Diary of a Diva: Can Divas Play Football? Yes, yes they can!

haley3My name is Haley. I’m a mother, teacher, track coach, and I play tackle football for the Utah Falconz.

Shortly after my second child was born, our family made the switch from disposable diapers to cloth diapers. I loved saving money, avoiding chemicals, and the lack of waste our family was creating.

Soon afterwards, I realized my traditional use of tampons and pads likewise needed a reevaluation. I was sick of the cost and waste associated with traditional feminine hygiene products, not to mention the serious dangers of TSS.

Besides that, traditional pads and tampons never truly worked well for me. I always ended up leaking due to my active life and heavy cycles. I have always cursed my “monthly gift” for slowing me down and forcing me to take constant breaks from my active life just to change my tampon.

I first heard about The DivaCup from a friend on Facebook who was brave enough to share that she switched from tampons to The DivaCup and loved it.

I admit, when I first heard about it I thought, “Ew… I could never do that.” But the more I researched, the more I realized that a menstrual cup could really fix a lot of the problems I had with traditional feminine hygiene products.

I decided to be brave and take the leap. I’m glad I did.

My first couple days using The DivaCup was a bit of a learning curve, but I quickly caught on. By day three I felt like a pro.

Ready for the playFootball practice was coming up and I was excited to see how it would hold up while sprinting, blocking, diving for balls, and being tackled. Women’s tackle football is definitely an “extreme sport” and I wanted to see if DivaCup’s claim that their product could handle the most extreme sports would hold up.

By the end of practice, I was sold. I finished an intense three-hour practice without one leak. Even hard hits and tackles didn’t cause the cup to slip or lose the seal and I didn’t have to leave the field once. I didn’t actually empty my DivaCup till that evening!

I love the freedom that my DivaCup gives me. As a busy mom, coach, and athlete, The DivaCup has made my life so much easier. It’s convenient, discreet, and incredibly effective. With tampons, I was lucky to get 4 hours of protection. With the DivaCup, I can go up to 12 hours before emptying it.

The DivaCup can handle both my heaviest and lightest days, so I no longer have to purchase a variety of absorbencies to fit the different points in my cycle. I also no longer have to pack an entire purse full of feminine hygiene products just to get me through a day (or trip!). And… I no longer have to fear the consequences of underestimating the number of tampons needed. (Yes, we’ve all been there!).

I can’t wait to use my DivaCup on my next backpacking trip to the Uintahs. As a firm believer in leave-no-trace camping, I can tell you from experience that packing out used feminine hygiene products is not fun. The DivaCup is going to make outdoor adventures much easier.

There were a couple other perks I wasn’t expecting. Since making the switch to the DivaCup I’ve noticed I noticed less cramping and my period is lighter and shorter.

I love the DivaCup and I’m never going back to the traditional feminine hygiene products. I’m happy to share my experience so that other women will know there is an alternative out there and it’s definitely worth giving it a try.

haley2Haley B.
Haley is a teacher, track coach, wife, and mother to two beautiful daughters. She plays wide receiver and corner for the Utah Falconz. Her favorite pastimes include camping, backpacking, baking, knitting, and crocheting.

 

 

 

Q & A with Ellen Barrett and Kate Hanley, authors of the 28 Days Lighter Diet

Ellen Barrett and Kate Hanley are the co-authors of the brand new book The 28 Days Lighter Diet: Your Monthly Plan to Lose Weight, End PMS, and Achieve Physical and Emotional Wellness. The book covers how to sync your diet, exercise, and life to your cycle, so you’re working with your body instead of beating it into submission. The Diva Team had a chance to talk to Ellen and Kate about the writing process and their upcoming Super Summit!

28DaysLighterDiet1. Can you share a bit about why you decided to write a book like this?

We noticed an unsettling trend with just about every woman we worked with – they pretty much all had issues with their cycle and also had weight struggles. We also knew from our individual experiences that common woes, such as PMS and extra pounds, are changeable with a few minor adjustments to your diet, fitness routine, and lifestyle. And we wanted women to see that they don’t have to just accept feeling less-than-great–they can use their cycle as a guide for what to do and when.

2. What exactly is the problem with being out of touch with our cycles?

Well, for one, it’s ridiculously unnatural – like being out of touch with the seasons…like driving a convertible in a snowstorm – it’s that ridiculous! Secondly, women miss out when you are out of touch, because the cycle is a perfect GPS system leading us towards optimal wellness. When you aren’t really sure where you are in your cycle, it’s so easy to nudge yourself out of balance. You may go to a spinning class on a day when your energy level is at its lowest, for example, and feel like a failure because you couldn’t keep up. Or go for a run the day before your period, when the uterus is twice its normal weight, and contribute to a misalignment that, over time, can add up to painful periods or even infertility. Or keep yourself booked solid during your pre-menstruation week when what your psyche is really craving some alone time. Meaning, you’ll be way more likely to pick fights or overreact to things that would otherwise not even catch your attention. Life flows (pardon the pun) a lot more easily when you give yourself just what you need just when you need it.

3. Can you share a bit about the Energy Wheel?

The 28 DAYS LIGHTER DIET Energy Wheel is an easy way to track your cycle, monitor your wellbeing, and plan your life. The cycle is a circle–when you get to the end, you immediately start again at the beginning, so our chart isn’t a traditional square calendar – it’s a circle too. As simple as the Energy Wheel is, it’s an extremely powerful tool for helping you really see how you experience your individual cycle and how any changes you make to your routines impact your wellbeing.

4. Who are the Wise Woman, Mother and Vixen and why are they so important?

They are prototypes for who we are energetically during each phase of the cycle. Phase I, Wise Woman, is still and knowing. Phase II , Mother, is all powerful. Phase III, Vixen, is intuitive and daring. They represent all the aspects of being a woman. They mean we don’t have to shut off any part of ourselves, they all have a place at the table. And it also means we don’t have to be all things at once, which is a huge relief!

5. Of the recipes in your book, which is your favorite and why?

Ellen: I’m a breakfast girl (and often have breakfast foods for dinner), so I’d say the “Almost Eggs Florentine”” on page 140.

Kate: I am loving the Escarole and Bean soup! The Energy Balls are a close second, however. Love having something on hand that satisfies a sweet tooth but still delivers a ton of nutrition.

6. What advice would you give to young girls first starting their periods?

1. It’s a blessing, not a curse. 2. Don’t use tampons. 3. Rest on Day 1.

7. What advice would you give to women well into their menstruating years?

1. It’s a blessing, not a curse. 2. Don’t use tampons. 3. Rest on Day 1.

8. What was the most interesting thing you learned about women’s health while researching for the book?

The biggest revelation was about how the birth control pill is way more dangerous than we previously thought yet it continues to be prescribed by doctors like it’s no big deal.

9. Final question… what’s on your playlist?

Ellen: I just downloaded a few songs from Lorde – love her.

Kate: I can’t stop listening to “Happy” by Pharrell, “Walk Us Uptown,” by Elvis Costello and the Roots, and “Holiday” by Madonna. It’s late winter — I need morale boosters!

AuthorPhotoEllen Barrett & Kate Hanley

Ellen Barrett is the creator of dozens of best-selling DVD workouts, including Prevention magazine’s bestselling Flat Belly Diet series. The New Haven, Connecticut resident can be seen weekly on FIT TV’s All Star Workouts.

Kate Hanley is a coach, yoga teacher, and health journalist whose work has appeared in Real Simple, Parents, and Yoga Journal. The author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Ellen and Kate teamed up to write The 28 Days Lighter Diet after one fateful conversation where they realized they had each healed their own PMS and helped countless clients of lose weight and end troublesome symptoms. When they couldn’t find a book in the bookstore to suggest as a guide for other women who wanted to do the same, they decided to write it themselves.

Inspiring Change…

banner---handsThis past weekend women worldwide joined together to celebrate International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was “Inspiring Change” and the stories and events that surrounded the day were filled with inspiration for a better future (and present day) for women and girls everywhere.

Observed since the early 1900s, International Women’s Day has grown into a worldwide movement with over 1300 scheduled events in 2014 across 78 countries! The Diva Team celebrated the days leading up to International Women’s Day with daily giveaways and organizational spotlights.

With each day’s giveaway our Facebook fans had the opportunity to share what they loved most about being a woman! We received over 600 entries! A few of our favorites include:

“I love being a woman because… I can carry new life inside of me.” – Angie

 

“I love being a woman because… I am beautiful, intelligent and talented!” – Sonia

“I love being a woman because… there’s no limit to what I can do.” – Katie

 

“I love being a woman because… my body is amazing from head to toe!” – Toby

“I love being a woman because… I have awesome curves!” – Jo

 

Each day we also highlighted the great work of organizations whose projects are inspiring change including reproductive education programs, maternal health initiatives, reusable cloth pad distribution and clinical research. Organizations like Plan Canada, the Institute for Reproductive Health, Lunapads’ Pads4Girls Program, Endometriosis Foundation of America and Save the Children are just a few of the many organizations Diva helps to support each year through financial aid and/or social media support.

As we continue with the month’s events we want to encourage all our Divas to do their part in inspiring change for women and girls everywhere, not just today, but everyday. Start small, every little bit counts!

Share how you celebrated International Women’s Day with the Diva Community today!

Francine-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Q & A with Theresa Davidson from the Endometriosis Foundation of America

The Diva Team had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Theresa Davidson from the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) about their advocacy, projects and events. The following is just a snapshot of the wonderful work taking place!

EFA-logo-R11. What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a debilitating disease affecting one in ten women of childbearing age in the United States, and 176 million women worldwide. Symptoms include painful and heavy menstruation, chronic back and pelvic pain, gastrointestinal and urinary tract difficulties, pain during sexual activity, and pregnancy loss and/or infertility. Endometriosis occurs when endometrial cells from the lining of the uterus (the same lining that is normally shed out during menstruation) implant in areas in which they should not. Affecting women and girls in the prime of their lives, endometriosis has the potential to derail academic endeavors, careers, sports and physical fitness, as well as motherhood.

2. What can women and young girls do to help alleviate the symptoms of endometriosis and like conditions?
It is most important that women and girls seek treatment as soon as they suspect something is wrong. This is a critical hurdle for successful endometriosis care. Once diagnosed, there are many effective interventions to manage endometriosis symptoms. These include hormone therapy, pain relievers, acupuncture, physical therapy, and even teas and herbs. While there is no cure for endometriosis, the gold standard for disease treatment involves the removal of endometrial implants through laparoscopic excision surgery performed by a specialist.

3. How can cycle charting and period care help in endometriosis management and treatment? Why is it so important?
Many women who suffer from endometriosis do not get diagnosed right away allowing for disease progression and unnecessary pain. This problem is so common that the average time to diagnosis is ten years after the onset of symptoms. Additionally, some of the symptoms of endometriosis (for example, headaches, nausea, vomiting, back pain, etc.) mimic those of other diseases or may not appear to be related to the reproductive system. Therefore, when girls chart their cycle, they allow their doctor to find patterns between their period and the symptoms they are experiencing. Cycle charting also allows women and girls to be in tune with their body so they can prepare for expected symptoms.

efa34. Describe the work of the EFA and the tools and resources it offers to patients, caregivers, school staff, and healthcare professionals?
Over the last seven years, the EFA has addressed the endometriosis public health crisis through its extensive programmatic work. Specifically, we gather healthcare professionals, patients, and loved ones at our annual events including the Nurses Conference, Medical Congress, and Patients’ Day; we conduct advocacy activities to encourage increased funding and support for endometriosis care and education; we have recently launched the nation’s first endometriosis tissue bank to facilitate ground-breaking research relating to this disease; and we increase awareness and promote early intervention through our education and outreach program.

The EFA strives to be the ultimate resource for the endometriosis community through our website and direct communication with our constituents. Specifically, we provide comprehensive content on our site for patients, loved ones, and healthcare professionals; we distribute printed literature, including posters, handouts, and pamphlets, upon request; we offer a screening tool available for download on our website that is designed to help school nurses and parents identify potential cases of endometriosis; and lastly, we are developing an endometriosis-specific mobile app to enable users to access extensive endometriosis information and to track their symptoms through a cycle journal.

efa15. Can you explain a bit about what you do at the EFA, and the education and outreach program?
My job at the EFA is to oversee our adolescent education and outreach program, The ENPOWR Project, which promotes early detection and intervention. Through this initiative, we visit adolescents at schools and community-based organizations to present information about how to recognize the signs of endometriosis, and how to seek help if it is needed. We also educate school and organization staff on the signs and symptoms, so that they are equipped to assist any adolescent who may be dealing with endometriosis. This disease can be uncomfortable or embarrassing to talk about and we want to remove the stigma, and make endometriosis part of everyday conversation.

6. How can others get involved?

We are in the process of expanding The ENPOWR Project to reach other geographic areas and are always looking for committed individuals who are dedicated to improving health outcomes. Additionally, the EFA supports groups or individuals looking to host a grassroots endometriosis event such as a walk or charity drive. Anyone interested in joining our community should visit our site (www.endofound.org) for more information.

efa2Theresa Davidson, MEd, MPH, Director of Education and Outreach, EFA

Theresa is a public health practitioner who has been working with adolescent and underserved populations for the past six years. Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia, she relocated to New York where she earned her Master’s degree in secondary science education and Master of Public Health degree. Her experience is varied as she has worked on a randomized controlled trial investigating behavior change models within New York City’s juvenile justice system, implemented health education in rural Tanzania, and worked to improve outcomes in public healthcare facilities in South Africa. Theresa joined the EFA in September and is thrilled to combine her background in education and public health through The ENPOWR Project.