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!

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

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vs 6 Months Postpartum

DSC_02465 Month Postpartum

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vs 6 Months Postpartum

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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

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vs 4 Months Postpartum

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DSC_0074

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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!

Post Baby Mind & Body Update: Month 3

Of course about a few weeks late again but pics and stats are from 3 months!

Mind:

As I said in Coen’s post, this month flew faster than the last two.  The holidays are always so busy and I kept dreading knowing I was back to work soon.  The first day back was pretty awful.  It was go go go.  I felt defeated by the time I got home.  Between the emotions of leaving the little one and trying to give it my all at work I was drained.  Pretty sure there was a moment that I was ready to just give up and wanted to just walk out but I made it through.  I will try and do a day in the life post of a working mom.  It is so much harder than I expected.  There really is no down time during the week.  From the second I wake in the morning to when I go to bed I am non stop.

The little me time I had before has decreased even more.  I am alright with that but it just takes some adjusting.  I really need to work on trying not to do everything.  I have a hard time accepting help even from my husband.  Apparently I am always trying to prove I can do everything myself and I don’t know why.  I have also found that the past 2 years before getting pregnant I focused 90% of my energy towards getting pregnant and then while pregnant I focused all my energy into making sure I had a healthy baby and that we were prepared for him.  I now feel that I can finally focus some of this energy on me now.  I really want to focus on doing my best at work and really proving myself.

Body (Please ignore the cheesy pics):

I was really frustrated with my body this month.  I did not see any changes till about 3 weeks into the month.  The scale was stuck and there were no changes in how things were fitting.  I was recording what I was eating but it was hard to keep my calories in check during all the holidays.  All of a sudden it was January and between the new year, stress of knowing I will be going back to work and really watching what I was eating the scale started moving.

I dropped almost 3 pounds this month and only a 2lbs away from pre-pregnancy weight!  It feels so good to finally start seeing changes again.  My belly is still squishy and hips are much wider but I feel like the rest of me is back to normal.  To be honest, I am not sure my stomach or hips will ever go back to what they were but that is alright with me.  I still feel like with more fat loss I can achieve that flat stomach once again.  Much to my surprise I have found that my cardio is actually way better than what it used to be.  I have much more endurance and I think it is because I was in such great shape carrying around that extra weight when pregnant.  I haven’t been running but will need to start because my husband and I are set out to run a 5k come March.  A little St. Patty’s day run which will end at the bar for a victory drink.  This will be our first 5k and I have to admit I am not much of a runner.  Being only 5’1 I have little legs and definitely not a runner’s body.  I am slow and awkward but that is just fine as long as I finish it.

I took these after a workout so don’t mind the fact that I’m a sweaty mess.  The angle of the camera is a little different but my stomach has definitely become a little flatter this past month.  I also feel like my arms are just beginning to get some definition.

Two Months Postpartum

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vs.
Three Months Postpartum

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Two Months Postpartum

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vs.
Three Months Postpartum

Stats:

Measurements month 3

Goals for month 4: I managed to actually meet all of last months goals so that means I owe myself something special.  I am thinking a pullup bar or a new jump rope because the one at the gym is awful.  This months goals are to keep up the cardio, start doing some running, eat more veggies and eat when hungry not when bored.  I also want to start lifting heavier.  I toned it down a bit when I first started lifting after the baby from what I usually did just to ease into it.  I want to start setting some personal records for myself like pushups, pullups (can hardly do one anymore), how much I can squat, run, etc.

 

Post Baby Mind & Body Update: Month 1

I have been busy with the little guy so this post is a little late but the pictures and stats are from one month postpartum!

Mind:

After dealing with infertility, going through IVF treatments and having a history of depression, my counselor wanted me to be aware that I have a good chance of getting PPD.  I am definitely not out of the water as it has been only a month but I feel really good.  PPD can show up anytime within the first year after baby from what I am told.  I didn’t get the baby blues and have yet to have a breakdown and even cry since Coen has arrived.  Like I said this has YET to happen! This first month I have been in a euphoria.  I just look at our little miracle and can’t help but smile.  Of course it is not all easy and I have good days and bad days.  The days I get less sleep I do feel a little down and off but that’s how it has always been for me.  There are a few things that I have learned in the past that really keep me balanced…sleep, eating well and working out.  When I am doing enough of all three of these I have a sense of contentment.  Well since I hadn’t been able to work out because of the C-section and sleeping isn’t always a given I have at least been eating healthy.  I really think this has helped a lot.  I am still eating clean (most of the time) every 2-3 hours for about 5-6 meals a day.  Since I am breastfeeding I find myself eating a ton.  I think I am eating more now then when I was pregnant.

Body:

I had a very active pregnancy which I will post about later.  I took the first trimester off from anything other than walking.  I gained very quickly in the beginning but it seemed to slow down at about 6 months.  Before that every calculator I used and every time I would look online at other woman’s weight gain I had gained too much.  It was discouraging but I knew that my body was doing what it needed.  I would recommend staying away from the scale, calculators and just listen to your body.  Pregnancy changed my view on my body image.  I realized how hard I had been on myself and how truly amazing the body is!  I ended up gaining a total of 26lbs which is right at the low end of normal weight gain..  But don’t forget I was up about 7-10 lbs from all the IVF meds and stress when I got pregnant.

The day my water broke:

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One Month after Baby…..some very less than flattering  pictures but they will help with accountability and motivation!

Blog 1 month front

Blog 1 month

At one month postpartum I have lost all but 7lbs to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and I probably have another 7 to get to my pre-IVF weight.  Although, the number on the scale is really not as important as how I feel and how my clothes fit!  I can button my pre-pregnancy jeans but I am just about busting out of them.  I wear yoga pants everyday because of the C-section incision and I don’t want to buy new jeans for just a few months!  My game plan to get into shape?  Not really quite sure yet.  I need to find something that works for me.  It will most likely include some cardio and mostly lifting at home and at the gym.  It will be all about how to squeeze in a workout while the baby sleeps.

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Ever see a scale fly?

Ever wake up feeling real thin and hop on the scale and want to toss it out the window?  My goal of losing at least half of the weight I gained during FET is not looking so good.  I am still up a pound from last week.  Usually Monday I start higher and go down as the week progresses.  Why do I weigh myself everyday?  Because I am an OCD weigher.  I figured I would write a list of what worked for me in the past

  1. I stopped obsessing- as soon as I am focused on something else besides weight loss I lose the weight
  2. Eating Clean
  3. Not making weekends a free for all and stuffing my face
  4. Stop eating  late at night
  5. No alcohol
  6. Going to bed early even on the weekends
  7. Lots and lots of water
  8. Sleeping 8 hours
  9. Doing something everyday even if it is just walking the dog
  10. Cooking my lunches on Sunday for the rest of the week
  11. Keeping busy and getting out of my house
  12. No gluten or very little gluten in my diet
  13. Husband not buying junk food and also trying to lose weight
  14. No junk food in the house
  15. Build Muscle-Lifting 4-5 days a week

I am sure there are more to add to this list.  Weight loss is an easy equation and I know how to succeed. Food is my weakness though. I have no issues working out but I am a sugar addict.  Once I have a little I can’t stop.   I blame my mom she is the exact same way! (sorry mom)

Breakfast

I am very boring for breakfast and lunch during the work week.  It usually consists of oatmeal of some type.  Today was with cinnamon, a bit of vanilla extract and banana.