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!