It's so much more than just "that time of the month"

I'm not sure if I should be thankful I'm finally understanding my body in deeper and more intimate ways or if I should be a little peeved it's taken me so long to gain this knowledge.

I still remember "the talk" in grade 5. The boys separated from the girls. The talk was delivered in the math teacher's room. A tall, pointy nosed, thickly Eastern European accented man. He didn't deliver the talk. Thank goodness. In truth, I don't remember who did. A public health nurse?

The talk of course was all about menstruation. There were graphs and charts. We learned that hormones caused our bodies to regularly bleed.

The thought was a bit terrifying but fascinating also. This happened to every woman, which was mind boggling to believe at the time, and our turn was coming.

I was still confused about a few details. It's not like you asked these questions out loud. My aunt who had no children - did that mean she never got her period?

Over the years I studied biology more in depth, biology is one of my favorite school subjects, and I came to understand the mechanics pretty good. But that's as far as my understanding went on my hormones.

No one ever told or taught me what my hormones were communicating to me. It was all about what my hormones were "doing to me".

The most holistic education in hormones I received was from my midwives but they were focusing on pregnancy, birth and lactation, which is one slice of the pie in a woman's life.

Although I learned about hormones when I was in school and then studied hormones in university biology courses what I failed to really understand is the beauty of our hormonal system in terms of how it helps us navigate through the world.

It always seemed like hormones were "doing something to me", something uncontrollable, that I was at the mercy of a chemical system in my body.

It's almost an us vs. them mentality for many women with regards to our hormones. We fight against our hormones, we blame our hormones, we feel our hormones are going haywire when really they are communicating messages to us, for our own well being. And it's when we don't listen and respond that things get out of control.

I'm on a mission to understand more about myself. And over the years this has expressed itself in different areas - discovering my creativity, understanding my personality type, learning my love languages, etc.

In the past few years I've been on a mission to better understand my hormones. I want to understand what they are communicating to me, not just what they are doing to me. I want to work with them, not fight against them.

In my quest to further understand my body I joined Lisa Byrne's course Reset Refresh and Radiate last fall.

(Since originally publishing this post in 2013 Lisa has changed her course structure and she now offers the material from Reset Refresh and Radiate in her signature year long course Replenish 365.)

I want to understand my body more for my own sake and also for my girls. I want them to enter womanhood with an appreciation of the beautiful way they are knit together and learn how to work with that, not fight against it.

In her former life Lisa was a high school chemistry teacher and she has a Masters degree in public health, so she's got the science down. In her present life she's a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and a mom on mission to help other women live vibrant and healthy lives.

I could say a lot about Lisa's teaching, but I'll tell you what I appreciate most about her courses, free resources, and now her new book.

Lisa has a gift for equipping women with tools they can use right now to address their needs. I always come away from Lisa's teaching with ideas to implement. Practical, easy and life changing ideas - Lisa provides a toolkit full of them.

Lisa illustrates her teaching with loads of visual imagery that helps make abstract ideas concrete. I tend to think in terms of schedules and time management, my preferred way of making the abstract real. Lisa gives me another way of looking at things and a lot of her imagery has stayed with me as I go through my days and helps me approach life with a more holistic mindset.

Lisa takes science and makes it less intimidating and wholly applicable to your life. Our bodies are chemical, biology, physical, mechanical, etc. Science helps us understand ourselves but most of us pass over that knowledge because it's presented all wrong for where we're at in our lives as busy women and mothers.

Don't be scared, she doesn't make you learn the science if you don't want to, but she explains what you need to know to help you understand your body better.

Lisa's teaching is totally holistic. I know this is huge buzz word these days. And when this word is bandied around I tend to zone out, like the way I do with the phrase "simple living".

So what do I mean by holistic? Lisa understands women and mothers and her teaching addresses every part of who you are. It's also holistic in terms of using multiple lenses for viewing the world and our bodies - western medicine, eastern thinking, etc. I feel she takes the best of everything and integrates it all together to help women. And Lisa does this in a very non-weeby-geeby way (which is important for some of us).

Maybe most importantly, Lisa's teaching is easily digestible, wherever you are at. She understands what it's like to be a mom of young kids and knows you don't have scads of time for study, so she meets you right where you're at.

Over the years, I have learned so much from Lisa's blog, her courses and now her recent book.

If your life feels a bit out of whack hormonally (out of control), or if like me, you just want to understand this part of your body better and learn how your hormones are a strength and gift in your life, not a weakness or curse (which I'm afraid many women believe about hormones), I highly recommend Lisa's teaching.

A lot of women struggle with metabolism and adrenal issues (hormones, ladies). Problems that manifest in weight gain, cravings, decreased energy and outright exhaustion. Discover how you can live with energy and vitality by understanding and working with your body, not against it.

Replenish 365 is a year long program and the open enrollment period is open at the beginning of the calendar year. If you missed out, you can still visit her site and gain access to her fabulous free videos.

And if you can't join the course you can check out her book Replenish: Experience Radiant Calm and True Vitality in Your Everyday Life.

It's the best of Lisa's teaching delivered in book format. For a price much cheaper than a course (obviously, it's not as in-depth or interactive as her courses though either).

This post has affiliate links.

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  • Launa

    Launa on Oct. 3, 2013, 3:29 p.m.

    This post takes me back to a Womyn's Herbal Symposium I attended a couple years back. It was the first time I heard the terms "Maiden, Mother, Crone" refering to the different menstral phases in a woman's life. It was great imagry for me. They also held a loving ceremony for young girls who had just began menstrating, for women who had recently become a mother (me at the time), and women ending their mentration, thus becoming Crones. The ceremony for young girls beginging their menstration was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. I was emotional because I always though mentration was embarrasing, as in "can you see my pad bulging through my pants?!" But this was so much more meaningful and you could see the pride and excitement these young girls held. 

    This is fairly unrelated to the hormones responsible for each phase in our lives, however I thought it relevent since you are blessed with two beautiful daughters. I have two sons, so I am consciously seeking ways to mark the right of passage they will experience as they move from child to young men.

    Have a wonderful day, Renee.


    • renee

      renee on Oct. 3, 2013, 3:48 p.m.

      How wonderful. Thank you for sharing this. I don't think it's unrelated to the hormones at all! Hormones are what drives the whole system. The words we attach to it (maiden, mother, crone) are the ways in which culture makes meaning of chemical and biological processs. Or perhaps it's completely the other way around! I think holistic approaches take all this into consideration. 

      I am completely uncomfortable with the word crone though, way too many negative connotations for me. (smile) I'm sure the word, used in the context you're speaking, was respectful and honoring. Herbal-type women's groups make me a bit uncomfortable also, to be honest. I always feel too pointy-edged and not bosom-y enough. Too sciency and analytical. I've been trying to get in touch with more earthy ways of looking at these things, especially menstruation and hormones etc, in the past couple years to balance that out. That's one reason I appreciate Lisa's work - it takes into account the whole picture and is very holistic without making me feel uncomfortable. 


  • Lisa

    Lisa on Oct. 4, 2013, 5:13 p.m.

    This is a timely post. I feel like I have been listening to my body (and hormones) for a long time but now the struggle is helping my 14-year old daughter with this. She has terrible periods and is very rebellious about anything that is 'organic' or 'natural' because her dear old mom is always trying to get her to think that way. Yes, me! And my daughter is good but definitely independent and 'her own authority' on many things--I wonder where she got that from?! :) 

    I'm wondering if Lisa's book would be interesting to her, because like you she prefers to see things from a more rational science-y way right now. She's a very deep, spiritual person (always has been) but prefers to keep that under wraps these days. 

    I do think that I have more work to do in this area in order to help my daughter accept her bodily functions more. I was just journaling about that today, in fact. I've finally figured out how she needs me to be when she is at 'that time of month' and her hormones cause tears, rages, etc. She needs me to be strong, still, solid for her. Too often I match her moods or get anxious for her and want to change things up so she feels better. That's not what she needs at all! Just this last time, I was very firm when she was off on one of her tirades (for lack of a better term, they're not angry so much as teary), and we got through the whole thing so much better. Whew. The storm calms and passes. I just wish I could help her more!


    • renee

      renee on Oct. 4, 2013, 5:54 p.m.

      Lisa, I don't think so, about the book that is. It's not about hormones per se, but overall replenishing of our body, mind and spirit. And it's written very much to moms. I think taking the hormone course yourself, now or later, and teaching the lessons taught there to your daughter, through whatever means works for her and you (teaching is not always direct "so I learned this") is probably the best approach with Lisa's stuff specifically.

      Diet is so important for hormonal health and can significantly contribute to the nasty extremes a lot of women experience. I'd look into that a bit more. That's a way you could support your daughter, preparing and stocking the kitchen with "hormone stabalizing foods". I'm totally not an expert in this though which is why I like accessing someone else's teachings, like Lisa's.

      I know, it's so hard to see our kids struggle and I always want to make it all better too!


      • Lisa

        Lisa on Oct. 4, 2013, 6:07 p.m.

        Thanks, Renee. I'll try and get the book to read myself. I didn't figure I'd get her to read it anyway.

        I'm very much into the diet stuff for hormonal and general health, but I've preached it too much I'm afraid. What's worked lately is just completely backing off, and even more importantly getting her dad to back off. She's got some food issues (not an eating disorder but I think it would be easy for her to fall into that) so taking the pressure off has been necessary, and helpful for all of us.

        We do see a homeopath and that's helping a lot, but there's more work to do. I do believe that working on my own actions and reactions is the best course right now.


  • Isabella

    Isabella on Oct. 7, 2013, 6:51 p.m.

    I enjoyed reading your post, and decided to get the book.  It's wonderful thank you for recommending.  


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