Reader’s Request: Monthly Visitor FYI’s

Hey, hey!

How’s it going mid-week? I am doing great! :)

*******

Reader’s Request: Monthly Visitor FYI’s

First of all, this post will definitely be about the monthly visitor (the period), so if you’re not interested or that is TMI to you (or you’re a guy), feel free to skip right on over & we’ll see ya tomorrow. 😉

I have received some emails about this & I wanted to just do an entire post on it all, so buckle up! And like Janetha says, you might want to grab a snack.

Or maybe not? Since…… we’re chatting about…..

The period. The monthly visitor. Menstruation. Aunt Flow. Or what have you.

It’s an amazing thing, the human body, and I am so grateful for mine (!!!). However, that was not always the case–and I treated this beautiful temple of mine horribly….which of course led to ‘issues’.

When our body is not in balance, hormonally (and otherwise), things will be screwed up. When we mess with how we were created, we suffer the consequences.

My story is an exact version of what NOT to do. But also, there is hope for what you CAN do & how to get healthy again, because that is exactly what happened to me! I didn’t necessarily plan to get it back when I did, so check it out……

*********

I wanted to share my story first & then outline what I did wrong & what I ended up doing right to get it back. This is actually quite intense to write this all out for the entire Internetland to see….but my hope is that I can help at least 1 person in the process. 😉

Besides, I am all for getting outside the comfort zone, right?!

:)

My Story

‘Normal’ Years

I first got my period around age 12 I think? My sisters immediately helped me use tampons, so I’ve never used a pad in my life. They called it the ‘magic wand’ and it sure was awesome to have that handy.

{p.s. side note: I remember not fathoming why friends didn’t want to try tampons or use ’em?! I swam and danced a lot (hello not tons of coverage), so that was not even an option for me. Andddd no clue why I just told you all that.}

Anyways.

At the beginning of college I had irregular periods (I danced a lot), but it still came once in awhile. But still, I say that around this time is when I ‘lost’ it. I was dancing a lot & bingeing on the weekends–my health was not that great.

Anorexic years

After a really bad break up & some other issues I had going on at the time a bit later on (right after Freshman year of college), I started restricting my food & exercising a lot more. Anorexia played a large part of my completely losing my period in the Fall of 2004.

anorexic - monthly visitor

I was sort of happy to have ‘lost it’ to be completely honest, because it meant no more bothersome ‘visitor’ or cramps or tampons!

That is obviously a very immature way to look at it, and I realize that now.

What I didn’t know? That I wouldn’t have this ‘normal female thing’ for 5 years. 5!!!

Binge eater/emotional eater years

In 2007 after some further life changes (I moved back to the U.S. after spending time in Germany/Austria for 18 months), I began more frequently eating my emotions. By the end of the year I was a full-blown emotional eater & binge eater.

I don’t think anyone knew it though.

binge eater / emotional eater

{late 2007}

I gained a bunch of weight and I still exercised quite a bit (it was pretty much only cardio).

And I still did not get my period back. Which I thought was weird b/c my doctors kept telling me to gain weight/eat more –especially since all my blood tests & everything was ‘fine’. Well, hello, I DID all that, and STILL nothing!! {We’ll discuss why in a bit.}

After discovering fitness classes in late 2007/early 2008, I became a regular Saturday fitness class goer by mid-2008 (that means I started lifting some weights 1 day/week regularly; which began my love for weights. But that’s a whole ‘nother story! hah).

I started grad school in the Fall of 2008, without a period, but with a sort-of boyfriend.

My binge eating escalated into early 2009 as did my relationship with the sort-of boyfriend. And so did our on & off agains (which took a major toll on my self-esteem, emotional & binge eating)

I liked him a lot, but he really didn’t love me back, so our relationship (which I thought would end in marriage), actually ended up in the final huge breakup in early Summer 2009.

I was a complete mess. I felt broken & unwanted……

That is when I went on that Alaska trip (3 weeks later) spontaneously. Which changed EVERYTHING.

alaska

That Summer I became more of ME & started to get rid of the binge eating & emotional eating urges. Slowly but surely. I also dove headfirst into more weight training while training (in a much more relaxed way) for my 2nd marathon.

That Fall (2009), I met Jared (my now husband). {p.s. fun fact: We actually went on our first day 3 days after that marathon.}

date OCT 09

{2nd week dating, late Oct, 2009. I look so much happier already!}

2 months later, after meeting him (and 1.5 months after we began to date), my period magically came back on its own and has been super regular ever since (!!!)

I was totally shocked, and obviously grateful. I wasn’t ‘actively’ trying to get it back on purpose (read: that was not my main goal), I was just trying to live a healthier, happier life and Jared made that very easy since he’s got a great sense of humor, loves me unconditionally, and is a really good listener.

But ultimately it was what I chose to do & did that made it all turn out okay!

Here is what I did during that Summer & Fall that eventually helped get me my period back:

  • I stayed consistent in my weight training
  • I was training for a marathon, yes, but I wasn’t putting in as much mileage as I had my first (I was running it for fun with my sister, so had no time goal, and thus no major ‘plan’) I’ve never run more than 3 days per week though, it doesn’t work well for my body & joints.
  • I began to enjoy life a bit more (took in the scenery, went on hikes with friends, went on blind dates, watched movies for the heck of it on a school night, started laughing more, began being kinder to myself, started eating more real foods, etc)
  • I focused on serving others a bit more
  • I tried hard to get outside my comfort zone
  • I spent a lot more time with God

The real kicker? I wasn’t ever actively trying to get my period back during that time. I wasn’t married, I obviously didn’t want kids, so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal??

Ummmm, not having your period for over 5 years is a BIG deal. Just thought I’d make sure we all knew that. 😉

Especially since the doctors could never pinpoint exactly ‘what’ was wrong, it was crazy that I didn’t care more.

Ahhh well. Hindsight IS 20-20!

april 2010

{April 2010, my period was going strong & regular by now–right before our wedding}

Here’s what I know I did wrong (& why I lost my period in the first place):

  • I restricted my food way way too much (too few calories, too little fat, too few carbs/ too few everything!!)
  • I had an exercise addiction –especially in the cardio realm
  • I was stressed out to the max like all.the.time
  • I wasn’t having tons of ‘fun’ <–I analyzed everything & had high anxiety/ there were times I was depressed for reals
  • I binged & ate emotionally –so I ended up eating lots of ‘crap’ foods (white flours & sugars) which totally messes with the endocrine system, and ultimately the hormones (which are a major part of menstruation control) 
  • I based my self-esteem on what a guy (& guys) thought of me
  • I compared myself to everyone, which made me more anxious & upset a lot of the time

But here’s a piece of GREAT IMPORTANCE to the entire story:

  • I still didn’t get my period back when I gained a bunch of weight & ate more food (binge/emotional eating years)

{this IS important–so many doctors kept telling me to do this, and it never worked. they also said to get a higher body fat percentage, which I did. And that didn’t work either. I say this because not all doctors are right & yes, each person is different, but the huge changes for me that made ALL the difference were the 4 below, which doctors don’t really ever talk about!!}

I am not a doctor (that’s my disclaimer). I’ve talked to a few doctors (I also talked with my physiology professor back in the day about this), and since not much of their advice worked, so here is what I am 99.9% certain about WHY I got my period back (and it’s crazy regular) without actively trying for that goal:

  • stress levels & stress management are HUGE PARTS of regular menstruation (Jared’s very nature de-stressed me so much, I didn’t even know it! love is powerful for reals……) 
  • eating REAL foods also plays a large part (my guess is because they help keep the endocrine system in check) –that Summer I had really begun to eat better (less fat-free/sugar-free/and less pretzel/cereal-type foods)
  • lifting more weights & reducing cardio (especially running long distances or frequently!!) can work wonders –my self-esteem & confidence skyrocketed (which can help with stress levels)
  • having a strong support system is VITAL  — my sisters were amazing, as was Jared

I don’t want anyone to jeopardize their future just because of the poor choices they make today or made yesterday, so I really wanted to share my journey with you in a raw, real way. Thank you for listening. 😉

p.s. I can’t stress it enough (haha. pun intended.) GET your stress levels in check—find healthy ways to manage stress. Lift weights. Eat real food. And have friends & family who will support you (get rid of those who are haters & bring you down).

happy

{here I am now in 2013! Happy, strong, and healthy.}

**I am sure I will get this question: I’ve never used birth control ever, so my period has always been with me ever since I got it back. I know, Awwwww 😉 hah.  (I got an IUD (paraguard) put in before I got married)**

I am so glad I made better choices throughout the years–I am lucky to be where I am, but I know I couldn’t have done it alone! I thank my Heavenly Father every day, my husband, my family, and my really good friends for allowing me to be ME so that I could & can live a happy, healthy life. :)

******

Whew. If you made it this far, impressive!

I promise I will be less wordy & less serious tomorrow. 😉

And…..with that, have a GREAT day!!! <3

What do YOU do to ensure you live in a healthy way to maintain your monthly visitor?? If YOU’ve experienced an irregular cessation of menstruation, what have YOU done to change that?? I want to hear from YOU about your experiences!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Running definitely affected me. Once I stopped running (even though my mileage wasn’t high either) my period got back to being regular that very month. Funny how we’re all different and different exercises and foods affect us all in various ways!

  2. I’ve been on the pill/patch since I was 14, so really, I have absolutely no idea how regular I would be. There’s no possible chance in hell that I would have had my period during my anorexic years, but I really have no idea what would be going on with it now. i’m actually on the waiting list to get an IUD, because I actually really want to make sure that everything is working the way that it should.

    • An IUD is nice to have–but of course the side effects are a bit more cramping & heavier periods. That all subsided for me over time. Just FYI 😉

  3. Great post, that I’m sure will help so many people! Thanks for opening up and being so honest about something that I’m sure is a bit difficult to talk about. Our bodies are so amazing . . . we need to remember to respect that! :)

  4. Awesome post Annette! You know my history with this issue, and I’m all about spreading awareness about it. I think it’s something that is just brushed off by so many women (and doctors!! ugh) and not taken seriously, but IT IS! You’re a great model of health, and I appreciate you sharing your story and your honesty! :) xoxo

  5. This pot is amazing and such a breath of fresh air! Thank you for being so open and sharing! I have struggled with this as well and I 100% agree with you about why (most) periods come back and why they stay: less stress, more whole foods, and less cardio. I realize every body is different and it may not work for everyone just making these changes, but they are a goo place to start if you re looking for a whole physical and emotional change. Thanks girl for the info! :)

  6. Celeste says:

    I love this and think it’s the most honest, well-written, beautiful post I have ever seen on your blog. So much of your story reminds me of mine. I also didn’t get my period back from re-gaining weight. I only got it back when I learned to be more at peace with myself. And even now, if I skip, it’s more likely because I”m stressed out than that I”m high mileage. Thanks for having the courage to share <3

  7. Jessie says:

    So you didn’t have any trouble during your iron-man training? I am struggling with this now. I got off my BC in December, had one “visit” in January and then haven’t in February. (not pregnant- checked :)) I’m training for a marathon so I’m wondering if that’s what it is. Makes me sad bc I LOVE long distance running :(

    • I didn’t have any trouble during ironman training at all, actually. I made sure to continue lifting weights, eating plenty of food, and de-stressing in healthy ways, so I think that all helped a lot.

      Training for a marathon could be it, but it could also be other factors. I would check with your doc first–but how are your stress levels? Do you have time each day that you set aside for relaxation/stress relief? Do you feel overwhelmed a lot? Check in with these things for yourself, and you could find that once those are handled well, you might get it back. But of course, EACH person is different. Best to you, Jessie!! <3

  8. This is such a great post! exactly what I need to read right now. BC pills have me totally messed up after coming off of them. Would you say there is a certain BMI a girl should be at in order to cycle? i keep reading “bmi of 22”, but I truly cannot fathom gaining to that point. I think what you wrote is so true – its about feeling relaxed, 0 stress levels, eating WHOLE foods, and making sure to fuel yourself properly. I hate reading every site that says “gain weight and stuff your face”, but how many girls cycle even from doing that? not many according to, again, what I keep reading. Just wondering if you think a certain BMI # is also crucial. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • That is a great question! I would say it is ‘harder’ for women who are under 19.5 for BMI to keep a regular period, but that is not always the case. BMI is only a measure of height & weight & doesn’t take into account body fat percentage (and/or muscle)< --which could be helpful to a woman in maintaining her period. Like I said above, when I trained more with weights & built on more muscle, I did eventually get my period back. p.s. I've never heard of the BMI 22 thing? I did get mine back when I was under that number & have never been above it, so I would say that is an unsubstantiated claim! Reducing stress & lifting weights were huge parts for me!! :) Hope that helps!

    • Eva- I had the same problem when I went off the pill last year for like 5 months. I didn’t have a period the whole time. I struggled with acne effects and decided to go back on and instantly I had it back, but I do think about it sometimes as to why I wouldn’t have one for those months…bc is crazy stuff!

  9. I’m fortunate enough to never have lost my period, since I got it from Day 1 I’ve been regular as rain. I’m on the pill now, but occasionally take a month off just to “check” that everything is still working properly, and it is! It’s so true, eating healthy, working out in a safe, healthy way, and keeping stress and anxiety at bay are super important for a woman’s health!

  10. I’m happy your story ends happily. My period has been very irregular the past 6 months so I finally went back on birth control pills to help balance it out. I assumed it was a hormonal issue, or my gyno said it might be normal in this time of my life due to irregularity in life: work, stress, working late nights on weekends, etc. This birth control is the lowest dose available so I’m hoping it will get the job done without making me crazy like other pills have done in the past.

    My roommate has the paragard too and she loves it. I read about it and it said that the periods can get super heavy and very strong and intense cramps, that’s the reason I decided not to get it. I feel like it would affect me.

    Btw, how do you measure stress levels?

    • The paraguard def gave me a lot more cramps & heavier periods, but it subsided over time. But yes, it’s not for everyone!

      Measuring stress levels is not really a scientific process nor is it ‘defined’ by a certain set scale–just because it is so individualized & so subjective. However, hormone levels & blood work can indicate if something is off, as does losing a period, losing weight/hair/appetite, etc. Each person reacts differently to a variety of stressors, but it’s important to know when you feel overly tense/anxious/stressed and when you don’t. And it’s vital to include many moments & periods of time throughout the day & week when you relax and do something kind for yourself (so no work or commute is allowed during that time). :) I love to read, nap, dance, and talk to family/husband to de-stress. It helps me calm down!

  11. This post could not have come at a better time! I’m also so glad you shared your whole entire story at once like this, it was a great way to really see everything that you went through!

  12. Thank you so much for this post!!!! I am a recovering binge/emotional eater ( I just recently started a blog documenting my recovery and journey to healthy and happy life). My life pretty much followed a similar pattern to yours. I lost a lot of weight, got obsessed with losing weight, cutting calories and over-exercising (cardio) to the extreme. I was miserable and due to my disordered thinking thought I still wasn’t skinny enough even though I had gotten very thin. After a few very stressful months and the death of someone very close to me, I spiraled into a depression and binge eating cycle. I had lost my period while over-excercising and calorie cutting and my doctors couldn’t figure out why because I too had gained weight like they told me. It was only when I acknowledged my issues, and began taking small steps to begun healthy again that I began to get my period regularly again. I’m still working on all the other issues so it’s inspiring and hopeful to see someone like you, healthy and happy, on the other side! I hope I can get there one day too!!

    • You will be! Keep on keeping on 😉 Writing things down –like say in a blog–is a huge way to heal & recover, so kudos to you!!

      thanks for reading!

  13. This was so brave of you to post! I’m so glad you got your period back and that your body is healthy. It’s amazing how we don’t realize how important something like getting a monthly period is when we’re younger. I always thought of mine as a problem to have to be dealt with and now I am so happy and proud of it! It means my body is working!

  14. Haha at first I thought you were going to talk about your blog’s monthly stats- oh lordie 😛
    Thanks for sharing your story! It’s amazing how much our psychological and mental health can impact our necessary functions!

    I’ve been on the pill so I was always getting a pill-induced period even when I was depriving and starving myself. But it was super light and I knew it wasn’t legit. It started to come back and is back now- although occasionally it will be a bit diff and come earlier or spot or something. But nothing major and all normal hormonal things :)

    Oh and tampons rock! 😉

  15. Thank you for sharing this and for being so open about this topic. I too agree that our ‘monthly visitor’ is not taken seriously by so many. Running and my anorexic days of being way too under weight and not giving my body the nourishment that it needed definitely affected my period. Once I got to a point in my recovery where my body was at a healthier weight and I was in a happier place in my life my period finally came back. I’ve never been so happy to start my period again! 😉 Luckily my body works in a way that if I’m underweight I won’t have a period. Therefore I always know if that’s the case or if my BMI is too low.
    I know that if it’s irregular I need to fuel my body more with whole foods and sometimes change up my exercise! Thanks for the story :)

  16. Wow what a great post. You are very brave to be open and so honest with everything! :)

  17. Danielle says:

    I have been struggling with amenorrhea for 6 years now and have severe osteoporosis. Thai you for your honesty. I have listened to everything the doctors have said, gain 20 pounds, stop exercising…. Nothing has worked which has left me frustrated. Glad to hear there is still hope out there. Have you ever had a DEXA?

    • I have had 2 DEXA scans actually. During my anorexic years, I had Osteopenia in my spine, a few years later–after eating better and lifting weights I went back in for another DEXA scan, and the Osteopenia was gone–my spine was back to ‘normal’ density. There is always hope!!! Best wishes to you, Danielle! <3

  18. I wish more women would speak up about this. I went off of BC pills in August after being on them for almost 10 years. My cycle hasn’t been normal since. Before BC pills I was like clockwork to the exact time of day, now not so much. Around that time of the month I try to up my healthy fats more but this month it hasn’t worked thus far. It’s incredibly frustrating since women or either told to gain weight or go on Clomid. It’s good to know that by reducing stress levels and cardio helped. Thanks for posting this! :)

  19. What a great post- and thanks for talking about this so openly and sharing your story.
    I have been on the pill since I was 18 and went off of it about 3 years ago- just because I wanted a break and to see if it was the catalyst for some weight gain. I didn’t get my period for a year after, and then finally was responsible enough to see the doctor about it. I was tested for all kinds of stuff- super invasive and NOT fun. I was diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhea – and was told it was from too much exercising (I was working out on average 3 hours a day at high intensity and probably took 2 rest days the entire year- and felt SUPER guilty about that. I was a mess.). I was put back on the pill to start my period again, and cut back majorly on exercise- no more than about 10 hours total each week. I’m still on the pill and get my period, but don’t know if it’s back to “normal.” I guess I’ll find out if we ever try to have kids!

  20. Awesome, awesome post! I’m all about shedding light on this issue! :)

  21. I may be late, but you know that I’m ALL about this post 😀 Great job Annette– and thank you for opening up to us. This is such a HUGE HUGE issue in the healthy living/fitness realm, yet so many girls even recognize it as one in the beginning! You’re awesome :)

  22. Malinda says:

    Great post! Thank you for sharing!

    I have had issues with losing it. My doctor was totally okay with it. She said it’s normal for someone as active as me. I knew it wasn’t normal. I would say low calories. Too much exercise was the culpret.

    I am where you are now! I am happy, healthy, and regular. My figure is very beautiful! thanks to reduced cardio and increased weight training!

    Great post!
    Thank you!
    Malinda

  23. Read this story top to bottom, Annette! I was recently diagnosed with pcos, and am having huge issues with my period, too (or, lack thereof, rather.) I’m still kinda frustrated, but have totally given it to God, while still trying to be as mindful and smart about it as I can.
    I think maybe meeting your hubby-to-be had something to do with it, too 😉

  24. Lexie says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have been through similar patterns in the past, which consisted of restricting, over exercising, and bingeing due to lack of nutrients. I am now on my journey through recovery so I can get my periods back and become a healthier happier person.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Excellent post by the lovely Annette. I’m all about spreading awareness on this […]

  2. […] guts to talk about this on the world wide web, but this girl’s got it. A little insight to a ladies monthly visitor. [Oh and first time I saw her post title I thought she was going to talk about her blogging monthly […]

  3. aerogarden ultra

    Reader’s Request | Monthly Visitor FAQ’s | Disordered Eating | Menstruation | Exercise Addiction | Enjoy Your Healthy Life

Comments

*

CommentLuv badge

Privacy · © Copyright 2015 Fitness Perks, LLC · All right reserved · Designed by The Husband