We are coming off the highest of highs of our cycle. Ovulation is easy for most of us as we have energy, enjoy socializing, elevated libido, and sky high confidence. As with any cycle, we will need to come down from that. Diving right in so we can cater to your biology. The Luteal Phase is often broken up into 2 parts because it is a major transition coming from Ovulation and getting us to Menstruation. During the first half of Luteal Phase, we still have the energy and motivation to finish up projects we started, move our bodies, and collaborate in our relationships. During the second half of Luteal Phase, we start to turn more inward. Unfortunately, if we haven’t nourished ourselves during other phases of our cycle physically, mentally, and emotionally, this is the time when PMS symptoms like to pop up and offer us some insight.
Biologically speaking, this is a busy time in our bodies. During ovulation, estrogen, testosterone, and luteinizing hormone all peaked. During luteal phase, these three hormones will gradually decline while progesterone will be on the rise. Progesterone will help build our uterine lining in case of egg fertilization and pregnancy. This shift of estrogen, testosterone, and LH declining and progesterone increasing is the reason this phase seems to have 2 distinct parts. In the beginning, we are still riding high from the energizing trifecta. In the second part, progesterone becomes the dominate hormone and we feel that shift to wrap things up and desire closure on projects before you turn inward for menstrual phase.
Support During Luteal Phase
Supporting ourselves during this phase is all about supporting our hormones throughout that transition. Nutrition wise, it is all about supporting our metabolic and liver function to help process and flush out excess estrogen. Then, giving our body support to encourage proper progesterone production. This looks like making blood sugar stabilization a priority with adequate protein intake, complex carbs, and frequent meals. Whole food B vitamins are also very important. Progesterone production can be supported with whole food Vitamin C and mineral-rich foods such as oysters.
Jessica Ash Wellness is a great resource for nutritional support in fixing and balancing hormones. I have integrated multiple suggestions of hers such as a daily raw carrot salad, magnesium supplementation, daily beef liver, and a liver support elixir that has made a significant positive impact on my cycles.
Movement wise, as always, listen to your body. At the beginning of Luteal phase, you will still have energy for the higher intensity exercise. As the phase progresses and you get closer to menstruation slow down and do not push it. Remember that tuning in to your body here creates more ease in other parts of your cycle, especially menstruation.
Mentally, wrap it up! Finish those projects you started. Nest a little bit by getting organized and prepared for your shift inward and menstruation. Do not start any new big projects here. This is a time of completion. During the later luteal phase, ramp up your self-care practices. As always, meet yourself where you are today.
What About PMS?
Yeah, I guess I just did glaze over that earlier. PMS does deserve larger mentioning because while very common, it absolutely is not normal and absolutely does not need to be tolerated. A lot of PMS treatment involves putting a bandaid on a much bigger issue. Yes, it may address symptoms, but it does not help with the root cause. Cycle awareness, support, and hormone balancing through nutrition, stress reduction, and lifestyle choices is the answer you have been looking for. If, like me, you are done trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and constantly struggling, exhausted, and irritable, TRY IT! Take 2-3 cycles just to observe. Then make 1-2 small but intentional changes to cater to your biology instead of fighting against it. Check in. Repeat.
There Is Hope
Mentally, emotionally, physically, relationally, in the work place, and as a parent EVERYTHING has changed for me since integrating cycle awareness. I truly hope that it can do the same for you. Is it a lot of information, yes. Is a bit overwhelming, also yes. There are resources, including me, out there for you to lean on. Take your chances, it is worth it! Coaching consults are free and offer more insight into my services.
In The Flo by Alisa Vitti
Wild Power: Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer