As referenced in the About Me section – I’ve struggled with my menstrual cycle for many years. Pretty much from the moment I started having a period it has been difficult and I wished it would just go away. The amount of cramping I experienced was beyond anything I could’ve imagined.
I remember having one particularly bad cycle in jr high. I was in my room, screaming, crying and pacing because…pain. My mom, after the remedies we already had at home proved useless, decided she needed to run to the store for Midol. When she told my dad, he promptly volunteered to go to the store for her. Poor guy, he was out of his element (His mom was the only woman in his house growing up and I’m the first of his 3 girls so he was really new to this) and probably didn’t want to be left alone with me. The Midol worked miracles…that time! GO MOM!
The was the early part of my journey into womanhood and the start of an ongoing battle with my lady parts. Fast forward 15 years, several doctors, tons of lab tests, many missed school and work days, at least 7 hormonal birth control ‘remedies’, and far too many tears, bouts of anxiety and depression, missed periods, conversations about my body hating me, pain pill cocktails, miserable cycles to count, etc (because the list of symptoms grew and changed over the years)…I’ve started taking matters into my own hands.
Battle of Katrina vs Her Hormones: Round 2. We’ll name this chapter of the journey: “forget the doctors and their stupid synthetic hormones, I’m going rogue!”
Last year I discovered Alisa Vitti and the FLO protocol. Her MyFLO App and WomanCode book are about regulating your hormones through food. Alisa is a Functional Nutritionist and Hormone Expert. I only began this protocol in March 2017 but here’s what I’ve discovered thus far:
How Does It Work?
She basically teaches you how to utilize food to help your body process your hormones effectively to treat and eventually prevent your symptoms of PMS. You begin with a 4-day detox. It is not one of those where you are only allowed to drink juice or anything crazy. There’s actual food involved. And just like that, I was sold! You get 3 meals a day plus snacks, as needed, and you have a few different options of what those meals can look like.
Following the detox, there is a list she gives broken up by the 4 parts of your cycle. You simply eat more of the foods in the section that corresponds with where you are in your cycle (or, for those with missing periods, start anywhere and cycle the foods weekly to initiate and regulate period).
Does It Work?
Short answer: YES!
So, let me be real with yall here…I’m terrible at following meals plans/diets. Doctors have suggested I try a number of diets to aid in reducing my symptoms but I like food WAAAAYYYY too much and each time I was miserable. However, I enjoy this protocol because it is different from a diet. She doesn’t tell you to eliminate all of a particular food (unless you know your body doesn’t react well to it. For me…dairy is a no go.) and you don’t have to follow her protocol precisely to see results. The detox is more strict but that is only 4 days and I could basically eat as much as I needed so that made it bearable.
I started with the detox then waited several weeks before starting the protocol. Look…I told y’all diets are hard for me. In any case, my first period after the detox was already better than normal. My cramping wasn’t as intense and I didn’t have so much anxiety or sadness before and during my period. When I started the actual protocol I began with just the fruits and vegetables on the list as it was easier to start small. Even now I don’t eat strictly what is on the list but I check the list before shopping and try to build my meals around it.
Although I’m not following the protocol precisely I’ve noticed the following changes in the 3 months since I started:
- Less depression and anxiety throughout my cycle (I’m getting out of bed, not sleeping as much, making it to work more regularly, not isolating as much, not feeling like I’m on the verge of panic attacks, fewer crying spells, etc.)
- Less cramping during my menstrual phase
- Significant decrease in breast tenderness
- Less bloating and for shorter periods of time
- Weight loss (possibly just do to the decrease in bloating because it is all in my stomach – I’m thin yet over the last few years I’ve gained more weight in my midsection)
- Less nausea and other digestive issues around my menstrual phase
- More regular periods (One every month since I started and before this…well, let’s just say 3 or more in 1 year was rare. I once went 11 months without one but that’s a story for another day…)
It is still new but I’d feel better than I have in years so I’ll keep at it. For now, I highly recommend picking up her book and/or checking out her website, even if you don’t have really tough periods. She provides a great deal of information every woman should know about how her body works and after only 3 months I’m convinced she knows her stuff! I’ll keep y’all updated as I continue this process.
In Perfect Love,