In early 2012 we both lost a lot of weight, to get the ‘perfect body‘. We restricted calories, lived in the gym, messed up our hormones and… our periods went MIA. This is also known as Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.
Say Hypo what?
We only recently realised the negative impact our old lifestyles had on our health. And it was a real food, paleo inspired diet that helped us say see ya later to our unhealthy ways of eating.
We had this unhealthy mindset for a looooooong time and we did some serious damage to our health, both mentally and physically.
The last straw was when we went on THE DIET to reach our goal weights back in early 2012. It was a 12 week calorie restricted eating plan (1200 calories allowed a day).
Our days were filled with chicken breast, tuna, broccoli, spinach, protein shakes and rice crackers. Oh, maybe an apple here and there.
We borrowed this diet from a friend who competed in figure modelling competitions.
Along with the eating plan we did high intensity interval training (HIIT) every week morning and weight training every week night. This 12 week diet plan helped us get the ‘perfect bodies’. We got skinny. We got real skinny.
We had the ‘perfect bodies’ but we were:
- tired and cold ALL THE TIME
- completely crazy ass moody
- obsessed with food and counting calories
- our periods completely stopped (yes pretty much at the same time) and our hormones were a mess!
What is Hypothalamic Amenorrhea?
What we didn’t know at the time was that we both had Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA). As Kate Callahan, a Holistic Nutritionist explains…
“HA is when your brain basically stops communicating to your lady garden, female hormone production slows and menstruation ceases.”
HA is caused by (you guessed it) over exercising, under eating and stress. HA leads to:
- decreased bone density
- low energy levels
- imbalanced hormones
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is definitely not something to leave unnoticed.
The no period thing may seem like a good idea for a second… but really it just means our bodies are not functioning how they’re supposed to.
How to get your period back
Of course with any health issue we recommend talking to a professional… and remember we are all different. This is what we did to get our periods back… and we still do this!
- Just eat real food. We fill our plates with heaps of veggies, some good fats and organic meats. We make sure we eat more carbs on active days. We definitely don’t restrict or count calories (hallelujah!).
- Exercise less. We do yoga, BodyBalance and walk outside. We’ve just introduced 2 cardio sessions per week and we’re also planning on adding 1 weights session per week.
- Meditation. Stress is a huge contributor to HA, introducing meditation to our lives seriously helped us and allowed us to live more in the present.
Eating healthy does not mean boring, bland food! This Chicken Stuffed with Avocado and Wrapped in Bacon is delicious! And it features in our free recipe eBook.
How long did it take?
For Carla it took just over a year and for Emma it took 2 years. We can blame our 5 x week cross fit stint and these some of paleo mistakes (like going super low carb, too many paleo treats, not enough veggies) for the healing hiccup but now we both have regular cycles! This deserves a YAY!
We put on weight
Since slowing down on exercise and the out of whack hormones we’ve put on a little weight and we’re not as toned as we’d like.
We’ve made a conscious decision to not let this impact us negatively. We don’t weigh or measure ourselves. We simply check in with how we feel and also how our yoga pants fit.
We’re focusing on a balance of healthy food, exercise all while keeping a positive mindset. We’re working on a 4 week meal plan and program that will help you do the same… we can go on this journey together! Yay!
Although it took us a while to realise HA was an issue, we’re super grateful for stumbling across this way of living and excited to share our journey with you. Excited to inspire healthy, happy decisions.
Emma + Carla
p.s we wrote more about our journey and exactly what we did to get our periods back HERE.