If there is one thing we as women can agree on, is that we are hormonal beings and thus are at times controlled by them. From puberty until after menopause we feel symptoms and exhibit behaviors that are, how shall I say it kindly? Objectionable. We become raging bitches. How can we take control of our bodies so that those around us don’t have to run for cover when we come barreling into the area?
Women can take control of their bodies and behaviors by giving special attention to the following three areas in their lives: Diet, Activity, and Lifestyle.
What makes us moody is not a lack or excess of estrogen or progesterone alone. It’s the wild fluctuations of these two hormones that makes us seem off our rockers at times. Women can go on hormone replacement therapy, but even with medical treatment, symptoms such as depression and anxiety will persist.
There are ways to fight our crazy spells which don’t always require taking medicine that might cause more objectionable side effects with unwanted symptoms as well. Understanding your cycle, getting enough exercise and sleep, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding things such as alcohol and caffeine are all good basic examples of how to lesson the effects of inevitable hormonal fluctuations. Being conscious about your behavior and taking measures to improve interpersonal interactions will also benefit not only you, but those you interact with.
Lets break things down a little more.
There are three major areas in women’s lives that they have control over. If special care is given to them, women can improve their lives and feel better. You don’t have to be that raging bitch every time your hormones wax and wane.
Portion control is essential. It’s better to consume multiple small meals and snacks throughout the day than to eat 1-3 large meals. Not only will this help control appetite, but blood glucose levels as well. If your blood sugar becomes too low, cravings will set in, which will lead to over eating.
Stay away from simple sugars (candy, baked goods, etc.). Rapid increases in blood sugar will lead to a subsequent crashing blood sugar more quickly than if you consume complex carbohydrates. After you feel that sugar rush, the crash will be great and difficult to manage. You will feel tired, be unable to focus; both of which will cause increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Increased anxiety will lead to increased cortisol levels, which will lead back to increased blood sugar levels, and the cycle continues.
Other things to avoid are salt (causes fluid retention), processed or prepared foods (which are typically high in salt, sugar, and bad fats), caffeine (which can cause heart rhythm irregularities and feelings of shakiness), and foods treated with hormones, pesticides, and preservatives because these things may cause further hormone disruptions.
Consume foods that are higher in fiber, and that contain vitamins and minerals. Fresh whole fruits and vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, and foods that are high in anti-oxidants such as various berries should make up a large portion of your diet. Women also need an adequate amount of protein which is high in vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and more importantly B vitamins.
There is no shortage of information about the positive effects exercise has on women, their hormones, and as a means to relieve stress. Click here for a number of articles on this subject. Exercise causes the release of chemicals and hormones which control mood and thought; this will inevitably cause reduction in stress hormones that lead to increased anxiety. Increasing activity is a no brainer ladies. Get up and move.
In addition to increasing activity, women need to get the right amount of sleep. Hormone fluctuations cause insomnia. As said above, melatonin supplementation can help. Adequate sleep is mandatory for “healthy brain function, a sense of well being, and good physical health”.
Alcohol in moderation is o.k. Over consumption of it is not. Alcohol is a depressant. Since women are naturally inclined towards depression during hormonal imbalances, alcohol should be avoided when these fluctuations occur. One glass of wine, or one beer after work is actually good for you. Drinking more than two is not. This isn’t rocket science. It’s something we’ve all known for decades, yet deny or ignore because pounding down a few drinks after a stressful day is the chosen method of many women to combat stress. Too much alcohol increases symptoms which create an environment in our bodies that makes it more likely that the vicious cycle that manifests itself as raging bitchiness continues.
Smoking is bad. Must I repeat this so much? Apparently I do. I see too many women who smoke. It’s not only a disgusting smelly habit, but it’s among the greatest causes of decreased levels of health in women. According to NCBI:
“chemicals in tobacco smoke alter endocrine function, perhaps at the level of the ovary, which in turn effects release of the pituitary hormones. This endocrine disruption likely contributes to the reported associations of smoking with adverse reproductive outcomes, including menstrual dysfunction, infertility, and earlier menopause.”
Just. Quit. Smoking.
Drugs. No. That is all.
It may seem complicated, but controlling your bitch mode really isn’t all that hard. All it takes is some forethought, effort, and persistence. No excuses ladies. You (usually) don’t see men running around acting like lunatics because of their hormonal changes. If we are to be considered equal, then I suppose it’s time we started acting like we are. Take measures to combat the effects that hormones have on our physical and psychological bodies, and be better all around women not only for ourselves, but for those who surround us.