You likely already know that if you've lost your period, you may have to gain some weight and get your BMI a little bit higher. You may be wondering, how high does it have to be, in order you get my period back?
That's exactly what today's video is talking about. Check it out and if you have questions, leave them in the comments section!
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How High Does Your BMI Have To Be To Get Your Period Back?
If you'd rather read than watch today's video, here's what it's about:
What's BMI and Why It Matters?
BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It describes the relation between your height and your weight. You can find many calculators online that help you to figure out what your BMI is. Here's one.
If your BMI falls between the numbers 18.5 and 24.9, your height and weight ratio is considered “normal”. When your weight is “normal”, it should mean that your health is great too, right?
Yes, it's true that a lot of women who get hypothalamic amenorrhea, are below this “normal” range, having their BMI 18 or even lower, like 14-17. But that doesn't mean that women whose BMIs are within the “normal” range, can't have hypothalamic amenorrhea.
I was never underweight, even at my lowest weight. My lowest BMI ever was, if I remember correctly, 19.5, which is not even the lowest in the “normal” range. But I didn't have a period. I was in fact very far from getting a period, but back then, I didn't know it. All I knew was that I wanted to be skinny… And I wasted so much energy on that, losing my period and sleep for many years.
Long story short, although within the “normal” range, 19.5 wasn't enough for me to have a period. It may or may not be for you either.
The Problem with BMI and Using it To Measure Your Fertility
There are a few problems regarding BMI and trying to measure your fertility using this number.
First, BMI doesn't take into account what your body is made of. Athletes and other people who work out a lot have a lot of lean muscle mass and less fat. But female bodies need fat to make hormones. Your BMI may be 23-25 but if you're a bunch of muscle and you have a very low fat percentage, your period is likely not going to show up until you get your fat percentage up a bit.
I didn't want to admit it at first… When my acupuncturist told me that I need to gain some weight, I was like, okay, I can build more muscle! Comes out, it doesn't work that way 🙂
Second, look around you and you see women in so many different shapes and sizes. We're just built differently! We have wide hips, narrow hips, big boobs, smaller boobs, long legs and short legs… that's how we're made. Your menstrual cycle and fertility are no different. A large part of it is genetic. Some of us just need higher BMI (and fat percentage) than others, in order to menstruate and that's something you can't fight.
What is The “Fertile Zone”?
Nicola Rinaldi, the author of the book “No Period, Now What?” says that there seems to be a range in which many women get their periods back again. She refers to her own and other studies that show that most womens' cycles came back when they reached a BMI between 22-23. That's what she calls the “fertile zone”.
That should be your first goal: If your don't have a period and your BMI is currently less than 22-23, your first step is to get it up there. Yes, you may be within the “normal” range on the BMI scale but you may still not get your period.
And while this “fertile zone” is enough for many women to start cycling, it's not what works for everyone. It may not be normal and enough for you. 22-23 aren't magic numbers either. What works for most, doesn't work for everybody.
When You Need Higher BMI
That's exactly my experience: My “fertile zone” was much higher than 22-23.
I started my recovery in December 2016 and hadn't weighed myself in a long time. When my acupuncturist asked my BMI, I had to get on the scale. I calculated my BMI and realizd that it was 22.1. Exactly in the middle of “normal” BMI! But no period.
I stopped working out, started eating more, and gained weight. I didn't weigh myself until my period returned and found out my new BMI which was now 24.5. That put me near to the “overweight” category! Interestingly though, being nearly “overweight” meant that I was much healthier…
I haven't weighed myself since then, but I've fluctuated a bit here and there and know that I am now heavier than I was when my period returned. That's probably because I have not restricted myself at all, I have worked out minimally and always made sure to eat after my workouts. I have given myself total freedom to live my life without focusing on the way my body looks or how much it weighs.
I'm convinced that my body will find its happy place and stop gaining where it feels great (in fact I think it has stopped gaining now). I don't have a certain number in my head where I want to be “one day when I lose weight”, because that would only stress me out. And even if I had a “goal weight”, it may be something totally different from my body's natural weight.
If your BMI is currently less than 22-23 and you don't have your period, your number 1 goal is to get your weight up there so that you reach the “fertile zone”. Lot of women resume their cycles there, however when you look at my example, you see that you may need even more.
The important thing is to relax and not get too hung up on numbers. Your body will go where it needs to go.
Living in a body that has BMI 25 isn't as horrible as I had thought it would be, because I feel better and I don't think about my body size every minute but focus on my health.
If you're struggling with body image and accepting your body, Strengthen Your Mindset Muscle is a free resource that helps you to start feeling better. You can get it below.
If you need support on your journey to recover from overtraining or hypothalamic amenorrhea, you can apply to work with me.