What You Need to Know About Amenorrhea and How to Get Your Period Back
Hi friends! Hope you're having a great day over there 🙂 I'm super excited that we have a guest post on the blog today from a new friend of mine over at Raw Ritta. She's kind, knowledgable and super passionate about helping others with their relationship to food, exercise and their body. I'll let Ritta take it from here 🙂
There are many ways you can lose your period. It may be due to overexercising, under eating, an eating disorder, or trying to work 8 days a week! Yes, you read that right, 8 days a week. We all have this mentality where we overwork, over-stress, and expect too much from our body. But it's not exactly your fault. We've been taught things the wrong way. There are so many misconceptions about food, exercise, and health and we've been brainwashed to believe in all of these lies. Making us believe that once we follow those rules and reach those goals, then we'll finally be happy and healthy.
How many of you have heard comments such as;
"The more you workout, the better and faster results you'll get"
"Reduce your calorie intake! Eat 1200 calories for the day or stay away from fats"
"Stop eating after 6 pm"
I could on and on. The reality is that we're putting an excessive amount of stress on our body, and that stress is causing it to literally break down. It starts slowly, but slowly, you'll start noticing fatigue, your immune system will start to weaken, your hair and nails start to get thin and brittle and before you know it your period disappears. Now you're dealing with amenorrhea. The cause of your amenorrhea is likely attributed to your body breaking down and not being able to function properly. You can only work your body like that for so long. If you don’t fix your lifestyle, get plenty of rest and fix the “8 days a week” mentality, your body will not be able to heal. Not to mention your mental stress of our society. All the thoughts of the past, the future, and your mile long to do list. Mixing mental and physical stress with not eating enough, is a recipe for amenorrhea! Focusing only on what supplements and foods to eat to get your period back, is like putting a small bandaid on a big wound. Obsessing about your diet and exercise will only add to the stress and prevent your body from healing itself.
Often times I see women force themselves to reach a certain body weight, have a certain low body fat percentage, eat a specific diet etc. Here's how I break it down; Wanting to get to a certain weight is a lot like wanting to get to a certain height. If you’re 5’2 you are never going to be 5’8. Same thing with weight. It's impossible for your body to maintain a lower than normal body weight for a sustained period of time. If you’re heavyset, and your family is heavyset then you’re never going to be a tiny person. I think everyone can agree with me on that. Comparing yourself to others is never going to get you anywhere. There’s always someone that’s going to be "prettier" than you, "fitter" than you, taller than you etc. Perfection is impossible and also very boring! Aim for progress and results, and only compare yourself to YOU.
Once you understand this, you really need to focus on two main things. Eating and resting. Let go of the good foods vs bad foods mindset. Let go of all the rules and restrictions you've bought into. I know it's hard in the beginning, but it's just temporary. You're giving your body a chance to recover and to heal itself. I truly believe that given half a chance, the body will heal itself by itself. Simply put, when your body is under stress (in fight/flight mode) the only thing your body wants to do is protect you. It shuts off the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for digestion, repair, rest, and the reproductive system. When you spend too much time in fight/flight mode and almost no time resting, your body puts a halt on it’s reproductive function, resulting in amenorrhea.
Focus on eating and nourishing your body. Give it fuel consistently and not just when you have the urge to binge (because you've starved yourself too long). In fact, once your body starts to "trust" you, the bingeing will also slowly disappear. But you HAVE to be loyal to your body in order for it to trust you. When you give it the right fuel it'll know exactly what to do. Yes, it means you'll need to put on some weight. You're going to increase your food intake and stay away from exercising as much as possible. If you're addicted to exercise, it's going to be really hard to stop exercising completely. That's why I don't force anyone to stop completely, because I know they'll stress about it, and that stress will cause them more harm than if they just did a gentle exercise. I'm aware you can't change your habits over night. It's best to just start reducing your workouts, then slowly cut them off until you're completely recovered.
Sometimes even a 5-10 lb weight gain is all that is needed in order to get your period back. And finally you need to have patience. Whatever it is you're going through, you're not alone and there's help out there. That's what I love doing. As a holistic health coach I'm on a mission to help women overcome and break through that fear that's holding them back. I know you have goals and dreams that seem so impossible to reach because of your eating disorder. It's keeping you from taking action. A lot of you probably have taken action and end up right where you are once again. But when you have a coach that's going to cheer you on and hold you accountable, everything becomes much easier. That's why I offer free 50 minute health consultations, so we can finally sit down and focus on you and your goals. You can find more on that here.