After 3 months of not getting my period, I began to get a little worried. My OB-GYN did some bloodwork and I had the estrogen of a post-menopausal woman. Cool. I asked her if it was because of all of my weight lifting. “You’re not skinny enough to lose your period so it’s not that.” (That stung a bit, having struggled with an eating disorder for 15 years. I was 5 years into full recovery but those words still gnawed at me.) She recommended that I go to a reproductive endocrinologist.
The reproductive endocrinologist ordered a very expensive MRI of my brain to check my pituitary gland, numerous invasive ultrasounds, glucose tests and more bloodwork, most of which was normal. After months of testing (and not a single person asking me about my eating habits) his conclusion was “you are really anxious. You should meditate. Nursing school is hard. I bet if you calmed down your period would come right back.” Thousands of dollars for something I could have read on a piece of paper in a fortune cookie.
Again, I asked if it was maybe lifting weights and not eating the right things. Again a doctor tells me “you’re not skinny enough to lose your period.” They put me on a birth control pill, which made me miserable, and said it should force me to get a period. 3 months later I did. So I thought I was fixed.
Once I hit 35 I was done taking the pill. Risk of blood clots increases at that time anyway. And once the pill was done, so was my period.
This August, at 37, I started working with Emily. I showed her what I was eating and when. I was running half marathons, lifting 4 days a week, working 12-hour shifts in the emergency room and being a mom. I think it was about 1800 calories a day, which to me seemed astronomical. I’d given up on cycles and periods for 2 years so I didn’t even think about it anymore. One month into my nutrition program with Emily, I got my period. ONE. MONTH. After 5+ years. And I’ve gotten one every single month since then. Science is crazy like that.
CrossFit isn’t the enemy. Weightlifting isn’t the enemy. Running isn’t the enemy. Those things are all essential to a healthy life. What makes them hurtful is improper fueling. You can be a “normal” weight and still be under-fueling. You can run 20 miles a week, back squat 185 and deadlift 215, but if you don’t eat the right things, those accomplishments really don’t mean too much because your body is in survival mode at that point. Despite my past, not a SINGLE doctor looked at what I was eating. All my problems were dismissed as stress-related. I’m grateful every day that I found someone, even at the ripe old age of 37, who actually listened to me!!