Gaby and Bjargey

Gaby and Bjargey
Two Michigan girls, who enjoy experiencing the world. Currently based in Iceland, Toned and Traveled is the go ­to travel and lifestyle blog for women who are looking for tips and advice on traveling, health and wellness, and life.
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A Work in Progress: Healing My Hormones with Cycle Syncing

If someone would have asked me ten months ago if I was happy, my answer would be no. I didn’t understand what was going on with my body, I was dealing with anxiety and trying balance a long distance relationship and stay on top of my responsibilities for work. Every doctor I visited told me to go on the pill and everything would be better. I was unhappy and felt like I was trapped.

Not wanting to only cover-up my symptoms, I decided to take a different route by seeing a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist and therapist. I also began Cycle Syncing. It’s not that I do not believe in Western Medicine, I do take an Advil every now and then, but I felt a strong pull to naturally heal my body. I wrote in my previous blog about how my journey started, be sure to check it out here.

Fast forward to today and a lot has changed. It has been a lot of trial and error when it comes to seeing what agrees and disagrees with my body and mind. I have found that natural herbs and supplements have helped balance my hormones and clear some of my acne. While acupuncture and therapy have taught me how to maintain my anxiety.

Moving to a new city has also helped me balance my lifestyle. I have been able to establish a better workout routine, live closer (Oh and ENGAGED) to David and also surrounded by friends. This may not sound like it plays a part in healing hormones, but being in a supportive environment has helped me feel less anxious and more confident with myself and what I am doing on a daily basis.

Since I have started Cycle Syncing, I have seen a huge difference in my body, skin and mind. It has taken some time but I strongly believe that by changing my diet and lifestyle has helped decrease my bloating, clear my skin, help me lose weight, feel less anxious and regulate my period. I wanted to share a few things I practice in my daily routine throughout each week of my cycle to assist in balancing my hormones, establishing a positive body image and release stress and anxiety!

I wasn’t able to find many images of skin prior to when I started Cycle Syncing, mostly because I tried to stay clear of taking pictures but I had several under-the-skin zits, redness and white heads all over my chin.

My skin slowly healed but the results have been worth the wait.

My skin today. I make sure to use the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleaning Gel to wash my face, a natural toner with witch hazel and tea tree oil, a Hyaluronic based cream for moisturizer and serum. I also make sure to show my eyes some love with eye cream!

Cycle Syncing Living

 

My Diet:

I like to follow Cycle Syncing to a T when it comes to what I put (or don’t put) into my body. If there is one thing you do with Cycle Syncing, I recommend this! I wouldn’t even call it a diet because you don’t have to restrict the amount of food you eat and get to change-up your shopping list weekly! Here are a few things I have noticed that definitely help my cycle:

  • Red Meat: As a lot of my friends and family know, I was vegan for over a year and a half. When I came back to being a “meat eater” I stayed clear of red meat. It hasn’t been until recently that I began adding steak and ground sirloin back into my diet. The week before my period (Luteal Phase) I like to make sure I build up my iron intake with a nice, organic, grass-fed T-bone steak.
  • Carrots: Root veggies are everything! During my Luteal Phase, I also like to roast up some colorful carrots with a little salt and olive oil. They are great for helping detox the liver and large intestines of excess estrogen. They’re also perfect for maintaining a stable blood sugar (TMI but when my period is running a little behind, I make sure to put carrots into every meal and it helps get the juices flowing….literally).
  • Dairy, Smairy: I try as hard as I can not to eat dairy. I use only dairy-free milk and yogurt (almond or flaxseed based). Don’t get me wrong, I have to have my occasional piece of cheese pizza but the next day I will wake up with a break out on my cheeks and chin. Since cutting dairy from my diet, I have seen a huge difference in my skin and stomach. Almond cheese all the way.
  • Probiotics: I have always loved Kombucha, but recently I have fell in love with sauerkraut, bone broth and horseradish. Probiotics help support healthy gut bacteria and boost your immune system. It is important to keep in mind that EVERYTHING starts with the gut, a healthy gut means a healthy life!
  • 3:00 p.m. snack time: Cycle Syncing is all about maintaining a routine, especially when it comes to nourishing your body. I make sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner but also a mid day snack to maintain my blood sugar levels and metabolism.
  • Avocados: I eat half an avocado a day. Healthy fats help restore your muscles after exercise, while adding fiber and antioxidants. Avocados are a superfood so eat as much as you want of that avo-toast.
  • No bread or processed flour: I try very hard not to eat any bread and limit my pasta intake. White flour products, when digested, become sugar and throw off your entire endocrine system. Stay clear and buy yourself some Ezikel bread.
  • Buying Organic: I like to shop on the outside of the grocery store (think fresh and frozen food aisles). This means I try and stay away from the over processed, sugary junk in between. I also like to purchase organic when available to know that there are no additives to my food.
  • Dark Chocolate: This should go without saying, but treat yourself. Dark chocolate is a great alternative to sugary filled bars of milk. I like to add dark chocolate chunks to a bowl of frozen blueberries.
  • Water: So to my friends who read this, if you haven’t noticed by now I have kind of slowed my roll when it comes to drinking. I may not actually take that shot you just poured me or that drink I am sipping on at the bar isn’t actually a vodka water with lemon…it’s just a water with lemon (I’m sorry). That’s right, besides my occasional couple glasses of red wine, I have tried my hardest not to drink alcohol unless it is a special celebration (i.e. my engagement party with friends or Davids sisters wedding). It may just be that I need to be in the mood to drink, but I just would rather wake up feeling good than shitty and hungover. I am not saying you need to stop drinking to balance your hormones, but it does help. By not drinking you are removing tons of added sugar from your diet. I like to drink several glasses of water a day and if it isn’t water I am drinking, I will sip on my occasional bottle of Kombucha or tea. Water flushes out almost everything and being dehydrated doesn’t help your body remove toxins from your organs. So drink up!
  • Eating Plant-Based: Let me start out by saying being “plant-based” is different that being vegan or vegetarian. To me and my body, it means maintaining a diet that is mostly made-up of plants. This includes plant-based protein powders, plant based milk, along with raw vegetables and fruits. I will make sure that the largest portion of my meals are plant-based and then will “add” protein to them to stay full and happy.
  • No Soy: Before I began Cycle Syncing, I have always read the labels on my food. It is important to know what is going into your body, especially if it is something you are intolerant to. For my body, one of my major intolerances is soy. Soy contains isoflavones, an enzyme that mimics estrogen. Due to my body being estrogen dominant, when I consume soy or soy products, my hormones react by producing testosterone which contributes to my hormonal imbalance.

My Lifestyle:

In order to balance your life, you need a routine. It has taken me some time to establish a steady routine but I like to think of it as a lifestyle. I wake up in the morning and (try) to go to the gym and if I don’t, I go to the gym after work. I let my body rest when it needs it, I make plans with friends and try new things! I have learned how to say no to things that no longer appeal to me and journal when I need to clear my mind. Here are some things I add to my routine to make sure I am living a cycle syncing lifestyle:

  • Clean faced: As soon as I get home from work or the gym, I wash my hands and face. My skin has been collecting bacteria, dirt and germs all day, so it is important to make sure I feel fresh before starting my nightly routine. Also, just thinking about how many people have touched the rail I am holding on the bus makes me want to soak it in a bowl of hand sanitizer for an hour. I have noticed a huge difference in my face since adding this to my routine, I have less breakouts and fresher looking skin!
  • No make-up: I don’t wear anything but mascara, moisturizer and eyebrow gel at work. This was super hard at first and I felt like everyone could my imperfections but not wearing make-up everyday has taught me to feel more confident in my own skin! If it’s not a special occasion, I do not cover my face in make-up. I have noticed a huge difference in my skin by going make-up free, less blackheads and clogged pours.
  • Weekly face masks: Keeping this skincare trend going, I like to do 3 different types of face masks a week. This includes a charcoal mask, Umbrian clay mask and a Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque. This helps detoxify my skin and remove the excess dirt and grime I hadn’t been able to wash off. Face masks are great for keeping your skin looking young and bright. Not to mention, it’s a little treat to myself.
  • Weights are great: Since moving to the city, I have joined Equinox. It is honestly the most amazing gym. With a daily class schedule, wonderful trainers and a “we mean business” environment, it is very motivating! I like to switch up my workouts when I go to the gym, whether I am attending a HITT workout class or walking on the treadmill, I try to give my body exactly what it needs. When it comes to cycle syncing your workouts, it can be a little difficult but the results are amazing. Say goodbye to feeling drained and hello to results! Right after my period (Follicular Phase), I am full of energy and like to try new classes, incorporate cardio or HITT workouts into my routine. During my ovulation phase, I like to attend classes that focus on cardio and strength training. If I want to do my own workout, I like to pull a routine from Kayla Itsines BBG and end my workout with a 30 minute walk on the treadmill. When my Luteal phase comes along, I still like to work in some light cardio and work on strength training. I have been lucky enough to meet an amazing friend at the gym who has helped me so much when it comes to working the weight floor, working out with her is always a good time. Then when my period is approaching or comes, I like to give my body a break. I will go for long walks or honestly just lay on the couch. It is so important to let your body rest and restore during this time. My body is nowhere near where I want it to be, but it is a whole lot closer than where it was. I am so happy with my body and do not workout to lose weight but to celebrate what my body can do by getting into shape!
  • SLEEP: I will just say this, if you want to sleep in, sleep in. Sleep is so important to your body’s natural cycle. Go to bed early if you can, maintain a 10-6 sleep schedule. Your body and mind will thank you! I am still working on my routine but make sure to let my body rest when it is calling for it.
  • Acupuncture: I have finally found an acupuncturist in the city! Acupuncture is seriously one of my favorite things. I can go in with tight shoulders and a cold and leave feeling like a million bucks. I strongly believe acupuncture has helped me control my anxiety and overthinking and assisted in regulating my hormones. I highly recommend trying acupuncture if you are looking for a natural remedy that focuses on healing from the inside out.
  • Walking: Like I spoke about briefly, I enjoy going for walks as a form of exercise but I also like to do it to clear my head. Luckily in the city, I can walk everywhere. I like to walk without headphones in and think through things that may seem unclear or overwhelming. I usually find a solution or establish a resolution to whatever I may be thinking about and it is soothing to know that something so simple can be a release.
  • Yoga: Although I have yet to find a studio in the city ( I am taking recommendations other than Core Power), I like to dive into my practice a couple times a week before bed or right when I wake up. This could be through movement or meditation. I have also been focusing on a lot of breathing methods to help clear my mind and be present.
  • Being with the ones I love: It’s honestly crazy how many of my friends and family live in the city. I absolutely love being able to call up a girlfriend and make plans to spend the day together. If we are walking around the city, chilling on the couch or catching dinner, the possibilities are endless! Not that I didn’t have friends when living in Detroit, but a majority of my close friends were living in Chicago. I had dinner with a close girlfriend the other night and she described Detroit-Gaby as a hermit. She went on to tell me how that wasn’t me and how social of a person I am and that this city is the perfect place for me to grow within my friendships and establish new ones. She is 100% right. I make sure to make plans with friends on a weekly basis. A couple of my friends and I get together once a month for a dinner at one’s apartment and try to grab drinks another night. It feels good to be surrounded by people who support you and your lifestyle. I am also lucky enough to be moving in with my Fiancé, because sometimes you just need a hug from someone you love.  (Shout out to all my wonderful friends who have been so supportive during this whole process. I am so lucky to have each and every one of you.)
  • Crystals, Tarot, Sage and Cedar: I’m witchy, I know, but hear me out: a women’s cycle rotates with the cycle of the moon. The earth is our mother and nature is our medicine. When I am looking to cleanse myself of negative thoughts and energies, I turn to cedar and sage burning. When I need answers, I read Tarot cards. If I need to reenergize, I turn to my crystals. We come from the earth and when we connect to the earth on a deeper level by meditating or cleansing ourselves, it is easier to feel more balanced and grounded. I feel more connected to myself whenever I use any of these things in my daily routine.
  • Journaling and planning: I like to keep a planner at my desk that I write in every day. I keep track of how my body and mind feels, what my skin looks like and what I am doing throughout the day. I like to keep a plan to know how to prepare myself for my weekly to-dos. Keeping a list and writing has helped me calm my anxious mind and stay on track of what needs to be done.
  • Living out my true self: Everyday I like to do something that makes me happy. That could be singing in the shower or listening to Bruce Springsteen. I try and do something that makes me feel like my true self. It’s tough being your own genuine person when you are constantly looking down at your phone or some kind of screen for most of the day. That’s why I think it is so important for myself to take a moment and somehow let myself know that I am proud of who I am, how far I have come and that I am excited for what the future holds.

These small little changes have helped me tremendously. I have noticed a positive improvement in my mood, my body and my feminine divinity. My skin has cleared up, I have regulated my digestive system, my period is no longer bouncing around and starts at the same time each month. I am happy in my relationship with other people but most importantly, myself. Overall, Cycle Syncing has helped me grow into the woman I am supposed to be. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I have become more conscience of my body and mind. I understand why my body is reacting a certain way and how to calm myself down before I fall into a full on anxiety attack. It has taken some time and it hasn’t been easy but the hard work has been rewarding.

I am currently looking for a naturopath in the city to update my hormonal panel but I have began to see where my hormone levels are and a gynecologist to check on my ovaries and ensure I have no other gynecological issues. I am also working with my acupuncturist on finding herbs and supplements that will promote a healthy gut and gynecological system. I will be sure to keep you up to date throughout my journey and share my story. If you think you are dealing with a hormone imbalance, I highly recommend speaking to your doctor about cycle syncing and natural remedies. Keep a journal and pay attention to what you eat and how your body reacts. Remember your body is always a work in progress and you should work hard to keep it in the best of shape.

If you do have a hormone imbalance, how do you regulate your hormones? Are you living a cycle syncing lifestyle? Please share below! I would love to hear any tips or suggestions you may have. If you found this blog helpful and would like me to write more, let me know!

 

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