#72 Female Hormone Cycles - Optimise Your Energy & Productivity
The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast
"Looking back at our ancestral societies and the concept of the 'red tent' that was a time when women would retreat from the wider community. They would actually go inside a hot house and have this dedicated time to turn inwards for healing and reflection. So, give yourself permission to do the same because your hormones are at their lowest in the female hormonal cycle when you're bleeding, losing iron, and experiencing cramping."Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist Tweet This!
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In Episode 72 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss how to balance your hormones and optimise your energy with a healthy female hormone cycle.
- The different stages of your cycle
- What happens to your energy levels throughout your cycle, what is normal versus “common”
- A time for yang and a time for yin, when and why?
- Understanding your hormones- the motivator (estrogen) and the chill pill (progesterone)
- Being okay with the natural flow of energy
- Practical ways to adjust your life to your cycle
- Exercise and your cycle, adjusting your activity to suit your hormones
- The moon and your monthlies, whats the deal?
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, with your hosts Natalie K. Douglas, Thyroid Healer, and Kate Callaghan, The Holistic Nutritionist. Nat and Kate are degree-qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors. If you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers, and authentic heart-sharing, then we are your ladies! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and get ready for our latest tips on living your healthiest life possible.
Natalie K. Douglas 0:34
Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode. Kate, how are you?
Kate Callaghan 0:38
I’m good. Thanks, Nat. How are you?
Natalie K. Douglas 0:43
I’m pretty good. I just went to like a really quick power walk before I got on the call because I was just feeling a bit tired and fresh air wakes me up. But when I was walking, there was some pest for like spraying like the chemical pesticides everywhere and almost like oh, just assaulted my nostrils.
Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, gosh. Probably I just didn’t want to think about. I just cross the road. I’m sure he will. I’m sure I probably shouldn’t have because he looks pretty offended but it smells off.
Kate Callaghan 1:13
Well, you should be offended too if you’re getting glyphosate all over you.
Natalie K. Douglas 1:17
I was pretty offended. I’m like that, I have to like control myself around like cigarette smoke as well, I get really offended by people smoking like in really crowded like places or especially in nature like if I’m walking along the beach or something and someone’s or like when you’re sitting at the beach on a summer’s day and someone just lights on and you’re like, come on man, like, we come here for the fresh air.
Kate Callaghan 1:42
Isn’t it illegal to smoke on the beach now or is that just Bondi?
Natalie K. Douglas 1:46
I’ve definitely seen people smoking on the beach in Cronulla but I don’t know if it’s illegal or not. I don’t read those signs. We almost me and my friend took a dog for a walk the other day and we got caught by the by the dog police. He was just so, he just really wanted to go for a swim. Anyway, you are allowed in certain hours but we were just we just got the hours wrong and I tried to play dumb but then there was a huge sign right above our head saying no dog to the big cross.
Kate Callaghan 2:19
Just taken off your glasses.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:20
I know. I thought about that but then he already spotted me with them on. And then I’m such a bad liar. He was like, are you from around here? And I’m like, yep. And I’m like, oh, I should have said no. I’m like, yep, but she’s not, I pointed at my friend.
Kate Callaghan 2:39
It was her fault. She let you speak. Good one. Nice.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:44
Oh, yeah. I’m a great friend. Anyway, so that’s, that’s been my morning in my life. How are you? What’s been happening?
Kate Callaghan 2:52
I have, well, I went to Oakland a couple of weeks ago for the doTERRA conference, which was awesome. I got to hang out with lots of like-minded people and learn lots of stuff. And now we’re just back home and thinking about our garden really.
Natalie K. Douglas 3:10
That’s nice. I’m gonna say, I’m, we’re thinking about having another child and I was like.
Kate Callaghan 3:20
Natalie K. Douglas
I’m like, aren’t you, aren’t you done now? So, you said that before.
No. No. I’m done. Our next baby will be a fur baby.
Natalie K. Douglas 3:24
Oh, what kind of fur baby would you get?
Kate Callaghan 3:27
Oh, I would love to get a Staffy but my mom said I’m not allowed even though I have a Staffy growing up and for those of you who are thinking, why does your mom have a say in what kind of dog he get? She’s a vet so she kind of knows a thing or two. So before we get a Lab because she says they’re a bit more bombproof really, with kids.
Natalie K. Douglas
I’m going to grab your gels kind of face.
Natalie K. Douglas 3:55
Yes, yes. Yeah, I feel like Labradors and golden retrievers are very like patient and tolerant. I’ve like my auntie has had a Labrador when my cousins were growing up and she was just so patient with every like the oh, my gosh, like the things that the children would do to the dog nothing like outrageous or like violent but just like so irritating like if I was that dog I would have been like dear God, please lock these children up. I can’t stand them anymore.
Kate Callaghan 4:24
That’s a look that I see from my cat very often that gets terrorized by the children just like I have to poo.
Natalie K. Douglas 4:32
Yes. Not ideal.
Kate Callaghan 4:33
No. Respond twice. You know what five minutes?
Natalie K. Douglas 4:36
That’s right. That’s right. Let’s switch roles. Usually I’m getting in trouble for for swearing. We’re talking too much about poop. We’re just talking too much.
Kate Callaghan 4:45
Speaking of poo. We went for a swim on Sunday with the kids. They had to rushed out because of the code brown. That’s never funny.
Natalie K. Douglas 4:54
Oh, no. I actually so love when that happened because I was a swim school teacher so that we could go home. I was like.
Kate Callaghan 5:00
Much fun when you’re in the water they’re like. Going in the big pool make sure you shower before you get in.
Natalie K. Douglas 5:06
Those those pool are so dirty. Often when I was teaching, I don’t know the words the chlorine for all of the wee, and poo, and snot that I got exposed to but or my weak immune system at the time, definitely was not cool.
Kate Callaghan 5:24
Pretty sure you can’t see my face right now. It’s pretty.
Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. Never mind.
Natalie K. Douglas 5:31
So today, we’re actually not talking about poo or pets, although I could talk a whole episode about that. But anyway, we’re talking about optimizing your life through moving with your menstrual cycle, which I find really fascinating. And the more I learned about it, the more I just I just think our body is so amazing. Anyway, so I thought we’d probably start with just talking about the different stages of your cycle because I feel like, there’s still a quite a lack of knowledge around the different stages of your cycle. And I don’t think that I think everyone should understand the different stages of the cycle and on a really basic level, at least what’s happening because I feel like it’s like, it’s just another way to be in tune with your body if you know, if you know what is happening. So Kate, can you talk us through the different stages of our cycle?
Kate Callaghan 6:27
I surely can. If we’re, okay, so what we’re looking on kind of a big picture, your cycles really broken into two halves. So the first half let’s, let’s assume that we’ve got a 28-day cycle. Okay, so that’s kind of the textbook 28-day cycle, but do know that a healthy cycle community are 25, 26, to 35 days. So it’s not a bad thing if you don’t have a bang on a 28-day cycle. I don’t currently have a bang on 28-day cycle and a little bit later about how you can shorten your cycles with the moon but that’s a bit later. So, I’ve just been too lazy to do that. Like yeah, later let’s talk about. So, the big backward phases, the first half, that first 14 days or two weeks, that’s the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle. So that’s when your follicles are developing, they’re maturing to be released. So eventually one will mature and be released as an egg out into the world, well not out into the world, into your womb. And ovulation, you should see my hands right now. And then the second half of the cycle is your luteal phase, so that’s post ovulation. And that it’s called the luteal phase because the egg once it’s released, that little shell kind of then becomes what we call a corpus luteum. Oh, what’s that noise? Did you just fart?
Natalie K. Douglas 7:56
No, that was my zipper rubbing because something, sorry, but I have this funny story to tell you about farts. I’ll tell you at the end. So, there you go. Yes, sorry, keep going.
Kate Callaghan 8:05
So, that luteal phase that becomes a corpus luteum, and that corpus luteum then secretes progesterone, which is pro-gestation. So that’s preparing your body for a baby. And then if you don’t, if the egg is not fertilized, then your progesterone is going to fall, and then the whole thing starts again. So if we break it down a little bit further in the first few days of the menstrual cycle, you’ve got menses, your period, this is still in your follicular cycle. Then you’ve got from your menstruation to ovulation follicular phase, then you’ve got ovulation phase when you’re releasing that egg, then you’ve got that luteal phase. First half of the cycle, estrogen is increasing. FSH follicle-stimulating hormone is increasing. Mid-cycle around ovulation that’s when luteinizing hormone shoots up you get an LH surge which is what can be tested on those ovulation sticks and that’s to encourage the release of the egg into the wilderness. That is your reproductive system.
Natalie K. Douglas
That is your lady garden.
That is your lady garden. And then as I said that second half of the cycle that’s when progesterone is coming up to warm up your womb to create a nice little oven for a potential bun.
Natalie K. Douglas 9:25
How was that? I love that we could relate this back to food. Food makes me so happy. Ok, cool. So, with a question I have, in terms of when people are counting like tracking their cycle in terms of I have a 28-day cycle, I have a 35-day cycle whatever it is, when when is considered day one of your cycle because I think a lot of people get confused about this.
Kate Callaghan 9:51
Yes. Yes. Sorry, I should have broken it down even further. So day one is the first day of bleeding and like proper bleeding, so not spotting because you can have spotting during your luteal phase, which you don’t want spotting during your luteal phase that can be a sign of low progesterone but first day of proper flow.
Natalie K. Douglas 10:13
And how many days is considered like normal when it comes to menstruating like so we’ve said that a cycle can vary in length overall, but how? How long would you consider normal menstruation?
Kate Callaghan 10:29
I would say three to five days is a healthy length of menstruating.
Natalie K. Douglas 10:36
Such a funny word isn’t it? Menstruating, anyway. That’s okay. Okay, cool. So, so we’ve got so we start counting when we start bleeding and then all the way up until our period finishes. I mean, all the way up until our period starts again. Okay, cool. So hopefully that makes sense to everyone. Now, I wanted to touch on kind of like. So that’s kind of like the physical side of it but what I find also really fascinating is kind of like the energetic or emotional side of your period. I’ve been really in tune to this lately and been trying to structure my life or work rather a little bit around the way that my energy or just like motivation, and drive, and emotions, fluctuate throughout the cycle. And so this kind of inspired the, why I wanted to chat about this kind of these whole cycle shenanigans. So I think I will start with talking about menstruation in terms of what that feels like in terms of energetically. So I, and Kate, if you have any other opinions on what I say here, please feel free to chime in. So during menstruation, usually your energy is at its lowest and you might feel a little bit more introverted or reserved, or just crave more kind of alone time. And I think that like, at this time, it’s good not to kind of book talks or events, or big catch-ups, or lots of social outings. If you can schedule a day off, that’s also really good. Kate, you agree with that in terms of how people might feel naturally during menstruation?
Kate Callaghan 12:25
Yeah, and I think if you tune into your body you will notice that and, you know, there’s kind of your hormones are kind of at the lowest and you’re bleeding, so you’re going to be losing iron and then you might have a little bit of cramping and it’s. If we look back at our ancestral societies and that concept of the red tent, that was a time of when women would retreat from the wider community and just kind of go inside, like actually inside the house so hot but also inside turning inwards to themselves to have a bit of time and reflection.
Natalie K. Douglas 12:58
Yeah, yeah. And I definitely noticed that myself I just naturally feel more introverted and more like yeah, crave more alone time. Not not interested in like doing a lot, which I used to really struggle with, because I think, we’ll talk about it more later but I used to struggle with that. But now that I just, I actually look at my calendar, and look at how much I’ve got on my plate and try and take things off during that time. It’s definitely helped. So I guess next you kind of move we move into the follicular phase. And this is gradually like through this phase, your estrogen and testosterone start to actually increase and most of the time, your energy and your mood and also your brain function or ability to kind of get stiff, get stuff done and concentrate will also increase so you you might even feel quiet, tuned in, or more empowered, or just like confident, or that kind of I’ve got this this kind of thing. And because of that gradual increase in testosterone, you may also notice a lift in libido. And I feel like this is a really good time to do things like planning, maybe starting a new project, whether that’s at work or at home, making kind of like your big decisions or solving problems that you might have been avoiding. And socializing also will naturally feel better during this time and your body has a greater a greater ability to actually handle more strenuous exercise. So if you if if high-intensity training is appropriate for you, then this is kind of the time where you’ll get the most out of doing that hormonally and it will feel the best and be naturally going with with your cycle. And during ovulation, it’s kind of similar like that, that feeling, those all those feelings are kind of similar in that you know, generally you do have more energy, you are more interested in stake. So this might even be a good time to like schedule a date night or book a babysitter. And how the date night or just a day with your husband or partner because you’re like then you can honor that increase in libido. Then luteal phase, so here is where kind of like the first week of the luteal phase, you’re still kind of enjoying the back end feels of ovulation. But then as progesterone production steps up, you might find those really high vibe energy feelings, kind of settle a little bit. And I feel like the best way to explain this is progesterone is kind of like your Yin or anti-anxiety hormone and it makes us feel a little bit more settled, calm, noticed kind of, yeah, get up and go in in a good way but just a different way. Then the second half of the luteal phase is where PMS usually starts to rear its head if you’ve got an imbalance or low progesterone, so I feel like it’s normal to feel subtle shifts in energy, and motivation, and emotions. But feeling like you’re nuts or feeling like there’s uncontrollable swings is probably where I’d say, hey, there’s an imbalance there and that’s something to look at. But there’s nothing wrong with feeling naturally, a little bit more introverted or for desiring a little bit more comfort in that time, would you agree, Kate? Like because I feel like people struggle to differentiate common from normal when it comes to this side of things.
Kate Callaghan 16:31
Yeah, I would agree that it’s, it’s totally normal to want to embrace that karma phase. But if you are feeling anxious or irritable, or no one wants to be around you, in that parts of cycle, which I hear a lot from my clients. I say, do you struggle with PMS? And then a lot of them will say, well, I would say no, but my partner might say yes. You know then maybe yes. If you are biting people’s heads off, then that, as you said, can be a sign of an imbalance. And especially with that anxiousness, it can be a sign of low progesterone. So progesterone is really wonderful at calming any anxiety and preventing that from from rising up.
Natalie K. Douglas 17:16
Yeah, or even like insomnia, like feeling that you can’t sleep, as it gets closer and closer to your period can be another sign of of low progesterone. So all things to kind of look out for but I want to emphasize that it’s totally normal to feel yeah, more calm, as Kate said, or just more like quiet, I guess. So we kind of touched on it, but I wanted to get a quick kind of summary from you Kate around what emotions or things we associate estrogen with versus progesterone. So you kind of just touched on on progesterone as being like how calm you know, promotes sleep, helps us chill out and relax kind of feeling but what about estrogen, what emotions or things do you associate with estrogen?
Kate Callaghan 18:08
So estrogen is really your your get up and go. Your your motivating hormone, that’s the one that you are going to be utilizing, as you said in that first half of your cycle that’s going to give you that energy and that motivation to get shit done. I almost stop myself from swearing.
Natalie K. Douglas 18:22
Don’t. Don’t. Just do it.
Kate Callaghan 18:25
It’s going to give you that, to do things not just things in your life in your business, but in your relationships, you know your sex conversations, being social. And yeah, tackling that, that to-do list and embracing that creativity as well.
Natalie K. Douglas 18:44
Yep. And what do you say out of curiosity for those listening. What do you see happens for people with HA who perhaps don’t have enough estrogen or they like they’re not producing enough estrogen because I think that estrogen gets left behind a lot. Like we always talk about not enough progesterone but what about people with hypothalamic amenorrhea or HA who aren’t producing enough of either, like what happens when someone doesn’t have enough estrogen?
Kate Callaghan 19:12
Yeah, so with HA for those of you who are, what the hell is HA? So it’s hypothalamic amenorrhea where you lose your period basically as a result of over-exercising, and or under eating, and or psychological stress, and or being on the pill for too long and it’s messed things up and your brain stopped communicating to your ovaries. And basically, all of your hormones will be flatlined. So estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, you’ll have nothing. Well, not nothing but very low levels of your hormones, which is why you have those complications like osteoporosis, infertility, increased risk of heart disease, immune issues, memory issues, no libido. So all of those things that I’ve just said, you can picture how that would manifest in a person. You kind of become a shell of a person. I’m not just saying this to be to be mean. I’ve been through it myself. I’ve had hypothalamic amenorrhea and you do become a shell of a person, you get tired all the time, you have no libido. Your immune system sucks, your skin’s not great. You’re not motivated. You don’t have that creative energy. You just like meh.
Natalie K. Douglas 20:18
Yeah, I agree. I felt really depressed actually I got diagnosed with depression but then once I had enough estrogen, I was fine. And I agree you do feel, I just didn’t feel connected to my body like I felt really yeah, like, I had a body and I had a mind but they weren’t really intertwined. I won. How to do that? I really do that in fabulous.
Kate Callaghan 20:49
That’s very good.
Natalie K. Douglas
Thanks. Yeah, I felt really.
What you just said then being that disconnected, I think. I mean, you were talking from a hormone perspective and that physical perspective, but I think HA is really that kind of sums it up from an emotional perspective as well. We are disconnected from our body and what it actually needs with hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Natalie K. Douglas 21:10
Yeah, totally. And I feel like you stop, I stopped trusting my body because I couldn’t I couldn’t feel many like, I just felt like it’s flatlined everywhere across the board. So I didn’t feel very like, I don’t know, in tune with what was happening, which I think but like equally, it can be quite overwhelming when you start like when your hormones do start to come back on board. And it can be like oh my gosh, like what, what is what is happening? Like I’m feeling these emotional shifts, these energetic shifts, and often for the first time in a while. I mean, I not not everyone loses their period for a very, very, very long time, but I did and so my experience was quite like oh, my God, what the heck is going on? Until you kind of learn to embrace it. So I feel like support during that time is, is really good, which is why I love that you have a whole 8-week course, taking people through it because do you find that for you it was really hard to kind of go on that journey alone because you were primarily alone when you went through yours. Were you?
Kate Callaghan 22:19
Yeah, yeah, I didn’t really have anyone holding my hand through it. I mean, I had my husband, of course, who is and I had my friends but I didn’t really have anyone else who was going through it or who had been through it. I was kind of one of the first to in terms of health practitioners to go through it. So yeah, yeah, so the support was really necessary. So that’s kind of one of the things that I like to focus on to my 8-week course, which is, which is also why I only run it once a year now because I give a lot of energy in it and it can be a little bit emotionally exhausting, and I’m not saying that in a bad way. I just like to give a lot of my emotional energy and I need to be smart about that not giving it over to you. Do that make sense?
Natalie K. Douglas 23:09
Yeah, no, totally, I find that as well, especially when it’s something you’ve gone through yourself because it triggers. Well, for me, it triggers a lot of the same emotions, like you can see where someone is at you’re like, I know you can get there like, I know you can do it, I feel exactly where you were. And you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and it’s kind of like holding the emotional energy for myself who like when I was in that space and kind of revisiting that a little bit, as well as feeling like I’m holding that for someone else. And I think because I know how much emotionally like how much emotionally it was taxing. I really feel that for the person that’s in front of me and get really attached to the outcome. So and I can imagine being in path you’re exactly the same and that you’re like, oh, I can see where you are like just keep going.
Kate Callaghan 24:06
Yeah, I am and it sucks in one way. I feel very unprofessional when I’m talking to someone, a client one on one and they’re struggling with infertility and they start crying and then I start crying and it’s very unprofessional.
Natalie K. Douglas 24:19
Oh, same. Definitely cry, like to like, bite my tongue while I’m listening to someone talk to me and I’m like, come on, hold yourself together but whatever, I think it just shows we care.
Kate Callaghan 24:32
It does. I have spoken to someone about this like, I think it’s very unprofessional for me to cry like no, I don’t, they said I don’t think it is. It shows that you care and it shows you have the empathy and that you’ve been through and you’re actually listening to what they say, okay, all right.
Natalie K. Douglas
Anyway, speaking of energy. Can you tell us what do you think about what are your thoughts on being okay with that natural flow of energy, going back to our cycle and now we’re talking about the ebbs and flows of energy throughout our menstrual cycle. I for one, aren’t that great at pulling back.
Natalie K. Douglas 25:11
Yeah, totally, totally, and I am the same. And I think that the only way I can do it, is if I schedule it. So I feel like we live in a very masculine world and, you know, masculine is different to just manly, it’s just like this kind of Yang energy. And I feel like it’s this collective energy that doesn’t really honor our natural cycles of like going through more feminine energy and masculine energy or union Yang. And so to feel like, like when I’m trying to honor that I do in a way feel like I, well, if I’m not conscious of my thoughts, I can start feeling like I’m lazy, or I’m not productive, or I’m falling behind, but every time I actually am kind of intentional about, you know, looking at my calendar, looking when my my cycle is coming and making sure that I’m not overcommitting myself, particularly in that kind of like few days just before my period, and then that kind of like, while I have my period, like sure I’ll still do things, but I’ll make it less, less volume and less intense type of things. So I will purposely block out my calendar for those first couple of days of my period. And I feel like when I do that, and I really honor my natural fluctuations in in energy, I come away like I just feel better. And I think the hardest thing is just recognizing that just because everyone else is pushing through it doesn’t mean that that’s exactly what you have to do. And it doesn’t mean that you’re lazy or not productive or you can’t handle it, I actually think it’s really courageous and, and strong to be like, you know what, like, this is what my body needs right now and saying kind of firm boundaries around that because no one else is going to set boundaries for you and you teach people how to treat you in a lot of ways. So I feel like, I still struggle at times being okay with it but the way that I feel like I get more. I got, I don’t know. I get more consistency out of that is by is by literally scheduling it into my calendar so that clients can’t book in on those couple of days, you know, the first couple of days of my of my period or I block at a day for example, you know, close to ovulation where I’m feeling really switched on to do more creative work or more program creation, all those kind of things but it’s something I’m still playing with. What about you, Kate? Like, do you have like, any thoughts around that as well?
Kate Callaghan 28:11
Okay, I’m going to be completely honest with you because I agree with you and I, I would love to be in that place but okay, I’m going to pretend I’m a client coming to you and I would like you to give your advice to me. So I say, Nat, that sounds all wonderful. And I would really, really love to do that. I see where you’re coming from but I am a mom of two kids. And those two kids are only in daycare three days a week for six hours and I run two businesses. And where do I find that time?
Natalie K. Douglas 28:44
Yeah, great question. I mean you cancel your kids. So I’ll just knock that off. No, I’m kidding. So, I would say it would be more like for you. Maybe it’s more about the type of work you do throughout, like on your on your like days that you have that you have to work that you have to get stuff done. Maybe it’s more about the type of work that you choose to do. So the stuff that you find easy, that you find flow with that you don’t find that kind of emotionally taxing, then that’s the kind of stuff I’d scheduling to get done during the times where you have naturally lower energy, and then the kind of stuff that creep it you know, maybe program creation, running workshops, those kind of things, scheduling those during the parts of your cycle week, you naturally have more to give energetically, and you naturally feel like being seen and communicating a lot more. And that’s probably where I’d start because, you know, like done is better than perfect, and I think any step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction. So I feel like even just starting with honoring that in terms of what you’re naturally drawn to, and what you what you naturally kind of push away from, maybe even things like if you’re still doing your bookkeeping or doing anything, like, tedious that you just do not like then again, not scheduling that at a time where you’ve got low motivation or low energy, but actually scheduling that during the times where yeah, you’ve got more motivation and maybe even switching around the volume of work that you do. So maybe doing a little bit more during the times of your cycle where you have more energy and doing which will allow you to do a little bit less during those times when you you kind of have naturally lower energy. And obviously, that’s mainly related to work. I think in terms of the kids’ side of things and being a parent, I don’t think that you have a huge amount of control around how much energy they are going to demand from you but I think you can control what you can control and for you, that’s probably more around the work and the socializing side of things.
Kate Callaghan 31:04
That’s a good advice. It’s not cookie.
Natalie K. Douglas 31:08
Thanks. But I don’t have kids yet so ask me again when I have children.
Kate Callaghan 31:13
That is a good advice. I will take it on board and I suggest everyone else that they take it on board as well.
Natalie K. Douglas 31:18
Yeah. And I think like the other part of it is, is exercise and and your cycle. And I would say this is the part that I’m terrible at Kate, where I don’t take my own advice. So I will tell clients to do this a lot but I don’t always hold myself accountable to doing this. So it kind of like with your cycle, as your energy increases, you can as I said before, you can kind of handle more higher intensity activity or maybe even more volume, obviously still within what is healthy for you as an individual. So I’m just kind of talking as a generalization and then as you feel your energy naturally start to decline less volume, more restorative stuff, more slow kind of activity or just movement-based stuff is better. But I would say, I’m not very good at this, because I’m just like, this is my plan Monday to Sunday. I don’t exercise every day but like, within that I’ll have I’ll have a plan of what I’m going to do. And I’ll just keep doing that, because it’s like, it’s easier to just follow a schedule than not. So I feel like that’s probably where I’m not very good. So any advice on that on on kind of adjusting your exercise to your cycle or even just your energy levels?
Kate Callaghan 32:35
Yeah, so I think we’ve spoken about the energy levels throughout the cycle and how they kind of a little bit low during our period and then they start to increase towards ovulation and they peek around ovulation, they kind of dip again towards the end of your cycle. So if we’re talking about exercise, during your period, I don’t think just sitting on the couch is necessarily going to make you feel better. I mean, by all means, do it a little bit but I also think a little bit of gentle movement outside preferably is actually really good, especially if you get painful periods that gentle movement can help relieve some of that pain and discomfort. Obviously, if you are crippled over in pain, there’s a deeper issue that you need to address, you shouldn’t be crippled over in pain throughout your cycle. So thinking about walking, maybe even gentle hiking, some gentle yoga, Yin yoga, even a little bit more and Vinyasa yoga if you feel like it, but avoiding any inversions during your actual period during menses. You could do some lighter weights if you wanted to but your brain is probably not as switched on during your period it is going to be later on. So as you go through your cycle after menses, after your period has been stopped bleeding that’s when you energies like, energies, your energy is going to and so that’s when you want to start bringing in some more intensity. So this could be some sprint work, some high-intensity interval training, some heavier lifting because your mental clarity is going to be better your your capacity to do that is going to be better. Your neurological capacity or physical capacity, your emotional capacity, everything is going to be more able to handle doing that higher load and all that higher intensity, but also, you know, being smart about it and pulling back and having recovery days in between. Don’t just smash yourself every single day or like F45 such physio.
Natalie K. Douglas 34:42
Not but only names.
Kate Callaghan 34:46
Look, I’m not anti those types of training. I’m just anti doing those types of training every single day.
Natalie K. Douglas 34:53
It’s funny though the people who want to do it every single, like the people who are drawn to that type of exercise myself included, otherwise that become addicted to it really easily. So I’m like, it’s just like a, I feel the same. I haven’t tried it. I’ve done CrossFit and put myself out multiple times. I love it, but I just get addicted to it too easily. That’s why I haven’t tried F45 because I’m like, it’s definitely not going to be something where I’m like, yeah, maybe I’m gonna go twice. I think I I get caught up in the I don’t know. I just find it fun. So I don’t, I don’t do those things anymore.
Kate Callaghan 35:27
Do you know what I just joined the other day? A Facebook page that I just joined the other day.
Natalie K. Douglas
It’s fluffy thinking about it.
Natalie K. Douglas
Natalie K. Douglas
You know the Spartan, right?
Natalie K. Douglas 35:47
Yeah, why won’t you do one?
Kate Callaghan 35:48
Yeah, I’m probably not going.
Natalie K. Douglas 35:50
Why not? Come on. I’ll come over for it.
Kate Callaghan 35:56
Like, yeah, it seems great. Oh, yeah, maybe I’ll see if I can actually do an hour of exercise first. Anyway.
Natalie K. Douglas 36:06
I love all that stuff it just.
Kate Callaghan 36:09
I think I just need to, I need because I don’t do much so at all at the moment. It’s been an interesting transition because obviously pre hypothalamic amenorrhea I was a group fitness instructor so I got paid to do exercise.
Natalie K. Douglas 36:22
You know, honestly, when I first met you at uni it almost looked like you were running an aerobics class when you were just walking. It was like, damn, that girl is like she’s she’s got a lot of energy. I can remember just watching you with that walk from the station I couldn’t keep off.
Kate Callaghan 36:39
I did not know slow. I used to get slow when I’m with Aaron because he just walked slowly and I’m like come on. It was like stop, then walk, and then stop.
Natalie K. Douglas 36:49
Oh, so funny. So, funny.
Kate Callaghan 36:51
But now I do, I do. I have found it harder to get back into the rhythm and to motivate myself. So actually do need that structure and accountability which is where Spartan.
Natalie K. Douglas 37:05
Next we’re going to see like pictures of Kate on their Facebook page being like the leader with like mud smudges on her face.
Kate Callaghan 37:12
Oh, maybe I should just try like a step in the right direction probably going from nothing to Spartan anywhoo, anywhoo back to your cycle. I was spoken about more intensity during that preovulation, or ovulation even a little bit after but as you progress more through that luteal phase, then you probably want to wind things down a little bit more. Focus on more of that aerobic activity. So that could be swimming, it could be a gentle run. It could be more vigorous hiking up some mountains. If you want to longer, lighter, slower weights, rather than that powerlifting that you might do during your ovulation phase. And then in that week, before your period, again, pulling it right back again to yoga relaxing.
Natalie K. Douglas
It’ll be a good good time, good thing to do around this time.
Natalie K. Douglas
Did you say dancing?
Natalie K. Douglas 38:09
Dancing. I dance every Tuesday night, it’s so fun. That my my so I just do like, it’s kind of like jazzy hip hop and I’m not someone who’s dance growing up or anything like, not in terms of classes or anything. And I like, I get really into it because I just love performing and the other day we we’re doing, learning some move and my teacher was watching and he’s like, like like kind of points to my body is like this is working and then puts my faces like this not so much. I was like oh, because I have the worst, the worst like dancing face, like I just, you know how they usually like smile or put on sexy faces? I can’t. I can’t work both like, I can like work my my body but I cannot get those both in sync anyway. Interesting.
You try to fancy face.
Natalie K. Douglas
I’m trying, but I, I feel like I don’t have one. I have to practice. I should practice myself sometimes. But anyway, that’s okay. So, the last question I wanted to ask you, or a thing I want to talk about with the moon and your monthly. So I know you’ve spoken about Lunar section before and you have kind of touched on this a little bit. Can you tell us a little bit more of just like what you know about it so far?
Kate Callaghan 39:36
Yes. So Lunar section is something that I talk about with my clients, and also in my HA course and I’ve also written a blog post about it. So this involves sinking your cycle with the moon. Now, please don’t ask for any randomized controlled trials on this because I don’t have any but it’s one of those things that it’s not going to do any harm in you trying it. So it’s either going to work really well, which I see a lot, or it’s not going to work, but it’s not actually going to cause you harm, which is why I have no issues in recommending it without any scientific evidence necessarily to support it. Although, if you think about it in terms of how the moon and its cycles can affect our bodies of water, like the ocean and the legs, and even animals as well, it’s not such a far cry to see how it could also affect our body given that we are mostly water also. So with Lunar section, the idea is that you will menstruate around the new moon, and ovulate around the full moon. So if you’re looking at irregular cycles, if you have irregular cycles, if you want to get them in sync with the moon, the way you would do this is for most of the month, all of the month pretty much except for the day before the day of in the day after the full moon, you would sleep in complete darkness. Around the full moon, so the day before the day of the day after the full moon, you would open your curtains and sleep letting the full moon light come in because you have melatonin receptors on your ovaries.
Natalie K. Douglas
Natalie K. Douglas
That’s why it helps to kind of stimulate that ovulation. It can take a few months for things to sink and the first time you do it, you probably haven’t really sure not sleep during that full moon because it’s quite bright, especially if you live somewhere where you have access to the moon.
Natalie K. Douglas
Which is like nowhere now.
Well, that I know that if you’re in a city, it could just be.
Natalie K. Douglas
Street lights, which is still light.
Natalie K. Douglas
You do what you can and yeah, after a few months, you might see that your cycles will shorten. It’s pretty cool what I’ve seen happen.
Natalie K. Douglas 41:57
That’s cool. I need to try that because mine are kind of like the opposite.
Natalie K. Douglas
No, no, I mean, the opposite, as in instead of menstruating on the new moon, I ovulate on the new moon.
Kate Callaghan 42:15
So I was talking to my friend Nina who we’ve had on podcast before. So she’s a sexologist and she has spoken about how, and I’ve read somewhere before that, for the most part, women will menstruating on the new moon and ovulate on the full moon but some women will flip it and that historically speaking is to be the carriers for those who were menstruating on the new moon.
Natalie K. Douglas 42:43
Oh, I’m a carrier. Does that mean I don’t get cared for because if so I’m not.
Kate Callaghan 42:52
I don’t know because or because all of those people that menstruating on the new moon are feeling frickin awesome on the full moon and they can take care of you then.
Natalie K. Douglas
All right. I need to find some some some opposites to me that I can just.
And hold the sign.
Natalie K. Douglas
Can you menstruate on the new moon? Can we be friends?
Natalie K. Douglas 43:12
Yeah, just or just like like added into my pre-consult questionnaire so I can assess out which clients I’ll take on during those certain times of my cycle.
Natalie K. Douglas
I’m just kidding guys. I won’t do that to you. It’s all right. Okay, cool. Well, the last part of our podcast which you probably maybe have forgotten about, but.
Natalie K. Douglas
You haven’t forgotten?
But you go first.
Natalie K. Douglas
Okay, is the recommendation that we have this week. So mine, I didn’t know if I, if we just spoke about these or actually recommended it but I did my first float tank. And like, you know, when you’ve like go into the floatation tank with lots of Epsom salts, and it was awesome. I really, really liked it. The time went so fast and it just was so like, so relaxing. And this is where my fart story comes in. So, I was like, so you know, when you fart in a bathroom in like a bar, and it just like bubbles up really quick. I was like, I wonder what happens when there’s heaps of salt. And I was really hoping I could fart because I just was so curious. Anyway, I ended up being able to fart and just for everyone’s information, it just goes like, like way slow up. Like, it’s almost like because the water is more dense. It was really interesting, anyway, but aside from that, I wasn’t sure if I sure if I should share that story. My husband thought it was a bit too much information, but I don’t feel like there’s any such thing so.
Kate Callaghan 44:44
Exactly, you’re giving us too much information. Yeah. I’m sorry if someone is offended by farts.
Natalie K. Douglas
Better at the moon.
Natalie K. Douglas 44:51
I know. I found that really interesting but the whole experience was just really cool. Like I really, it was like, kind of you just felt like a really deep meditation and It’s not for anyone that’s like, oh my God, it’s a small space, which I was a little bit like that as well, which seems ridiculous because I’m, like so small. So it really wasn’t a small space but it’s it doesn’t feel like that at all. There’s like a light inside that you can turn on or turn off at any time and obviously offers the most, the proper experience because the whole idea is like sensory deprivation. And you can lift the lid thing up at any time and like you’re in a room so like the whole room is huge. So it’s not like you’ve been locked inside this like little like kind of bubble with water and you can’t escape for an hour, you’re in complete control the whole time. The only thing you have to be aware of is not having any cuts or anything because it will, you know sting but apart from that it was really nice. Like, it was a really nice self-care kind of thing and I kind of I scheduled it towards the end of my way because kind of like a transition into relaxation time. Actually going to try and do one again leading up to my period so I can get that extra extra magnesium absorption as well, which will help with with just cramps or pain during that time as well. So that’s my recommendation is you should guys should go and get a float. Go and do a float tank.
Kate Callaghan 46:18
Natalie K. Douglas 46:20
Thank you. What about you? What’s what are you loving at the moment?
Kate Callaghan 46:25
Well, I don’t know if you saw it on my social media but I’ve gotten alcohol free.
Natalie K. Douglas 46:27
I did see that. I was going to ask you about it. Tell us, tell us more.
Kate Callaghan 46:33
Well, I’ve been contemplating doing it for a while and really just making up excuses as to why I couldn’t because you know, weddings and dinner parties, and events, and blah blah, blah, blah, blah.
Natalie K. Douglas
A decrease. Don’t deny it. I don’t know.
You know excuse is excuses. Exactly. And then my friend Kate Dixon, who is the essential oil collective on Instagram, she was saying how she was doing a 90-day alcohol-free challenge and potentially forever challenge of never drinking and going sober. And so it was just a nice little kick in the butt for me to go okay, yep, I’m going to do this three months, zero alcohol. And so that’s from doing and I’ve had a lot of people say, yeah, awesome but you don’t drink a lot do you? I’d say no, I don’t. And it’s not about how much I drink. It’s more about the regularity that I was drinking. So I was kind of into a habit of kind of having one small glass of wine with dinner every night and I don’t think that’s a healthy habit to have, particularly if I think about why I was doing it, it was kind of to escape, or a minute or two. And then my four-year-old, Olivia is like, why do you drink wine? You know, I don’t like her having to ask why I drink wine and then there’s saying, can I have wine and then me needing to explain that actually, no, wine’s not healthy. And so if it’s not healthy for her then why? Why is it okay for me?
Natalie K. Douglas 48:04
It’s really interesting and I’m really interested to hear like as you move through it more, your experience around it and what strategies you have to yeah, retrain yourself around it because I, I’m, I don’t actually like, like the taste of alcohol. So, I don’t really drink at all but it’s more from not liking it and I’ve never really had any form of relationship with alcohol. I mean, I certainly have my other things like talk to me about emotional eating or other or picking up food, like that’s my advice but so I’m really interested to hear from like, I mean, I can think of practical strategies and I give lots of people tips but I’m really interested to see like, the ways or hear the ways that you navigate that as someone who does enjoy the taste of it, the ritual of it. What are you now having with dinner? Like is it a matter or for you replacing it with something else is a stepping stone or what’s kind of your your strategy around that?
Kate Callaghan 49:05
I just don’t but I had I had a dinner party on Saturday night where everyone was having wine and there was cointreau on fruit salad and as you go and I just had water and I was for a minute, I mean at first it was hard, actually wine will be nice but no, I’ll just have water or soda water and that is totally fine. Kombucha, kombucha is a good stepping stone actually.
Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. But I would recommend everyone, so I listened to a podcast, a Rich Roll episode with Andy Ramage. He started a movement called One Year, No Beer. I would encourage everyone to listen to that podcast Rich Roll interviewing Andy Ramage because he talks about how there’s this middle group of people. So we often think that you should or you really quit alcohol if you’re an alcoholic. But there’s this middle people and I kind of fall into that middle bracket of the people who drink regularly but only in small amounts.
Natalie K. Douglas 50:04
Yeah, yeah. And I feel like it’s, you could apply it to any habit that you feel like you have that isn’t quite serving you like, you know if you’re someone who’s you know more addicted to like sweet. So more addicted to coffee or anything like that. I feel like you could try and you know kind of translate some of the strategies, the messages, the relationship, the whole like everything about it on to that as well because I think that we definitely have a very unhealthy relationship collectively in Australia around alcohol. I don’t know what it’s like in New Zealand, Kate.
Natalie K. Douglas
But yeah, I feel like it’s almost like like there’s this perception that you’re an Australian if you don’t drink or you’re not fun if you don’t drink whereas, I’m like, man, I am so much fun without alcohol, at least I like my own company. And I think that yeah, it’s also about the intention behind it. Like, what like, why are you drinking? Like, what is it? What is it doing for you or masking, or yeah, I just think that, but I feel like something people should be aware of is that your choice to not drink may like may trigger other people who aren’t there yet and I think that you have to be okay with that. It’s the same deal when when you’re avoiding a certain food or hate the word but like kind of on a diet or following a therapeutic intervention, like you will trigger people and I think it’s really important that you’re firm in your why and your intention and just come back to not taking things personally because otherwise, it can feel quite like if you take it personally it can feel really emotionally draining. So that would just be my my tip around that. It’s just have awareness around the fact that you may in fact trigger people and that’s okay.
Kate Callaghan 52:04
Natalie K. Douglas 52:06
So, anything else to tell us about you have your HA course coming up soon. When exactly is soon and where can people learn a little bit more about I mean, we spoke a little bit about it today but if people are like, oh, that sounds like something I should and could benefit from, where is the info at?
Kate Callaghan 52:31
So they can go to my website, www.TheHolisticNutritionist.com and then go to the show.
Natalie K. Douglas 52:43
Just speaking French for a bit. Do you want to repeat that?
Kate Callaghan 52:45
That was an exaggerated cost by the way, then you can go to the shop page at the top and then they will see the E-course on that page and if they click on that, or if they’re just going to bit.ly/.healthP rest and roll it is. I will see all of the info on my course there. And I’ll be opening up for enrollments in the final week of September, but if you want to get on the waitlist and be first in line for that, because the numbers will be limited due to energy given, then shoot me an email [email protected]
Natalie K. Douglas 53:21
Yay, awesome. Okay, well, people can do that. And we’ll, if you guys have any question about, questions rather about that, let us know as well because we can we’re happy to give some more info if if you don’t have all your questions answered by just visiting the page and we can tell you more about it. For me, Thyroid Rescue is still open. I’m also offering free discovery calls that are like 20 minutes long just to have a chat about whether the program is right for you. There’s no obligations to purchase or work with me at all on those calls. It’s just literally a chance for me to get to know you, make sure that the program is the right thing for you, and for you to get to know me a little bit more as well. So you can, you can probably, you can book in that, you can book in for that by listening to the free master class on my website. So Natalie K. Douglas.com and then just go to Thyroid Rescue tab at the top and there’s a free masterclass that you can watch and there’s a booking link link at the end of that that you can use or you can flick me an email at [email protected]. Oh my God, this is such a good timing. Someone just started using that blowing machine leaf thing outside. So before our podcast gets ruined by the lawn mowing people. That’s all. Kate, anything, any final words? Anything else you wanted to let people know about before we wrap up?
No, that’s it, I think.
Natalie K. Douglas 54:55
Sweet. Well, have a lovely Tuesday. Also like, share what are those are, and I’ll speak to you soon.
Kate Callaghan 55:03
Bye, Nat. Have a good day.
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, just submit them to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friend. And if you’re looking for more info about how we can accelerate your journey to your optimal health, you can find Nat, over at NatalieKDouglas.com, and Kate, at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time!
Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!
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Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer
Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.
Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.
Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.
Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist
Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.
She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.
She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.