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How to balance your hormones and the best way to monitor your period.

This is a collaboration with Seed App, our fave period tracking app! 

We’ve both put our bodies and minds through hell and back thanks to dieting and negative body image. From age 11 – 22 I was obsessed with losing weight and looking a certain way. In 2012 when we both went on a crazy 12-week body sculpting diet (I borrowed it from a friend) we both lost just over 10 kilos each. Along with those kilos… we lost our periods and all traces of energy. Not to mention we got pretty damn sick of eating chicken and broccoli every day. 

At the time I didn’t really care that my period disappeared. I thought yay, I don’t have to deal with my period. It wasn’t until we started Merrymakers and researching more that I began to understand how important periods and hormones are, how they affect pretty much EVERYTHING and why it’s so important to balance our hormones.

They should really teach you this stuff in high school.

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It took me a good 3 1/2 years to FINALLY get my period regular again and now every time it comes on the right day (or within 1-2 days of the right day), I think hell yeah, I’m healthy AF.

First things first let’s get the basics of why it’s so important to balance our hormones (because maybe you’re still on the fence about whether they matter… they do! They really do!). 

We chatted with our good friend Belinda Kirkpatrick to get some answers for you. Belinda is an expert Nutritionist and Naturopath and she specialises in natural fertility, family and women’s health care, so she knows her stuff when it comes to hormones. 

She’s also one of our experts for the Get Merry 21 Day Challenge!

Why is it so important to balance our hormones?

“Hormonal balance is essential for optimal health and wellness. When one hormone is in excess or deficiency, your health will be affected. Our hormones affect so much of our physical, mental and emotional health. So hormonal balance is essential.

While we have over 100 hormones, I focus particularly on the female reproductive hormones where the most common imbalances are found between oestrogen and progesterone. It is these imbalances that cause so many of the niggling problem symptoms you might be having that are not necessarily considered a medical problem but impact on your health and wellbeing on a monthly basis.”

Ok cool, we’re all on the same page now and agree it’s bloody important to focus on balancing our hormones. But I bet what you really wanna know is the how-to. I’m right there with you, I want action steps I can take right now to put me on track. So I asked Belinda…

How can we balance our hormones? 

“When balancing hormones, it is ideal to understand which hormones are in relative excess or deficiency to other hormones but there are some simple things you can start to do daily to promote general balance (ooo yes, that’s exactly what I want to know!)…

  • To assist with optimal oestrogen excretion, eat 2-3 cups of broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, fennel, kale, spinach and brussel sprouts most days.
  • Avoid heating food in any form of plastic, plastic food wrap and plastic water bottles. These are major sources of environmental oestrogens.
  • Aim to drink 2-3 cups of liver-friendly herbal teas most days. Include nettle, dandelion root or leaf, globe artichoke and St Mary’s Thistle.

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  • Aim to drink 2L of filtered water every day.
  • Take a relaxing and detoxifying bath by adding 1 cup of Epsom salts to the water. Do this for at least 15 minutes twice weekly to detoxify, relax and allow the magnesium from the salts to absorb through the skin.
  • Prioritise getting 8 hours sleep every night.
  • Avoid sugar as much as possible – sugar and caffeine really are the enemies of happy hormones!”

Oh I’m a bit sad about that last one but totally agree and can feel the caffeine do some crazy sh1t to my body and head. I gotta keep to 1 coconut milk flat white a day. New goal for 2017! Boom.

Now that you know why and how to start to balance your hormones my other hack for you is to keep track. Not just of your period but also any symptoms you might be having when it comes to hormones. 

Thankfully, I’ve found the BEST period tracking app ever and if you haven’t got it, you should get it right away! It’s called Seed.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

It’s been a game changer for me and it’s freaking easy to use (yay to both!).  

Why I’m loving the Seed App (and you will too)…

Easy tracking calendar

Finally a tracking calendar that is easy-as to use. I’ve tried a bazillion (ok maybe 4) that confused the heck out of me and I could never find my previous period to check if it was ‘on time’. Seed makes it easy to track the length and flow of your period, plus projects when you’re next one is due. Yay!

Monitor symptoms and easy action steps to help

On the calendar you can add in symptoms like bloating (me), irritability (me, sorry), acne, cramps, insomnia, dizziness and more. Once you add them as symptoms, you get actions to take to help reduce them! I love this, usually I’d just ‘push through’ but now I’m inspired to take these little action steps to help my body even more.

Tells you when you’re fertile

Ok! This is freaking awesome for people who wanna have babies and also those of us who are like… ok cool, now I know when not to have sex! The app tells you your estimated ovulation date and your fertile days. 

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Recipes and extra info

The Seed app has a bunch of hormone balancing recipes annnnd what to eat during your cycle annnnd info on supplements too! Seriously #notjustaperiodtracker

The last question you’re probably thinking is how do I know if this is me? How do I know if my hormones aren’t balanced?!

Good question! I asked Belinda this too…

“Hormonal imbalance can create so many different symptoms for different people – common symptoms to look out for include:

  • period cycles shorter than 25 days or longer than 33 days in length
  • very heavy or very light menstrual bleeds
  • spotting before your period or during mid-cycle
  • PMS: mood swings
  • fluid retention
  • period pain
  • easy weight gain
  • fatigue
  • low libido
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • breakouts
  • breast tenderness.”

Annnnd, if you do have any of these symptoms remember to get started on the 7 steps to balance your hormones above! Start with just one (like the 2L water a day one #easy!) and keep trying more! 

You’ll be well on your way to balanced hormones in no time! If not, I totally recommend seeing a naturopath, we’ve both seen naturopaths who have played huge roles in helping us reach optimal health and happiness. 

Let me know if you add any of these super easy ways to balance your hormones to your every day, I’d LOVE to hear from you.

Always merrymaking,

Carla

P.s feature image and tea image from Unsplash