feel like anxiety, depression, irritability, poor concentration, and insomnia, whilst physically it can manifest in the form of acne, painful or irregular periods, fatigue, sleep disturbance, weight gain, low sex drive and infertility.
However, women who live in alignment with their cycle and their body’s natural rhythms choose to sync their life and work to their cycle. They choose to no longer push themselves into constant over-productivity, force their body into burnout or criticise themselves for not achieving the same goals week-to-week. Instead, they make supportive and nourishing choices, which allow them to live to their full potential. They give themselves permission to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach, and experience greater confidence, improved energy and better overall health!
A Guide to Your Cycle’s Phases and Seasonal Qualities
Menstrual – Winter – Days 1-7
Focus on: Rest, evaluation, going within, releasing, self-care, yoga, walking
Follicular – Spring – Days 7–14
Focus on: Planning, manifesting, goal-setting, brainstorming, dancing, running
Ovulation – Summer – Days 15-18
Focus on: Socialising, communication, expression, playfulness, HIIT class, bootcamp
Luteal – Autumn – Days 19-28
Focus on: Completion, finishing tasks, slowing down, ease, strength training, pilates
It’s important to remember that every woman’s cycle will be different, so this is to be used as a guide. For women who no longer experience a monthly cycle or have a physical womb, they can start their first day of their cycle on the New Moon and move through each phase over a 28-day cycle. It is still deeply nurturing to embrace the benefits of cyclical living and cultivating a lifestyle, which values and embodies the feminine qualities of rest, slowing down, nurturing, softness and honouring oneself!
3 Ways to Start Your Cycle Syncing Journey Today..
1) Track Your Flow: Follow where you are in your monthly cycle by using an app or journal! Notice how your body feels, your energy levels and what emotions are present. Ideally, your cycle will be between 28–32 days, bright cranberry red in colour and relatively pain-free!
2) Eat for Each Phase: Research the best foods for each phase of your cycle and start by introducing and eating fruits and vegetables best suited to that phase, supporting your hormones and gut health! Notice what foods you crave and intuitively desire.
3) Move for Each Phase: Schedule your workouts to support the phase you are in. Manage your energy and get the most out of your movement by catering your workouts to the natural energy levels and needs of your body.
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