This post is for the ladies, so all you 3 male readers out there may want to sit this one out. Just a disclaimer for what you're in for. 🙂
And happy Fri-yay to you! In a few short hours, I'll be on my way to Vermont to see some of my favorite people in the world get married, and couldn't be any more happier. Besides, it's on an apple orchard aka my future homeland. Hea-ven.
Which brings us to today's post. I honestly went back and forth maybe 629 times whether or not to post it. It's not a fun new recipe, or a day of my salad-lovin' eats, but we're getting real for a moment here. After seeing so many ladies go through the same struggle, heard their stories,read their triumphs their setbacks, and thanked them for it, I knew I wanted to carry on this sentiment.
I didn't have my period (on my own) for close to six years. I say on my own, because I went on and off birth control multiple times in those years. A recurring cycle of hating it while I was on it, but running back to it when my period went MIA without it.
I've never truly opened up about my past of disordered eating, and honestly don't really plan on it. Yes, I abused my body with too little calories, too much exercise, and an overall unhealthy obsession with food for years, and frankly that's all you really need to know. Because whatever way a gal decides to stress out her body, it all leads to the same destination. Destruction.
I've been to multiple doctors. Taken many pregnancy tests (eye rolls included), and have been told there is nothing wrong with me time after time. Blood tests are normal. Ultrasounds a okay. Weight is in a healthy range. Everything telling me that there's nothing wrong, when I and my body knew something definitely was.
So much like any health issue, I took matters into my own hands, and consulted Dr. Google. And that's where I discovered story after story of gals who experienced the same struggles, to the point where it felt like they were telling MY story in their own words. Ladies like Robyn, Clare, Stefani, and so so many others who ultimately empowered me to take charge of my health once and for all.
I did finally get a diagnosis of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA) after opening up about my past with disordered eating to my OBG, but she still weren't too concerned about it. "Maybe it's just how your body is...." Bull. Shit.
And everyone (besides the doctors) had the same answer to start healing from HA. Eat more, exercise less.
Everything I had done to my body, flipped upside down. No more killing myself with a new workout. No more struggles and diet changes to lose those pounds that came uninvited and never left (and still never did while eating super healthy and exercising). Nope. My past 6 years of hard work stressing my body were getting the ax.
I had it in my mind that I would increase my consciously increase my calories, eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted...except that I had a wedding to be a part of, and a dress to fit into. In came the fear of ballooning up, and utilizing an entire roll of double sided tape to lock me into it come wedding day.
So I didn't. I still watched what I ate, loaded up on veggies, and took a chill pill on carby foods, but at least I wasn't counting calories anymore. I wanted to wait until I could wear flowy maxi dresses for the rest of the summer if need be, and fully enjoy stuffing my face with whatever my heart desired.
But I did change one thing and GOT MY PERIOD. 6 years of struggles. 6 years of false hopes. 6 years on unanswered questions. Gone with one simple change.
I completely stopped exercising, aside from walking and a daily yoga practice. I started Yoga with Adriene's 30 Day Yoga Challenge, and made a conscious effort to just focus on doing that every day, and no other form of exercise. In just two weeks, I got my period back.
I was in shock. Not only because of how one simple thing brought back a 6 year separation, but also because I was actually ENJOYING yoga. Each day's practice was 30 minutes or under, which made it easy to commit to without feeling like it took up too much time, and I was looking forward to my 30 minute rendez-vous with Adriene everyday.
Sure, at first it was a struggle. I was as flexible as a 4 x 4. I had irrational thoughts that I was still going to gain weight and be a flabby mess by not running or lifting weights regularly. But after each day, I felt STRONGER, calmer, and could see myself changing in so many ways other than the most obvious and surprising act of regaining my period.
I used to just do yoga because it would help with my running, and how good it would make me feel afterwards, but never truly looked forward to it. Now that I've seen it's true healing power (as woo woo as it may sound) I have a much deeper appreciation for it, and is exactly what my body needed to trust me again and start healing.
Which is why I'm so so excited to be collaborating with Maine YogaFest this year. After seeing a giant banner for the event on one of my walks down by the water, I knew I had to be a part of something that had impacted my life so greatly.
They graciously provided me with a pass for 5 sessions after I reached out to them, but I honestly would have been a part of this event in some way no matter what. Here's a quick glimpse at what sessions I'll be attending, which to say mildly am super stoked for.
Klub Krishna with NYC's Dana Trixie Flynn
It's like a dance club meets yoga flow. And there's glitter involved. Need I say more?
Make a Life, Not Just a Living
All about attracting abundance in your life, not only financially, but in all aspects of life. I can always use a little more positive vibes for my cash flow. 😉
Black Light Hip Hop Yoga
If you haven't picked it up just yet, I LOVE to dance. And how fun does booty poppin' down dogs sound while glowing like a highlighter?!
Yoga For Happiness & Joy Release
A guided meditation for inner peace and happiness. Meditation is one practice I'd like to get back into, and I feel like this will be a great intro to get me motivated.
Paving the Runways: AcroYoga Foundations
Yoga in the air. Say whaaat? This is something that I feel will be challenging, but so much fun and rewarding that I just couldn't pass it up.
If you want to see all the sessions that are going on at Maine YogaFest, you can see the full schedule here.
[Tweet "How to heal hypothalamic amenorrhea with this one simple change"]
Now everyone's body is unique and handles stress differently, but this is what worked for me. I am still healing my relationship with food, but for now this seems to be doing my body good.
I may try to incorporate additional exercise slowly back into my life, but 100% expect to keep yoga in my life the most. I am so grateful to have found it's healing power, and see what other strengths the practice will bring out in me.
No questions today, just your positive vibes! I welcome any gals struggling with the same issues to reach out to me at email@example.com anytime with questions or support.
So much love to you. This spring with being busy I was reducing the yoga workouts, and I went to a good flow class this week and thought....this might be better than sex. its a safe space, a quiet space, and while there's an instructor and people near me, I really can do whatever i want on that mat.
This is an awesome story, thank you for sharing your experience and hope!
Thanks so much Sarah 🙂
So great that you could find a way to heal yourself without any chemicals are crazy medical intervention 🙂
Liz @ The Clean Eating Couple
What a great story! Thanks for sharing such a personal story.
Thank you for sharing your story. I've read a lot about HA and as a distance runner, have had abnormal periods for years. Not only did it help you physically, for your period to return, but you look super happy and I know yoga worked wonders for your mental health and stress levels.
Thanks Amy! I definitely miss running at times, but may slowly start adding it back into my life and seeing how it goes.
Thank you for sharing. I need to get back into yoga! Thank you for the reminder how great it is for us.
Kayla @ Blondes Have More Run
I also lost my period a couple years ago. I started eating less and exercising more. I lost weight, but I was in a healthy weight range. Apparently my body just did not like being at that weight. I increased my calories to eventually gain my period back after several months. I wonder if yoga would have helped too. Anything that increased my body fat percentage by a few points probably would have helped.
So happy to hear you recovered as well! We have to do what's right for our bodies!
Melissa @ Mango About Town
Thank you for sharing your story! I hope it resonates with a lot of women! Starting yoga has brought a lot of positive changes to my life and my body KNOWS when I haven't practiced in a while. <3
Thanks Melissa! I always forget how awesome I feel after a yoga sesh, but it makes such a difference!
Janelle @ Run With No Regrets
Wow, thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure it will help other women who have gone through the same thing. I love practicing yoga but don't make enough time for it. It has so many benefits and I'm glad to hear that it has done your body good 🙂
Thanks Janelle! I was honestly surprised how much of an impact it made!
Sarah @ BucketListTummy
You are brave, Emily! I hope so many women who relate to this can learn from it. Thanks for sharing your story, and it's so empowering to hear how yoga changed your life. Namaste!
Thank you thank you Sarah! Your support means a lot!
You are so wonderful for sharing this! I don't suffer from the problems you did, but I do know how healthful yoga can really be, physically and mentally. Keep it up! I also love Adriene 🙂
Thanks Christina! Means so much. Isn't she awesome though?!
Reading your story felt like you were retelling my story, including the Yoga with Adrienne, which I found about a month ago and love. Thank you for sharing.
So happy to hear Nal! I'm always here for support or to chat if you need! 🙂