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Month: July 2017

How To Manage PMS

 

train in west london

Do you dread the week before your period? How much do you dread it?

 

I used to count down the days, waiting for the familiar aches in my back, bloated belly and throughly grumpy mood.

 

I used to think all women suffered this way and that PMS was just a part of life that I had to accept.

 

I’m now here to assure you that it doesn’t need to be this way. You don’t need to suffer through your periods or the week before your period.

 

Here what I did:

1. Cycle monitoring:  I started to monitor my cycle by using a menstrual cycle tracking app to better understand my cycle and what symptoms I was experiencing at certain points in my cycle.

 

2. More anti-inflammatory foods: I increased the anti-inflammatory foods in my diet: fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, citrus fruit, wild salmon and at least 2L of water per day.

 

3. More vegetables, a bit more fruit: I gave myself the goal of eating at least 10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day – 7 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruit.

 

4. Sleep, sleep, sleep: I tried to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The more sleep you get, the better your body responds to insulin and the better your energy levels.

 

5. Less sugar, less alcohol: Excess sugar and alcohol create inflammation in the body (NB: inflammation is when your immune system over responds and remains switched on, usually due to an external stimulus) and inflammation drives many PMS symptoms.

 

6. Get moving: Light exercise, such as yoga, stretching, pilates and walking will reduce cortisol, the stress hormone and produce endorphins, one of the feel good hormones. Keeping cortisol at bay is really important because it can be a driver of inflammation. I tried to take at 8,000 – 10,000 steps a day in active walking and latent movement (you’d be surprised how much running you do when you’re chasing a three year old around the house!).

 

7. Support the liver: The liver is your body’s tool for detoxifying – it’s very important for women because your body uses the liver to break down oestrogen to a less potent form so it can be excreted in your daily bowel movement. I added lots of green, leafy vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower to my diet as these have compounds that support the liver’s detoxification process.

 

8. Poop everyday: Adding in fruit, veg and lots of water made sure I was able to have a bowel movement every morning, which is really important because this is the way the body gets rid of excess estrogen after it gets metabolised by the liver. Too much oestrogen can be a driver of PMS symptoms.

 

Have you tried any of these tips to manage your PMS? What’s worked for you?

 

Do you have PMS? Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your menstrual health & wellbeing.

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Food and anxiety.

boats in minorca

It’s has only been in the last six months that I’ve properly considered the role that food has played in exacerbating my anxiety.

When I eat badly – too much sugary food, too much bread and pasta – I can feel my anxiety building – that tight, clenched feeling in my belly that causes me to grind my teeth, ball my fists and look for the nearest exit.

Have you made the connection between what you eat and your anxiety? There is growing evidence to support the connection between nutrition and mental health – the connection between dietary quality and mental health.

It seems like a no-brainer: the way you eat affects the way you feel. But like me, it can take a while to make this connection, and once you do, eating well almost feels like a revolutionary act, the act of giving a shit about what you eat and drink and how they make you feel.

We eat three times a day, maybe more. Food is powerful stuff. It’s medicine, it’s nourishment, it’s therapy, it’s the way we fuel ourselves to do what we need to do. When you fill your body full of good stuff, you give it the nutrients – the vitamins, the minerals – it needs to keep you going, but also to keep you feeling good.

A diet lacking in important nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, omega-3s and vitamin B6 can have a knock on effect on mood. It means you won’t be able to produce enough of the feel good hormones like serotonin and melatonin and if you are an anxious person, this can make your symptoms worse.

What do you eat? Have you considered the effects of what you eat and drink and how it effects your emotional and mental wellbeing?

Don’t forget to breathe.

blooms

In those moments of anxiety and panic, when your mind is racing, your heart is beating at 100 miles an hour and you’re not sure if you can get through the next 10 minutes, let alone the rest of the day, just breathe.

Yes, this seems obvious, but is it something you do to help manage your anxiety?

Try this exercise:

Take a deep breath in through your nose for five seconds. Then out through your mouth for five seconds. And again. And again. And again.

Do this until you start to settle, your heartbeat slows down and you feel like you have a little more perspective on the situation that was troubling you.

Even though breathing is essential, most of us spend our days shallow breathing, taking short, shallow breaths that don’t really allow us to take in enough oxygen and breathe out enough carbon dioxide. And for those of us that suffer from anxiety, this shallow breathing can exacerbate moments of anxiety and panic.

Deep breathing allows us to move from the sympathetic nervous system, which is activated in ‘fight or flight’, high stress moments (frankly, this is the system most of us, with our busy, highly stressed lives tend to rely on) to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is activated in calm, ‘rest and digest’ moments.

Have you used breathwork to manage your anxiety? Has it helped?

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