Syncing With My Cycle Changed My Life Forever. How It Can Change Yours, Too.

Excerpted from IN THE FLO by Alisa Vitti, reprinted with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2020. 

I know firsthand how stressful hormonal problems can be. I struggled with them for a decade, and my journey with a debilitating hormonal condition changed my career and my life. 

My issues started in junior high school. I was a very late bloomer in the puberty department. Even though I was the president and founder of the Period Club, I was the last one in the club to actually start my period. I was almost sixteen when I got my first bleed, although it was brown and not healthy. I went to my gynecologist annually but was offered no diagnosis or explanation for the laundry list of issues I was having. 

RELATED: The Best Period Underwear for Every Type of Flow

Meanwhile, my symptoms worsened throughout high school and in college. At one point, I tipped the scales at 205 pounds; my face, chest, and back were covered in severe, painful cystic acne; and I hadn’t had my period more than a handful of times in a decade. Things got so bad for me, I couldn’t sleep, I binged on food to deal with fatigue and anxiety, I felt depressed, and I struggled to do basic things like be on time for appointments and stick with plans to go out with friends. I was a mess and felt trapped in my own body. One night when I was suffering with my usual insomnia, I headed to the library at Johns Hopkins, where I was a student, and I came across a brief article in an obstetrics journal about Stein-Leventhal disease, which is now called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). As I scanned the symptoms associated with this condition, I recognized myself immediately. 

RELATED: What Every Woman Needs to Know About PCOS

“This is it,” I thought! In my book WomanCode, I described in detail how that discovery prompted me to demand that my gynecologist give me a test to diagnose PCOS—a transvaginal ultrasound along with bloodwork. When the test revealed the telltale signs of PCOS—multiple cysts on both of my ovaries—I finally knew what was causing all of my issues. It suddenly made sense to me that all the diets, exercise, and skin care treatments hadn’t worked for me. My symptoms weren’t caused by my not trying hard enough; my hormonal system was so severely out of tune that no ordinary diet or skin cream was going to help.

My prognosis was grim—a lifetime of cystic acne and an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, infertility, heart disease, and cancer. As I sat in stunned silence, the doc dispassionately informed me there was no cure, only a litany of prescriptions—birth control pills to artificially regulate my period, Accutane for acne, Glucophage for insulin problems, Aldactone for hirsutism issues, blood pressure medicine, Clomid when it came time to conceive, and on and on—that I would likely have to take for the rest of my life. The message was clear: go home and suffer quietly.

As I was reeling from the notion of a lifetime of pills and problems, a voice welled up from deep inside, calmly reassuring me: “That’s not your path.” My body was sending me a strong message that there had to be a better way. I didn’t realize it in that moment, but looking back, my body was letting me know I had the power to do something, to change my hormonal situation and create a better future for myself. In that moment, I made the switch from having a passive relationship with my body to becoming a champion for my health and well-being. I was in a fight for my quality of life, literally, and if traditional medicine was going to leave me unsupported, I’d look elsewhere for a remedy. For the next two years, I embarked on an exploratory journey to learn as much as I could from experts in a variety of health specialties, including naturopaths, herbalists, and acupuncturists.

I tried elimination diets, candida diets, herbs, and supplements, and nothing worked for me. Although these therapies can provide relief for many conditions, they didn’t heal my hormonal problems. In fact, my condition continued to worsen.

Out of desperation, I went on the pill, but after just ten days I temporarily lost vision in one eye from an ocular migraine and suffered a cardiac episode of low blood pressure and heart palpitations. After medical evaluation, I was told to avoid synthetic birth control. Finally, after exhausting all of the existing treatments, I tapped into my inner strength as a researcher (I had studied biology and wanted to become an ob-gyn) and began looking into the endocrine system, epigenetics, circadian patterns of the body and hormones (chronobiology), and the five-phase theory from Chinese medicine. 

My findings encouraged me to experiment and create a revolutionary new way of eating that ultimately put my symptoms and condition into remission naturally. This is the basis of the FLO protocol I described in WomanCode, which includes using food to stabilize your blood sugar levels and insulin, reduce cortisol levels, restore microbial balance in the gut, and improve the breakdown of estrogen in the liver.

Within nine months of following this protocol, my period came back, I lost sixty pounds, my skin cleared up, and my mood and life were transformed. I was beyond thrilled with this transformation, but my journey wasn’t over. I needed to find a way to maintain the changes I had made, and I wanted to get in touch with my cyclical nature by reclaiming a female-centered way of living. The Cycle Syncing Method™ was born from these two fundamental needs. The method is based on the extraordinary blueprint for self-care, biohacking, and optimization on every level provided by our cyclical hormonal patterns. The method allows us to stay connected to our feminine energy despite the cultural conditioning that dictates a linear, repetitive way of living. I certainly wish somebody had taught me about my cyclical nature when I was a little girl. Where was the textbook that had this description of our female process?

On the day when you start your first period, you’ll be entering a wondrous, cyclical phase of your life. Your second biological clock becomes activated. Your body’s cyclical nature empowers you with an abundance of gifts and offers a clear road map to take advantage of each of them at the most opportune time. Syncing with your cycle is the simplest, most effective way to enhance your hormonal health and create sustainable success in all areas of your life—career, relationships, sex, and motherhood.

Can you imagine reading something like this when you were a preteen, and the influence it might have had on your self-esteem and sense of how you could thrive in our society? How might information about syncing with your cycle have shaped the way you think about your body, your period, and your hormonal patterns? How might that information have impacted the way you approach every aspect of your life? I’m convinced that living in tune with our cyclical nature is the key to optimal living for women. Honoring yourself as a cyclical being isn’t just about achieving better hormonal health; it can boost every area of your life. I’ve seen this transformation happen to thousands of women around the world. My new book is based on the work I’ve been doing for the past two decades at the FLO Living Hormone Center, a first-of-its-kind company dedicated to modernizing menstrual health care. The FLO Living Hormone Center gives women around the world virtual access to products and programs like the MyFLO app that help them evaluate their hormonal problems, track their symptoms, and naturally address their hormone imbalances. And women can talk at length with a hormone coach about their issues and learn about the benefits of getting in sync with their cyclical nature.

Side Effects of Syncing With Your Cycle

  • Finding yourself building energy, not draining it
  • Finding yourself in the right place at the right time more often
  • Feeling really good about who you are
  • Feeling good in your body all month
  • Feeling powerful and confident
  • Having time work for you, rather than twisting yourself around for time
  • Feeling less stress, but getting more done
  • Effortlessly maintaining a healthy weight
  • Deriving more enjoyment from your work
  • Feeling aligned with the process of creation
  • Not feeling so much pressure to be perfect
  • Feeling like your body is a clear channel for your passion and purpose to come through

Living in harmony with your nature makes you healthier, happier, and symptom-free, and allows you to pursue your creative and career passions more successfully and sustainably. Syncing with your cycle is the ultimate biohack for women’s health and success. Like your cycle, this biohack is efficient, elegant, and direct. All you have to do is access what’s already inside you.

Excerpted from IN THE FLO by Alisa Vitti, reprinted with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2020.


(Featured photo: Shutterstock)

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