What to do when it seems that this recipe – workout less, eat more, no stress – doesn't seem to help your hypothalamic amenorrhea, so you simply want to throw your hands up and hit the gym instead?
Before you do that, please take two minutes to read this article.
If you have reduced exercising and started eating more, but your period hasn't still showed up, here are the four reasons why this is probably the case.
You Haven't Given It Your All
There are many levels in committing to recovery. You may commit just a little bit… which is what I like to call half assing. Or, you can commit fully. Doing all you can will get to your goal much faster. Half-assing may never get you there. Take Lindsay's word for it, she sort of tried to make changes for two years, but had no success until she finally committed fully and completely.
Are you still sneaking in some workouts, although you know you shouldn't? Are you still trying to get away with some fruit and light yogurt, although you know you should be eating a full meal, complete with all three macronutrients?
Are you giving it your all? Honestly?
You're Expecting Changes Too Quickly
I get it that it takes courage to even to accept the fact that you have to stop working out and gain weight. Some people struggle with just this thought for months and even years, before they actually take action. But just knowing what's the right thing to do isn't going to help you; You'll actually have to do it. You are the one who has to do the job.
When you finally commit to recovery and start taking action, you may think that things go smoothly and that you get your period back soon after. But most cases, it doesn't work that way. Christina got her period after 6 weeks of full commitment, but usually it doesn't happen that quickly. For me personally, it took 5 months to follow the recovery plan according to NPNW which told me to stop intense exercise, increase my calories and reduce my stress, to get my period back.
Over the years, you hurt your health in many different ways. Overtraining, maybe adrenal fatigue, metabolic damage… All these are closely related to hypothalamic amenorrhea. None of this happened overnight, so how could they possible reverse overnight?
Your Mind Isn't Ready
Believe it or not, our mindset plays a huge role in getting our periods back. Here are some of the things that you might still be doing, that hold your mind back:
- Standing in front of the mirror, zooming in to your body parts that you don't like
- Pinching your “fat”
- Telling negative things about your body
- Following “inspiring” accounts on social media – the ones that actually make you feel bad about yourself
- Weighing yourself constantly and calculating in your head, how much more you “allow” yourself to gain
- Still thinking about calories / macros etc when eating
- Consuming media (blogs, articles, shows…) that make you feel bad about your weight gain and your body, and make you feel that you should look different.
I say, stop doing all that. Because what your body follows what your mind believes. If you're constantly checking pictures of uber lean bodies, you WILL take actions that will steer you off the right track. You will likely want to eat less, because now you're even more self conscious. If you see that number on the bathroom scale go up, you will want to sneak in even just a short workout.
Don't let your mind hold you back. Unfollow any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, and forget all the food rules you've ever heard of. Stop talking badly about your body. It won't help you.
Your Evidence: Other People's Success Stories
When I was still recovering, I found that one thing that that helped me a lot was knowing that I'm not alone.
The plan – stop exercise, eat more, chill the heck out – has worked for so many women before you, and chances that it will work for you too, are really good.
Here are some success stories that might help you:
Lindsay: “There’s Now More Freedom In My Life!”
Brandi: “It Wasn’t As Scary As I Thought.”
Christina: “If You’re Obsessed with Exercise, Give It Up. Now!”
Jill: “Running 50+ Miles in the Weekend in Addition to Weekly Mileage Wasn’t Smart For Me.”
Amy: “I Was Sick of Feeling Anxious, Tired, Irritable and Having No Libido.”
Anna: “I Would've Gained 50+ If That Meant Finding My True Health”.
When I started my recovery, I was constantly trying to find blogs and stories from other women who had been trough the same, because just like you, I didn't want to believe that reducing exercise and increasing calories is what's going to solve my problem. I needed reassurance, so I tried to read everything I found.
Learning fro other womens' experience was extremely helpful. I hope these stories inspire you too.
When you find yourself getting impatient, make sure that you really are doing everything in your power to take your health back.
Don't expect things to happen right this minute! Our bodies are actually very resilient, but even despite that, it took you a long time to really mess yours up. How could it possibly get fixed in just a few weeks?
Check in with yourself: How's your mindset? Are you still pinching your belly and calling yourself gross (I have totally done that, but it didn't help me in any way!), and scrolling through all the ab pictures on Instagram?
And lastly, whenever you need support, read and listen to other women's stories. I have not yet heard of a woman who had hypothalamic amenorrhea, who went all in with the recovery but did not get her period back.
Stay patient and you will take your health back!
Do you have hypothalamic amenorrhea? Learn how to eat to recover from it.
You can also apply for 1:1 coaching with me!