Hey guys, welcome to this next addition of Carrots 'N' Cake Instagram Live!
As always, thank you for sending in your questions, and feel free to keep them coming! I have a running list, so I picked three great ones for this week, so let's get right to it.
Transitioning off the pill... what was it like for you? Any advice?
If you guys have been following along for a little bit, there's a ton of posts on CNC about my hormone story. About 2.5 years ago, I decided I was done doing the "pill game" - trying different birth control pills and going through of all the related symptoms. I was done, and it didn't want to do it anymore, so I went off the pill once and for all.
Prior to that, I had been on the pill for 15 years. Well, ok, I stopped taking it to get pregnant with Quinn, and when I went back on it, and my experience just wasn't the same. I kept getting break-through bleeding and the side effects sucked. I had terrible acne, breast soreness, bloating, and just felt gross overall. I also had PMS, mood swings, and awful cramps.
Some women get off the pill, and everything is fine. It actually wasn't as bad for me as I thought it was going to be, but, of course, I had heard horror stories about how terrible of an experience it can be.
My advice is to be patient. It can take a really long time to get your hormones back on track. It probably took me about two-and-a-half years to finally feel like things are back to normal. I finally feel good about my hormones. Each month, I can expect certain things to happen with my body, and I don't feel terrible at certain times of the month. I guess I just feel balanced now! 🙂 And now, for the most part, I don't really get too many hormonal symptoms, so I think things have finally worked themselves out, but, again, it took a good 2+ years.
Also, this is probably eye roll advice, but be sure to really educate yourself. I was 37-years-old before I figured out how my body works. What happens to your hormones during the month? It's important to know what happens during ovulation, what happens when your hormones peak and dip... it's fascinating stuff. I started by reading some top hormone books. Here are my favorites and ones I found most helpful:
Inside The Hormone Cure is actually a bunch of symptom quizzes that will guide you in the direction of what's going on with your hormones and what you should do about it. It was super helpful for figuring out what was going on with my body. I have actually re-taken the quizzes a few times now, and my symptoms have reduced every single time, which obviously shows progress. Getting your hormones on track definitely takes time, but it'll happen.
Long story short, you should know what's happening to your body. If you're curious and you care enough about making your hormones work for you, I highly recommend getting some of these books and educating yourself. I promise, it's worth the time and effort to feel better!
Also, when it comes to hormones, it's all about supporting your liver and digestion because if you have too many hormones in your system, it's gonna make you feel like garbage. You want to do everything you can to make sure your liver and digestion are running well. Fiber, of course... lots of fruits and veggies... and for the liver... laying off caffeine and alcohol. Those things can slow down the liver and make hormonal symptoms worse. I notice if I start drinking caffeine again or consume too much wine, I definitely notice a difference with my skin (acne) and other hormonal issues (sore breasts).
I also take some supplements to help with my hormones. I'm not a doctor, so obviously talk to yours before you add any supplements to your regimen. I take milk thistle and chaste tree daily, and they seem to help keep things balanced.
Also, I should have mentioned this earlier (related to educating yourself and learning about your body), but journaling and taking note of all your symptoms is super important. Pay attention to what's happening on each day of your cycle - and really take detail notes about how you feel. Eventually, you'll start to notice patterns and things will start to make sense. I've written a very detailed journal for two and a half years now, so now I can predict exactly when my period is going to come - thanks to ovulation signs in my body. No more surprises! Haha!
And, finally, let's talk about my experience with seed cycling to balance hormones. I think it definitely helped transition me off the pill. Seed cycling is just eating certain seeds (and types of fats) in one half of your cycle and then different seeds in the second half. It supposedly helps with balancing hormones, and I've heard amazing stories of women using seeds to balance their cycles. I really think seed cycling can push you in the right direction, but it's not a cure all for hormonal issues. I honestly don't think it can hurt to try it. If anything, you'll get some extra healthy fats in your diet! 🙂 I still seed cycle. I'm not super strict with it like I once was, but I still have ground flax in the beginning of my cycle every month. I really think the lignans make a difference.
Will you link to the "magic hairspray" again?
So, a million years ago, my friend Marie (you might remember her from the early blog days) introduced me to Kenra Platinum Silkening Mist Spray. She called it "magic hairspray," and it's exactly that. It's magical. It makes your hair so soft and smooth and smells wonderful.
I'll let my hair air dry for a bit, spray on the silkening mist, and then twirl my hair with my fingers a few times while it dries. It gives me soft, smooth wavy hair with very little effort. If I wear my hair in a pony tail, it'll smooth out the fly-aways. It's not sticky like hair spray. It really just makes your hair feel and smell so nice! I love, love, love it, and I've used it for 10 years now!
What you are recommendations for AFFORDABLE workout gear?
I'm a big fan of thredUP for workout gear. You can find top brands, like Lululemon, Under Armour, Nike, Brooks, for wayyyyy cheaper - and the stuff is practically brand new! Recently, I started wearing ZYIA. A couple of my friends sell it, and it's really great quality, but a good $20-30 cheaper than Lululemon. I also really like Hylete, who recently sent me a few items to try. Their quality is also very good, and they do the whole crowdsourcing thing, so their prices are really affordable. Of course, there's always TJMaxx and Marshalls, but it's kind of hit or miss with those types of places.
I hope you enjoyed this edition, and keep those questions coming!