My HormonologyWhich week are you on in your cycle?

Week 1
First day of period to Day 7
Today’s hormone-cast: If you want to shed a dress size, try eating less today and steering away from nutritional no-nos, like cupcakes and chips. Rising estrogen has a mild appetite suppressing effect, which makes it easier to cut down on portion sizes and skip your usual treats without feeling deprived. Still feel the pull toward sugary, fatty and salty foods despite rising estrogen? Some research suggests we get addicted to these foods, which makes us crave them when we stop eating them. But, if you can fight those urges, rising estrogen will help make these junk food urges fade through this week and all of next week.

Week 2
Day 8 to Day 13
Today’s hormone-cast: High estrogen is triggering more upbeat moments in your day. As a result, you may be inspired to do a random act of kindness for a friend, neighbor or even a perfect stranger. And, while you may not expect a reward for your good deed, turns out, you might get one—but not necessarily from the person you helped! A brand-new study out of Harvard and the University of California, San Diego, shows that one act of kindness you do for someone else prompts them to do an act of kindness for three people around them, and those three people do an act of kindness for three people around them, resulting in a chain reaction that makes dozens of people within your social circle, neighborhood, school and/or workplace become more generous and giving!

Week 3
Day 14 (or ovulation) to Day 22
Today’s hormone-cast: When given the choice, you may opt to work as part of a team over going solo or heading up a venture today. Rising progesterone and lower levels of testosterone make you feel less ambitious and independent than last week and more interested in plugging into the talents and skills of others to help move a project along.

Week 4
Day 23 to the end of cycle
Today’s hormone-cast: Your libido gets revved up today as nerve endings down below get stimulated while your body prepares for menstruation. If you plan to head to bed (or a hotel or back seat of a car or public restroom—who am I to judge?), keep in mind two important hormonal hurdles facing your sex life today: while you may feel aroused, plunging estrogen is making it harder for your body to produce lubrication, so have a bottle of lubricant handy to avoid uncomfortable chafing; plunging estrogen is also making it harder to focus, so you’ll have to try harder to blot out work problems, your grocery list and that juicy piece of gossip you heard earlier that day. But, if get over both of those challenges, you should be enjoying a fun romp that helps boost mood and chase away premenstrual grumpies.