Welcome to Period Routines, where we spotlight different members of the LOLA community to learn how they manage their period. We want the ins and outs of their monthly routines — how they feel, how they deal, and what they can’t live without.
Want to share your period routine? Leave a comment below.
Today, we’re sitting down with Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik, co-founders and hosts of Almost 30, a top-rated lifestyle podcast, media platform, and community. Krista and Lindsey talk to us about first periods, birth control, and what their podcast has taught them about hormonal health.
Occupation: Co-founders and co-hosts of Almost 30, an online and offline space where listeners can gather, relate and join in navigating the journey to their best selves.
Age: Lindsey is 33, Krista is 32 years old
First Period Stories
Lindsey: I got my period when I was 14. I didn’t have an older sister or anyone to talk to about it other than my mom. It was such an embarrassing, messy scene at school. I went to an all-girls Catholic school, and there really wasn’t talk about the female body or empowerment. I didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone for help, so I just took as much toilet paper as possible, put it in my underwear, and when I got home figured it out with my mom. There was no way I was going to use a tampon at that time because it terrified me. Slowly and surely I learned about my own anatomy and was able to start using tampons later. The entire experience was a walk in the dark, for sure.
Krista: I got my period when I was about 12. I felt like it was a good thing, like it was my introduction into becoming a woman. I got it at night and woke up with blood on the sheets. I started out with tampons from the beginning because I had an older sister. No one in my family had pads so I just experimented and put in my own tampon and was on my way. I was excited about getting my period because I thought it would give me boobs.
Birth Control and Period Routines
Lindsey: I was on birth control for 14 years. About a year into the podcast we were having conversations with hormone experts. It got us thinking more about what we were putting into our bodies and how it affects our hormones. Our hormones control so much: energy, sleep, sex drive, skin. I realized I’d never understood why I was taking hormonal birth control all those years. I think my mom just put me on it when I started to have sex at 18, but I hadn’t stopped to think about why I was still taking it. So I went off it, because I had educated myself about the foods, the lifestyle, and the environmental factors that could be affecting my hormones.
My transition from my twenties to thirties was all about tuning into my body. Part of that meant learning more about my menstrual cycle, which has really improved my experience with my period. I no longer dread it every month. I understand what’s happening and am able to plan my life, my workouts and the food I eat around my cycle.
I have really high energy the first week of my cycle, meaning the week after my period. I maximize that time. As I near my period I become a little more insular. That’s where most of my creative inspiration comes, because I’m spending more time alone and connecting to my thoughts and feelings more. A couple days before my period I’ll begin to experience lower energy. The day I get my period is the heaviest and most uncomfortable — it’s about 8 hours where I’m having cramps, low energy, and difficulty focusing. After that first day, I’m still pretty tired so I limit my workouts and make sure I get enough sleep. After the first couple days things taper out and I feel quite normal.
Krista: I have a similar story. I was on birth control since I was fifteen — it was the one that almost eliminated your period, so I had it maybe four times a year. I kind of lost track of my period for a while, and I wasn’t aware of the relationship between our hormones and our cycle.
So many women struggle with getting their period — I’ve struggled with it, and am really grateful that it’s regular now.
When I moved from New York to L.A., I went through some health issues and my hormones were really off. I became more interested in hormonal health as we started to talk to experts about it on the podcast. I started focusing on regaining a regular period that could help me connect to my intuition, my creativity, and my body.
Over the course of a year, I slowed down, I ate more fat, I had less sugar. I would take supplements and Chinese herbs. Now I have a really regular period that is a four day bleed. I love that I’m connected enough with my body to know that it’s coming. So many women struggle with getting their period — I’ve struggled with it, and am really grateful that it’s regular now.
Learning About Hormones on Almost 30
Krista: Alisa Vitti is a really impactful person on this topic that we interviewed on the podcast. We read her books Woman Code and In the Flo. It’s fascinating and empowering to learn about our hormonal cycles. We found out that so much of the testing in health and fitness is done on men, and doesn’t always apply to women because of our hormonal cycles. For example, when they do testing around HIIT training or intermittent fasting, the results we’re seeing and reading are tailored to men, not women. It can be damaging for women to take that information into our lives — to work out and eat the way men do — because we have specific hormonal cycles. When I lost my period, it was because I was working out too much; same with Lindsey. There’s so much power behind understanding our cycle that can help us biohack our hormones, that can help our mood, our creativity and more. It was like uncovering this hidden aspect of ourselves has been really profound.
Lindsey: We also spoke to Candace Burch, who’s a hormone expert. What struck me about that talk was how, especially growing up, there wasn’t that much talk about hormones when visiting the OB-GYN. That’s a generalization —I know not all OB-GYNs are like this — but for many women the relationship has historically been very prescriptive. I never had a conversation about the effects of birth control and whether I should stay on it, or how it could affect other parts of my health, like my mental health. It isn’t the standard, to have conversations and empower patients to make their own decisions around birth control. I think it’s probably improved over the years, but so many women are experiencing very intense symptoms, like PCOS, that are life-altering and really stop them from being their best selves. And there hasn’t really been a mainstream conversation around it. It’s really cool to have these conversations because then we start to understand the questions that we need to ask when we’re in the room.
Lindsey: I use organic tampons from LOLA. It’s made such a difference over the years to be thoughtful about what I’m putting into my body when it comes to menstrual care. I have noticed a difference in how my body reacts to the product, and the intensity of my menstrual symptoms.
Krista: I use LOLA organic tampons usually. If I am traveling, I also have a menstrual cup just in case I need something else.
Krista: Educating yourself about your body and using what you learn to your advantage is the biggest tip I have. Whether it’s reading books by hormone experts like Alisa Vitti, or learning how to biohack your hormones, by taking the time to learn you can really become empowered by your period.
Lindsey: Cycle syncing has been so helpful. Whether it’s my creativity or my energy level, it helps me optimize every week in the month no matter how I’m feeling. It’s even impacted my relationship with my partner. Being able to communicate, “Hey, around this time of my cycle this is what I’m feeling,” has been so helpful. I think inviting people into the conversation helps destigmatize periods even more.
— As told to LOLA. Illustrations by Eugenia Mello