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Episode 11 outlines and explains the most important action items for the last phase of the cycle, the Pause phase. The two phases prior to this one are all about moving forward and establishing new, healthier habits. The Pause phase asks us to slow down, once again doing some retrospective work on how our goals align with our overall lives.

One major pitfall that women run into in terms of meeting their goals is that they have an all-or-nothing mentality. In living in sync with the cycle, periods of action and reflection allow for “cheating”–which is another way to say that this allows for freedom from perfection or rigidity.

This last phase is similar to the Plateau phase in that good detoxification pathways are actively supported. With estrogen dominance and conditions like PMS, acne, fatigue, and emotional instability on the rise, helping to support metabolism and elimination of excess hormones and hormone-mimicking substances is crucial.

Important Links: to learn more about the 4 Phase Cycle Approach. to get our FREE Wild Feminine Cycle Guide to get started with everything you need to know about living in sync with your cycles. to join our 3 month Healthy Hormones Group Program. This program includes functional lab work with a complete hormone and neurotransmitter panel, with a personalized protocol created for each participant based on their results.

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Transcript for This Podcast

Hi there, this is Alex. Welcome back to our podclasses. We are back with the Pause Phase. And hopefully you’re going along in order, because that’s the way it’s going to make the most sense.

But today we’re going to talk all about the action items of the Pause Phase. And this is a really beautiful phase. I guess I could say that about all of them. I just happen to like this one. Which is really ironic, because that’s usually when we have the most PMS. And that’s usually when I used to feel the most miserable. I would always have way worse pain than before. I would always have way more acne and have hormonal headaches. And it was just miserable all around. But, actually, nowadays it has really transformed into this very calm Zen feeling time for me. Because, usually, when I come out of the introspective phase that is the Release Phase, when I have my period, then the next two phases are so action oriented and so, kind of, extroverted that I am always very relieved and happy to circle back around the the Pause Phase and get recharged and reintegrated.

And so there are going to be a couple of things here that are unique. Just like in the last phase, and like we talked about with Plateau, the Pause Phase is also about detoxification. There’s detoxification because your hormones need to be processed and metabolized and removed out of the body. And that, along with all the inflammatory compounds and byproducts of cellular metabolism, so basically the things your cells do, you need to get them out so that they don’t impact the next cycle. So that’s why detoxing and minimizing your sources of exogenous hormones, or hormone mimicking substances, ends up being so important during this time. But, we already knew that from the previous podclass so I’m just doing a little recap.

Let’s get started with our food, movement, ritual, and mental work. Okay?

So this Pause Phase when it comes to food, and actually with movement too, is going to be integrating the old with the new. Let’s think about the cycle so far. When we have gotten started we are doing the Release. And that is the bulk of our planning that’s going to happen for the rest of the cycle. And so there is a lot of mental and emotional work that ends up being done there, that then impacts what you choose to focus on for the rest of the cycle. Then when you get towards the end, what you want is to find the best way possible to merge the old and the new, and give yourself feedback and reinforcements. Just like with – we’ll talk about the mental work, you’ll actually think about this – but when it comes to food, we want to find a way of living and interacting with our food so that we feel good about it. Which is obviously the goal, right?

It almost sounds trivial to say that. But it’s not. Because we usually end up doing things because we should or we have to. It’s not, it usually doesn’t focus on doing things that feel good, because if we focused on things that felt good, many of us feel that we would just be eating doughnuts and pizza. Here’s the thing that happens though when you start doing that, and it’s not actually congruent with you, is that you realize that’s not stuff that you define as nourishing yourself. Right? And so this is actually less of a problem than most people think. The real reason it becomes such a problem is because we are always telling us we can’t have that, you can’t do this. It’s always deprivation, deprivation, deprivation. We are now relearning how to interact with our entire life in the opposite of deprivation; prosperity mindset. It’s, “what are all the nourishing foods I can eat?” “How can I eat the most varied diet?” “How can I move myself in the most interesting, fun, exciting, impactful ways possible?” This focus on unlimited potential and actual feel goodness is a new concept to many of us.

And so we need to find a way, and especially during the Pause Phase, to slow down enough from all of that action, action, action, action, action, to saying, “let’s think about how I fell in response to this.” Because what you may find – and I’ve had cycles like this where – what I set out to do during the Release Phase of that cycle, when I come back around to Pause, I’ve actually realized that that goal isn’t congruent for me. And the only reason I knew that, and the only reason I figured out that I should go another way, is because I took the time to reflect on: what happened, how it made me feel, and where the future lies in that things. And so for our food, I can even give an example.

So for example, Megan, well I won’t speak for Megan, but she has her own Keto story. I have examples where I was trying to take more things out. I was trying to take out dairy, I was a little bit suspicious, I kept minimizing as much as possible. And then when it came down to it, when I really sat down in the Pause Phase, I just looked at everything I was eating and everything that was happening in my life, and I realized I was trying to blame another food, like something else to take out, rather than realizing that some of what I was doing in terms of my mindset and my focus, that I wanted to ignore – it’s easier to take a supplement. It’s actually even easier to cut out a food, or a series of foods, than to say, “hey, there’s actually something more to this that might actually have to do with me as a person.” And that’s a lot harder work to do. Right? So during this Pause Phase, we want to begin to think through how we’re doing, and what we’re feeling with what we’re doing.

So with the food, if you have been doing the elimination diet, the Pause Phase is really great for reintegration. Hardly anyone ends up sticking around to eat the pure elimination diet. Some people do with severe gut dysfunction, with autoimmune diseases, obviously that happens. But you want to begin to reintroduce foods. And you theoretically want that reintroduction phase to be successful. And if it’s not becoming more successful over time, then there is something more going on. Because whenever someone comes to us and says, “I can only really eat ten things,” that is a huge tip off for us. There is almost inevitably something else going on that has not been addressed. When you’re in that reintroduction phase you want to begin to explore how it’s going. And then how your relationship with the food that you’re eating has changed and evolved. We will talk about cheap foods during the mental aspect of this podclass. But for the food, in a practical sense, we want to re broaden out as much as possible. So if you’ve done an elimination diet, or if you started a diet, you want to say, “okay, now that you have that Rise Phase you started, and you were great at that, and then you hit the Plateau Phase and you kept doing. And you got even more clear on how to do it. And more successful. And more efficient. And you’re feeling great about it.” Then the Pause Phase is the time to say, “how can I include as much nourishing food to myself as possible while still being congruent with my overall goal?” No matter what you eat, almost everyone – I saw a funny meme the other day about all the different diets and how they differed, and they all had veggies and fruits, well actually not fruits, veggies in common. I’m pretty sure everyone agrees that veggies are, more veggies is better. Up to a point. Obviously not everything is good all the time. But, veggies I think we can all agree on.

So how can you challenge yourself to include more nutrients, more minerals, more vitamins, more healthy ratios of calories, differences in trace minerals. I mean there’s so many things that we can expose ourselves to. Wherever you are, part one of that is how do you actually feel about it, and is it congruent with your overall idea. And two is we want to make this a livable, enjoyable thing. And we want it to not only be about taking foods away from ourselves, but also giving ourselves more and more food, more and more variety, more and more feelings of complete abundance and prosperity in our health. Which, unfortunately, is something that we’re missing so so much with our focus on disease. So that is food.

Movement is a lot of the same stuff. You can see how all of these things end up bleeding together, of course. So with our movement goals, if you’ve established for yourself exercise goals, weight loss goals, flexibility goals, whatever it is that you are doing, during this Pause Phase we want to begin to scale back just a tad. You don’t have to stop doing what you’re doing. You just as you are on the continuum of more exertion and lower exertion, you’re going to head towards the lower one once again. So you are coming full circle. Over this phase it’s okay to just gently, day by day, decrease the intensity. And you also want to begin to take time to give yourself feedback. So a lot of times, this is where I switch from doing a lot of the more dynamic work – I still usually keep in some slow heavy lifting – but what I will do is I will make that session a little bit longer and I will kind of spend more time doing it so that I can feel in my body how it is that’s working. And I will sub in different activities in response to that.

So usually that’s my if I notice, for example, that I’ve been working out and my hips have been really sore, well that for me is an indication that the work – and this is just for my own personal body, this is not for everybody – but, for me when I work out the front of my body too much and not enough of my posterior, my back muscles and my hamstrings and all of that can really pull me out of alignment with my history with hip pain and pelvic pain. And so that time that I take working out, I get to feel into that, into actually get those cues from my body, and then I impact it. So I make changes based on that. And then a lot of times my body, now that I’m in residency, a lot of times my cue to myself is actually to rest more.

And so when my movement goals in trying to find a balance between real life and what I want to happen, that balance really comes down to shifting the intensity, the time that I spend doing it, and all of those things that go into it. And I may even say, “okay this week I’m switching up entirely, I’m not going to do any heavy lifting. What I’m going to do because my husband and I have more time, we’re going to take more walks. We’re going to go on some hikes. We’re going to do this other fun active outing instead of working out.” And so cycle by cycle it doesn’t necessarily mean the exact same thing to me, but the overall arching goal of finding a better balance within your body, and listening to the cues that your body gives you, all remains the same here. Okay? So this is the Pause. And the reintegration part.

Alright, let’s do rituals. I always smile when I get to the rituals part because I fricken love it.

We are going this week, if you want to get crazy and do a real live Pause then we are going to challenge you to find a flotation tank where they do sensory deprivation tanks. You go in a tank. It’s quiet. It’s dark. And you just float. It sounds a little bit crazy if you haven’t heard of this, but it is the ultimate pause, and time to reflect, that you can possibly really get. If that is not a possibility for you, other things that are a little bit more organized are something like a meditation class. So if you google around in your area, you can usually find people getting together to meditate. And that’s a really great way to do the slowing down activity, while still being in the presence of others. And allowing the support of others to teach you how to set that up, set that new way of being up in your life as a reality. Flotation tank kind of gets you out your usual environment into that headspace. Meditation class does the same thing. But, if you are like, “I don’t have any of those things, I don’t have money for those things,” what I want you to do this week is to focus on setting aside one period of time – however much that is, it can be 15 minutes, it could be a whole day – but time where you are going to challenge yourself to be alone. And that includes electronics, social media, alone time.

What I want you to do is begin to get comfortable with the idea of doing something, or going out and getting a cup of coffee, going to sit on a patio and have a drink, or whatever, or even be in your house alone and not interacting with the world around you. And just letting yourself truly have a pause from every single distraction coming in. Every single priority that someone else wants to make for you, every single request, you just want litteral time to pause out of your life. And for a lot of us that’s really uncomfortable. Because we realize that a lot of what we do, and a lot of the energy that we expend, is actually done so that we don’t have to think about the more important things. It may be a resurgence of something that you wrote about last week.

So in your ritual when you burned or tore up the toxic thing you wanted to release, sometimes that is a process that you don’t finish in one cycle. There may be traumas in your life, or beliefs in your life, or people in your life, that have caused such an impact on your subconscious that you need time to process this. And the only way that you can really get in touch with these ideas is by allowing yourself to be alone with those thoughts and those emotions. At first, I’ve always liked being alone, but I always filled that time alone with activities that essentially distracted me from the sensation of being alone. So it was a very, yeah, I didn’t have to talk to anybody, but at the same time it wasn’t necessarily alone with my thoughts. Or I would drink more wine because I was essentially dulling the emotions I didn’t know what to do with.

Sometime it’s alone time as a ritual can be a little bit daunting and a little bit like, “I don’t even know what I’m going to do. What am I? I’m home alone, I’m just not going to watch T.V.?” A lot of it is just doing what you need to do to make it tolerable and comfortable, but you also don’t want to suffocate or dull those feelings that come up. Because those feelings, emotions, sensations, and thoughts tell you so much information about you and your life. It is just unbelievable how much. If you are feeling lonely, or in that as a sensation, sometimes it’s just good to sit there and say, “I feel lonely and I’m going to allow myself to feel lonely.” And when we don’t try to push away feelings, a lot of times they surface, we experience, and then they go away and give rise to something new. When we try to push it away it’s always there. We’re just always having to do something to keep it down, something to keep it down, something to keep it down. And so this alone time you experience whatever it is you experience, and then you allow it to inform. And sometimes we don’t, a lot of times we feel like we have to take action or do it. All you have to do is spend that time alone and write down what comes out for you and what comes up for you. Because, then, as you can see we’re going to circle back around the Release Phase. And when you are in the Release Phase you’re going to take all of that beautiful right/left brain hemisphere communication, and you are going to apply it to some planning, and come up with a plan for that issue that you’re having or that experience that you’re having that you would like to replace with a different, more positive experience.

What you want to do with that is not necessarily feel pressured to do something right now because that’s exactly why you do things ciclicaly. There will be a time and place to deal with that, but right now you’re giving yourself the time and space to experience it, gain that insight – that’s such a huge valuable gift to know, “hey, this is what’s going wrong in my life,” – and when you name it you can actually do something about it. And that’s where you’re going to spend the next cycle doing. And so for you just name it. Just be there and allow it to be. And don’t feel like you have to do anything else besides that.

That alone time can be filled with whatever it is. But I actually did kind of like the experience of – I started going out to a place by our house when my husband was still working and I’d gotten home, I would go sit and have a tea or something. And I wouldn’t bring a book, I wouldn’t bring my computer, I wouldn’t bring my phone. I would just sit, and I would people watch, and I would just sit and drink my tea. That was all I did. So please don’t make it more complicated than it needs to. A lot of times I would take a notebook, or an app on my phone, or my phone, just because I wanted to jot down things that came up for me. And at first it felt more painful to sit with these things. Now i’m almost excited when I do this and I have something that comes up. Because I’m like, “oh, this is something I can work on. This is something I can make better.” And then when I do, all of a sudden, it’s like, “oh, that thing, that feeling that I used to have, you know inadequacy of not being smart enough or not being good enough,” or whatever it is that came up, now all of a sudden I’ve worked through it, and I’m in a better place.

And so it’s not sitting on my shoulder all the time, chirping in my ear like, “hey Alex, you’re not good enough,” “hey Alex, maybe you suck,” “hey Alex, maybe you’ll never be as smart as your peers.” All of those things that I think, once I got them out on the open, now when I have that thought it’s more funny than anything else. Because you’re just kind of laughing about it. You’re like, “well you know, yes of course everyone has these thoughts. Yes I’ve already thought about this. Yes I’ve put in the work.” For me it ends up being really exciting to label it and find something else to do. Because once you do, dang, you’re just going to feel on top of the world for having addressed it and grown from it. And you’re like, “real life adulting! I’ve got this!” This is all amazing. This is I think one of the most powerful rituals. All of them we have here in these podclasses are, but this one, man. I get little goose bumps talking about it just because of how my own person experience with this. So that’s that.

So let’s finish up with some mental work we are going to do. And a lot of this has been already. But what we’re going to have you actually focus on towards the mental mindset this week is your relationship with cheating. Now this can be in relation to anything, but most people worry about cheating on their diet, or cheating on their health goals, or cheating on their they don’t take all their supplements, or they cheat at cutting corners at work, or they cheat at doing their responsibilities that they were supposed to do. What we want to do is turn all of those insidious cheating things that you end up doing and then immediately feeling crappy for, into taking that situation, analyzing. I want you to journal on some of these things you feel bad about. And I’m just going to use food as an example, only because it’s such a problem for a lot of people, and it’s also really easy to quantify.

But, let’s say you’re talking about cheat foods. You want to journal just on the fact there are in your mind foods that are off limits for you, but are very tempting. So just have that discussion with yourself. Why is that the case? What are the food that work for? Why do you think those foods are the ones you go for? What is it about certain situations that makes you crave whatever it is you want to cheat with? Because most of the time, it’s a problem somewhere else that is expressing itself in any sort of little hole in your thinking, somewhere it’s going to slip in and express itself. So a lot of times that is in the form of binge eating – so eating a whole box of cookies when you get stressed out – or it’s going on a shopping binge – and spending money that you don’t have – or it’s yelling at someone that you actually love – and don’t want to yell at but they happen to be there and you happen to be pissed.

Those things that are underlying will sneak out one way or the other. So you’re really just beginning to think about what it is that is happening. So if that’s food for you, then you’d talk about what cheat foods trigger you, why you think that’s happening, and for food most of the time it’s very much a deprivation mindset. How can it take out things, take out things, take out things, instead of how can I have more and more and more of the amazing stuff that’s around. Okay? So that’s usually somewhat around the answer, but each person will have their own variation, their own triggers, and their own manifestation of how that comes up as an issue for them.

And then we want to flip that context. So when we realize what it is that we are doing to – when we cheat, let’s say we’re cheating eating foods outside of what we want to eat and outside of what nourishes us – we can begin to identify the things that we are actually looking for. So in that food we are looking for comfort, or we are looking for distraction, or we are looking pleasure. And when you get that, then it gets really really fun. Because instead of always focusing on, “well I can’t have these cheat foods, I can’t eat that stuff.” What you then say – if you turn your attention away from that deprivation – and you say, “how can I give myself these positive feelings? I want comfort, I want support, I want things that fulfill my life and make me feel happy busy doing stuff that’s awesome. And I want happy relationships…” And when you name those things, then all of a sudden you can create a list underneath those that when it comes to pleasure you can say, “what are all the things I can do and that I want to do that give me pleasure.” And then with that list, next time you come around to having that moment of binging, or eating the foods that you don’t want to eat, then you have all of these other options that truly nourish your spirit. And so a lot of times instead of it manifesting in that food binge, then you can consciously take another action. And instead of feeling like you have to will power not eat that cupcake, you just go do something else with your girlfriend, don’t think about that cupcake. Easy as that, right? So we end up making things a lot harder for ourselves than they need to be.

The other thing is sometimes we realize that that thing that we’ve put up on a pedestal, like a cupcake, is just fine in a certain quantity. So like in the very beginning of these podclasses I was talking about how sometimes, or at least usually once a month, my husband and I walk on the weekend and we get for me gluten free doughnuts and coffee and we talk and that’s our thing. Now are doughnuts a cheat food for me? Technically yes, that’s not something I routinely add to my diet, but it’s not a cheat food in that I no longer put that “oh my god, I can’t have that doughnut.” In my mind it’s “yes, I can have doughnuts whenever I want.” But what I am doing is picking when I’m going to do it, and I’m going to make it the most awesome time, the thing that makes me the happiest. And then it not only makes you feel more in control of that choice, but you actually get to enjoy that experience. Which is, I mean come on, that is the coolest thing ever. Isn’t that what want? To get to the things that make us happy and enjoy doing them. Because it does not feel good to go eat that doughnut Thursday afternoon, in my car alone, trying to hide it, and then feeling bad about it for the rest of the night. I would much rather just say, “hey, doughnuts aren’t off limits for me, but I choose to eat them when I have a day off and I we’re walking, we’re getting our coffee, we’re talking, our dog Whiskey’s with us.” Great! That’s when I actually get enjoyment out of it.

That’s the work that you’re going to do. All of this is just journaling it, thinking through. It may take you not just one journaling session. And you may, if this is a big thing for you, because it is for most people, you may want to address this same topic for a couple cycles in a row and begin to transform that side. Do keep track. I like the idea of having a journal because you can look back, and it’s really really cool to look back, just even a few cycles when you are working on something like this, cause you’re like, “whoa, look at how I think about things now compared to what I was writing here. It’s like night and day difference.” For that reason you can keep it. If not, there’s plenty of times where I journal on stuff and then just through the paper away – I don’t need it, I have gotten my peace with it and that was it.

So, that is it for the Pause Phase action tips. We are going to go on to some super awesome stuff next. We have covered the majority of the main things that we are going to have you get started on. And then from here on out we are going to get a little bit more granular. A little bit more detailed about everything that is going to happen from here on out. And kind of where you can get a little bit tripped up and stuff like that. But if you ever need, make sure you go back, listen to these again. Sometimes it can be easy to get into a little bit of a rut. And then when you go back you’re like, “oh yeah, I did want to introduce this, and I kinda…” And it freshens it up and makes you excited about it again.

So that is it. I will see you guys for next class. I hope you guys have a wonderful day. And I’ll talk to you soon. Alright, bye.

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