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!

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:

Capture

 

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.

Hurry up and wait…..

FET #4 Update

There must be something with infertility that always has us waiting.  I have weaned Coen well over a month ago now and still no period.  I have taken a week of Provera and waited two weeks after….nothing.  Now I am on Estrace for 10 days and then Provera and will wait some more.  Once it starts I can get all the tests done so we can submit to insurance and then start a FET cycle.   I forgot how much I hate waiting.  Luckily, I have a great little distraction that keeps me going every day.

I have been quite frustrated the way the scale has been going up since weaning.  My body is doing what it wants despite me watching what I eat, exercising and taking into account that I don’t need the extra calories.  Now to add in the hormones I am bloated, uncomfortable, pants are getting tighter and I am starting to not sleep well.  Oh the joys of estrogen…..

On a positive note, I did find a picture of one year ago after having Coen and compared it to a picture from this weekend.  I have made a lot of progress over the year.  I also have started to realize that despite weaning my body is not mine again.  It will all be worth it though.

2

Life Lately

Life is busy as expected with a 13 month old.  Some things have gotten easier and some have gotten more difficult.  I think the biggest improvement is his bedtime routine has gotten better and he is sleeping all the way through the night.  We give a sippy cup of milk and a little snack at 7 pm, read at 7:20 and he goes down without a peep.  There are also no 5 am wake ups every morning.  He sleeps most days until 6:30am.  Pretty sure he was playing me and if I just did a little sleep training I could have gotten this months ago.

3

The little guy has been sick the past few weeks with a cold and fever.  I took off last Monday when he was feeling the worst and his fever was 101.  Luckily I think he is finally getting better but he just has that lingering cough.  Poor guy.  He got sick last year but it was nothing like this.  There was nothing I could do to help and all he wanted was to cry and give hugs.

I am looking forward to a 5 day weekend and some yummy food for Thanksgiving!  We will be hosting Thanksgiving but it will be small.  Just the hubby, Coen, my sister, father and me which means lots of turkey leftovers!  We are doing family pictures on Friday and I am excited to see how they come out.  If they are good we will be using one of them for Christmas Cards.  We already got pics with Santa this weekend.  They didn’t come out so great because Coen was just about to break out crying.  I think the stranger fear is in full effect.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Mind and Body after Baby: Month 6

6 Month Update

The past week or two have had some rough nights.  No sleep and being sick are not a good combo but I have finally decided to take pics for this post.  Yawn.  I wrote most of this last month so although some of my feelings or thoughts have changed I want to still post this because it was what I felt at the time.

Mind:

This month was very trying because I was being pushed at work with a ton of new responsibilities.  we also went through some sleep training after weeks of the baby up multiple times a night.  The past month I fought with myself about stopping breastfeeding.  It began to really become difficult because I wasn’t sleeping and my supply started to drop after I was sick.  I really hate pumping and if I was with him all the time I feel like it would be easier.  I wouldn’t stress about getting enough for daycare and then adding extra sessions if I didn’t get my magic number.  I did not stop though and I made it to my goal of 6 months!  I have not decided when I will stop and I go back and forth all the time.  I have been stressed to the max with my new role at work.  I have a ton of projects, meetings and work and I have been feeling a little like I am a bad mom.  I feel guilty I can’t be with him 24/7 and the other day when I picked him up from daycare I started to wonder does he still know I am his mom? It is heartbreaking thinking that.  Lately I miss him so much during the day and I would give anything just to snuggle with him.

Body:
I decided since it has been half a year (I don’t know where the time went) that I would do a comparison from the first month!  I really see a lot of the weight loss in my face.  My body has definitely changed and my old body at this weight was much different.  I am very proud to see how far I have come.  I am 6lbs below pre-pregnancy weight and my goal is to lose probably another 2-4lbs.  At that point I am going to focus more on how clothes fit and building muscle rather than the number on the scale.

1 Month Postpartum

Blog 1 month front

vs 6 Months Postpartum

Blog front

1 Month Postpartum

Blog 1 month

vs 6 Months Postpartum

Blog side

Stats:

Measurements month 6

Goals for month 7:  The usual…start running and sign up for 5k.  This has been on the backburner but now it is (somewhat) nice I can take the jogging stroller out for run!

Mind and Body after Baby: Month 5

I’m really late this month!!

Mind:

Between work and home I feel like a crazy lady most days.  I literally have no time during the week.  Between waking getting myself ready, pumping and then feeding the morning flies by and then nighttime is spent playing with the little guy.  I have still been going to bed when he does because of all the night wakings.  It is a bit taxing but I know once he starts sleeping more that I can start to stay up a little later and have at least a half hour or hour to myself!  It  is all worth it though.  Making him giggle and smile is the best thing ever.  Love those belly laughs.

Body (Please ignore the cheesy pics):

I am very happy with my weight loss.   It continues to be slow and steady.  I am 3lbs below pre-pregnancy weight which makes me very happy but my body is definitely different.  Maybe it is the extra skin on belly or something or the linea nigra that is still hanging around but my stomach just doesn’t look the same.  I am getting some morning abs but it goes away with first bit of water or food leaving me looking bloated most days.  My next goal is about another 5-7lb loss and then focus on maintaining and building muscle.  I am still working my butt off in the gym.  I am lifting anywhere from 4-6 days a week with maybe one longish session of cardio a week and anywhere for no cardio to 20 minutes at the most.  I do a lot of sprinting or intervals which helps keep me burning lots of calories and not being a slave to the treadmill.

 

Here are some more post workout pics that are less than flattering……they don’t show much progress but if I look from month one to now there was some big changes.  I think at 6 month I will do some comparison and may even show some of my other before and afters that include my belly. Scary!

5 Month Postpartum

DSC_0119

vs 6 Months Postpartum

DSC_02465 Month Postpartum

DSC_0114

vs 6 Months Postpartum

DSC_0244

Stats:

Measurements month 5

Goals for month 5: My goals for this month was to focus on lifting heavy still.  I haven’t been running as far as longer distances because we pushed the 5K out.  We both were sick and hubby doesn’t feel ready yet.  We will probably end up doing one in April or May.  I would LOVE to find one we could bring the stroller and test out the BOB Stroller!

Mind and Body after Baby: Month 4

Of course about a few weeks late again but pics and stats are from 4 months!

Mind:

Another whirlwind of a month.  In my mind, I keep thinking Coen is 3 months for some reason.  This will be a short post because to be honest I have momma mind and I don’t even recall how I have felt this past month!  I fell back into a funk after starting the year of with great motivation.  I think I am over that hump again but it is hard to keep up the momentum.  Working mom is tough and the is so little time to get everything I need to get done like writing posts.  I do feel back to myself almost 100% though.  Almost like I never even was pregnant!

Body (Please ignore the cheesy pics):

I am still happy with my weight loss each  month.  I lost 2.6lbs this month but saw some nice decreases in measurements!  I think slow, steady weight loss is lasting weight loss so even if I am only losing half a pound I week I am happy! Pics don’t show a big difference each month but I bet if I compared them to the first month I would see big changes.  I feel like my belly needs the most work.  I am back to and a little below pre-pregnancy weight but there is still extra weight around the belly that hopefully will improve with time and exercise.

Here are some more post workout pics that are less than flattering……

3 Month Postpartum

DSC_0072

vs 4 Months Postpartum

DSC_0119

DSC_0074

DSC_0114

Stats:

Measurements month 4

Goals for month 4: My goals for this  month are to start increasing weight when lifting and really push myself.  I need to start adding in some steady state cardio aka jogging because we will be doing that 5k next month and I am not prepared!