You already know that overtraining and under eating can cause your period to go away.
But what do you do if your workouts don't seem excessive? You may have heard about women who work out three hours a day, running marathons, doing body building competitions… It's obvious why they lost their period, but what about you? You're not doing nearly as much as them! So how come is your period missing — do you really have hypothalamic amenorrhea?
There are a four important things to consider when thinking about your exercise levels and how they may affect your body.
Here's the video where you can check them out!
If you'd like to read the full article, here it is:
Why You Lost Your Period Even If You Don't Think You Worked Out Too Much
You Don't Realize How Much Physical Exercise You're Actually Doing
Many of us have been there — we know that we're active but we don't think we're working out too much.
Let's say that you're working out an hour or occasionally 1.5 hours, which doesn't seem like anything crazy. 30 minutes doesn't definitely sound too much. Most people are encouraged to move more because they're so inactive, so how can 30 to 90 minute workouts be that bad for you that you lost your period?
A lot of it depends on the type of activity we're doing (are we running for an hour or doing yoga?) but also how much we eat — more on that later.
The problem is that sometimes we may not realize that we do a ton of other things in addition to our workouts. Many of us walk a lot, ride their bikes, stand up all day, never give ourselves actual rest. Even rest days are filled with activities.
These things add up. Try to keep a journal of your activities all day and you may see that you're actually physically more active than you thought because working out is not the only way you move.
Especially personal trainers and other people with physical jobs move way more than what they do in their workouts. For example, even if I don't work out with my clients (although sometimes I would do parts of bootcamps with them), I still demonstrate them exercises, bring out the workout stuff, walk around at the gym. These things add up. Couple that with not eating enough and it may start to make more sense why your period may have gone missing. It really is hypothalamic amenorrhea and nothing else.
This is exactly how things happened with Ashley which you can learn more about here.
Your Exercise Stress Tolerance Level Is Different From Someone Else's
It's easy to compare yourself to other people and say: I'm working out way less than X, how come she is completely healthy but I'm not getting my period? Do I actually have hypothalamic amenorrhea or is there another reason why I lost my period?
First of all, you don't know if other people are actually healthy. The fact that you see them in the gym working out hard all the time doesn't mean they're healthy.
Just recently, a pretty well known fitness person opened up and shared her decade-long battle with hypothalamic amenorrhea… Meanwhile, she's been selling fat loss programs and products for a long time and has been an example of how well they work…
No one had any idea that she was actually unhealthy. So please don't assume that someone who can work out a ton, is healthy. Don't get down on yourself because you work out less than her and don't get your period.
But even if you know that the other person is getting her monthly period, don't compare. We're physically and genetically very different. What works okay for someone, may not work for you at all. I know of a woman whose body fat percentage dropped to 11 but she never lost her period, while mine needs to be around 27 to have my period! The only thing that helps here is body acceptance.
You Are Not Eating Enough
This is super important. You need to eat right to get your period back.
I can't tell you how many women I've been talking to who do CrossFit 5-7 days a week or run 50 miles a week or do HIIT every day… while eating 1500 calories a day.
This is a really good way to lose your period!
1500 calories is not enough for most active women. You need more than that. If you work out most days of the week, you probably need somewhere around 2000 calories a day at minimum.
You may wonder if in order to recover, you could just eating more and keep working out at the same intensity. This is not a good idea. If you keep working out, you're still increasing your cortisol levels which can interrupt with making appropriate amount of sex hormones that you need in order to get your period.
There are women who have been able to restore their periods while eating more and cutting their workouts in half. It has taken them way longer to recover than those women who switch to walking and yoga for a while, in other words, stop any amount of intense exercise while of course, still eating a lot of food.
You Have Been Burnt Out Before
If you've been burnt out before, your body is likely more sensitive than it used to be before your burnout. Therefore, even much smaller amount of exercise may cause you to lose your period.
Maybe you had adrenal fatigue. As you can learn from this interview, your body might be able to handle much less stress than it did before.
If you've already had hypothalamic amenorrhea in the past, chances are that you can't return to the exact same amount of exercise that you did before, without throwing off your hormonal balance again.
Even if you weren't diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or HA before, your body may still be burnt out from too much exercise in the past. That was the case with me. Years ago, I used to run crazy amounts, but in the last 3 years, I had cut my workouts much shorter and stopped running. My period didn't come back. My body had already been burnt out from all the running that I had done and never fully and completely healed before I stopped working out for a while altogether.
You may lose your period even if the amount of exercise you're doing doesn't seem like too much to you.
Maybe you don't realize that you're actually doing much more physical exercise than just your workouts. Keep a journal for a few days and see how much you actually exercise.
You may know people who work out harder than you but remember, that doesn't always mean that they're truly healthy and do get their periods. It's important to get out of the comparison trap and learn how your own unique body reacts to exercise.
Next, food. Even if your exercise isn't excessive but you're super strict with your food, you may get hypothalamic amenorrhea. I still recommend that you don't only start eating more but also cut back your workouts to recover fully.
Lastly, keep in mind that your body may be sensitive from any previous burnout. Even if you did long workouts in the past but have now transitioned to shorter workouts, your body may still be affected by what you did in the past. So even if your workouts aren't excessive right now, doing them might still be the reason why you have hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Do you have hypothalamic amenorrhea? Check out this guide on how to eat to get your period again!
If you need help with healing your body, get in touch here.