How I Got My Period BACK! My Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery Story

I am so excited to tell you that I finally got my period back!!! I have been waiting so long to say that. I started the recovery journey over a year ago but was “half in” the first 5 months and the last 7.5 months I went all in. Today I finally get to tell you what I did to get my period back!

This is my new healhy body!

My History

I have always been self conscious of my body and weight especially the weight I carried in my stomach. I recall wishing every birthday from a very young age that I would get skinny that year. I believed that would lead to happiness. My entire life I have always been on that journey to get to lean and ripped. I was obsessed with my weight from a young age and was always trying to lose that last 5 or 10 pounds. I owned Shape, Muscle and Fitness Hers and Oxygen magazine and those women were the ideal body types I always dreamed of having. I never wanted to be super skinny but I wanted to be muscular and lean and then I thought I would be beautiful.

My relationship with food and exercise started changing in high school. I tried a vegetarian diet because I thought that was the way I could drop a few pounds because I didn’t know much about nutrition. I also started doing cardio to get in better shape and I was happy with the progress and loved working out but it just wasn’t enough.

Exercise was a part of my life since I was young. I fell in love with lifting before lifting was cool. It was back in the day when I was told I would turn masculine if I lifted weights. Throughout college my weight went up and down and I went through bursts of exercising a lot to not caring about it and drinking and partying like most college students.

I never could quite maintain that ideal weight that I wanted to be. My body would usually not let me get below a certain weight before I rebounded an my weight would go back up. That was years ago and I really haven’t dealt with the restrict-binge cycle in about a decade. Even though I was past that, I still wasn’t listening to my body’s needs and would do all the wrong things.

Healthy Intentions that Turn Unhealthy

Fast forward to 2011 and I lost a ton of weight for my wedding. This is the first time I actually got to that low weight I had always dreamed of. I had abs but I could only achieve it by being on a very low calorie diet. There was no way my body could maintain it. I never once lost my period through any of the years but I was also on birth control and I remember the withdrawal bleed got lighter and lighter. Once I got married I got off BCPs and we started trying to have a baby. I was cycling normally after I came off Birth Control but had a short luteal phase. We both knew something was up and we saw a fertility Doctor 6 months into trying and we found out we had to go straight to IVF due to low sperm count. I did 5 IVFs to get my son and throughout these I was exercising a lot to counter all the weight I gained on the hormones.

Wedding Week Photo


I did a lot of cardio and lifting during the two years I was trying to conceive to keep the weight gain to a minimum and to keep me sane. I hate to admit it but this could be why it took so long for the embryos to stick. I finally did get pregnant and I had a fit pregnancy but quickly lost the pregnancy weight soon after our son was born. I breastfed for a year so my period never came back before we started our next IVF for our daughter. I do think my body was in a better place because I was fueling it more and eating a lot of carbs. I wasn’t doing the endless cardio and long sessions anymore because I didn’t have the time and I realized more was not always better. I was exercising smarter not harder.

I got pregnant on the first round but I was also at that same higher weight I was when I got pregnant with my son. After my daughter was born I was really stressed. More stressed than I have ever been in my life. My husband went to work second shift and I was home at night with both kids, exhausted, waking solely in the middle of the night to breastfeed, working full time and exercising daily. Needless to say even after weaning from breastfeeding my period never arrived. The doctors kept saying to give it longer. Finally almost 3 years after having my daughter and about 1.5 year after weaning I decided I needed to make a change.


If I was to pinpoint all the causes of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea they would be:

  • BCPs and IVF Hormones
  • Pregnancies Close Together
  • Pregnancy/Breastfeeding
  • Constant Caloric Deficit
  • Too Much Exercise
  • Stress
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Postpartum Anxiety
  • Low Fat
  • Low Body Weight

My Recovery Journey

August 2018 I decided to start cutting back exercise and only lifted 4 days per week. I put on 3-5 lbs but my period did not come and had blood work taken. My Luteinizing Hormone was 0.5 and Estrogen was about 5. It was like I already was in menopause.

January 2019 I decided I had enough and I went “All In” since I didn’t have any significant changes. I started really gaining weight and focusing on decreasing stress. I did yoga and very light walking on occasion. I was at BMI of 18 to 19 when I started and I knew I needed to get to at least 22 which was damn scary. I would punch in that number in those online calculators and prayed I didn’t have to gain so much.

My current healthy and recovered body 🙂

February 2019 I started working with a coach in February and then boosted up calories to at least 2500 but some day it would range from 2200 to over 3K depending on appetite. The more you eat the faster you recover. This is something I learned throughout this journey. I gained a significant amount of weight for my size. I am a shortie. I didn’t record how much I ate but I ate enough where I was probably putting on about lb a week in the beginning. I know some people don’t like to give numbers but I think it’s good to hear others experiences as long as you know that yours could be more or less. I gained 20 lbs so I went up 20% in body weight which is a pretty decent amount to feel damn uncomfortable.

May 2019 I tried Clomid one time to see if it would kickstart my own cycles. I did ovulate and I had a period but it did not start my cycles the next month. After that my body seemed stuck trying to ovulate.

June 2019 I had all the signs of ovulation but nothing was happening. My body was stuck trying for almost a month straight of signs. I was having a follicular wave that didn’t end. I decided to go on Provera again which I had tried twice throughout the past year but never had a period. This time it worked which meant I was closer then ever before. I went on Soy Isoflavones (the natural Clomid) after Provera and 30 days later I had a period!

Changes that brought my period back:

  • Reducing Stress – Journaling, Asking for Help, Being lazy!
  • Stopped Stressing Over Food and My Body and Exercise
  • Exercising Less – No Lifting or Cardio
  • Sleeping More
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Time (this one was difficult because it’s out of our control)
  • Extra Weight
  • Extra Calories
  • Possibly Soy Isoflavones
  • Stopped Intermittent Fasting
  • More Fats

If was to pinpoint what happened over the last month before I got it back it was that I completely let go. I stopped trying to control my hunger and suppressing it. I let go of what I thought my body should look like and learned to love it the way it was. I accepted that this is where my body needed to be. I do think my body wanted to get to my postpartum weight. That was the weight I got to before my periods were restored and it was the weight I was before I dropped nearly 20 pounds in 12 weeks right after my daughter was born. Your body knows and it remembers.

I’ve seen girls seriously recover in 3 weeks which to me seems mind blowing. Especially since it took me almost 8 months of going all in and another 5 months prior to that half in. I think my mind needed this time to heal. I wanted to give up many times but I never did. This process works. Try not to compare and be patient with yourself. Your body will recover when it’s ready.

This journey has completed changed the trajectory of my life and given me the energy to take my life back into my hands. I believe in the process so much I am going to start coaching other women on how to recover their periods and heal their relationship with food, exercise and themselves. If you are interested send me an email or DM me on Instagram!

5 Tips to Start Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery

Hi Everyone!  It’s been a long time I have posted and 3 .5 years after my last baby was born I am dealing with a new type of infertility.  Hypothalamic Amenorrhea!  The irony of never wanting my period to arrive and now I am praying to get it back.

I am currently working on recovering from HA (4 months all in) and I wanted to provide some tips if you are just starting your recovery journey from HA or your periods are starting to get sporadic.

I created a YouTube video on this topic if you would prefer to watch it here!

The first tip I have for your is to do your research:

I highly recommend Nicola Rinaldi’s book No Period Now what. The link to her site is here.  This book is the HA bible. There is no one more passionate with helping women get their cycles back than Nikola. She has a YouTube channel where she has a few videos and she has been on multiple podcasts. She has dedicated her life’s work to assisting and supporting women to get the periods back. I would be cautious with information overload when first diagnosed. It’s important to know that there is a lot of information out there that can be misleading or even damaging if you aren’t careful. Pay attention to the source of this information and make sure they are qualified to speak to it. I know that I turn to Dr. Google often but it can be slippery slope and you can end up spending hours obsessively looking for an answer or a quick fix.
Tip #2 Understand the Cause(s)
The second tip to start with recovery is to understand why you lost your period and when it happened. If you don’t know why you lost your period then it’s going to be really difficult to change the lifestyle behaviors to get it back or to understand the areas you need to work on. As I mentioned I don’t want to go into super detail in this video but the underlying cause will be some type of stress on your body. This stress is most likely related to an energy deficit caused by restriction on purpose or accidentally, it could be overexercise where your not fueling body and/or extreme stress added to the mix.
Tip #3  Don’t Compare
The third tip I have for you to start your recovery is DO NOT compare! This one is a non negotiable. I do think it is helpful to read stories about others that have gone through the same thing and got to the other side but I would be cautious because you can begin to hyper focus on how long it took others to recover, weight they put on to recover, how much they had to eat or if they could exercise to get it back. If you compare you are going to set yourself up for failure. You will look at those woman that only took 3 weeks to get it back that didn’t have to cut out exercise and only had to put on 2 lbs and you are going to beat yourself up when it takes you a lot longer or when you have to put on more weight and have to cut out all forms of exercise.
Tip #4 Find Support
The fourth tip I have for you is to find support. Support can look different for many people depending on your personality and where you are in life but I would recommend starting out with the HA support group that Nicola created.  If groups are triggering for you then drop out of it and consider some one on one support. If you need more you help on an individual basis you can sign up for coaching through Nicola and others like Kersten Kimura who I worked with.  There are also dietitians and counselors that can help you.
Tip #5 Create a Timeline for Going All In
I want you to create mini goals for yourself if you aren’t ready for the all at once approach. It may not be for everyone but I do think it can be helpful if you aren’t ready to jump all in or you are like most of us where the unknown of when you will get your period back will drive you crazy. What this is is if you aren’t ready to cut out exercise then give yourself a date when you will try to recover or slowly drop out days until your are “all in.
If you like these tips and would like more on HA or anything related make sure to sign up for updates.   What steps are you taking to recover?  Are there any other tips you have for newbies in this journey?  Good Luck.

Alana: 3 Month Update

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I’m really late on this one.  Alana will be four months in a week!

Alana: 3 Month Update

This month consisted of lot’s more smiles, night wakings and me going back to work!

DSC_0168Height: Not sure.  I did not measure her!.

Weight: I’m not positive but I would bet around from 13.5 -14 pounds

Likes: She loves smiling, sucking on her hands and having us make funny noises.

Dislikes: She’s not a huge fan of car rides or being overtired.  Naps are still up there on her dislikes. She fights almost EVERY SINGLE NAP.

Firsts: First time away from Mommy for a full day and first time home with Daddy for a full day.  We had a few date nights and had a my mom, sister or sister in law watch her for a few hours.

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Sleep:  We had a few sleep through the nights…like after her shots but that’s about it.  She seems to sleep worse now then she did her during her second month!  She is up anywhere from 1-3 times a night!  She is now full time in the Rock -n-Play for naps and night sleep.  She naps anywhere from 3-5 times a day. Typically is ready to go down by 7:3opm and we wake her at 6:15am.

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Eating: She is still eating at about every 2-3 hours.  She got much better at the bottle the closer she got to me going back to work. She drinks about 3.5-4 oz bottles while I am away.

Diapers:  We have moved on to size twos and but totally lost count! I would say we went through around 150.  We are using size 3s for nights.

Clothes:  She is in 3-6 month clothes and I had to go out to buy some long sleeved onesies. All we had was lot’s of short sleeved ones.

Body and Mind after Baby #2: Two Months Postpartum

I wrote this one a few weeks ago but forgot to post. Alana will be Three months next week!

Mind:

I am feeling more and more like my old self physically and mentally.  There are days that I don’t get much sleep that I feel more edgy, stressed and sometimes a little down.    It just come with having a newborn though.  Having two definitely changes things and adds more pressure and stress but I am getting a lot of help from my husband and I feel like having two is feeling more like the norm now.  I am dealing with a lot of stress unrelated to baby so I think I am doing the best that I can mentally. My nutrition has been great. I am finally getting a healthy mindset with food and I eat a lot.  I am seeing the scale move and my measurements decrease.  Overall I feel good for the chaos some days are filled with!

Body (Please ignore the cheesy pics):

 

 

I am doing a lot more at home workouts because it is just easier.   I have been working out almost everyday and have been able to maintain a schedule despite not having a schedule if that makes sense. I work out in the mornings when I have the most energy.  I get to the gym 2-3 times a week but will be able to go 5-6 times a week once I go back to work.  I have a gym at work which I go during my lunch hour.  It helps a lot!  I plan to go to the gym probably on Sundays when I am back to work because we don’t have a squat rack at work.  Sundays are my favorite days to go to the gym since it is usually very quiet.

Nutrition-wise I have been consuming anywhere from 1,800-2000 calories a day.  I take a flexible dieting approach or IIFYM and consume mostly whole foods with a sprinkling of treats when I want.  I am small but breastfeeding and I have found these numbers work great for me and my activity and energy levels as well as maintaining a good milk supply.  I am seeing consistent results and will probably have to decrease as my weigh goes down.  I am about 5ish lbs away from my prepregnancy weight and hope to lose another 5lbs after that.  Once I get to my goal weight I do plan on doing a lean bulk to put on some muscle.  I know I can’t get muscle without some fat gain so it will be a challenge mentally but I look forward to reverse dieting and increasing calories.

I entered another competition this time around to help with motivation.  It’s James Wilson’s Body Earned program and I love the intensity and results I get from it.

 

Stats:

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Goals for month 3:  Lift 5-6 days a week and limited cardio…mostly Hiit and tabata.

Body and Mind after Baby #2: One Month Postpartum

Mind:

The first month has been far more stressful with Alana then it was with Coen for multiple reasons.  First off, she had her days and nights confused where she was up twice a night which isn’t bad but was taking about 1-2 hours to settle each time.  I was only sleeping about 4-5 hours at the most at night.  I also ended up having some issues with her latch and then getting mastitis.  Add on the holidays and then hosting 2 Christmases and then having more family coming to visit left me no time to rest up after the baby or while having an infection.  We have also been dealing with some financial stresses and had found out this month that unemployment benefits run out for my husband at the beginning of February.  A new baby, a cranky two year old and fear of how we will pay our bills on one salary left lots of room for stress.  There were multiple days I felt very depressed but it was definitely situational and not PPD.  I am trying to stay as positive as I can but some days are harder then others.  In the end, I know it will all work out and I know it has to get better from here.

Body:

I worked out until the day before the csection.  I kept lifting heavy weights and doing plyometric type cardio throughout pregnancy.  I definitely felt stronger this pregnancy then I did last one.  I struggled in the first trimester due to fatigue but still stuck through it.  I stopped going on the scale the last week or so because I was so done with pregnancy.  I was only sleeping 4-5 hours a night due to insomnia and didn’t need the added stress of seeing the number go up and up.  I think I gained about 28-29lbs compared to the 26 I gained with Coen.  I started a few pounds lighter so I think I ended up being about the same weight in the end.  Luckily, I did not get stretch marks again and besides the fading dark line and cesction scar I think I have minimum permanent signs of two pregnancies.  I account this to genetics and gaining weight slowly.  I am now left about 8-9lbs above prepregancy with another 5lbs to get to my pre-IVF and fertility meds weight.  While the scale is one way to measure progress I think the tape measure is much better.  I have more muscle left this time around so comparing I can only take the scale weight with a grain of salt.

 

One Month after Baby #1

vs #2

I am at about the same weight as I was one month postpartum last time but my stomach is definitely and the measurements prove that.  My stomach also has a different shape which is probably because it was stretched more and muscles are weaker after the second pregnancy.  I hope to see some progress in the stomach over the next month as this is my toughest area.

Measurements:

1-22-2016 10-02-13 AM

Workouts:

Around 3 weeks, I started with just walking on a treadmill since it is too cold to get out with the stroller.  I slowly progressed and added in some weights starting at 4 weeks. My plan is to do some light weights and low impact cardio until 6 weeks or so and then start the same program I did the last pregnancy.

Meet Alana Rose!

She’s here!   Well she will be 4 weeks tomorrow so this post is a little late but she has been keeping us busy.  Alana arrived at 1:34pm on December 10th and was just a tad bigger than her brother at 7lb 9oz and 19.5 inches.  She is absolutely perfect and looks so much like Coen as a newborn.

I did hope to have a VBAC but things did not go my way.  This pregnancy was a lot longer than Coen’s and at 41 weeks and 1 day it was decided that a C section would be my best option.  Although I was devastated with the news, things were different with this section.  I knew what to expect and it wasn’t at nearly midnight when I was completely exhausted.  I was the first one to hold her and she was placed on my chest as soon as she was pulled out and she remained there while I was “put” back together.  That experience made it feel less like an operation and more like a childbirth. The other unique thing was Coen was born 8 days early on 10/12 and Alana was 8 days late born on 12/10 so it just feels like it was meant to be.

I plan on posting her monthly updates as well as my postpartum ones just like I did for Coen.

 

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10dp5dt – Beta #1

I had blood work early this morning.  My RE called me this afternoon to let me know I was pregnant and that if things keep progressing the way they are Coen will have a sibling soon.  My beta level level was 228! I go back on Saturday for another blood draw and hopefully my numbers are doubled. I forgot how nice it is to find out early but also how stressful it can be to worry about if everything is alright and counting down the days until you’re out of that danger zone. FRERs are still getting darker. Here are today’s and yesterday’s tests.

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