Written by Gabby Borgerink
Charting can be an extremely useful tool on your journey to improving your health. Even if you are not looking to conceive or use it as a form of contraception, charts can give us a lot of insight into our menstrual cycle and overall health. Charting helps us to identify hormone imbalances and when we have pinpointed them, we can better support our body and implement changes to truly make an impact.
Are You Ovulating?
Ovulation is not just something we should care about when trying to conceive - it is a huge factor of our overall health. Our menstrual cycle is now being considered a fifth vital sign. Ovulation is the only way to make the progesterone our body needs. And when we aren’t ovulating, this is a sign the body is somehow stressed and needs support and extra resources - whether it be more rest, nutrients, and/or stress management.
Progesterone has a whole host of benefits for our body, other than impacting our menstrual cycle and hormones:
- Improves sleep quality
- Natural Diuretic
- Increases internal temperature
- Regulates immune function.
How's Your Metabolic Health?
Metabolic health is the foundation of everything. By tracking our temperatures, we can see if our temperatures are staying low (indicating metabolism is slower) or if our temperatures increase in our luteal phase (suggesting metabolism is thriving).
In our charts we want to see lower temperatures in the follicular phase (the phase prior to ovulation) and higher temperatures after ovulation for at least 11 days (luteal phase). Progesterone not only increases our temperature, but it also increases the activity of our thyroid. The thyroid works similar to progesterone - with increasing temperature it promotes the utilization of fat for energy production.
The good news is, having this knowledge and charting data handy we can easily make small changes in our daily routines to help promote ovulation and healthy hormones. Even better news - by tracking our temperatures we can start to see our cycles improve and our bodies respond positively to the changes we are making!
Invest in Healthy HabitsMany healthy habits are simple, but they can make a large impact on your overall health. You can often see the impacts on your charts before very long, so it's an easy way to see progress.
Here are a few easy habits to promote ovulatory cycles and improved metabolic health:
- Eat regular meals every 3-4 hours: We want to focus on meals having a combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to give you energy and balance blood sugar. When we go too long without eating it can signal as a stressor to the body and send us into fight or flight mode. This tells our bodies we aren’t safe and can delay or even prevent ovulation from occurring.
- Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates: Potatoes, root veggies, fruits, rice, maple syrup, and honey are all good sources of digestible and easy to use carbs in the body. This is the body’s main fuel source.
- Morning and night routines: Create a morning and night routine to help you set yourself up for ideal sleep and a good day. Gratitude journaling, reading, dimming the lights and turning off your phone are great ways to turn inward and focus on yourself to promote optimal sleep and start off the day in the right headspace.
- Get quality sleep: Lack of sleep is a huge stressor on the body and is the time where it repairs and heals. We want to focus not only on length of sleep, but also ensuring we are having a deep sleep. It is important to have a blacked out room (or wear a sleep mask), cool temperatures, quiet space and free of technology.
- Go outside in the sunshine: The sun provides us with Vitamin D and is very healing in small doses everyday. The best time to go out is in the morning with no sunglasses or contact lenses to ensure your eyes get sunlight exposure to reset your circadian rhythm.
By making a few simple changes in your daily habits, your body will be better supported to maintain a healthy cycle and metabolism.
If you do make changes in your lifestyle, watch your charts to see how the changes are reflected!
Gabby Borgerink is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner who works with women to educate about hormones and how they can support their body through nutrition and lifestyle. After her experience coming off hormonal contraception and trying both conventional and alternative health care, Gabby believes in the power of listening to your body and getting to the root cause of your health problems through a holistic approach. Her goal is for women to take back the power of their menstrual cycle and support them in balancing their hormones from a bio-individual approach. Visit her website or find her on Instagram to connect and learn more.