Gabrielle Lichterman plans her life around her hormone cycle.
She tackles work projects on the first week, fires up her sex life on the second and shops for home accessories on the third. By the fourth week, she indulges in bubble baths, ice cream and pedicures to fight off irritability caused by plunging estrogen.
The strategy is all part of the St. Petersburg woman's Hormone Horoscope, which maps out how a woman's hormones will affect her day, from mood, energy, libido, cravings, brain power and relationships. Check it out on her new website, myhormonesmademedoit.com, which also includes predictions about men.
The horoscope breaks down a woman's monthly cycle into four weeks, starting on the first day of her period. It gives advice on what to do and what to avoid, essentially giving them a road map for their emotions.
"It tells you what to expect based on your hormones and how your day might turn out," said Lichterman, who signs her e-mails stating the day and week she's on in her cycle. "If you know how you're going to be affected, you can make every day better."
Lichterman, 39, came up with the idea several years ago after reading about a study that found women are more attracted to masculine-looking men during the second week of their cycle and to sensitive, feminine-looking men the rest of the month. She thought the concept was fascinating and dove into similar research on female hormones.
What she found was both enlightening and powerful. Hormones affect all aspects of a woman's life and work in the same way monthly, she said. Knowing when you'll be chatty, ambitious — and, yes, bitchy — can help you plan accordingly.
"I know that if I'm on Week 1 or Week 2, I cannot go to Target," she said. "I cannot go anywhere that's an impulse-buy haven because my rising testosterone is going to make me more impulsive and my rising estrogen is making me optimistic and making me think I can pay for this cartload of stuff."
Skeptical? Lichterman put her hormones to the test by tracking her own behavior for three months. She noted what foods she craved, what items she bought and when she had sex with her husband. The results matched the hormonal predictions and held steady from month to month.
Lichterman, a writer for Woman's World magazine and other women's health-related publications, summarized the information in the book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods, and Potential. The book came out in 2005, and she is rewriting it to add information on men's hormonal cycle, which lasts 24 hours rather than 28 days and also has its highs and lows.
Staying in touch with her hormones has transformed her life, Lichterman said. Her husband knows when she's hot to trot or would rather eat pie. When her sister planned a trip to Disney World during Lichterman's Week 4, she knew to get there early to avoid feeling of the stress of crowds. She didn't want her plummeting estrogen to put a damper on their good day.