WOMANCODE & HORMONE EYE-OPENERS
THE RESOURCE: WOMANCODE BY ALISA VITTI, HCC
- Its TOTALLY normal to experience pretty dramatic changes in mood, emotions, energy, libido, cognitive function, even social behavior at various stages during your menstrual cycle. Its also normal to experience dramatic shifts in all the aforementioned when your body goes through major hormonal changes during puberty, peak fertile years, before, during and after pregnancy, and during perimenopause and menopause. Your neurochemistry actually changes according to hormone ratios so if you feel like one person one week and another person the next, the good news is you aren’t suffering from multiple personality disorder. You're just a woman. Womp.
- In accordance with varying ratios of the 5 hormones that govern your cycle and apparently your sanity, your brain and body have different needs during each part of your cycle and life. So you’re not necessarily lazy if you just can’t even with that spin class or can’t motivate to butterfly around that social event you have on the calendar. Its not necessarily a question of consistency, will, strength, you’re actually better equipped (and conversely less equipped) to conquer certain tasks depending on your hormone levels. You’ll feel better about yourself and life in general if you understand, accept and work with these natural shifts.
- “Your entire endocrine system relies on the micronutrients you consume in your diet, so when these levels fall short, your hormones are thrown for a loop and your health suffers.” Food really is poison or medicine when it comes to hormone balance. This doesn't mean you have to be perfect with your diet, but it does mean you should understand the link between what you put in your mouth and the mental and physical symptoms you experience. Something I wish I understood LONG ago, (especially when I would eat bags of candy on airplanes to sooth homesickness,) stabilizing blood sugar is integral to hormone balance and endocrine health.
- This one is my favorite, as I have to admit it brought me some serious peace of mind: “biologically speaking, there is NO SUCH THING AS WILLPOWER…There’s simply no way to win the blood sugar battle once you’re riding the hypoglycemic rollercoaster; your hormones will win every single time.”
- If you’re experiencing signs of hormonal imbalance (irregular cycles, severe mood swings, carb cravings, low energy and libido, unexplained weight gain, headaches, skin or digestive problems, to name a few,) and/or suffering from hormone related conditions like endometriosis, PCOS or infertility, there are endless diet and lifestyle changes you can make that will in the very least have a significant impact on your symptoms and possibly the condition itself.
As soon as I got a few chapters into Womancode, I put it right back down again, but only long enough to look around the airplane in search of a woman, ANY woman, to ask, “DID YOU KNOW THIS? DID ANYONE TELL YOU THIS?!!” Then I got a few chapters further in and I wanted to call EVERY WOMAN I knew and say “YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THIS…its totally normal to have like 4 different personalities!”
By the end of my flight and the end of the book, I wanted to throw it at my gyno, my mother, my middle school health teacher, anyone and everyone who’s job it was to prepare me for being a woman. I was shocked and a little perturbed that this simple but crucial message had not been conveyed before or during puberty, during my peak reproductive years, when I was diagnosed with PCOS or soon after that when I was told I was infertile: hormones have a profound effect on every fiber of our being, and therefore on our overall health and how we experience life. The importance of a healthy endocrine system and balanced hormones can’t be emphasized enough. So why wasn’t it emphasized at all? OR explained for that matter?
With a little more understanding of our bodies and how they function, we all could spend a lot less time wondering “is something wrong with me?” and a lot more time learning how to embrace the cyclical nature of our female form, and nurture and nourish it accordingly. Even if you haven’t struggled with raging PMS, infertility, chronic stress, depression, endometriosis, chronic skin or digestive issues, (but I’ll bet most of you have dealt with at least one of the aforementioned,) I highly recommend you give Womancode a read. In addition to mapping out a holistic path to hormone health and regulation, there’s a tremendous amount of valuable information pertaining to women’s health that in the very least, might offer some peace of mind.
A NOTE: As with many health and wellness books I read, I’m slowly but surely trying out parts of the protocol, assessing how they work for my body and life along the way. I am a firm believer that slow and incremental change is the most sustainable; it also provides the opportunity for more objective assessment instead of ride-or-die fanaticism that can be inspired by books like this!