“I'm not quite ready to do it yet.”
During my hypothalamic amenorrhea recovery journey, I met (in real life and on the Internet) many women with the exact same issue – their periods had stopped, usually as the result of restricting food, exercising too much, and / or too much mental and emotional stress.
They all knew what they should be doing to get out from this situation: Eat more food, exercise very minimally and relax as much as possible.
But the first two seem impossible to do for many women. I came across one sentence–I'm not quite ready to fully commit to recovery yet–so often.
What Are We Afraid Of?
I absolutely understand where the fear is coming from. We don't want to gain weight, because what if others think that we let ourselves go?
That might be especially hard for fitness trainers, because being in shape (there are many ways how to identify in shape, but I digress) is part of their job.
If we lost a bunch of weight and also lost our period in the process, we might be afraid to be seen as failure, because others may think that we didn't have enough willpower to “stay on track”.
Other questions that may come up:
What if my significant others won't like me anymore?
What if I lose my identity as the fit girl?
How do I explain our weight gain to everyone?
Don't Half Ass Your Recovery
There are definitely many fears associated with weight gain. That's why many girls choose to half-ass their recovery. But the are so many examples that prove that half-assing doesn't work.
I love this quote: Don't half ass anything. Whatever you do, use your full ass.[tweet_box design=”default”]Don't half ass anything. Whatever you do, use your full ass. [/tweet_box]
When you decrease your workout load gradually, by cutting your weekly running miles from 50 to 30, then you likely won't see your period in the near future.
Your anxiety, hope, confusion, guilt, questions – they're sitting in your head, bothering you all the time. The entire time when you're only partly recovering. You can do it so much faster!
If you stop doing cardio but continue doing some weight training, that's half assing too. I tried it. In February, after being fully committed to recovery 2.5 months, I decided I'll start a weight routine because it's just lifting, no cardio.[tweet_box design=”default”]If you stop doing cardio but continue doing some weight training, that's half assing too.[/tweet_box]
After 3 weeks of going to the gym 4 times a week, something clicked: That's not the way to get your period back, Kersten!
I decided to start using my full ass, and start taking the recovery seriously. From there on, up until the beginning of May when my period returned, I did yoga 2x / week and walked daily, 45-90 minutes, depending on the day. I also ate more and took supplements that my functional medicine practitioner that I absolutely love and trust had prescribed me.
How Do You Get Ready for Committing fully?
Maybe you're reading this and thinking, yes, you're right Kersten, I know these are the things I have to do, but HOW? I'm not ready to stop exercising and upping my calories! I'm not ready to put on weight! I'm not ready to go all in and fully commit to recovery!
I don't think I was any more ready than you are right now.
Was I thrilled to not exercise? No!
Was I instantly okay with putting on weight? No! I used to be obsessed with my weight for years. Even though I had thrown the scale away many years ago and didn't think about my weight anymore, I wasn't excited to see gaining body fat.
Was I sure I'm doing the right thing? Not entirely. My BMI was 22.1 when I started recovery, which was supposedly normal (screw BMI!). So I was still thinking, should I do this or is there a better way?
But despite not knowing, I trusted thousands of other women that had been through the same, and gave it a go.
Was I ready? No, I was scared, but after ten years of hypothalamic amenorrhea, I was ready to get my period.
There's no one thing that gets you ready so you could go “all in”. To me, it sounds just like putting the problem on hold for a bit and hope it will somehow get fixed by itself. If you really have hypothalamic amenorrhea, then keeping doing what you were doing–working out daily and eating a super clean diet, including counting calories or macros, isn't going to make a difference. Because you've done this for years and it hasn't brought your period back.
What Are You Waiting For?
Sometimes I meet people who say that they want to start personal training, but they have to get in shape first. They have to get ready. For what? The whole point of seeing a personal trainer is that you take your health into your hand now. They are already ready, they don't nee to lose weight to hire a trainer!
It's almost as funny as getting the house ready and clean before the house cleaner arrives. No, you don't have to get ready for that either.
If you haven't gone fully committed to recovery yet, or as they say, gone “all in” then I'd like you to ask yourself: What is the thing / are the things that get me ready? Is there anything that has to happen, some sign I need to get, something I need to accomplish first…?
I don't know.
Maybe you have a good reason, and if you do, I'd really like to know. You can leave your comment here or email me 🙂
One of the eye opening experiences, and something that may get you more ready may be getting a bone check. If you haven't menstruated and ovulated in years, chances are that your bones have lost their strength and you may have osteopenia. Another sign of things being really bad may be your hair falling out.
You don't need to wait until you get these signs!
If you're having terrible sleep, hard time recovering from workouts, feeling cold, being moody or anxious or depressed–these are signs that you are most definitely ready to go all in. Most women with hypothalamic amenorrhea have experienced at least few, but probably most of these symptoms.
And of you want babies, then, well… You are more than ready now, because the way from getting your period to conceiving may be a long one.
Are you ready to feel better?
Then you're ready fully commit to recovery.
I don't think about my weight or fat I've gained unless I'm in front of a mirror. I want to get to a place where I'm absolutely okay with myself when I'm standing in front of a mirror and in a fitting room, but I'm not quite there yet.
But I'm completely honest when I say that: Despite the 11 lbs that I've put on, despite increased body fat, I feel so much more better now.
Had I waited longer to “get ready”, I would still be waiting for my period to return, I would still obsess about food and schedule my life around my workouts every damn day.
And had I started my recovery five years ago, I would have five years of periods under my belt, probably stronger bones, less sleepless nights (which I'd say is possibly the greatest side effect of getting my hormones back on track). I would feel even better than I do now.
Don't wait any longer. Get in charge of your own health – you are ready today.
The first thing you get right if you want to recover, is your eating. Learn how to eat for HA recovery.
You can also apply for 1:1 coaching with me.