One word. One very simple word with a complex amount of chet connected to it. If you’re anything like us we didn’t pay much attention to our hormones, our cycles, and the cues they gave us until a year ago. If you’re anything like us, you wrecked your gut by drinking on the weekends in your 20s, ruined your liver from going on Accutane, and thought you were healthy but your diet was buck wild. We very much hope you are or were NOT like us and you used your 20s wisely (haha), but we live and we learn!! Unfortunately, we learned and are now trying to get our bodies back to their natural states. Giving a little glimpse into both of our stories and backgrounds on our happy hormone journey- and yes, lemon water has something to do with this. We’re walking you through BOTH of our hormones stories in hopes that this will inspire and educate you. Keep reading!
I’ve gone 29 years of my life thinking I have my period once a month, I’ll most definitely have bad cramps, and my boobs will be tender 1 week before my period. Like clockwork- never thinking anything of it. Look, I’m not going to blame health class or my doctor for never telling me I have 4 phases within my cycle and within each phase, my body is doing completely different things. It’s not just bleed and be done with it. Oh nooo, sis, there is so much more.
Before I go on and on about what has worked for MY BODY, I highly encourage you to order the book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti right now off Amazon. Other than the Bible, I think this is the most important and relevant book that every single woman should read. Yes, every woman, including you.
I never understood that when I hit 21-25 my body decided to give me acne all over my face. I had clear skin growing up and then I hit 21 and it was all downhill. I also never understood that from 23-26 I could not lose weight. From the previously mentioned drinking on the weekends, Accutane, and a “good” diet… I gained a bit of weight. I wasn’t unhealthy by any means. I was a fitness instructor teaching 12 classes a week, working out almost every day, eating a clean diet (finally) but my weight wouldn’t budge. Little did I know that my gut and liver were wrecked (hello acne) and my body was in adrenal fatigue from all the working out that was doing more harm than good to my body (hello weight I couldn’t lose).
Maybe you’re thinking, “um, DUH”, but I didn’t grow up in a household or even a time that we talked let alone thought about gut health and how literally everything around us can be toxic for our health. When I started breaking out all over my face never once did my dermatologist or doctor tell me it could be connected to my gut/liver/hormones. I thought I was allergic to alcohol because that’s when a flare-up would always occur. Nope, not allergic, just putting poison in my body that my poor liver couldn’t break down. Then I threw Accutane on top of it all, which is terrible for your liver, and this made things worse.
I guess what I’m trying to say is to pay attention to your body. It gives you cues!! God created and designed an UNREAL human body and it lets us know when something is not right, I just wasn’t giving it the time of day. It was my way or the highway, which was eating clean and do KILLER workouts. I think this is most of our thought processes as women. We overdo it and kill our bodies when we should be nurturing them.
So what did I do to slowly get my body back to normal? Well, I’m still learning, hence just finishing the book Woman Code (have you ordered it yet?), but as I’m learning IT’S WORKING!! I have lost almost 20 lbs in 7 months, which is absolutely mind-blowing. Accutane did cure my acne, but these past 2 months that I’ve taken full consideration into my 4 phases in my cycle, my skin has been the clearest it’s been in a while. I’m working out less than I ever have, doing more consistent workouts such as Tracy Anderson. I’m eating delicious WHOLE FOODS and trying to take back control of my hormones. Some may think I’m going a bit extreme, but I’m in the prime time of my life right now. I’m almost 30, getting married in less than 4 months, and getting pregnant is in the back of my mind. I honestly thank Jesus every day for giving me this knowledge NOW, so that my body can thrive!
Digestion is HUGE when it comes to hormones. You want to at least have 1 bowel movement a day and you really want it right when you wake up before you drink coffee (if you drink coffee). Because of the alcohol and the Accutane (probably more the Accutane) my digestion sucks. I have to actively do things to get it going and for the past month or so I have been paying way more attention to if I have a bowel movement during the day because to my surprise, that’s how your body gets rid of excess hormones. Too much of any hormone is where an imbalance occurs and that’s when symptoms pop up, ie. heavy periods, uncomfortable periods, cramps, breast tenderness, etc.
For me, every morning I wake up and the first thing that ever touches my lips and enters my body is water. I always make sure that when I go to bed, my water bottle on my bedside table is filled so that I can drink right when I get up. I head to the kitchen and squeeze anywhere from 1/4 to half a lemon into 8oz of room temperature water and I drink that through a glass straw to avoid stripping the enamel on my teeth. Then in another 8oz of water, I mix my Get Off Your Acid Alkalizing Daily Greens with the Arbonne GutHealth Digestion & Microbiome Support. This allows my body to have the right amount of fruit and vegetables straight away while also supporting my gut and digestion! I’m currently working on getting rid of coffee aka caffeine in the morning and switching to an adaptogenic tea. About 6 months ago I also started taking Alisa Vitti’s Balance Supplements! They are my everyday vitamins to ensure that I am giving my body the proper nutrients if I might miss out on that nutrients for a day. I truly love taking them!
Something else I’m trying to retrain my body to NOT do is intermittent fasting. Did you know that it’s actually terrible for your hormones if you’re a premenoposal woman? We are told that intermittent fasting is GREAT for our bodies, but all of that research has been done on men and post-menopausal women. Meaning, not women in their 20s-30s with raging hormones every month doing different things. My body got into such a habit of not eating until 12PM that now I’m having to force myself to eat something at 9AM. Blood sugar is something else you don’t want to mess with. When your blood sugar is out of whack then so are your hormones. Of course, no one is perfect and going to have a perfectly balanced blood sugar level all the time, but you definitely want to strive for it. This is another reason why I want to try and not drink coffee. Over time, I have become super sensitive to the jitters and lightheadedness that coffee brings. While a warm fluffy cuppa makes me so happy in the morning, it hasn’t been making me feel great.
As you can probably tell, I could talk about this for hours and hours (sorry not sorry…btw have you ordered the book?). For Bree and me this journey will always be ongoing, so stay tuned and keep reading to hear all about Bree’s journey below!
Okay, so now you’ve heard Makenzie’s story on how important it is to be aware of your body, look out for adrenal fatigue, align your hormones even if you have a “regular period,” and get your gut right. Now, I am going to walk you through my journey that started a little before Makenzie’s that led me to get really serious about focusing on my health as a woman.
I started my period around 14 and it was irregular from the start. For the first 3 years or so, it is normal to have an irregular period as your body finds its rhythm but after that phase, most bodies should be finding their routine with cycles occurring every 21-35 days with a menstrual flow that lasts about 3-7 days. This was not the case for me. As a teen, my skin was going buck wild and the dreaded teen acne took over my entire face. Immediately my dermatologist (who is not an OBGYN and has no business in messing with young girls’ hormones) put me on birth control to help stop my acne. It worked for a few years, but in my personal experience, it wrecked my body for years to come. My period took years to come back and when it did arrive, it was very sporadic with intense symptoms. Birth control is a huge band-aid that covers your symptoms but doesn’t ADDRESS the root cause. So the second I got off of it, my skin broke out with vengeance. There is a laundry list of reasons why I am not a huge fan of birth control, including the fact that most females find themselves in a depressed state due to the imbalance of hormones caused by the little pill or the IUD.
So now you know about my teen story, let’s get into my glorious 20’s. Post-birth control, I was 22 and my skin was covered in chronic cystic acne, my period was irregular, my gut was experiencing an imbalance. My dermatologist, again, not a hormone specialist and has truly no right to mess with a woman’s gut or hormones, suggested I do a round of Accutane to get my skin under control. It was the only answer she could provide me to get rid of my pimple-covered skin. Reluctantly, I did it. I understood the damage it could cause my liver and gut, but I was hopeless and desperately wanting clear skin. I ate so clean and was a psycho about what I was putting in my body. I finished my treatment and my skin was perfect. About a year later, my skin started breaking out AGAIN! This was when I started linking it all together….bad skin, irregular period, intense mood swings, bad cramping, bone/joint pain, fatigue, male-pattern facial hair growth (the worst IMO)…this wasn’t a food issue or skin issue this was a hormonal GUT ISSUE!
Although I was eating clean, I wasn’t eating right for my body or addressing the root cause of inflammation and gut imbalance that was throwing gas to the fire on my hormones. When I started learning about all of this, I realized I needed to go back to my OBGYN. I had my normal routine appointments, but my doctor never once mentioned the possibilities of having a hormone disease. I’ll save you the long story of how I was diagnosed, but after finally demanding the proper tests (blood test, internal and external ultrasound) I was diagnosed with PCOS.
PCOS – polycystic ovary syndrome, is quickly becoming the leading cause of the hormone pandemic our generation is facing. Right now, 1 in 10 women is being diagnosed with PCOS. The diagnosis is given with a long list of “lifetime pills” you’re prescribed that also have tons of side effects. I made my own decision to take the year to do my own research and focus on my gut before trying the medication my OBGYN wanted to prescribe me. That is exactly what I did and I was led to so many forms of research that enlightened me in regards to hormones. There is a huge connection between the microbiome and PCOS…aka your gut has a major role in how your hormones behave.
What have I done since my diagnosis? I have focused on my diet. As I mentioned, I always ate clean but I wasn’t necessarily eating the right way for MY body. I now focus on eating foods that do not lead to inflammation. I cut coffee, dairy, gluten, processed sugars, processed foods, soy, corn, and plastic-wrapped items… when I can. I know that list sounds daunting but I promise it can be done with ease. Shameless plug: shortly after my diagnosis I decided to do Arbonnes 30 days to healthy living to help me eliminate the above items and have a low glycemic lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed and I can’t recommend it more. After the 30 days, I adopted healthy habits that I have now carried into my daily life for the last year and a half. A huge part of my now healthy gut is taking my greens and gut health digestion & microbiome support (aka pre/pro biotic) every morning while sipping lemon water daily and replacing my coffee addiction with tea, fizz, and fresh-pressed juices. I owe so much of my gut health and PCOS symptom reduction to focusing on what I put into my body.
If I could give one piece of advice, it is to get your gut right and your inflammation under control. Even if you don’t think you have inflammation, chances are your body is experiencing it in some capacity and that can lead to some serious issues down the line.
Great resources for you to skim or listen to regarding hormones in addition to the book Woman Code:
- I loved this recent podcast episode by Be Well By Kelly on Healing Hormone Chaos
- Blog article, by a woman’s doctor, regarding PCOS and Gut Connections
- 8 steps to Reverse PCOS, a detailed book, slow read but packed with info
- Woman Code, the book Kenzie recommended
- Flo App, this is amazing for tracking your period! Very useful to see how your body is doing and what your actual cycle is like! It’s free and I use it the most.
- Wellness journal. Can’t rave about this more! This is my fav brand that I use. It’s so important to track what you’re putting into your body for the first few weeks/ months to see if there is a pattern going on. It also keeps you accountable and starts each day off so perfectly (after bible time, of course!)
If you ever have any questions about my/our journey, the products I use, or just need a friend to chat with. . . you know where to find us! DM us. We love chatting about this stuff!
Happy healing, babes!
We are not medical professionals, what we have stated above is our personal experience and research. Please speak to your medical professional for more information or look to the sources we have mentioned to further your own research.
Photos by: Beba Vowels
Blog written by: Makenzie + Bree