Brand new REBUILD Mentorship program for women already recovered from hypothalamic amenorrhea and burnout, and now want to get back to healthy exercise and diet and balance their hormones for good! APPLY HERE: https://kerstenkimura.lpages.co/rebuild/
Your Hormones After Recovery
Most of the time we don’t think about our hormones until things get bad. Just like what happened to both you and I: We lost our periods…
And then got them back, amazing!
But let's remember that maintaining a good hormonal balance takes work too. It’s not that we fix them once and now they’re good forever — they take constant and continuous work, especially if we tend to be sensitive to stress.
Some women are hormonally more sensitive than others, and in this case, taking care of yourself is even more important.
What If Your Cycles Are Irregular After You've Recovered?
Some women's periods are like clockwork — they show up every 30 days and they even know exactly what time! I have a friend like that, and she says that the only time she has ever missed her period was when she was pregnant. Other than that, her periods are exactly 30 days apart, and it's a rare case that they go over by a day or two.
Others are not that lucky. I have never had super regular periods even before Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. And if you have been diagnosed with PCOS, then your periods are very likely irregular too.
For a while I thought that I may have to gain more weight to get them more regular, but this wasn’t the case. Besides, I was already up at a very reasonable weight with my BMI being 24.5. During the first year after getting my period back, I got even heavier and likely went over BMI of 25 (didn't weigh but I could tell visibly), but my periods were still irregular. So, looks like some women have more irregular cycles than others. So some fluctuations are common.
Healthy Blood Sugar, Healthy Hormones
One of the biggest things that we have to get right if we want to have healthy hormones also after recovery, is balancing our blood sugar.
Here’s what happens in our bodies when we eat: The food that we take in gets converted into sugar and as a response to that, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin acts like a key that unlocks the doors the cells of muscle, fat tissue and liver, and lets the blood sugar in. That way, our bodies can use the sugar in our cells for energy production and the levels of sugar in our blood stay healthy.
If that happens, everything is amazing and works the way it should.
Blood Sugar Swings, Unbalanced Hormones
But what happens if we eat foods that cause our blood sugar to spike too much, too often and are constantly out of balance?
Our bodies release more insulin, in response to sugar. But too much blood sugar can make our cells unresponsive to insulin, so that the cells won’t open the doors. As a result, we have excess insulin and sugar in the blood.
Hormonal imbalances show up as a domino effect: When one thing is off, something else is off, too. And unbalanced blood sugar is one of the things that can start this domino effect.
Why Excess Insulin Is Unhealthy
Excess insulin in the body can cause several things:
It can damage our thyroid cells and cause problems with thyroid hormone production and activity. Results: Slowed metabolism, hair loss, unwanted weight gain especially around midsection, low body temperature, tiredness.
It can lead to decreased estrogen dominance, which means that there’s much more estrogen compared to progesterone. It is linked to endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids, heavy periods, sore breasts before your period, and even anxiety and depression.
It can also lead to anovulatory periods, because excess insulin can cause your ovaries to make more testosterone. As a result, we may develop irregular ovulation and even PCOS.
And of course, excess insulin can cause type 2 diabetes if it doesn’t get sorted out!
Blood sugar highs and lows don't only affect our menstrual cycles but also affect our day to day lives. Here's what you may experience:
- Need for chocolate, cookies, anything sweet frequently
- Constant need for coffee to stay up and alert
- Waking up at night frequently and as a result, getting up tired in the morning
- Anxiety and even depression
- Mood swings
As you can see, blood sugar management is really important for the health of your metabolism and everything that is important for the health of your metabolism is also important for the health of your periods!
How To Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Here are the things that help you maintain healthy blood sugar readings:
Your diet. Eat healthy foods most of the time. Understand why you are doing this. No, this is not to restrict yourself and “agree with the dieting industry” but this is for your health.
A lot of times people are terrified of words like clean eating or detoxes, and to be honest, I don’t love them either, but there’s a lot to be said about how food affects our hormonal health. The better quality food we eat, the healthier our blood sugar levels are too.
Of course, we can’t obsessively think about our blood sugar all the time, sometimes we just want to have something sweet and that’s okay!
Eating your fun foods in moderation can help to prevent binges, in which case this is a great thing. I have some chocolate almost daily, but most of the time not in large quantities.
Eat protein, fats and carbs all at one meal, and eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Don’t eat just carbs alone! Protein keeps you satiated, fat slows down the sugar release, and so does fiber. Fiber is very important, and you should try to get 25 grams of it daily. This is where one of the problems with processed foods happen — they don’t have enough fiber, but they do have a lot of refined carbohydrates.
Eat regularly. Your meals should keep you full for at least 4 hours which will not happen if your food doesn’t have enough proteins and fats in it. If you’re really hungry 1-2 hours after a meal, this is definitely something to look at because your protein, fat or overall calorie intake may be too low.
What Else Can You Do For Better Hormonal Balance After Recovery?
Acupuncture. For me, acupuncture has been very important and helpful in keeping my cycles more regular. Of course, the needles to a great work to help with your hormones, but the entire session is also really relaxing. I love that there's literally no opportunity to even grab your phone and check my Instagram or email, and I've fallen asleep a few times too 🙂
Regular exercise. Also regular exercise can really help to balance your hormones after recovery, but you have to know how to do it right. My REBUILD program will teach you exactly what and how to do to maintain your hormonal health.
Especially of you have insulin resistance, heavy lifting is where it’s at. Plus, you can always walk as much as you like. But don't do long cardio, please. Just not the healthiest thing for your hormones.
Mindfulness and meditation. We’re constantly stressed out, letting the cortisol take over our bodies. When cortisol is high, thyroid and sex hormones are often low, and period problems begin.
I hope this was helpful! Eat well, eat high protein and plenty of fats, limit your treats and sugar, meditate, and move mindfully.
We cover the topic of hormones in much greater detail in my upcoming REBUILD mentorship that starts in October, so if you’re already recovered and now want to learn how to maintain your hormonal balance, this is the program for you. Apply here: https://kerstenkimura.lpages.co/rebuild/