“I am healthy, except I don’t get my period.”
One thing I kept hiding from people is the fact that I lost my period for 7 whole year. I always think I live the healthiest lifestyle, I run a lot, workout a lot, eat “clean” and never have rest days. However, little did I know that this seemingly healthy lifestyle is slowly killing me.
Initially, my period was lost due to my eating disorder. Yet, although I did recover from anorexia nervous a few years ago, my period didn’t return. I used to workout to numb my feelings and to feel safe. I know I can keep my “ideal” body shape and “athletic look” by running 10km everyday, 3-4 full marathon races every year. At first, I thought people will like me more because I am such a healthy and active person. But this habit slowly turned into my addiction, a very bad habit that started controlling my life. Back then, I planned everything around my workout schedule. I refused to go out with friends on Friday night because I have to wake up early on Saturday for my morning long run (at least 20km). I made more rules and regulations for myself that I finally felt drained and worn out.
At the end of 2017, I start to feel extremely unmotivated for my run, I started hating myself because I am no longer that “active healthy runner”. I dragged myself to run more often and for a longer distance, but that just made matter worse. My performance suffered, I no longer enjoy my run and feel depressed when I fell short of my own expectation. So at the beginning of 2018, I finally decided to get back my own life.
I did some research and knew that I was suffering from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, which is mainly cause by an energy deficient happening in women’s body. Your body is basically in starvation mode when you workout too much and didn’t fuel your body well, so gradually it decided to shut down some activities that are “unnecessary” for survival – your reproductive system. In hopes of restoring my body and allow my body to trust that I’m going to nourish and provide what it needs when it needs, I quit running and eventually any kind of workout, I ate whatever I want, no matter they are “clean” food or not. I up my carb and fat intake, which I have to admit, I used to be scared of eating “too much” of them. I started meditation and doing yoga, I quit social media for a while because to eliminate any triggers from the “fitness” accounts, I finally really learned to listen to my body and gives what it needs, instead of constantly pushing it to the edge. And yesterday, for the very first time in 6 years, I GOT MY PERIOD!
This recovery process is very hard to be honest, to accept the fact that you have to gain weight means you have to let go of all the control you have over all these years. I had quite a few meltdown when I realize my jeans don’t fit anymore, and I hate the look of myself. I cried countless of time in front of the mirror because I hate myself and I can’t find my value anymore once I lost my athletic identity. However, your worth do not build on the number on the weigh, nor the size of clothing you wear, it builds on your personality, your inner beauty and your experience. If you are suffering from ED or HA, trust me, although recovery is by no means easy, it is totally worth it. Choosing recovery is the best decision in my life and the best thing I’ve ever done to myself. Your body is amazing, it is doing its best to keep you alive. So please learn to communicate with it and respond to its need. Don’t ever try to trick or hack your body by restricting your calories or limiting any food groups from your diet. These four months are the most life-changing ones for me in my life. And I am really grateful that I finally start to enjoy life. Special thanks to acaseofthejills and Jen Brett’s videos for giving me strength when I want to give up and the amazing people from “No Period. Now What?” Facebook group.