Women are beautiful, strong and complex creatures. Our female bodies produce different hormones each week of our cycle, and because of this there are significant changes that happen on an almost weekly basis. It’s very cool!
So let’s chat about our periods and the Fat Loss Protocol (FLP). It is often a hot topic in our forums – so let’s see if we can answer all of the common questions that pop up!
When to start
Why Do We Have to Wait Until the End of Our Menstrual Cycle Before Beginning the FLP?
I think that we can ALL agree that our period can be accompanied by PMS symptoms – cravings, increased hunger, weight gains, emotional mood swings, etc. You may be hungrier/more emotional, making it harder to stay on track during the early stages. Give yourself some time to get into the groove with your meals and adjust to the Phase 2 style of eating. It’s honestly never going to feel easy, but there are certainly times it will be easier than others, so choosing the right time is smart.
In menstruating women, the best time to start Phase 1 (hormone-wise) is immediately after a period. The program works best when followed exactly as it is written so be aware that if you do start mid-cycle that there has been some indication that it *may* affect overall losses (we have had reports of those starting mid-cycle experiencing lower than average losses).
The time you start is definitely something to fully consider – it will give you the best chance of obtaining optimum results in weight loss and long-term weight stability by ensuring our hormones are as balanced as possible.
When to Start – Irregular Periods
This really is a personal decision. We have lots of people with very irregular cycles – whether it is due to contraceptive devices such as the IUD, hormonal conditions such as PCOS, or the perimenopause. I had severe symptomatic PCOS with extremely irregular periods when I first started, so I can understand from a very personal level how difficult the decision about when to start is.
Basically, you have two choices. The first one is that you could wait for your period to arrive and then start immediately afterwards. The second one is that you could start now – there are just two things you need to be aware of if you do choose to do this:
1 – You may potentially experience slower than average weight loss as there seems to be a higher incidence of slow losses with those starting mid cycle; and
2 – If you did happen to get your period within the first 10 days of being on the drops, you wouldn’t be able to stop the drops for the first 3 days of your period as recommended, as there wouldn’t be enough build up in your system to ensure the program was working correctly and that you continue accessing abnormal fat stores and aren’t feeling hungry, etc.
Menstruation and Phase 2
How Long Do I Stop My Drops For?
If you have been on the support drops for longer than 10 days, we recommend stopping the support drops for the heaviest 3 days of your cycle.
While menstruating, you may see some weight gains. It can be discouraging, but it is completely normal to experience weight fluctuations coming up to and going through ovulation and menstruation as your hormones are changing.
It generally starts 3-5 days prior to the first day of menstruation. You will likely notice either stalled weight or small gains during this time. It is then common to have a large gain the day before, or the day of menstruation (generally 800g-2kg), and then it should gradually come off over the following days. This is just a ‘general’ guide based on what we most commonly see, however everyone has their own different pattern and you will come to learn yours over your time on the protocol.
Hormonal changes can cause weight gain by increasing water retention.
In the days before your period, estrogen and progesterone rapidly decrease. This tells your body that it’s time to begin menstruation. Estrogen and progesterone also control the way your body regulates fluid. When these hormones fluctuate, the tissues in your body accumulate more water. The result is water retention.
Water retention may cause swelling – this increases body weight, but NOT fat.
We have had reports from numerous peri and post-menopausal women who have reported the return of their period for 1-2 cycles (typically in Phase 2). But then the overwhelming positive feedback has been that most menopausal symptoms are greatly eliminated post-protocol, particularly once you’ve reached an ideal weight (because the abnormal fat stores are no longer producing extra hormones so your body has finally found balance and harmony).
Decrease in Magnesium
When your period begins, magnesium levels gradually decrease. This drop can provoke sugar cravings and contribute to weight gain.
Magnesium is a mineral that regulates your body’s hydration status. Low levels of magnesium can cause dehydration. However, dehydration can mask itself as hunger. It can also make you desire sugary foods when you’re just thirsty. A great way to absorb magnesium into your body is to soak for 20 minutes in a magnesium salt/Epsom salt bath. Or you could try rubbing some magnesium oil into your abdomen. This is a perfect way to relax as well as reduce inflammation, soothe the pain from menstrual cramps, help you to de-stress and support detoxification.
Menstrual irregularities are fairly common in Phase 2. This is because our fat stores are actually hormone-producing – as we strip our fat stores rapidly in Phase 2 we also have a rapid adjustment in hormones. Generally, we see it fall back into place in Phase 4 as our weight stabilises and we are at our healthy weight. Even if you have been regular before, your body might be trying to find its natural rhythm – this may take a few cycles as many of us find balance with the moon cycle.
FLP & Birth Control
Our support drops are purely homeopathic – they are not made using man-made chemicals or drugs, they’re made from herbs and trace minerals which are naturally found in nature to aid and improve the body’s natural healing abilities. The support drops work by using energenics – telling the body to use its abnormal fat.
The drops should not have a negative effect on the pill or vice versa (in fact there are no known contraindications with our drops and any medications), however breakthrough spotting/bleeding may occur.
Menstruation and Phase 3
“I have read in the guidelines that it is best not to get your period during Phase 3. Why?”
It all has to do with moving into Phase 3 at the best time hormone-wise for our bodies and also so that we are minimising the chance of hormonal inflammation and fluctuations early in Phase 4 when we will be reintroducing and testing foods. It is a lot easier to handle without hormonal cravings too!
Although it is not ideal, for some of us we have no choice (i.e. already done the max 43 days in Phase 2 and then move into Phase 3 and our period unexpectedly arrives) and we must face Phase 3 with our period.
But please do not fear – it is something that can be dealt with easily. Phase 3 is the time that we stop the support drops and prepare our body’s biochemistry to eat again – using food as energy and not your stored abnormal fat. Just be mindful that if you begin to feel hungry, this may just be your hormones talking…
Menstruation and Phase 4
Phase 4 requires lots and lots of patience…especially for us women who have two hormonal events a month, and also for those of us who tend to react to many things. Just continue to take things day by day, minute by minute if you have to…the patience required to lose a little bit of inflammation is far less than that of someone who has thrown in the towel, regained all their weight and had to start again.
If you reach Phase 4 and have gained some hormonal inflammation from menstruation, you simply transition but do not begin any testing of foods. Instead, increase your serving sizes of your Phase 2 safe foods, eating until satiety – take all fat and skin off meat until any hormonal inflammation is gone and you return to your lowest known protocol weight. Then you can begin your Phase 4 testing and reintroduction of foods.
The same advice applies if your periods or ovulation fall at anytime during Phase 4 – simply stop any testing until any hormonal inflammation has settled and your weight has stabilised. Just hold tight and as soon as your weight is back down, you can start your introductions again.
Every woman and every cycle is different. Birth control pills, fertility drugs or hormone prescriptions can intensify things. Monitor how your body reacts to discover what’s normal for you. You may want to track your symptoms and weight with an app or calendar – I use a free app called “FLO”. That way, you’ll know when to expect your weight gain. Still, do your best not to focus on the numbers – weight fluctuations are normal and common.
Remember that you’re not alone. Don’t get upset or freak out if you put on a few extra kilograms during your period. Most likely, that weight gain will go away after a few days. This protocol is amazing – stick with it and trust the process.
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” Dolly Parton
Changing Habits Protocol Coach