Nourishing Series Part 3: Giving Your Body The Time & Space To Heal

In parts one and two of the series, we discussed normalizing eating enough for your body and why we gain weight during healing. In this post I want to focus on expectations and healing timelines. I’ve discussed this topic before, but this is something I get questions about almost daily, so I want to dig a little deeper.

Why are expectations on the healing journey so important? How we expect our bodies to react and change over time is going to impact our daily habits. So often, when we are healing, we are focusing on what nutrition changes to make and supplements to consider, but we aren’t focusing on the habits behind making these changes. How you live every day is going to dictate how your healing journey will go. If you are hyper-focusing on whether or not symptoms are improving, wondering why you do not see changes, etc., you are more likely to change what you’re doing constantly. I see this a ton. Someone starts eating more nutrient-dense foods, is eating enough, and maybe starts taking a couple of whole food based supplements. They see some positive changes in energy and sleep, but then their period comes, and they still feel awful. They Google or scroll on IG and start following different recommendations. The issue with this is it is not enough time for your body to see change.

The last 100 days impacts our current cycle. You need to give your body at least 4-6 months to see signficant change.

Why is it so important to give your body this space? If we are constantly changing what we are doing regarding nutrition and supplements, we won’t know what is working and what isn’t. Since the last few months impacts our current cycle, it’s important to give any changes you are making a chance. Another important reason to give your body space and time when healing is because healing isn’t linear. As you can see by the image below, we often see some positive changes at the beginning of healing, then we can experience some estrogen waves and more symptoms, and it can feel like you’re going backward. It is SO important to keep going during these times.

Remember, our bodies are always trying to keep us safe and, therefore, are constantly responding to our environment. If you are someone that has been living in a constant state of stress, as your body begins to slow down and replenish, you might not feel great at first. Your stress hormones are lowering, and you’re entering a new physiological state that can be uncomfortable at first, but it is a good sign. To support and build hormones, our bodies need to be in a relaxed state. Second-guessing your healing journey and constantly making changes can make it challenging to find that balance.

What can you do if you feel like you’re going backwards, but don’t want to throw things off? While I want you to give your body the space and time to heal, if you intuitively feel that something is off, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. There are a few areas that I think are important to check in with if you’re struggling.

Nutrition/Eating Enough/Macros
If you are feeling off the first thing to check in with is are your basic needs being met AKA are you eating enough? We talk about how to figure this out in episode 2 of the Are You Menstrual? Podcast. The other big area when it comes to nutrition is macronutrient breakdown. If you are struggling with weight gain, lower energy, insulin resistance, etc. then I would look at your fat and carb intake. If you are eating a lot of fat and a lot of carbs, your body is going to have a hard time utilizing both fuel sources. This tends to lead to more insulin release and feeling sluggish. Being mindful of fat intake is helpful to ensure your body will utilize the carbs you’re eating properly.

Another big area to check in with is rest. Are you getting enough sleep? If not, are there any small changes you can make to make it easier to get more sleep? Maybe it’s adjusting your nighttime routine, the time you eat dinner or reducing screen time. Are you always on the go? If you are always doing and never taking time to just be, that can make healing difficult. It can feel overwhelming to make changes, but I want to stress that every small change makes a big difference long term. Even if you go to bed 15 minutes early, that can overtime add up.

Light Exposure/Outside Time
If you are struggling with sleep, energy, or appetite, I would take a look at your light exposure and time spent outside. Another simple but effective way to support a healthy appetite and stress hormone levels throughout the day is getting outside first thing in the morning and taking another break during the day to get outside. A lot of my clients will eat breakfast outside and take a walk after lunch or mid afternoon. I personally walk my dogs in the morning, so that’s how I get light first thing and then again in the afternoon. Everyone has their own routine and schedule restrictions, but I would try to get creative and think outside of the box. Light and time outside is important for our hormone health.

This one might sound strange, but I cannot express how important it is to avoid skipping this step. There’s really no end point when it comes to healing. There will always be things that pop up in your life, transitions, stressful seasons that require change and adjustments. This is why it is so important to enjoy yourself along the way. You have to follow an approach that you know you can sustain long term. Are you adding fun to your schedule or prioritizing it on a regular basis? If not, that would be the first thing I work on.

I hope this helps prioritize expectations and support during your healing journey to help you see things through and not give up!

Here are some great podcast episodes below that can help you on your healing journey:

reminder: i’m currently taking on 1:1 clients. if you’d like to explore what it would be like to work together and if we are a good fit, fill out this form to get more details!​

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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