loveI recently got an email from Carla, a Hormonology newsletter subscriber, that went something like this:

“It seems like as soon as I know Week 3 hits, mentally I’m like ‘Great, there goes my estrogen! I give up! I hate being a girl! Whahh whahhhh!'”

Then Carla asks if taking some kind of estrogen supplement can help make her Week 3 better.

First off, I’m asked constantly about what hormone supplements I recommend. However, I don’t recommend taking any hormone supplement–be it estrogen, progesterone or testosterone–without a real medical reason and without a doctor closely monitoring it. Hormones are seriously powerful chemicals–as well you know because you feel their effects all cycle long. As a result, hormone supplements can have major side effects and pose serious health risks.

So, if hormone supplements are off the table, then what do I suggest to improve the second half of your cycle–Week 3 and Week 4?

Well, here’s where I feel kinda guilty.

It’s at least in part because of me that you’re now acutely aware that the second half of your cycle is the total opposite of the first half of your cycle. (Unless you’re a hormonally opposite woman, which is a whole other thing.)

And in a 2001  And while I should be talking about each week of your cycle fairly and objectively, on occasion I have been known to favor the first half of our monthly cycle, treating it like a prized pupil who keeps winning my class major trophies in the math and spelling competitions.

As a result, my less than objective opinion on which are the “best” weeks of our cycle may have inadvertently rubbed off on you, making you dread the start of your Week 3 and Week 4.

My bad.

Truth is, there are lots of reasons to look forward to your Week 3 and Week 4. And keeping those benefits in mind will help ease the transition into them.

For instance, last night I found out that there’s a cupcake competition going on this Saturday in the city where I live, St. Petersburg, Florida. You can go for free and sample over a hundred of the most awesomest, creative, unbelievable cupcakes ever made that are entered in the contest. And you can eat as much as you want! Holy moly, right???

Well, it gets better: By Saturday, I will be in my Week 3–and thanks to rising progesterone, which amps up cravings for sweet foods with creamy frostings and decadent fillings–will be SO HAPPY to be diving face-first into a platter of divine cupcakes. In fact, I quite literally wouldn’t enjoy it more during any other week of my cycle.

And, hello! Because we gals burn up to 30% more fat when we exercise during our Week 3 and most of our Week 4 thanks to the combo of estrogen and progesterone, I can totally burn off all those extra calories I’ll be wolfing down. Double-score!

So, what I’m saying is that, sure, saying goodbye to Week 2 stinks. Week 2 has a ton of benefits we can all agree pretty much rock–the high energy, soaring brain skills, peaking libido, yadda yadda.

However, if you can think of things you can look forward to in your Week 3 and Week 4 that you like–maybe a special indulgent treat or mood-boosting activity you save just for those weeks–you can actually look forward to these weeks and enjoy them more.

To give you a bit more incentive to love the second half of your cycle, I’ll point out a few other bonuses you can look forward to in Week 3 and Week 4:

*  The mellowness of rising progesterone in Week 3 makes it a perfect time to do relaxing activities–like reading a novel or working on a scrapbook–that you were too antsy to do in your high-energy Week 2.

* During your Week 3, you’re more sensitive to the scent of fatty foods, which makes them taste better. So, plan to enjoy your favorite fatty guilty pleasure, like a doughnut, guacamole or malted milkshake (my personal fave) on these days.

* During your premenstrual Week 4, give yourself permission to treat yourself like a queen–watch a movie you’ve been meaning to see or get a mani/pedi. Doing so boosts a flagging premenstrual mood caused by plunging estrogen, so it’s downright medicinal!

Why don’t you come up with more ways to look forward to your Week 3 and Week 4 and email them to me–and I’ll post the best ones in a future blog post for everyone to check out!

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