March 26, 2018 | Lex Daddio
Happy Monday! This post was highly requested, so I figured it was finally about time to write it. Sometimes, I can be a procrastinator, but I’m working on it 😉 Anyway, I want to preface this post with saying I am not a professional, I’m not a doctor, I’m not certified in this area. I have only experienced this myself, so I am sharing my experience with you. It might mean that some of things might be helpful for you too, or some might not, because bodies are different and have different needs.
However, my hope is that it inspires you if you’re struggling with a lost period or with getting pregnant, don’t lose hope! There was a time in my life where I was told I might not be able to get pregnant, because of my lost period and out of whack hormones. That being said, let’s get into it!
First and foremost, when I was struggled with this, it was back in college and it was about 4 years ago. This was when I was going through my eating disorder, and my body was all over the place and my life was hectic. My body WANTED to help me and to feel good, but I kept abusing it. Day after day. I honestly thought I wouldn’t ever be able to stop. I would lose my period for 6 months at a time, or for a month, or 3 months. It was always changing, and it felt like there was no hope. No hope to be normal, to have a period, to ever feel good.
I saw every holistic doctor you can imagine. I got tested for everything and thought I had a million food intolerances and thought I was gluten-free (not celiac) and just honestly felt like I’d never be able to eat like a normal human. I dreamed of just being about to eat a meal without stressing or thinking about the calories, ingredients, if it would make my stomach hurt, make my face break out, or make me fat. So, if you catch where I’m headed, you can see my relationship with food at this point was very disordered. I also basically try to starve myself all day. Carbs and fats were my worst enemy. I was running A LOT, because I was training for a half marathon. Which is funny to me now, because I truly do not like running. It’s just not for me, and I had forced myself to run in college, because so many others did and I thought it was the thing to do!
I’m telling you all this so you have some background information, before I explain the route I took to gain my period back. Unfortunately, I wish the healing was faster, but it wasn’t. Everyone is different though, so don’t forget that! I know I say it all the time, but truly, I mean it. Don’t compare yourself to others, or you’ll drive yourself crazy. You’ll enjoy life so much more if you embrace who you are and be unapologetically yourself. I promise. Okay, so a bit of a tangent, but an important one!
My experience in college continued for a long while. I still struggled with my eating disorder, with restricting and binging, with overexercising, with being extremely stressed, and with actually hating myself. Which I hate to admit, but it was true. And so sad. I won’t say leaving college fixed everything, but this was when I discovered The Real Life RD and her practice, Nutshell Nutrition. I began working with her partner, Cody Jenkins, and in LESS THAN A MONTH, I got my period back. I hadn’t had it in 6 months at that point, and it was consistent after that. I had spent so much time, money, and worry overcomplicating everything and freaking out because if I didn’t have a period, I’d never be able to have a family. Even though that wasn’t on the horizon at this point.
Anyway, Cody worked with Robyn and together they reviewed everything I was going through and gave me a plan. It was the exact opposite of what I expected. There were three very important things I needed to do. Eat more often, eat more carbs and fat, and decrease my exercise and stress. My mind was blown. I was so confused, and honestly scared. I was thinking, “If I do this, I’ll gain so much weight.” and “I can’t not workout, are you crazy?” I also thought to myself, “How the heck will this get my period back?” I talked with Cody and she assured me it would help and that she’d walk me through the whole process. I was honestly so scared, because at this time I was still binging, but a lot less frequently, and coming from an eating disorder, eating MORE was my worst nightmare. At this point, I was desperate, and I was willing to try anything to feel human again. Thomas & I were dating at this point and talking about marriage down the road, so I knew it was important for me to get my body working properly for the future.
Long story short, I listened to Cody. I ate often, a lot more carbs and fats, and didn’t exercise. The only exercise I was able to do was walking and yoga so I did do that, but not everyday. It was weird to be honest, and actually pretty uncomfortable at the beginning. I think I put on a little weight at first (although, I don’t weigh myself so I’m not exactly sure), but that weight didn’t last long. I also want to point out that my hunger cues were SO off at this time. I didn’t even know what hunger felt like, because my stomach always hurt or felt bloated or off. Cody was so supportive and walked me through every step. Also, she had me incorporate a lot of things that would decrease stress, and this was very important because it was a time in my life that life felt hectic and so did everything around me.
Anyway, I remember the day so clearly, but it had been less than a month and all the sudden I had my period. I FREAKED OUT. I had never been so thankful to have a period. I felt like I was a woman again, which was so weird because I didn’t realize how much it felt like I was missing something. I didn’t barely have it, but I mean it came for like 4-5 days and was legit! I think I might have cried when I talked to Cody on the phone. We wanted to make sure I continued to incorporate everything I was doing, because obviously my body was thankful and working again and we wanted to see if it would start being consistent. Well, you guessed it, it came again. Month after month and I was regular again!
I also stopped worrying about all the food intolerances I thought I had (okay, just so you know this took time and a complete mental shift). I didn’t realize how much stress and worry I still had around food. Like am I allergic to nuts? Gluten? Dairy? Soy? Alcohol? Fruit? Certain vegetables? Coffee? Air? Water? Wind? Haha, I think you get the point, but there was a time I thought I’d be better off living in a bubble. I want you to also know that maybe you DO have food allergies and they are legitimate. I am NOT knocking that whatsoever. AT ALL. I’m just letting you know that for me, I found out that mine were more in my mind than they were an actual reaction in my body.
So all this being said, my body continued to heal and it took time but I found I was able to eat more. Enjoy more. And eat more freely as time went on. About two years later, I found myself get a bit back into this cycle before my wedding. I went almost paleo and tried to lose weight even though I didn’t have much to lose. I was feeling super bloated, and I was eating a good amount of food, but it was starting to get really regimented and strict again. I didn’t realize this until AFTER being married, and realizing I had gotten myself back into this system of “dieting” basically. Even though I convinced myself I was free. Healing is a process, friends. I had such fear around food again. This time around, I didn’t lose my period but it wasn’t 100% consistent and it only lasted like 3 days. Most importantly, I DID NOT feel great. Thomas and I had been married for a few months and I discovered Nourishing Minds Nutrition. I started working with Victoria, because I really believed in what her and Meg were doing.
I actually had the hopes of working with them as more of a resource to share with you all, and to be able to experience their services personally. Turns out, I needed it more for myself than I thought. She made me realize I had gotten back into more fear around food and that I wasn’t eating enough, AGAIN. I’m telling you guys, I’ve been through SO MANY phases, haha. You are not alone, and we’re all just trying to figure out what works best for us right? Anyway, at this time, Thomas & I were married and we weren’t trying to have a baby, but we weren’t preventing it. AKA having unprotected sex, and just not worrying about if we got pregnant or not. Well, I truly believe that the reason I didn’t get pregnant for the first 6 months of marriage was because my body wasn’t balanced enough to have a baby.
I ended up working with Victoria for 6 months total and I got pregnant 2 months after working with her. Still unintentionally, but so thankful! It’s the best surprise we’ve ever gotten 🙂 I stand by believing that this was because she again had me eating more, decreasing stress, exercising less, and incorporating more carbs and fat. I basically went back to square one and needed a refresher. My body started feeling better than ever, and I feel like this is truly when I became more of an intuitive eater. I thought I already was, but turns out I wasn’t as much as I thought. I had really broken free from food rules, and finally truly ate everything and anything. I was was more in tune with my body. So for my body, I needed to live more balanced and to let go of all the food rules and CHILL THE HECK OUT in order to get back my period or to get pregnant!
Again, that’s how it worked for me. Does that mean it’ll happen the same for you? Maybe not. But that’s okay, I believe it’s possible for you too, your story just might look a bit different. If you’re struggling, I highly encourage you to work with someone. I obviously can’t speak highly enough of my experiences with Nutshell Nutrition (The Real Life RD) and Nourishing Minds Nutrition. They also both have some AMAZING blog posts and articles on this information if you aren’t ready to spend the money and want to try to incorporate some things for yourself. I will tell you though, they are both worth it! That being said, I’m going to link some favorite blog posts from each to share and hope that it helps gives you more guidance in your journey. Again, I’m not certified in this area, which is why I want to direct you to some amazing people who ARE and can actually help you!
Hope this was helpful!