Yup, we’re going there today. On a topic that I get asked soooo very often, which I guess isn’t surprising given the fact that most of you in this community are women, and women who are wanting to get more educated about their bodies, their health, and wanting to learn and feel more empowered about what’s going on.
This post has been a long time coming. And is something I feel so passionate about, because it’s one of those areas— soooo similar to food— that for most of my life I just followed what everyone was doing. And was not very well educated on.
Until I started thinking about my health in a more holistic way. And then doubly so, in my mid to later 20’s, as I started thinking about the next stage of life that I was wanting to call in: getting married and starting a family.
Thankfully, I started the journey before I “needed” to, and gave myself plenty of time to learn, process it all, and at the end of the day, be the best advocate I could for my health and my body.
It’s something I would recommend, no matter what age or stage of life you’re in: get educated.
It’s never to late to learn all the stuff that we probably should have learned in school, but definately didn’t (whether that’s with food, your hormones, and your health overall).
My hopes in writing this post are to share some of my favorite resources I found along the way, that not only changed my perspective on things, but also helped me figured out how to navigate my hormonal health in a way that felt more aligned to me, that I didn’t even know existed before. My journey with balancing my hormones more naturally has been a process over the last decade of my life, and this topic today of making the decision to transition off of hormonal birth control, was where it all started.
So before we jump in, let me just say: this is a very personal topic. I do not believe there is a “right” or “wrong” way to manage your hormonal health. It’s about what feels the best to you, based on your values, life stage, what you want in the future, what you know and the information you have access to. We are all so different.
My point is to just share some things that opened my eyes so much. And that I am so passionate about other women feeling empowered around their health– not lost & confused. Only you know what’s right for you. But I always wished that I had learned some of this stuff sooner in life. More time is always better when you’re healing or going through some kind of new transition in your body or your health or your life.
And now, we’re entering a new era, where it’s COOL to know about how our bodies are designed to work. And to learn to work with them, not against them (or just covering up symptoms that could be giving us clues about what’s going on underneath). I’m a huge believer that our bodies are always moving towards health, and optimal functioning, when given the things it needs to do so. We/societal norms just get in the way sometimes.
Today, let’s go there: transitioning away from hormonal birth control.
First, I want to say this: there are a ton of reasons why women choose to go on birth control. There are also a ton of worthwhile reasons women choose to stop taking it. It should go without saying, I am not a doctor, and this is not medial advice. But it’s a great thing to bring to your doctor to talk about what feels the to YOU.
Just a few reasons why some women choose to transition off of hormonal birth control:
- Maybe you are wanting to prepare your body and hormones to potentially have babies in the future.
- Maybe you’re experiencing a deep feeling of wanting to be off daily medication and its side effects.
- Maybe you want to heal your hormones, finding out what’s really going on inside your body so that you can bring it into alignment.
- Maybe you want to help your body re-acclimate to its natural cycles and rhythms, no matter your age.
- Maybe you’re experiencing health symptoms that are mysterious, and you want to eliminate a factor.
Whatever your reasons are, I believe this topic is worth thinking about. And learning about. Here are a few great places to get started:
Get educated and empowered about hormonal health.
Sadly, we aren’t taught about many important topics in school. This conversation is so important, and we should be learning about how magical and powerful our bodies are as women. Instead, we’re actually taught the opposite: we’re told not to talk about our bodies, our periods or our cycles. Even worse, we’re conditioned to be embarrassed about it, or have shame around it, only whispering in secret to other women.
We don’t learn about how powerful and beautiful our cycles are, or what’s really going on each month when we have them. But sooner or later, most of us start to realize just how connected our hormones, cycles and bodies are to our lives. To how we feel. To our fertility. To our vibrancy. To our energy. And our overall health.
So here are some great places to start. And to learn about the beauty of your body, its hormones, and its cycles. They are powerful aspects of womanhood! Thankful, there are so many great resources out there. Warning: once you start to learn, it becomes addicting (and so many lightbulbs might start going on in your head– in a good way, of course!). Here are some books I recommend starting with:
For overall cycle education:
If you feel like something about your cycle is off:
For women in the next phase of life, these are amazing resources on the next shifts that happen:
Download a period tracking app.
There are so many incredible tools that help us check in with our cycles these days! I love Flo, and Glow is also great. But truly– there are lots. Pick one you like and start a daily tracking routine when you stop taking birth control. Give yourself a few months to get into this practice, and before you know it, you’ll start seeing patterns pop up around mood, food cravings, and how you feel socially, emotionally, mentally and physically each day depending on where you are in your cycle. The way all of these things connect is wild! This is by far one of the best things I do for my health overall—- let alone understanding my hormones. Once you understand it, it’s so much easier to feel in control and connected to what’s going on in your body.
Support your body as it re-adjusts.
Any time you go through a hormonal change, it’s a good idea to support yourself in all the ways you can. The biggest way of all? The foods you eat! If you’re not already eating mostly nutrient-dense, real-food, this is a great first step toward finding balance. Not only will your body get the nutrients it needs to readjust, but you’ll feel better physically– particularly if you’re stabilizing your blood sugar. So start with REAL FOOD. As much nutrient dense food as you can, and clear out some of the more processed stuff. Think tons of veggies, great quality healthy fats, beans/nuts, healthy protein (think soups, salads, smoothies, nut butters, avocados, etc). You want to deeply nourish your cells from the inside out, keep your blood sugar as stable as possible, so your body can focus on healing and re-balancing.
Give yourself space to process your emotions.
When you learn that what you’ve been told about hormones, birth control, its side effects, and its long term effects on the body doesn’t hold up, it’s perfectly normal to feel mad. Just like food, there are lots of systems in place that probably don’t have your best interest in mind. So give yourself some time, space, and grace as you process your hormone journey. And embrace turning a new page– one where you get to be educated and empowered about your own body. Think of being a generational pattern breaker too— if you learn this stuff, think of what you’ll be able to teach and impart on your kids, and the children around you. So beautiful.
Take care of yourself.
As you journey through this transition, start (or continue!) a few self care practices. From journaling to long walks to baths to face masks, having rituals that ground you and connect you to yourself is very important in this process. The more you take care of yourself, the more you start to trust yourself. Trust that your body can heal when you give it all the things it needs to do so! Tune into that deep inner voice inside, get out of your own way, and trust that you’re on the right path. Need help starting the self care journey? This checklist is a great place to start– it outlines 18 things to stop doing to get your time, energy & vibrancy back.
Want to learn more about holistic hormonal health? Grab your spot on the waitlist for Simply Real Life: The Method. Doors open again this spring! We cover so much in this six-week program, including hormones and nervous system health, as well as healing your relationship to food, your body and yourself.
What is The Method? It’s our signature 6 week *live* program designed to help you stop the all-or-nothing mentality with your health, re-wire your brain and get out of your own way, learn to read the signals of your body better and create more freedom, intuition and trust in your own body, so you can live a more EFFORTLESSLY HEALTHY life!