Hormones 101: Progesterone

 

In the last post, I talked about estrogen, one of our two major female sex hormones.

 

Today, I’d like to have a closer look at progesterone, estrogen’s counterpart.

 

How much do you know about this essential female sex hormone? 

 

There’s often lots of discussion about estrogen, but not enough similar discussion about its partner hormone, progesterone.

 

Although progesterone is most closely associated with pregnancy and preparation for pregnancy, it is also important for a healthy menstrual cycle.

 

So what’s the deal with progesterone? 

 

The majority of progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, a little structure that comes from the follicle of the egg that was released. This helps prepare the body for pregnancy if the eggs gets fertilised.

 

We also produce progesterone in very small amounts in the ovaries & the adrenal glands. In pregnancy, the placenta also produces progesterone.

 

If you think back to the four phases of the menstrual cycle,  your progesterone levels don’t stay the same throughout. 

 

They’re generally at their highest point a few days after ovulation, the halfway point of our menstrual cycle. Your progesterone levels drop  if you don’t fertilise an egg and are at the lowest point on the first day of our periods.

 

If the woman doesn’t get pregnant that cycle, the corpus luteum disintegrates, progesterone drops, and this is the signal for a woman’s period to start.  

 

If a women does get pregnant, then progesterone will help the blood vessels on the lining of the womb grow and stimulate glands that will nourish the embryo with nutrients.

 

It also prepares the womb for the fertilised egg to implant and helps maintain the pregnancy, rising all the way until birth.

 

So what else does progesterone do for us? 

 

Its other major function is to help regulate the menstrual cycle, so you want it to be balanced with estrogen.

 

When you have too little or much, you can experience PMS symptoms such as mood swings, insomnia, bloating, blood sugar imbalance, anxiety, acne and cramps.  Check out my post on the 5 Types of PMS to learn more.

 

Do you notice the ups and downs of progesterone across your cycle? 

 

Have you noticed it dropping as you approach perimenopause and menopause?

 

If you have questions about progesterone  and feel like you don’t know what’s going on with your progesterone levels, get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.

 


Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

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Hormones 101: Estrogen

How much do you know about some of the hormones that drive your menstrual cycle?

 

They do so many things for us, yet can feel like a bit of a mystery, right?

 

Let’s take a step back and have a look at estrogen, one of a woman’s primary female hormones.

 

A quick note: when we talk about estrogen, we’re mainly talking about estrodiol, the form of estrogen produced by the ovaries. This form of estrogen drives puberty and our menstrual cycle all the way to menopause.   

 

There are two other forms of estrogen that are useful in different times of our lives: estrone (the dominant form of estrogen during menopause) and estriol (we have a high amount of this form of oestrogen when we’re pregnant).

 

Contrary to what many may think, estrogen is a wonderful hormone, responsible for so many body functions and events, from puberty, menstruation, perimenopause and menopause.

 

During our menstruating years, estrogen is mainly produced by a woman’s ovaries.

 

Did you know that women can also make estrogen in the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys, fat tissue and the placenta during pregnancy?

 

Our bodies are incredible, aren’t they?

 

It’s worth remembering with estrogen, we can have too little and we can have too much, so our body works hard to get the balance just right – similar to Goldilocks 😀

 

So what does estrogen do for us exactly? 

 

In puberty, estrogen helps our breasts and body hair begin to grow and and gives our bodies the signal that it’s time for periods to start.

 

During our menstruating years, estrogen is one of the four major hormones that control the menstrual cycle.

 

You might be surprised to learn that it also:

  • Affects our moods
  • Helps women have strong bones
  • Keeps our cholesterol levels under control: increasing HDL (the good cholesterol) and decreasing LDL (the bad cholesterol)

 

If you think back to the four phases of the menstrual cycle, it’s important to remember that your estrogen levels don’t stay the same throughout.

 

They’re generally at their highest point during ovulation, halfway through our menstrual cycles and at their lowest point on the first day of our periods.

 

This is why you might find that your moods are low right before or during your period and you might feel your best – your most energetic, sparkiest and brightest around the time of ovulation. Your libido will be its highest at this point too.

 

Do you notice the ups and downs of estrogen across your cycle?

 

Have you noticed it dropping as you approach perimenopause and menopause?

 

Do you have questions about estrogen and feel like you don’t know what’s going on with your estrogen levels, get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.


Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

 

Photo by Astro Nick on Unsplash

The 5 Types of PMS

5 Types of PMS

How do you feel in the week before your period?

 

Do you get a bit anxious?

 

Maybe a bit bloated or swollen?

 

Do you doubt yourself more or feel really down or depressed?

 

The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when PMS takes place, generally falls in the 7-10 days before a woman gets her period. This phase can feel very different, depending on the individual woman.

 

Do you want to know why?

 

We of course, need to consider different genetics, diet, lifestyles and backgrounds.

 

The other reason is that there are 5 different types of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). This means that while I might experience a bit of pain and breast tenderness, another woman might spend this time feeling a bit anxious, having cramps or craving sweets and cake.

 

Some women experience low energy, depression, headaches and bloating / swelling, while others find that their mood is all over the place and they feel teary one moment and angry the next.

 

This time in our cycle is when our estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest and any nutritional deficiencies or existing hormonal imbalances can make any PMS symptoms worse. 

 

Understanding the 5 types of PMS can help you get a better sense of what’s going on with your body during this time of the menstrual cycle. And then you can deal with whatever’s going on, rather than letting these symptoms completely take over every month.

 

PMS-P (Pain)

Let’s start with the first type: PMS-P – the P stands for pain 😱.

 

Many women experience pain during their periods, however with PMS-P, the week before their periods can see them experiencing some light cramps and a reduced pain threshold, which is why things might hurt a little bit more in the week before your period (like stubbing your toe!) or you might feel a bit crampy, even though you don’t have your period.

 

PMS-A (Anxiety)

For some women, hormonal fluctuations and nutrient deficiencies can lead to an increase in feelings of anxiety, nervousness, moodiness and irritability in the 7-10 days before their period arrives. 

 

Some women describe really strong feelings of self-doubt and an unusual tendency to second guess themselves during this time of their cycle. 

 

PMS-C (Cravings)

Chocolate, crisps, biscuits, candy, sweets – no, I’m not opening up a sweet shop! These are very common cravings that women tend to get in the week before their periods. 

 

If you have this form of PMS, you might find that you have an increase in appetite, and you want more sweets (hello, chocolate!) or savoury foods. 

 

Some women also feel more tired or dizzy and then need to eat something to get their  blood sugar levels back under control.

 

PMS-D (Depression)

If you have this type of PMS, the week before your period starts might be a rollercoaster of crying, insomnia, forgetfulness and confusion.

 

At its worst, women who experience this type of PMS withdraw from the world and may have suicidal thoughts.

 

If you feel like this, I urge you not to suffer in silence. It’s okay to ask for help and to share how you feel!

 

PMS-H (Hyperhydration)

Bloating and swollen fingers are other common PMS symptoms and fall into PMS-H.

 

If you have this type of PMS, you could get anything from a feeling of being a bit bloated around the middle, to a puffier look in your face and hands to very tender breasts (mastalgia). You might even gain up to 1-2kg of water weight. 

 

Most women tend to have a few of these different types of PMS. Which ones do you have?

 

There’s really no one sized fits all when it comes to PMS – what I experience is very different to what some of my friends experience.

 

And here’s the truth: PMS isn’t inevitable and it isn’t something we need to accept as a part of our monthly cycles. Yes, really!

 

Cravings, anxiety, depression, bloating, swelling and pain are all signs from your body that something is out of balance. It could be a hormonal imbalance, a nutrient deficiency or an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
 

So where to start if you’re experiencing these things?

 

Firstly, take a look at your diet.

 

Are you eating enough leafy greens? Brassicas such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts? Are you constipated? Drinking enough water?

 

Keeping a food diary and looking at what you’re eating and what you’re not eating is a great starting point to beginning to fix PMS.
 

If you have questions or simply don’t know where to start, get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.


Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.
 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

I Tried It: Seed Cycling For Hormone Balance

pumpkin and sunflower seeds for hormone balance

Do you feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster throughout your menstrual cycle?

Do you suffer from mood swings, acne, fatigue and nausea in the week before you get your period?

Maybe it’s time to try seed cycling to address this hormone imbalance.

Despite specialising in this area and helping my clients improve their menstrual and hormone health, I realised a few months ago that I had to address my own hormone health. You see, I was ashamed of the hormonal acne I would get like clockwork in the week before my period. I thought to myself, “how dare I give my clients advice, when I’m struggling with the same things myself!?!”

Hormone acne is a sign of imbalance between progesterone and estrogen, so I decided to try seed cycling as a way to bring my hormones back into balance.

seed cycling to support hormone balance

If you’re new to seed cycling, or wondering about the detail behind it, here’s a great guide that I’ve written up.

In a nutshell, even though your menstrual cycle is split into 4 phases, the main principle behind seed cycling is splitting your cycle into two – day 1 – 15 (with day 1 starting on the first day of your period) and 16 – 28 (or however long your cycle actually is).

In the first part of your cycle, you’ll be taking a tablespoon of flax seed and a tablespoon of pumpkin seed each day. This supports estrogen production.

In the second half of your cycle, you’ll be supporting progesterone production by taking a tablespoon of sunflower seeds and a tablespoon of sesame seeds each day.

Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it?

I decided to add the seeds into my morning smoothie so that it would be easy to integrate into my morning routine and I wouldn’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.  Luckily, I had all the seeds already on hand in my kitchen cupboard, so I moved them to my kitchen counter so I would remember to add them to my morning smoothie.

So far, I’ve been doing seed cycling for three cycles, and it’s taken 3 cycles to see any difference in my skin. I have to admit that when I continued to breakout after the first round of seed cycling, I was very disappointed. I decided to keep going, knowing that it takes time and patience to bring balance back to sex hormones.

So I plunged into the next round of seed cycling, which by this point, had become a habit. As long as I had my morning smoothie, adding the seeds was an automatic action that I didn’t need to think too much about.

Cue my disappointment, when my next luteal phase arrived and so did the pimples on my chin and around the lower right hand side of my mouth and cheek.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

I looked at my skin in the mirror this morning and realised that my usual luteal phase spots hadn’t appeared. And I did a little cartwheel of joy inside!

I’m taking a wait and see approach to the seed cycling and will probably continue to do it for at least three more menstrual cycles to continue to balance my hormones and support my skin health.

Would you try seed cycling to support hormone balance, skin health and your menstrual cycle?

Are you ready to make a positive change to your health? Do you want to talk more about ways to improve your hormone and menstrual health? Get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.

Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating.

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause. 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle!

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

Exercise and your menstrual cycle.

exercise and the menstrual cycle

Have you ever thought about how your cycle affects the way you exercise?

 

The highs and lows of hormones means that at certain times in your cycle it’s better to slow things down and do very light, gentle exercise. And at other times in your cycle, you feel full of energy and ready to take on the world.

 

Menstrual Phase

 

Do you notice a difference in the way you feel about exercise during your menstrual cycle?

 

I do.

 

During the first few days of my period, I usually stick to light and gentle yoga sessions, because I find that anything else leaves me feeling totally drained afterwards, which is the opposite of how I want to feel after I work out!

 

Follicular Phase

 

I notice a huge difference in my energy levels as soon as I finish my period.

 

Do you?

 

My energy skyrockets (along with my estrogen and progesterone levels) and I feel ready to take on the world!

 

It’s during this time of my cycle, I like to try new types of exercises, new classes, new instructors and new yoga flows. I find that I’m much more open to trying new things and the energy I have helps me retain new information.

 

Ovulation

 

There’s a point in our cycles where we feel so full of energy, like we can conquer the world!

 

Can you relate to this?

 

This is usually happens around day 14-16 of our menstrual cycles when we ovulate. We’re at the peak of our powers and it’s the point when our estrogen and progesterone levels are at their highest.

 

This is the time in our cycles when it’s great to go hell for leather into your hardest, most challenging class, turn the dial up to the hardest you’ve ever gone in your spin class or add a bit of extra weight in the gym.

 

Luteal Phase

 

Do you ever feel a bit sluggish and tired in the week before your period? As estrogen and progesterone start to drop, so do our energy levels.

 

This is the time when you might feel a bit moody, bloated and your skin might breakout a bit.

 

During this time in my cycle, I try not to push myself, unless I’m really feeling up to it.

 

Instead, I focus on restorative yoga flows, lots of slow paced sun salutations and brisk walking (I can’t get away from walking, living in London!).

 

The peaks and troughs of our hormones and how they connect to our energy levels show how important it is for us to listen to our bodies and not force ourselves to exercise that our bodies aren’t ready for that particular day.

 

Do you want to talk more about your menstrual cycle and getting control of any hormonal issues that are stopping you from exercising and leading a life full of energy? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

Eating for your menstrual cycle

eating for your menstrual cycle

 

Since I started tracking my period a few years ago, I’ve become much more aware of the different phases of my period, the dips in my energy and mood and what I can eat to support my hormones in each phase.

 

Menstrual Phase

The menstrual phase is when many of us feel super low with less energy and cramps and pain, to boot. During this time, I love eating lots of iron rich foods like grass-fed organic beef and lamb, dark leafy greens, chickpeas and lentils to rebuild my iron levels and lots of vitamin C foods like citrus, berries, peppers and broccoli to help absorb the iron from the iron-rich vegetables. 

 

I continue to eat lots of good fats to fight any sugar (chocolate!!!) cravings.

 

Do you notice a difference in what you eat in the week of your period?

 

Follicular Phase 

This usually happens for a week after your period ends.  This is the time in your cycle when you feel amazing, with great, glowing skin and loads of energy. Can anyone relate to this?

 

I love eating lots of leafy greens, flax, pumpkin, beetroot, chilli, watermelon and oily fish during this time of my cycle to support hormone clearance, blood circulation and give my immune system a boost.

 

Do you notice a difference in what you eat (and crave!) in the week after you finish your period?

 

Ovulatory Phase 

Yes, this phase is still important even when we’re not trying to get pregnant! The menstrual cycle has been called the fifth vital sign and ovulation is a sign that things are working as they should.

 

So what do you eat to support your body when you ovulate? Well, eating a diet rich in fruit and veg, free-range meat and dairy, wild fish and some whole grains will support ovulation – this is something that’s helpful through your cycle.

 

Vitamin D foods like mushrooms, wild salmon, sardines, organic milk and eggs  and a variety of fruit and veg in a range of colours have loads of antioxidants and phytonutrients that help support the immune system during this phase.

 

Luteal Phase 

My luteal phase, which is at the end of my cycle, right before my period, is when I need lots of healthy fats to support skin health and prevent the breakouts that are so common during this time. I also eat lots of magnesium and tryptophan foods to help support my mood – avocado, wild salmon, sesame and sunflower seeds are great during this time.

 

Would you eat for your cycle? For some, this is too much detail, so here’s a few basic food principles that will support your cycle no matter what phase you’re in.

 

  1. Eat lots of vegetables every day, especially green leafy and cruciferous vegetables. 
  2. Eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.
  3. Drink lots of water.
  4. Eat and drink fermented foods.
  5. Eat wild caught fish a few times a week.
  6. Be mindful about the way you eat sugar and drink caffeine and alcohol.

 

Do you eat to support your cycle? Would you try it?
Are you feeling perplexed by your cycle? Do you want to finally get to grips with period pain, mood swings and sugar cravings? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

 

Natural ways to manage mental health

Le'Nise Brothers yoga self care

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK and it’s so important that we continue to have these important conversations about mental health and wellbeing.

 

I know what it’s like to be depressed, anxious and have that feeling that you’re never going to get past it. I now know it’s possible to do this and I do a lot to manage my mental health and wellbeing. That means being vigilant about what I eat & drink, how I exercise, who I let into my life and having an active practice of self-care. I take things day by day.

 

I never used to talk about this side of me, thinking there was something shameful about my anxiety and depression, like I needed to hide it in order to present my best self to the world. Campaigns like this are important because it takes away the stigma and shows that talking about mental health matters.

 

What about you? Are you comfortable talking about your mental health?

 

The impact of food and alcohol on mental health

 

What we eat and what we drink (and what we don’t eat & drink) can have a huge effect on our moods and mental wellbeing.

 

Alcohol, for example, can affect our mental health simply because it depletes B vitamins and these are what we use to produce serotonin, our happy hormone. This is the ‘hangxiety’ that some of us experience after a few drinks.

 

Food can also help us manage our moods. Getting lots of veg, especially leafy greens and cruciferous veg helps feed the good bacteria in our gut and it’s this good bacteria that helps produce serotonin (that wonderful happy hormone!)

 

Yoga, yoga, yoga! 

 

Okay, you might read this part of the post and think I’m a bit biased. Yes, it’s true that I love yoga (I do at least 30 minutes every day!) and I start my yoga teacher training in two weeks time. BUT it really is beneficial.

 

Research shows that yoga can help us better regulate our response to stressful situations and can decrease our heart rate, blood pressure and how quickly we breath in and out.

 

It’s true that yoga can never stop anxiety and depression. However, the research shows and what I know from my personal experience, is that it’s an incredible way to proactively manage mental health and manage symptoms when they crop up.

 

I’ve been leaning on my yoga pretty hard recently, in both the physical and breath practice, in order to help manage the anxiety that a pretty wild family situation has caused. The simple act of being in the flows of the different poses helps my brain shut off and adding in the breathing helps calm me down and bring some perspective. I take my breath work into the rest of my day and it helps a lot.

 

Have you seen the benefits of yoga on your mental health? 

 

Try meditation

 

In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to add in a few minutes of meditation after each yoga practice. I do shavasana and then I go into my meditation pose. On my Instagram StoriesI’ve been calling what I do #reallifemeditation because for me, there isn’t a perfect meditation scenario. It’s about trying to squeeze it in where I can, in my day to day life, and trying not to let my mind wander too much.

 

I got an amazing message from one of my nutrition colleagues, which put what I’m trying to do in perspective. She shared something her dad said to her about meditation: it’s not about having an absence of thought, but merely observing your thoughts and letting them be.

 

So when I meditated earlier this week and thought about whether Meghan Markle was doing okay, whether she does yoga with her mom, remembering to floss before I went to the dentist, these were all thoughts that I now just need to observe, rather than stressing out that I can’t empty my mind.

 

Studies show that mindful meditation that incorporates breath work helps reduce noradrenaline, one of our stress hormones. So whether you can meditate for 30 seconds or 30 minutes, it’s can become a wonderful part of your mental health toolbox to help manage anxiety and depression.

 

Would you try meditating?

 

Get into the sun

 

Do you ever feel a bit anxious or depressed and then suddenly feel your mood lift a bit once you head outside into the sun? Some of that could be vitamin D!

 

Vitamin D is an incredible hormone (no, it’s not actually a vitamin!) that helps improve mood, build strong bones and support our immune system. We have vitamin D receptors on many of the cells in our bodies and the easiest (and cheapest way!) to get it is from the sun! ☀

 

Research shows that vitamin D plays an important role in regulating mood and keeping depression at bay, which explains why many of us feel a little bit better when we’ve got a bit of sun.

 

During the winter, it’s important to get your levels tested at your GP or privately to know how much you need to supplement. During late spring and summer, get outside into the sun! Just 10 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) is all it takes to keep your vitamin D levels topped up!

 

Do you notice a difference in your mood when you’ve been in the sun?

Do you track your menstrual cycle?

Do you track your menstrual cycle?

 

As you would expect, I’m a huge advocate of this. Our menstrual cycles have been called the fifth vital sign and when you keep track of it, you can get so much amazing information about:

  • the length of your cycle (not every woman has a 30 day cycle!)
  • the length and heaviness of your menstrual bleed
  • when you start experiencing PMS symptoms such as low moods, bloating, acne, headaches and cramps
  • when you ovulate
  • any peaks and troughs in energy and mood during your cycle
  • when to expect your period

 

All this information will help you start to become more in tune to your body. You start to understand why you might be feeling down, when you’re more energetic and how certain food and exercise affect you.

 

Even if your period arrives like clockwork every month, it’s still good to track your cycle so that you know if anything changes. You’ll also understand so many other things about your cycle, including what I’ve listed above.

 

There are so many women who like clockwork, feel full of self-doubt a few days each month. Tracking menstrual cycles helps understand exactly when this is happening (most likely in the luteal phase right before you start to menstruate) and once you are aware of this, you can then do something about it!

 

We don’t have to accept the narrative of pain and emotional upheaval being a normal part of having a period, because it doesn’t have to be this way! Yes, really!

 

Here are a few apps that many of my clients have found useful for tracking their cycles:

Clue

Eve

My Period Calendar

Flo

 

Do you track your cycle? What have you learned from tracking your cycle?

 

Are you feeling perplexed by your cycle? Do you want to finally get to grips with period pain, mood swings and sugar cravings? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

 

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Want to start running? Here’s a guide on how to do it!


 
The lovely Dorota from Isleworth Running Club has written a post to help anyone who’s thinking about starting to run with all the things you need to know. 

 

Commit!

In my opinion, nothing happens for us until we actually commit. You have to really make a conscious decision that this is what you want to do. Once this is clear in your mind and in your heart, you won’t hesitate about going for a run the next time it rains. Understand your WHY, commit, pick a start date and tell everyone about it. Hopefully, you won’t want to disappoint them.
 

Find Running Buddy or Join A Running Club

Most people will need some additional motivation to start running and to keep at it. One of the best methods is to find a running buddy. Ideally, someone at a similar level to you. You can then go through the journey together and share your highs and lows with each other. Or join a running club. They are full of people who are passionate about running and will do a lot to support you.
 

Running Apps

It might just happen that you will not be able to find a buddy or a running club. Nowadays, there are multitude of running apps which you can use in different ways to stay focused. You can collect distance badges/medals and setting up a weekly/monthly goal is an option. Some runners join virtual runs. Some apps have commentary and can crack jokes during your run which makes the whole experience a bit more fun. Just figure out what suits you best.
 

Running Shoes and Clothes

You can start with a cheaper pair of running shoes but my advice is – go to a shop and try them on. Rather than just looking pretty on your feet, your shoes should fit well and be slightly bigger than your standard walking shoes to avoid blisters or losing your toenails. No one can criticise you for going on a run in a cotton T-shirt and many people do just that. If you tend to sweat a lot and you often run in a cooler weather, you should consider a polyester running top. It will dry much faster and you won’t feel cold after the run. If you’re a woman you should invest in a sports bra. Trust me, it’s worth it.
 

User Training Plan

The most popular training plan for beginners is Couch to 5k (c25k). It involves a 5min warm-up, 20 to 25 min walking/jogging intervals and a 5 min cool down, 3 days a week. There is a day or two of rest in between for your body to recover. Each week, you increase the jogging and reduce the walking. This method is great because it splits your main goal into manageable chunks. Every week, you get a sense of achievement. If you don’t manage to keep up with the schedule, then repeat a week if necessary. If you feel like it’s too easy start from week 2 or 3 but always remember to have a rest day in between.
 

Pre & Post Run Advice

Firstly, your meal before the run should include some carbohydrates and some protein. If you have a substantial meal, then make sure you have it 2 hours before the run or 1 hour before in case of a lighter meal.
 
Secondly, warm up before the run by doing a few minutes of brisk walking. You are then less likely  to get out of breath too quickly or get a stitch.
 
Thirdly, cooling down after helps you lower your heart rate and slow down your breathing gradually so you avoid feeling dizzy. Also, when you keep moving after the run it helps your lymphatic system to get rid of lactic acid from your muscles.
 
Fourthly, do some stretches of your quads, hip flexors, calves and hamstrings to prevent cramps, relax muscles and makes them more flexible.
 
Finally, have some protein after then run to help your body recover and be ready for the next challenge.

 

Thanks, Dorota!

 

Are you inspired? Check out the Isleworth Running Club for their runs for runners of all levels. 

Photo by Roman Koester on Unsplash

Managing endometriosis pain

Did you know that a significant amount of endometriosis pain is driven by inflammation? And this inflammation is typically at its worst in the week you have your period. If you have endo, you won’t be surprised by this at all, right?

 

What do I mean by inflammation? 

 

Inflammation is the body’s attempt at protecting itself by removing something it perceives to be harmful and allowing healing to begin. It is part of the body’s immune response and is initially beneficial when it happens over a short period of time.

 

However, long-term (chronic) inflammation can be detrimental to the body.  Chronic inflammation can occur from an autoimmune response, where the body’s immune system mistakes healthy tissue for something harmful and attacks it.

 

For women with endometriosis, food and supplements can be a very powerful way to reduce inflammation, which can then lead to a reduction in pain levels too.

 

This isn’t a quick fix, mind, but can work really well in the long term.

 

Research shows that turmeric can be an especially powerful way of reducing endometrial pain and inflammation through its very powerful compound, curcumin. Magnesium, fish oils and castor oil packs can help too.

 

Okay, I hear what you’re saying – I need help now!

 

In times when endometriosis pain is at its worst, painkillers can be extremely helpful, especially in instances of severe pain.  It’s worth bearing in mind that research shows that long term use of painkillers can have negative effects on liver function and on the lining of the stomach.

 

With my clients with endometriosis, we take a long and short term approach, looking at diet and supplements to reduce inflammation and pain in the long term, as well as practical ways to reduce pain in the short term.

 

What can I eat to help reduce endometriosis inflammation and pain? 

 

Diet can make a huge difference in managing the inflammation that happens with endometriosis. I always recommend adding in foods that can help you reduce inflammation over the long term.

 

I’ve already talked about turmeric and its wondrous compound, curcumin.

 

Eating lots of green leafy and cruciferous vegetables is helpful too, as these foods help your body remove the excess estrogen that is a hallmark of endometriosis.

 

They also help you empty your bowels regularly, which is an important way for your body to remove excess hormones. If you’re constipated (i.e not emptying your bowels at the very minimum, once a day), there is an increased risk of the excess estrogen being recycled back into the body, which for endometriosis sufferers, can exacerbate your symptoms and increase inflammation and pain. Having a healthy bowel movement in the morning, before breakfast, is a great way to support your body and reduce endometriosis and other symptoms of excess estrogen, including PMS, period pain and mood swings.

 

The research also shows that a higher intake of fruit, especially citrus fruit, can reduce the risk of  endometriosis further developing.

 

If you have endometriosis, have you used food as a way of managing your symptoms?

 

Do you want help improving endometriosis pain? My short e-book, ‘Six Ways To Fix Your Period Pain‘ will give you practical tips to change your period for the better.

What are the best foods to support good thyroid health?

To round out the thyroid health series, let’s look at how we can eat to support our thyroids!

 

Making sure you have enough zinc, iodine and selenium in your diet are key ways of supporting your thyroid health.

 

Including lots of fruit and vegetables, including cooked greens, brazil nuts, eggs, beetroot, chickpeas and lentils, grass fed organic red meat and dairy and wild-caught seafood will help.

 

Notice a theme?

 

Essentially, if you’re eating a diet that includes 7-10 portions of fruit and vegetables that are a mix of cooked and raw, nuts & seeds, high quality meat & dairy and wild-caught seafood, you’re well on your way to eating for good thyroid health!

 

Do you want to know about your thyroid health? Book in a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review with me! 

 

Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash 

Let’s talk about endometriosis!

What is endometriosis?

 

Endometriosis is one of the most common chronic hormonal disorders affecting women in reproductive age, affecting up to 10% of women.

 

Endometriosis has been described as an autoimmune condition where endometrial tissue typically grows on the outside of the uterus instead of on the inside. The tissue is most commonly found around the organs in the pelvis, but can grow anywhere on the body, turning into growths and lesions in the intestines, bladder, rectum, even as far up as the nose!

 

Endometrial tissue typically responds to the changes in our hormones across each phase of our cycle, as it would if it was in our uterus. Endometriosis sufferers usually have excess estrogen in relation to progesterone, which drives the ongoing hormonal imbalance.

 

The primary symptoms are pelvic pain and infertility, as well as painful periods, painful sex and painful urination.

 

There are four stages of severity to endometriosis; ranging from stage one: minimal endometriosis to stage four: severe endometriosis. The level of severity depends on the number, size and location of adhesions and endometrial tissue.

 

Diagnosis is usually done through a surgical laparoscopy.

 

Getting a diagnosis

 

Did you know that it can take up to 7.5 years and sometimes even 10 years to get a full endometriosis diagnosis?

 

It’s so important for women to feel confident about advocating for themselves in medical situations and empowered to ask the right questions so that we get the answers and diagnosis we deserve.

 

Pain is not normal and is a sign that something is wrong. If you’re experiencing pain, never let someone tell you that it’s all in your head! You know your body best!

 

Endometriosis pain can be severe and it can be systemic, with inflamed endometrial tissue appearing outside of the uterus.

 

If a doctor tries to minimise your pain, then get a second, third or fourth opinion. Do what it takes to get a medical professional that will listen to you, take what you say seriously and help you find the answers you need and deserve.

 

Do your research. Knowledge is power and will help you advocate for better health outcomes.

 

Keep track of how you feel and your pain levels, so you’re armed with evidence that will help you fight your corner.

 

Most of all, be relentless in your pursuit of good health.

 

Do you want help improving endometriosis pain? My short e-book, ‘Six Ways To Fix Your Period Pain‘ will give you practical tips to change your period for the better.

 

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash