Fitness Professionals: Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Treatment & Recovery

For most women going through recovery from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, cutting out exercise isn’t easy, but it’s doable. But what about those who are Fitness Professionals? When you’re working in the fitness industry training clients or teaching classes, cutting out exercise just isn’t realistic. Below I’ll go through the keys to staying on track with your recovery, while working as a Fitness Professional.

Diet:

It’s important to make sure you’re making up for the additional calories you’re burning if you’re working in the fitness industry. For most going through HA Recovery, the recommended amount to consume is 2500-3000 calories a day, but for fitness professionals my recommendation would be 3000-3500 calories a day. I know this might sound scary, but it is CRUCIAL to your recovery and your health.

You can do this by eating quality foods which will be excellent for your hormone production as well as keep you from feeling like you’re completely letting yourself go. Make sure you’re adding in carbohydrates & healthy fats with each meal and snack as well to keep your hormone levels from dipping too much. If you’re having trouble figuring out which foods to eat, check out this post.

Exercise:

This area is definitely going to be the toughest for you to balance, so the best place to start is to cut out cardio. If that’s not realistic, then cutting down your intensity level and time significantly will help. That goes for resistance training too, cutting back on the time and intensity will make a BIG difference!

**You’ll also want to make sure you’re building in as many rest days as possible. And walking doesn’t count as a rest day 😉

Stress:

Reducing your stress level is another key component to getting your hormones back on track. When your body is under stress (caused by under-eating, over-exercising etc…) this will force your body to go into a “fight or flight” mode, which signals to your body that it is not safe to reproduce. Staying in this mode for too long will shut down the production of hormones necessary for you to have a menstrual cycle.

Some ways to reduce stress are:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Circle & Bloom audio
  • Building time into your schedule for self-care (massage, pedicures, coffee with friends etc…)

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! I know what it’s like to work as a fitness professional (I used to be a personal trainer) and feel the pressures of having to look a certain way in order for your clients to take you seriously. But your health & fertility is far more important than what others think and I’d bet that your clients will feel more comfortable with you, if they see you’re human and not the image of perfection like they see on TV and in magazines.

You got this girl!

XOXO,

~P

P.S. The information in this post are from my past experience and are my own personal opinion, for a specifically designed plan make sure to contact your doctor or nutritionist.

 

Daily Affirmations for HA Recovery

When I think about my life during HA recovery and how I got through the mental struggles, I remember the things I told myself over and over, until I believed them. Below I’d like to share with you how I got through and my Daily Affirmations for HA Recovery.

Mirror, mirror, mirror on the wall
Tellin’ those lies, pointing out your flaws
That isn’t who you are
That isn’t who you are

It might be hard to hear,
But let me tell you, dear
If you could see what I can see, I know you would believe
That isn’t who you are
There’s more to who you are

{Priceless by For King & Country}

I remember the thoughts so clearly…”When I lose __ lbs, then I will be truly happy”, “When I tighten up ___, then I will love my body”, “When I can fit into a size __, then I will be beautiful”.

Lies. They’re all lies. A decade later and I have finally learned the truth behind the girl I see in the mirror. I am beautiful, I am worthy and I love my body. Not because I’m a certain weight. Not because I fit into a certain size. Not because I’m tightened or toned. It’s because I am me, the girl God created in His own image. The daughter He loved so dearly, He would allow me to walk this journey to the truth so that I could be full of love and gratefulness.

It’s heartbreaking that so many women see those lies when they look in the mirror. Is it society? Is it how they were raised? Is it their own lack of self worth? It’s so many things. But sweet sisters, I’m here to tell you that so much lies ahead of you when you release those lies and cling to the truth. YOU are beautiful. YOU are worthy. And you can learn to LOVE your body.

The next time you look in the mirror, tell yourself this…

I am beautiful.

The scale does not dictate my worth.

The size of my clothes doesn’t make others love me more or less.

I will respect my body by nourishing it with good food and rest.

The dimples and squishiness are a sign of a fertile and healthy body.

My body is only temporary, but the joy that comes with loving myself lasts a lifetime.

I love what my body can do when I treat it right.

I love myself.

I love my body.

Learning to love your body doesn’t happen overnight, but with each step you take, you will get to that place of acceptance and love. It takes a conscious effort to rewrite the way you view yourself. To stop the negative thoughts and redirect them towards love. To see your body for all that it is capable of when you honor and respect it. To let go of the desire to look a certain way and learn to love the way God created you.

I have so much faith in you. I know that you will learn to love the girl you see when you look in the mirror…

Because that girl has so much life to live. And to truly live it. To be present with her thoughts and those around her. To be confident and comfortable in her own skin. To look at herself in the mirror with wonder and awe at such an amazing creation.

You’ve got this my sweet friend. Never give up, life is too sweet on the other side…

XOXO,

~P

P.S. If you’re struggling with truly believing this for yourself, I’d love to be there for you! Click HERE to learn more about my 1:1 coaching program and schedule your FREE session.

Returning to normal…Post HA Recovery

When you make the decision to go “all in”, you take some extremes that you normally wouldn’t do in your daily life like going cold turkey with exercise or eating 2-3 times more than you ever have. This can bring some feelings of fear…fear that this is what your new way of living will always look like, fear that you may never get to exercise again or fear that you’ll always have to have a high calorie diet. So I thought it would be helpful to give you an idea of what life looks like…post HA Recovery.

I’ll admit, post recovery can be tricky. But that doesn’t mean your life will always have to be all or nothing.

If you truly enjoy exercise, you will be able to reintroduce it back into your life, but it’ll have to be in baby steps. Your body needs to know that it can trust that you won’t bring it back to starvation and exhaustion. Below are a few steps I took when I started to introduce exercise back in post recovery:

  • Start Slow: Start with 2-3 days for at least 1-2 cycles before increasing the number of days.
  • Add 1 Day at a Time: Once you get to the point where you know your body is ok with 2-3 days of exercise, you can add 1 additional day and keep it at that for 1-2 cycles to see how your body responds before adding any more.
  • Low Intensity: I highly recommend starting with things like Yoga, Walking or Light Resistance weights before moving onto more intense exercise like Running or HIIT classes. Going too intense too soon can cause some major setbacks in your recovery.
  • Reduced Time: Starting with 20-30 min is going to be VERY important when you start to add exercise back in. I learned this the hard way and it resulted in a 45 day cycle. Remember, your body needs rest and nourishment…30 min may not seem like very much, but I promise you’ll still get all the health benefits without putting your cycle in jeopardy.

Once you’ve found the right amount of days, time & intensity for your body, I would keep it at that for a few months or until your cycles are stable before changing things up! It may take longer than you want, but eventually you will get to a place that feels good for you AND your body.

Now, let’s talk about food…

From the many women I’ve spoke to about Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and going through it myself, “getting” to eat 2-3 times more than you’re used to can get old real quick! You may feel like your day is filled with eating, eating & more eating.

Yes, consuming large amounts of high quality fats, proteins & carbs is VERY important for recovery, but it won’t always have to hold such a high priority in your life. Eventually your body weight will get to the maintenance “safe” weight and you will no longer need to fill yourself to the max.

When you get to that safe weight, you’ll be able to rely more on your body’s hunger cues and fullness scale. I still recommend sticking to balanced meals & snack that include fat, protein & carbs, but you can scale back a bit on the amount. Just make sure you’re continuing to stay aware of your cycle and if cutting back is having an effect…(and don’t forget to continue to enjoy those treats too!)

I hope these tips helped if you’re in the post recovery stage or close to it. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or feel free to email me for more specific recommendations!

XOXO,

~P

Sample Menu: Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Treatment & Recovery

I’ve been getting asked by the girls in the HA Sisterhood what they should be eating during recovery to get in the recommended 2500-3000 calories a day. I felt giving a Sample Menu would be most helpful for those still struggling to figure out what to eat.

Although I do recommend tracking for the first few days to get a visual, after that I would encourage you to not track beyond that.Continuing to track your calories will only cause extra unnecessary stress that will keep you from moving forward in your journey.

I know the need to control is very strong during recovery, especially once you’ve gone all in, because you may be feeling uncomfortable in your body and a bit out of control. But I promise if you learn to let go, it will give you a sense of freedom that is so important to your success!

Below is a sample of what I ate during recovery {roughly 2500 calories a day}. To keep yourself from feeling the need to track what you’re eating, use this as a rule of thumb for each meal & snack: 1-2 Tbsp of Healthy Fats, 1 serving of Quality Protein, 1 serving of Fiber/Carb…Fruit & Veggies as desired.

My Sample Day of Eats

Day of Eats

6am Breakfast:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/2 cup berries
  • 2 tbsp Almond Butter

10am Snack:

  • 1 scoop Protein Powder {I use Shakeology}
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 2 tbsp Almond Butter
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • Water & Ice

12pm Lunch:

  • 1-2 cups of Greens
  • Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Butternut Squash
  • 1/2 an Avocado
  • 6oz chopped Grilled Chicken Breast
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar

3pm Snack:

  • Homemade Protein Bar {HERE is one if you need a recipe!}
  • 1 cup of Pineapple
  • Chai Tea Latte with Almond Milk & Honey

6pm Dinner:

  • Baked Sweet Potato topped with 1 Tbsp of Coconut Butter & Cinnamon
  • Ground Turkey & Bell Peppers sauteed in olive oil & seasoning

8pm Dessert:

  • Whole Milk Ice Cream or
  • Homemade Brownies {Cup4Cup makes a great Gluten Free mix!}

I hope this helps those of you still struggling to fit it all in!

XOXO,

~P

P.S. If you still find yourself struggling with your nutrition, make to get your copy of The 28 Day Meal Plan designed specifically for HA Recovery!

Why you need to share Your Infertility Story

For so many women coming to the realization that you’re infertile can be like a dagger to the heart. Feeling broken and alone in your struggle can keep you from opening up and sharing your infertility story with others. All too often infertility is considered a “taboo” subject, which is just so unfortunate.

When I first opened up about what I was going through, I felt this huge sense of support & love from those around me. Did I still feel alone? Most of the time I did, not many people in my circle of family & friends dealt with infertility {especially Hypothalamic Amenorrhea}. But just knowing that they knew what was going on and could lend a shoulder to cry on was HUGE.

Sharing Your Infertility Story...

Opening up also lead me to ultimately finding my diagnosis and cure.

If you’ve read my ebook “Finding Jase”, then you may remember the passage titled “A Chance Meeting”. For those of you that haven’t read it, I’ll give you the short version below…

In the Spring of 2012, my mom and I ran into a new friend of mine at Target. This new friend was someone that I instantly felt a connection to and opened up to about my infertility struggles. That day we ran into her, our conversation quickly turned to talking about my struggle with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. During our conversation, another lady overheard us talking and came over to tell me about her diagnosis. She urged me to check into PCOS {what she had} based off what I was experiencing.

Later that evening, my mom and I did some research and although the signs didn’t point to me having PCOS, it was through our research that we landed on Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. In that moment I knew this was EXACTLY what was keeping me from having children. Over 6 years into my struggle with infertility and I had finally found the answer that no doctor was ever able to diagnose me with!

So you see, opening up and sharing your story with others can lead to some pretty amazing things…

View More: http://jacquelyncontrerasphotography.pass.us/kfamily

I don’t even want to think where I’d be right now had I kept it all in and dealt with it on my own. If you’re scared to share, start with those that are closest to you. You never know who might be able to relate or know of someone that can help!

I’ve recently shared a few stories {HERE} from the girls that are a part of the HA Sisterhood in hopes that it would help those that are currently in the midst of their struggle with HA. If you’d like to share your story on this little space of mine, I’d love to have you! Feel free to message me.

You can get through this Friend, I promise! I have so much faith in you, stay strong and never give up…what’s waiting for you on the other side is truly amazing <3

XOXO,

~P

An open letter to those suffering from HA: You are not alone…

To my dear sweet friend suffering from HA,

I know this is hard and some days are just too much to bear. I know you’re scared, uncertain and frustrated. You feel broken and ashamed. Some days you just want to give up, you tell yourself you never wanted to be a mom anyways. It’s easier to continue on the way you’ve been living all these years; less heartbreak, less being uncomfortable in your own skin, less pain.

I’ve been there, I get it.

But I know you have it in you and I think deep down inside you do too. I know giving up control is scary, the uncertainty and giving in to trust is hard. Will it work for me? Will I have my happy ending too? Those are questions that circle your head daily and I can tell you YES. It will work and you will have your happy ending.

Trust in yourself and know that this is just a season of life.

A season that will open up a world of possibility for you. No longer will you be weighed down by negative thoughts, fear and frustration. This new world will not only be healing to your body, but to your mind too.

You may be wondering why you have to go through this…I can tell you it’s because you are strong enough and meant to do so much more. This is your journey, embrace it, love it and own it.

I want you to feel the freedom that will come with truly letting go. To see life in a new light and to have your dreams come true. You can do this, I know you can.

It’s hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it’s even harder to give up when you know it’s everything ever you wanted. ~Author Unknown

I’m so proud of you…

XOXO,

~P

P.S. If you need some additional support in your journey to recovery, I’d love to be there for you! Click HERE to learn more about my 1:1 coaching program and schedule your FREE session.

How to cope with gaining weight during your HA recovery journey

To people on the outside looking in, getting told to eat & gain weight sounds like a great problem to have. But when you’re in the depths of your struggle with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, it can feel like your world is crashing down all around you. But learning how to cope with gaining weight during your HA recovery is vital to staying focused and pressing forward.

To so many women struggling with HA, your weight is a direct correlation to your worth. So in your mind, gaining weight = less worth.

My dear friend, this is so so false.

Your weight does NOT define you or your worth. It doesn’t make people love you more when you’re a size 2 vs. a size 8. I know the thought of going beyond a weight you have set in your mind as the highest weight you will ever allow yourself to weigh, is scary. I get it. I’ve been there far too many times.

Ask yourself this…what more will you gain when you allow yourself to gain above your comfort zone?

More than just weight gain blog post

Freedom.

Your Health.

Your Fertility.

Confidence.

Being Present.

True Fulfillment.

Motherhood.

More time to enjoy the beauty of life…

Being on the other side it’s easy for me to see this now, I know.

But trust me when I say, allowing yourself to gain the weight will bring SO much more to your life than you could have ever imagined. I wish so badly you could feel what I feel in my heart when I think about the joy that is to come when you truly let go.

Here are some ways I got over the fear and allowed myself to give in:

  • Talk to those you love, share with them this new journey and what changes are going to take place. Not only will this free you from wondering if they’re noticing, but it will give you the accountability & support you need.
  • Ditch your old clothes. Buy yourself pieces that make you feel good in your new body. It’s not about the size on the tag, but how they make you feel when you look in the mirror. Wearing clothes that fit well does wonders for your confidence!
  • Get rid of the scale. The scale is NOT your friend. Trust that what you are doing is exactly what you need to be doing. Not every day will be easy and you may wonder: When will it end? The weight may come on quickly in the beginning, but I can assure you it will taper down and eventually stop if you’re eating good quality food.

I hope these suggestions help. I know this is hard and you may not be ready to fully let go. That’s ok, give yourself some grace…I have faith that when you are ready you are going to do amazing!

XOXO,

~P

P.S. If you need some additional support in your journey to recovery, I’d love to be there for you! Click HERE to learn more about my 1:1 coaching program and schedule your FREE session.

How Your Skin Care Products Affect Your Fertility

Can your skin care products affect your fertility? Absolutely! Most women today use on average 12 products a day and about 80% of them think that what they are using is safe, when in fact they are not. And the toxins in these products play a BIG role in hormone disruption and infertility.

It’s unfortunate, but labels like “All Natural” don’t exactly mean the product is safe for you.

Often times these products still carry harmful ingredients {even if they are natural!} that may affect your endocrine system, infertility & chances of cancer. Looking for products that contain safe ingredients is key. So this may mean that some of these ingredients aren’t necessarily found in nature, but they are Non-Toxic…which is what we’re should be focused on.

Our skin is our largest organ and everything we put on it get’s absorbed into our bloodstream, so choosing safe products is SUPER important. For the past 10 years, I’ve been very aware of the products I use but never really knew how much they affected my fertility until I started to look a little deeper into the subject…

Many ingredients found in beauty & skin care products contain high levels perfluorinated chemicals {or PFC’s}. PFC’s are toxins that are very dangerous to our health & fertility. Some studies have shown that women who come in contact with PFC’s have a 60-154% higher risk of infertility. Scary stuff!

There are a few companies today that are really trying to make a difference in the products they make, but I’ve found that Beautycounter has by far exceeded most!

IMG_20160722_103116

When I was first introduced to Beautycounter I was blown away by the integrity of the company and have been very pleased with the products I’ve used {and I’ve tried a lot of them!}.

Beautycounter’s Mission is “To get SAFER products into the hands of everyone” and they do this by staying true to their values and their Never List {the ingredients they have vowed to NEVER use}.

Even if you’re not struggling with infertility, I highly recommend going through the products you’re currently using and compare the ingredients to the list of ingredients on the Never List mentioned above.


I’ve loved everything I’ve used from Beautycounter…below are a few of my favorites:

IMG_20160722_103713

Nourishing Rosewater Mist

Hydrating Face Oil

Purifying Charcoal Mask & Bar

XOXO,

~P

 

What to Eat: Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Treatment & Recovery

Figuring out what to eat when you decide to head down the path to recovery, from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, can be quite confusing and overwhelming. There isn’t a whole lot of research done or knowledge in the medical field when it comes to treating HA, so I would like to share with you what worked for me {nutritionally}. The information below is an outline of my experiences; please make sure you do what feels right for you and your body as you move through your own journey…

The Big Picture

Generally speaking, I would tell anyone that is going through HA recovery to eat whole real foods, avoid the processed and refined stuff and stick to what feels good and right to you. With all the different types of whole food “diets” out there, it can be confusing to figure out where to start. I’m going to break down some suggestions for what I ate during recovery in categories to hopefully make it easier to stock your fridge/pantry and come up with easy meals/snacks to prep!

Carbohydrates

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Carbs tend to get a bad wrap in the diet world, but they truly are essential for proper hormone balance as well as metabolism function. Below are the carbs I suggest, I try to go with organic or all natural when possible.

  • Sweet & Regular Potatoes
  • Whole Grain Bread, Pasta & Wraps
  • Basmati, Jasmine or Brown Rice
  • Whole Grain or Gluten Free Flour for baked goods {Cup4Cup is a great one!}
  • Sprouted Grain or Gluten Free Bread
  • Beans {If you can tolerate them}
  • Corn Tortillas, Crackers & Chips

Protein

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I’ve found it’s important to go with the best quality protein you can afford. So much of it is treated with hormones these days and that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to get everything back on track. Aim for pasture-raised, organic, free-range, wild caught when possible…the Farmer’s Market in your area is a great place to find the high quality stuff!

  • Full Fat Dairy
  • Whole Eggs
  • Beef, Poultry, Pork, Fish & Seafood
  • Lunch meat, Bacon, Cold Cuts {Applegate is decent brand that’s fairly easy to find}

Fats

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This was honestly the funnest part for me to include once I started on my path to recovery. For SO many years I limited the amount of fat I ate, but it truly is VITAL to sustaining a healthy body, regulating hormones and providing the building blocks for a healthy pregnancy. With the following you want to make sure to stick the most natural forms you can find, no hydrogenated oils or added sugars!

  • Nut butters of all kinds {I LOVE Justin’s Almond Butter}
  • Unrefined, Cold Processed: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil
  • Avocados
  • Raw Nuts
  • Coconut Butter {Nikki’s Coconut Butter is AMAZING!}
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

Fruits & Veggies

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This section is really a free for all. I recommend trying new to you fruits & veggies to keep things exciting, but really the most important part is to buy organic when possible {you can follow the Dirty Dozen list to help save on costs} and eat a variety of colors!

Treats

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I definitely think it’s SO important to include a fair amount of treats as you’re working your way through recovery. It truly helped me get over the feeling of guilt I used to feel when I “splurged” and truly enjoy the foods I ate. I still tried to eat quality treats, but definitely didn’t deny myself when it came to gatherings with family & friends. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Dark chocolate {Pure7 makes a super tasty Honey sweetened bar}
  • Whole milk ice cream
  • Gluten Free cookies, brownies & cake {Enjoy Life is a good one!}

I hope these suggestions help! It truly is a matter of listening to your body, finding what foods work for you and eating enough. I would recommend to aim for 2500-3000 calories a day {but don’t restrict if you feel you need more}, fill your plate with 1/3 carbs, 1/3 protein, 1/3 veggies/fruit and 2-4 tbsp of fat. I always made sure I ate a meal/snack every 2-3 hours to keep my hormones balanced. If you’re not hungry that often, you can stretch it out to 4 hours, but I really wouldn’t go much further than that!

XOXO,

~P

P.S. If you’re still feeling a little stressed about your nutrition during recovery, make sure to get your copy of The 28 Day Meal Plan to help you through!

 

First Steps: Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Treatment & Recovery

When I was {self}diagnosed with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, the first thing I wanted to know was HOW do I recover? Can it be reversed and WHAT can I do today to make that happen? Below are the steps I took towards my Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Treatment & Recovery…

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Step 1: Mindset

It’s SO important to get your frame of mind in the right place when you start on your journey. I remember feeling like everyone was going to notice that I was gaining weight. I was always known as the “healthy one” & now people were going to think I was “letting myself go“. So wrong.

Staying focused on the bigger picture is crucial to your recovery. Keeping a positive outlook isn’t going to be easy and some days will be down right MISERABLE, but I promise it will get easier. It was the hardest and took me many months of changing the way I thought about myself and my journey, but without it, there’s no way I would be a momma today.

Step 2: Track What You Eat

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This may seem totally backwards to most struggling with HA, but I want you to look at this from a different angle. When I was in the depth of my struggle with HA, calorie counting had become second nature. There wasn’t anything that I would put in my body without knowing the exact amount of calories I was eating, constantly keeping a tally of my calorie intake at any given time. That is NOT what I want you to do in this step.

Tracking what you eat is done for a very short period of time {1-2 weeks} and for the sake of getting a visual of what you need to be consuming. I had been eating 1000-1200 calories a day, but knew that I needed to consume 2500-3000 a day if I was going to see the results I was looking for. I had no idea what that looked like, so I wrote it down to get a feel for just how much that actually was. EYE OPENING to say the least!

Step 3: Do a Closet Clean Out

Feeling comfortable in your new {healthy} body is not easy when your clothes don’t fit right. I made it a point to go through my closet and get rid of all the clothes I knew I would never {need to} fit into again. Keeping them will only make this process harder on you mentally. When your clothes no longer fit like they used to, it can make you feel really down on yourself. This is why replacing them with clothes that fit well will be SO much better for your mental health.

Shopping for new clothes, especially pants, can be stressful I know, but it truly will make a world of difference! Instead of looking at the size on the tag, go with what looks and feels good.

Step 4: Quality Food Matters

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When you have HA your body is MAJORLY lacking in nutrients. It’s important you make sure to eat nutritious foods like whole milk dairy, good quality meats, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocados, starchy vegetables, dark leafy greens, antioxidant rich fruits and a fair amount of treats {hello dark chocolate!}. I’ll go into detail about what to eat in recovery in a later post.

Step 5: Ditch the Scale!

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Weighing yourself  is not only going to be hard on you mentally, but it can really slow down the process. If you think you need to gain “X” pounds, then that’s all you’ll let yourself gain whether you realize it or not.

Getting rid of the scale, listening to your body and giving it the nourishment/rest it needs is so freeing. I know this part is hard, it was for me too, but I know you can do it and will feel great when you do!

I could go into so much more, but I will stop there so I don’t overwhelm you…

The steps above can be really tough for many, but they are equally important in their own right. Take them one at a time and move at a pace that feels good to you. This is YOUR journey, it’s import to always remember that.

XOXO,

~P

P.S. Make sure to download your copy of The HA Recovery Resource Guide for helpful stats, tips & inspiration!