Photo Credit: @mthurk
I am going to link a fab little article here that excites me. The excitement stems from research that is being done to help those whom menstruate (or once did) become more knowledgable about how to fuel and train in supportive ways to their cycle. If this is all a new topic to you, research is suggesting that based on where you are in your cycle, your training should shift to reflect such, as should your nutrient intake, be it calories or specific nutrients.
What commonly happens is that women tend to not eat enough. We have been told that we should avoid carbs, little fat, not get too much protein as it'll make us 'bulky'. We then constantly think about food and feel like we are dragging ass all day long, and especially in our workouts. I have had many a client come to me on a 1200 calorie diet, and truthfully, for many women, there's just no way that's going to be sustainable, especially if you are doing my workouts and running around town hiking all the things!
In relation to this, many women, myself 100% included, will then binge as we are ravenous. I went through many years of this cycle and truthfully every once in a while wind up binging as I just didn't consume enough throughout the day. The difference these days is that I am not intentionally eating less than I need. We have all been there, where you pack a lunch/food for the day and either forget something or your day gets extended, leaving you with less than what you need.
How do we provide ourselves with a solid foundation of nourishment that fuels our bodies for our daily activities and supports our overall health, specifically supporting a healthy menstrual cycle?
First, find out if you are getting enough calories. Tracking can be triggering for some individuals, so if that is you, you can have more of an intuitive approach without knowing exact numbers and monitoring yourself in case you become obsessive. How many calories do you need? You can have a baseline idea by calculating your BMR, which I will link a calculator here. Your BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate, and is the amount of calories/energy your body needs just to stay alive-heart pumping, breathing, blood circulating. This calculator will tell you your BMR and then has a guide next to it to accommodate for your activity level (job/workouts/etc).
After you have established that you are in fact getting enough calories, I suggest assessing if you feel energized or still drained, just checking in with yourself. The next tweak would be to your macronutrients: carbs, proteins, fats. I mentioned My Plate in a previous post and I have been loving this free app for tracking and for it's ability to calculate my macros.
You would then add in supplements to make the picture complete, if necessary. I add in protein powder to help me reach my goals and I also use quite a few supplements to support my overall health- hormones included.
I want to encourage you to trust yourself, to have faith that you can examine your nourishment and not judge yourself. You can be in choice and choose to compassionately look at your eating habits without going down the rabbit hole. The way to empowerment is knowledge. If your energy and workouts are dragging, take a peak at your nutrition. See if you are consuming enough calories. Want help with any of this? Just reach out. I can offer a helping hand + support. I also have others in my network who can also help (hello Alyssa Troob, RDN).