Hey friends, happy Tuesday! No small talk today, I just want to dive right in…
Let’s get really real shall we? Is your cycle regular? Do you have predictable, ‘normal’ periods? SO many women have hormone-related health issues and don’t even realize it or they know it, but think it’s no big deal. I’m here to tell you today…it’s a big deal.
I was recently diagnosed with Hypothalamic Dysfunction. I was not ovulating. After having Madeleine, I never got my cycle back…yep, that makes 2.5 years of no period with no explanation. I got test after test and everything came back ‘normal’. So frustrating. After going to an endocrinologist and doing a little research on my own, I was able to figure out and get a diagnosis as well as learn what it took to get my period back.
After not having a period for over 2 years, I finally figured out how to de-stress my body back into its ‘normal state’. Having hypothalamic amenorrhea is tough. Not wanting to change your current lifestyle (working out hard, going for big goals) but needing to because your current state isn’t healthy is a tough pill to swallow. I empathize with anyone who is currently going through this or who has gone through it. I wanted to share what I did that helped me. As always, I am not a medical professional and I can only speak from experience. If you are having issues like irregular or no menstrual cycles, lack of appetite, sudden weight gain or weight loss, hair loss, talk to your doctor! I think a common misconception with hypothalamic dysfunction or hypothalamic amenorrhea, is that you need to be an elite athlete with a very low body fat percentage to have it. This is not true! What is ‘just fine’ for one person, could be too much for another. You do not need to be an elite athlete or have low body fat percentage to have HA. If you are not having a regular period, please go see your doctor.
This list contains just the things that helped ME, and I hope that maybe it might help one of you, but again, talk to your doc if you’re concerned. Hormones are not to be played around with.
1. I stopped intermittent fasting. Last year, I’m sad to say, I jumped on this bandwagon. I saw so many people speaking its praises and thought ‘why not, I’ll try it’. It helped me lose weight, by severely restricting my calories and completely stunting my appetite. What I didn’t know was that it was causing my body to be over-stressed and not produce certain hormones it needs to function properly.
2. I forced myself to eat breakfast again. This goes hand in hand with #1, but after not eating breakfast for almost a year, ‘listening’ to my body wasn’t really working in my favor because I had stunted my appetite to the point where I maybe got hungry a couple times a day. Not enough to properly fuel myself. I was never hungry before 10 or 11am, so in order to get my metabolism firing again I needed to force myself to eat an hour or two after waking up. You guys, within a few days of doing this, I could tell my body was feeling more normal and I was actually getting hungry for breakfast again!
3. I stopped skipping meals. This one was totally a bad habit I had to break. I wasn’t skipping meals to lose weight or cut calories, but I would simply get so busy doing things, I’d work right through lunch or run errands all morning/day and wonder why I was so hungry at 4pm…uh, because I hadn’t eaten since 8 or 9am! Who else can relate? 🙋♀️ I now make an effort to not get too hungry and not skip meals. Having snacks on hand is a life saver for when I’m out and about and running errands.
4. I scaled back my exercise…way back. Last summer I was training for a half marathon (which I ended up not running), as well as doing HIIT style workouts and weight lifting about 5-6 days a week. For some, this is a normal week and not a big deal. For me, it was too much. Some bodies can handle a lot of exercise without consequence, and in this season of life, mine cannot. I’m now only doing 5 hours of any kind of working out MAX. So I lift 3-4 days a week w/ maybe a run or HIIT workout thrown in there as well. I walk and do yoga on off days as a way to stretch out, but even then, I try and keep my heart rate lower so as not to stress my body too much. Even good stress is still stress.
5. I focused on my nutrition in a different way. Before I made these changes, I was an all or nothing kind of person (and still am a little bit; hello, Type A personality). I would avoid all treats and sweets and burgers and whatever-else have you of the ‘not healthy’ category. This led to overeating those things when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I also didn’t take into account fitness nutrition and how that could help me. Now I’m focusing on fueling my body wisely (carbs after workouts and in the evenings, heavy fat and protein meals in the morning and during the day) as well as enjoying a few treats. Turns out, when you fuel your body in a physically AND mentally healthy way, you become healthier overall. I crave vegetables and protein now and have treats when I want them but don’t crave them anymore. I’m also not mindlessly snacking when I get too hungry (I’m actually just sitting down and eating a meal and not skipping it).
I hope this helps anyone who may be in a position where their hormones are negatively affecting their life. Again, these are just things I changed that helped me. I don’t know if they’ll help you, but it’s my hope that maybe you will relate to any one of these things and be able to decrease stress in your life by implementing some simple changes.
In health & love,
PS- if you want to learn how to fuel your body in a healthy way physically AND mentally, get on the waiting list for my next round of Empower Your Fitness! Just reply to this email and I’ll add you to the list. I’m only accepting 10 women because I want it to be an intimate, valuable group setting. I hope to work with you in January!