I had been an active child and grew up in a family that supported my brothers and I playing sports and staying healthy. I started getting a period at age 11, and it was regular pretty early on. I was not an overweight child, but I was certainly not thin. I was what my mother calls and “early bloomer.”
In 8th grade I found myself comparing my body to those of the more “popular” girls and realized that a body like theirs was attainable with diet and exercise. I started exercising and eliminating junk food. As I saw results from these changes, I continued to exercise more and eliminating more foods. I lost about 20 pounds in a short period of time, which brought me to 90 pounds at 5’0. I did not look unusually thin to the people around me. In fact people told me I looked great, which only perpetuated my behaviors.
In a society where everyone is trying to lose weight and working out more is always better, I truly believed I was doing the healthiest thing.
In 9th grade I joined the cross country team. It was a fun activity, but between practices, homework, studying and other life commitments, my extreme type A personality could not handle it. I was chronically stressed out…as in all day everyday I was emotionally stressed. Not to mention the physical stress I put on my body with the running everyday.
I lost my period at age 14 in 9th grade and did not think of anything of it. I actually was relieved because it was one less thing to think about. At my high school physical the next year the nurse asked me when I got my last menstrual period, I told her it had been a year. Her eyes got big as she wrote it down. That visit the physician prescribed birth control pills to “fix the problem.”
I thought that was great, just pop a pill and no health concerns. Perfect in my mind!
I continued with my lifestyle and went onto college. When I was 20 I experimented with going off BC to see what would happen. After two years of being off BC and still no period, so I went back on because someone told me that my bones were likely suffering. At age 25, I was in dental school and my stress was taken to a new level. I stopped getting my period even on the birth control pill. I went back to my doctor and she just prescribed a high dose to once again “fix the problem.”
In November 2015 I stopping taking birth control and decided I needed to find the underlying cause of my lack of periods. I went to an OBGYN, who ran blood tests and diagnosed me with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. I researched this and realized my lifestyle needed to change drastically. This was a hard pill for me to swallow, but I began implanting changes slowly. I cut back on running and added calories to my diet.
Finally in May 2016 I went “all in”.
I completely gave up exercise and have been shooting for 2500 calories/ day. As of this time I have gained about 16 pounds. It has NOT been easy at all, but I know that my period will return in time with my changes. I am so grateful for The HA Sisterhood support group. I am continuously inspired by these ladies and motivated by others’ successes!