Body confidence can be a road I feel like I am constantly trying to get to the end of. I wouldn’t even call it a road. It’s more like a mountain….a very big mountain. Like, HUGE.

The time I find it the hardest to really feel good about myself is around my period. Those can be seven to ten days of straight up self-hatred hell.

Every girl knows that hormones play the key role in our monthly cycle. Hormones are like the master controller of how just about everything in our body works. When hormones are in balance we are in balance but when those suckers get out of whack, watch out!

Women get only two weeks of actual happiness and joy out of the month. The other two are like a slow decline on the emotional roller coaster of our uterus.

Once I understood what in the world was exactly going on with my body in a month, I began to be more forgiving of it. 

Have you ever noticed how much better you feel once your period is over? It’s like a magic wand was waved and suddenly you feel like yourself again. Gone is the bloating and bitchiness. In comes the energy, the productivity and clarity around your life again.

Guess I didn’t have to jump off that bridge for burning my muffins in the oven and forgetting to pay my credit card bill after all. LOL.

In order to get a little more peace of mind around our periods, here is the low-down on your body over the course of a 28 day cycle.

Week One, Post Period:

The period is over! Thank holy Heaven. This is the week many women feel the highest sense of comfort and relief. Estrogen and Progesterone levels are at their lowest. This translates into a possible dip in energy but mainly a decreased sex drive (not the worst thing that could happen. Personally, after what my who-ha just went through, I’m happy to relieve it from further torture.)

Week Two, The Best Week Ever:

This is when the ovulation begins. Enter horny-city! During this week you just can’t keep your hands off your partner and it’s all thanks to that Estrogen increase. It’s also about the only week when you feel totally on your game. Your hot, your horny, your full of lasting energy and mental clarity! Take full advantage of it because unlike men, who are stable all the time (take that with a grain of salt, of course 😉 we exist in a realm of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, highs and lows. No wonder every man I ever dated called me crazy….look at what we have to work with here!

Week Three, The P.M.S Phase:

Right before your period, a.k.a, post ovulation, Progesterone rises and can effect the temperature-regulating area of the brain, making you get all hot and bothered for no reason at all. Your body can literally increase from 98.6 to 99 degrees during this time. Progesterone also relaxes your uterus which can make you look and feel more boated. Estrogen also rises further in this phase but slowly and then drops suddenly once your period starts. Thus begins the emotional instability rollercoaster. Such abrupt changes in hormones also effect serotonin, a major chemical for happiness found both in our brains and in our gut. When that little lady starts to taper off  she brings your,”feel-good” feelings with her. Welcome to the realm of short-tempered, hopeless and depressed living. Tack on the cravings for carbs and sugary foods from lack of serotonin and you mine as well just shut yourself off from the world for the next several days.

Oh, hello extra two pounds I just gained this week. 

Don’t worry too much about over eating during this time, however. Your body also burns more calories in this phase. Up to an extra 100! So go ahead, eat the cupcake and give yourself a break.

Week Four, Your Period:

This is considered the, “fresh start” of your cycle. Hormone levels regulate here, which is why most women start to feel like themselves again….well, aside from the horrific horror show in our underwear.  With hormones now in balance, women have reported feelings of euphoria, closer attachment with nature, increased sex drive and higher energy. Hence, the reason why it seems like a,”fresh start” to your life again. Interesting fact to note, the body’s skin completely regenerates every 28 days. That means we get new skin to live in both inside and out! Totally a “fresh start!”

Once I understood what in the world was exactly going on with my body in a month, I began to be more forgiving of it.To see it pragmatically is the key to avoiding the period pitfalls that can lead us into body-hatred, over indulgence of food cravings and dark, hopeless feelings. When you want to do nothing but pull your body apart, throw on a duvet- sized sweat suit and eat Ben & Jerry’s till you burst, remember that it’s simply a matter of your hormones out of whack. You’re not thinking clearly or viewing your life from a place of actual reality. Likewise, the week or two directly after your period is the time get stuff done. Plan accordingly. This is when you should aim to have most of your sex, tackle tasks you have been putting off, set up major work meetings and sign up for that boot camp class at the gym.