The past 6 months, I have been following the Renaissance Periodization Diet Template and let me just tell you, I will never go back to anything else. It has made eating healthy so much easier and I have never felt better inside and out. My skin has been clear, my energy levels are higher than ever and my work outs have never been better. However, this did throw something else off that was quite a nuisance, and that my friends would be my monthly gift from mother nature. Forgive me if this is TMI, but I do believe this isn’t talked about enough. Yes, I did take birth control and usually once you get to the last week of pills, you should be on your period. This wasn’t the case for me. Mother nature was visiting in the middle of my package or would come early and it would throw everything off. I was having to start another package early and do the same thing all over again the next month. I wasn’t able to get it back on track until one day I decided not to take the birth control until after my next period hoping that it would go back to normal. Let’s just say, I haven’t gone back to taking my BC since.
Now if you are a close friend of mine or a relative reading this, I want to make sure that it is clear I am NOT trying to get pregnant. We are not going to be trying for a while but as you can imagine the look on my mom’s face when I tried to explain to her why. It was priceless!
With that out of the way, I was so nervous to get off my birth control, not because I was afraid to get pregnant but because I had THE WORST period cramps. I’m not just talking about getting bad cramps in my uterus area, I am talking about excruciating cramps down to my knees, hot flashes, tunnel vision, pale skin, and occasionally passing out.
Quick funny story about these horrendous cramps. Every symptom that I just listed happened to me during an official visit to The University of Tulsa while I was sitting in the head coach’s office talking about the possibility of me getting a scholarship for volleyball there. I ended up stopping him mid-sentence and passing out on his coach in his office for an hour. Not the best experience but I ended up receiving a full ride after that and the rest is history!
OK, back to the symptoms. This was the sole reason for me getting on birth control in the first place. I will be completely honest, it helped a lot. To the point where I didn’t have any cramps anymore. I was so happy that I did not have to deal with that anymore. However, my nutrition in high school was not the best. I’m pretty sure I had In-n-Out and Chipotle once a week and my breakfast of champions was chocolate donettes, and a blue or orange Monster Energy drink. Can you say SUGAR OVERLOAD!! Which was probably the biggest reason I had such bad symptoms.
My first period off the BC I had some cramps that bothered me a little bit, I took some Advil, made sure I was always walking around or doing something and it was gone. It never surpassed the mild cramps in my lower stomach. You can imagine how relieved I was but I knew the real test was going to be the second month when the BC was completely flushed from my system. I didn’t plan to stay off the BC. I took a few pills after that cycle but noticed that my moods were up and down and I started to get really snippy and back to high anxiety. My husband pointed it out one morning when we were working out and I did not like that feeling at all. So, I stopped right away. A couple of days later, I felt like myself again without the edgy mood. The past year I have been struggling with anxiety and headaches. I worked out even more to shake it but it wasn’t until I stopped taking the BC, that it stopped.
Isn’t BC supposed to help with hormone balance and prevent those mood swings from happening? You would think that is correct however from my experience, that wasn’t the case. From what I believe, and what I have been reading from other sports performance professionals, good nutrition has A LOT to do with this. Making sure you are getting all your protein you need for the day, getting your vegetables in and right amount of carbs and healthy fats will help with the hormone balance.
But how? When your body is deficient in any essential vitamins or minerals, production in certain hormones or release of certain hormones, do not happen. Which then causes a hormone imbalance. But there are thyroid medications and injections for that… Wrong. The injections and more medications do not fix the problem, they just mask it AND can have side effects that can make things worse. This goes back to having good nutrition!
I found an amazing source that will go into more detail about hormones imbalance and certain foods that will help maintain a balanced body. 7 Steps to Balance Hormones Naturally
The biggest testimonial to not taking BC anymore was that second month. I woke up early one Saturday morning before I had to go coach sand volleyball practice, and mother nature had come to visit. I was not happy. So, I crawled back into bed and started to feel some serious cramps come on. At this point, I have not had anything to eat, so I crawled out of bed and made my favorite breakfast. Old fashioned oats with chocolate protein and 2 tbsp. of all natural peanut butter. Its heaven in a bowl for me. I took a few Advil and within 30 minutes the cramps were gone. I was extremely happy. Advil has never worked before with the cramps but I truly believe that the food I choose has a lot more to do with not getting the symptoms. My periods have been light and completely normal ever since. Not to mention my skin is clear, my energy has been high AND I lost a few extra water weight pounds that I thought would never go away. I used to have this extra layer of “skin” or water weight that felt like inflammation that always bothered me and I have not felt it come back.
To top this whole post off, I have even seen two other posts on BC lately from CrossFit athletes describing the dame thing AND how it has affected their performance. As soon as one female stopped taking BC, her numbers for weight lifting went up 3-5% which is a HUGE deal.
Going back to one of my recent posts, we spend so much money on medications to “fix” our issues when our nutrition is the real problem and is the real medicine we need to pay attention to.
I hope this post has helped you realize that eating healthy is more than just looking good, it’s about taking care of yourself and not relying on a pill!