It may seem impossible to you that you lost you period because of hypothalamic amenorrhea, even if you wasn't intending to lose weight… Is it really possible?
This question may cross your mind, especially if you've heard all the stories about women going through an extreme weight loss and losing their periods as a result.
Maybe you never did that. The reason why you lost your period wasn't that you wanted to lose weight! You never even restricted food or cut out food groups. You simply enjoyed movement a lot and when your period disappeared, you were surprised.
If this is you, you may found today's video helpful!
If you'd like to read instead of watching the video, here we go!
You may still lose your period, because…
You're Just Super Active!
Let's say that you're someone who enjoys working out a lot. I was and still am one of them too (although these days I'm doing a fraction of what I used to do).
So maybe you ride your bike to work, you don't like to sit long hour so take frequent breaks and walk a ton whenever you can, you work out about an hour a day and play volleyball or frisbee with your friends in the weekend. When someone needs a buddy to do a Tough Mudder or a Spartan race, you happily sign up!
Whenever there's a chance to move your body, you do it, because it makes you feel great.
You Don't Realize That You Might Be Under Eating
It may just so happen that you don't fuel your body according to your activity levels. For example, this was the case with Ashley if you watched the interview with her. She was super active, walked to work couple of miles every day, trained clients, worked out herself, and walked back home.
She didn't starve herself, but she didn't realize that her calorie expenditure was actually really high so that she would have needed much more food than she actually ended up eating, to keep her body healthy.
You may not under eat intentionally. Weight loss may not be your goal. You just want to have fun with your workouts! But your body doesn't feel fine — it t doesn't get enough fuel to keep you going while you're taking obstacles at your Tough Mudder or training for a simple half marathon that seems like a casual jog for you.
Sometimes exercise suppresses appetite. I used that as a “tool” to prevent me from eating when I wanted to cut calories. It was a stupid idea! It is true that our hunger hormones get switched up especially after doing a high intensity workout. I always thought that it's okay not to eat if I'm not hungry, but I was wrong. I should have still eaten something after my hardcore workouts!
Your Body Doesn't Know the Difference
Your body doesn't know whether you're starving yourself intentionally so that you can lose weight, or if it happens accidentally because you just forgot to eat or accidentally ate less than you needed.
But it does know when it doesn't have enough resources to keep you going at the pace you're asking.
That's why you can still lose your period if you work out a lot, even if weight loss wasn't your goal per se.
For example, it happens to a lot of elite athletes. They don't need to necessarily lose weight (although there are some disciplines where this is often the goal, like figure skating or gymnastics) but it still happens because the physical stress is just really intense.
How Do You Get Your Period Back?
It probably doesn't matter whether you lost your period because you were under eating and over exercising on purpose or because it happened accidentally.
The main key to recovery is this: Eat much more, stop exercising for a while, and reduce stress. Read No Period, Now What for more.
You may wonder if it's going to be enough to just eat more and keep your activity level the same. My recommendation is to cut back on exercise anyway because like I said before, your body doesn't really know the difference. There are two stressors, working out too much and not eating enough, and you want to eliminate both.
Sure, there are women who keep working out throughout their recovery. But the length of their recovery is usually much longer compared to those women who stick to only very moderate workouts like yoga and walking for a while. I personally recommend this method because it's just so much faster and saves you from a lot of mental stress — the longer the recovery period, the harder it is on your mind.
Yes, you can totally lose your period even if you weren't working out and eating like a bodybuilder and your goal wasn't to lose weight.
You didn't realize that you kept your calories low, you didn't restrict any foods, and you didn't even have any specific aesthetic or performance goals.
But the outcome was same, because your body was still too stressed out by the amount of exercise and lack of nutrition and you still got hypothalamic amenorrhea.
I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions or comments or you need help with recovery, you can apply to work with me here.