Welcome to the last of my series on my struggle with hypothalamic amenorrhea. Through my journey of struggling with my body, eating, exercise, and period, I learned one especially amazing thing. Our bodies are incredibly complex and wonderfully designed.
The body is such a sensitive instrument. My body knew that it wasn’t used to extreme exercise and severe undereating, and it reacted to my obsessive idols by shutting down one of the parts of my body that I took for granted.
It wasn’t until last year, in about October or November, that I really realized just how sensitive that balance is.
My period would come and go every 4-5 months, and I knew that a 21 year old girl like me doesn’t normally have irregular periods. There was something more than my weight that was affecting my cycle. At the time I was most definitely at a healthy, happy weight for my size, so I decided to dig a bit deeper.
Enter… Exercise. I love to move y’all. I absolutely love it. I love to stand while I work at my computer. I love to fidget even when I’m sitting in a chair, just because I like to move. Yet, after reading many blogs and personal experiences with hypothalamic amenorrhea, I concluded that the thing that was affecting my cycle the most was my regular exercise.
Now, I wasn’t even exercising 1 hour a day, most of the time. However, I did exercise 5-6 days a week, consistently, pretty much without fail. And I saw that it was time to give it up for a while, time to give my body the rest and more reparation that it needed in order to get back to my happy spot.
So, I sent an email to a couple of my closest friends to ask them that they would keep me accountable. I told them that I would make my exercise, more organic. I wasn’t going to run for at least a couple of months. Running (though fun) can be hard on the body. And I was going to do a bit of weight lifting combined with just enjoying the great outdoors with my family.
I admit. It was tough for the first few months, avoiding the running shoes, when that incredible itch came to slip them on and go out the door. Yet, for the most part, it was freeing. I didn’t feel like working out was a duty. I didn’t feel like I had to work out for at least 45″ or it wasn’t adequate. I did as much as was enjoyable, and then I stopped and went to enjoy time with my family.
Those few months were AMAZING. And in January, while I was on one of the most memorable vacations of my life in Alaska, relaxing, eating cereal, trail mix, salads, hotdogs, and all sorts of other food with my family while enjoying skiing, sledding, and hiking, my period came back!
It was amazing. I realized just how much exercise and stress combine to affect my body. To this day, I really have to temper the amount of exercise I do. I’ve realized my body can’t handle being a serial marathoner or an Ironman triathlete. Right now, it’s still healing from the damage I did to it. Yet, I am so grateful, that God truly does restore the ‘years the locust have eaten.’
His Mercies are new every morning!
To finish out I want to share some of the ‘Hypothalamic Amenorrhea’ posts and videos that were an encouragement to my journey! Keep in mind that most of these ladies aren’t medical professionals, so don’t substitute their advice for that of a doctor, but I do hope they are encouraging to you.
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me – ‘Vlog, My Journey with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.’ (Ok, I just love Julia and her vlogs. She’s natural, graceful, sweet, and honest. Julia has an intense story of struggle and recovery.)
Ashley @ My Food n’ Fitness Diaries – ‘Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.’ (Ashley details her whole journey, and it’s so full of grace, contentment, and trust, I think her series on it would be one of the best that I’ve read.)
Claire @ Fitting it All In – ‘I Got it Back’ (Yup. This is exactly what I felt like. Claire puts it so perfectly.)
Sam @ Better with Sprinkles – ‘HA UPdate: Six Months Later.’ – Check out Sam’s entire series on ED recovery. Sam is really honest, straightforward, and transparent. She really gets to the heart of the matter with each post on ED recovery, and I love her for it!
Tori @ Life of the Landos – ‘Listening to My Body.’
I hope this was an encouragement my lovely friends! Have a blessed weekend. <3