Have you heard that you could reverse PCOS with cycle syncing?
If you’re a fellow PCOS sufferer like me, then you know the frustration of painful periods. The cramps are endless and often debilitating. Sometimes you might not even get your period at all! I once when to a gynaecologist and she told me that as long as I get my periods, I shouldn’t be too concerned about PCOS not working out. One of the dieticians I consulted recommended keto. I’ve heard so much information and shared my journey with some amazing ladies in my PCOS group.
Because I’m so involved and dedicated to reversing PCOS, I came across a really interesting blog called Natural Fit Foodie run by Krystal Kirton-Somlai that talks about how to manage/ reverse PCOS with cycle syncing. Krystal is a Certified Hormone Health Expert & Fitness Nutrition Coach who is dedicated to helping her clients have a more chilled out period. This intrigued me and I got in touch with her to draw clarity on what cycle syncing is, what kind of food you should consume on each phase, and how you can highly negate a nasty period through just your diet, whether you have or don’t have PCOS. Here’s what you need to know:
How to reverse PCOS with cycle syncing
1. What is cycle syncing?
“Cycle Syncing is when you sync your diet, exercise routine, social calendar and even important work engagements to the four phases of your monthly menstrual cycle.” says Krystal.
Think of it as syncing your entire routine with your menstrual cycle. The four phases of your monthly cycle are your menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulatory phase and luteal phase. The term ‘cycle syncing’ is a concept trademarked by Flo Living, however, it’s a concept that’s been around and practiced since time immemorial. This concept is not exclusive as a treatment to PCOS sufferers, a lot of women can benefit from cycle syncing to effectively manage their energy levels, a painful period, and even to conceive. Here’s a handy infographic from Bulletproof to help you understand each phase and the symptoms:
Please note that not all of the foods suggested could be beneficial to someone who has PCOS. For a PCOS diet, a high fat, paleo-based diet would be ideal.
2. Why could cycle syncing be beneficial for someone with PCOS?
“Cycle Syncing can be very beneficial for someone with PCOS because it is the only diet/lifestyle that is safe for women’s hormones. It’s one that responds to your hormonal fluctuations each and every week in real time,” says Krystal.
Since PCOS is a direct cause of out of whack hormones, you can reverse PCOS with cycle syncing. When I say reverse, I don’t mean cure. There is no permanent cure for PCOS, even though recently scientists have claimed they have found a solution for it. I believe that by the time the drugs make it through a trial and the relevant authorities, there is a huge chance it will be atleast 5 years down the line. Till then, lifestyle management seems to be a way to manage these PCOS symptoms. Cycle syncing is one way that won’t wreak havoc on your hormones. I tried keto as well as high fat and low carb and it failed. On consulting with an amazing nutritionist (more on that in my next posts), I found out that a lot of women do not adapt to high fat diets well. That includes me. The fact that I have Hashimoto’s doesn’t help either.
3. What kind of behaviours can you expect during each phase?
I think each phase is summarized excellently through this video (credits to Priyanka Chopra of Chopra Wellness for showing this to me):
“Low estrogen and progesterone means you’ll likely feel drained especially at the beginning of the week. Take time to rest and recover.”
“Rising estrogen lifts your mood and energy levels. You’ll feel outgoing and extroverted.”
“Rising progesterone might have you feeling chill but perhaps even a bit sluggish, moody and even slightly constipated.”
“This week can be tough. PMS is common but not necessary. Make sure you’re nourishing your body well in the previous phases and detoxing any excess estrogen to avoid cravings and feelings of irritability.”
4. Is it ok/normal to give in to cravings during PMS? What food can we eat instead to have a somewhat balanced mood?
“During our Luteal phase, that is the premenstrual week, you might find that cravings arise. One reason for this is that during the luteal phase, estrogen and progesterone plummet taking with them your serotonin levels. Serotonin is the feel-good chemical in your brain. When serotonin levels are low we crave carbs and sugars because the body uses carbs to make serotonin. To truly satisfy your cravings and not just fall into a hamster wheel of cravings you should eat a high protein, high fat snack. A healthy treat like my Almond Butter Fat Bombs or Sweet Potato Bread is sure to hit the spot.”
5. What are some of the nutritional foods that can be consumed during each cycle?
“At the heart of cycle syncing is knowing which foods to consume at each phase of the menstrual cycle. Here is a general idea of the types of foods you would eat and when.
“Menstrual Phase – Cooked anti-inflammatory foods” (Include stew, warming & comforting soups, ginger and garlic-based food, turmeric, and more. Reach for that papaya! Combine with yoga and walking)
“Follicular Phase – Fresh, light, raw foods” (reach for that salad and go for your HIIT routine!)
“Ovulatory Phase – Detoxifying probiotic-rich foods” ( Reach for the sauerkraut & kombucha!)
“Luteal Phase – Warming foods & spices” (Cinnamon, starchy whole foods like sweet potato, grab that piece of carob/dark chocolate/ cacao because the cravings are very much on their way!)
For a full list of foods with recipes please visit – How to Cycle Sync Your Diet
6. What about bad menstrual cramps? Will cycle syncing help?
“When I surveyed the members of my Instagram community over 80% reported that their diet directly affected their menstrual cycle. When you follow the Cycle Syncing diet you nourish your body in such a way that any hormone imbalances are addressed in real time. If you do suffer from menstrual cramps I would also suggest you also try the following natural remedies:
Seed Cycling “- A process where you intake certain seeds to bring about hormonal balance during different phases of your cycle.
“Yoni Steam” – As awkward as it sounds, its also known as vaginal steaming. It is basically what it says it is and is known to help provide relief from period pain, quick healing after giving birth and more! I’ve never attempted it myself, but its an ancient therapy that you can do in the safety of your own home.
7. What is the fat intake like? Usually, a high-fat low carb diet is prescribed for women with PCOS. Would it follow the same path in terms of a cycle syncing diet?
“The Cycle Syncing method doesn’t impose restrictions on the quantity or type of macronutrients that should be consumed. It is more about WHEN you eat certain foods. So you can cycle sync a high fat low carb diet, or a Paleo diet or even a Vegan diet. What’s important is that you consume the right types of food at the right times of the month to maintain hormonal balance.”
I hope you find this article interesting and it helps you in your PCOS journey. Do drop any questions you have in the comments below and I’ll be happy to have them answered.