Since I’ve been getting some feedback that people can relate to the post I made earlier about my issues with athletic induced amenorrhea, I thought I’d share some resources that have helped me out with the whole question of whether or not it’s really an issue, why it starts, how to get back to a healthy, normal cycle, etc.
- Nutrition Success (love this blog)–the author, a dietitian and marathoner herself explained things a bit (thanks to blogger bff Kate for leading me to this awesome site).
- FemaleAthleteTriad.org is full of information and resources and links to other sites that will answer lots of your questions.
- Nancy Clark’s take on the topic (reposted on Athlete Advisor).
- A summary on RunningTimes.com that raises some questions.
- A reader question on Runner’s World.
It’s all over the place. These are just the articles I came back to tonight!
And now for some insight…Stuff that I think (my opinion on what I’ve read and my own experience):
- You can still train, but the motivation should be right.
- If it’s about energy balance, you’ve got to be willing to work through some experimenting and see what works for you. In my case, this also means accepting that in order to get my period, I need to be in calorie balance. Which means I cannot be losing weight, which I think for the last bit while I was trying to deal with my amenorrhea, I kind of didn’t accept. Recall my epiphany about always thinking with a weight loss mindset? Maybe now that I recognized that and I can move on to living healthy, I’ll be better able to fuel myself and to stay in balance. Once a doc suggested that even if I was maintaining my weight but it was sporadic eating (i.e. mostly at night after dieting during the day, ditto for the weekend after being “good” all week, etc.) my body would still be out of whack. Another suggested that it might have to do with refueling around workouts specifically (and promoted eating more immediately before and after, etc.). All good theories, if you’re willing to accept that your body has a weight that it wants to find and will find, if you let it.
- Patience is key–this issue didn’t come around overnight and it won’t go away really quick either. For me, this means accepting that I spent a lot of time abusing my body and accepting that it’s not going to snap back right away. To be honest, I think this extends. My mind is recovered, I am making huge steps forward, etc. but it’s been interesting to see the effects of how much I put myself through (too much exercise, not enough eating, bingeing, purging, all the stuff that came along with ED) in their physical manifestations. Thyroid disease runs in my family, but not usually this young. None of my family members have issues with migraines, their periods, etc. I had low bone density at the age of 17, a time when I should have been building things up, not tearing them down. My heart took a beating and I have to go yearly for tests now to check in because of a scare I had in the height of things. It’s all pretty scary, it might not be due to ED, but it’s related and it’s also REAL. I’m also not blaming my injury issues on ED, but it’s true that I put my body through a hell of a lot of workouts and didn’t give it rest or love or so many of the things it deserved for a long time. I can’t expect it to bounce back perfectly — this struggle is just part of recovery!
- The stuff associated with the Female Athlete Triad is really similar to ED and I see it in so many of my friends who I would never think of as having disordered eating. The compulsion to train, the thought that you can kind of be “proud” that you “work so hard” that you don’t get your period, etc. is kind of rampant and really sad once you step outside and see that it’s not actually healthy at all. This is a topic I know I want to work with when I’m a dietitian (sounds cool to say that!) because I am so passionate about it.
- Maybe personally I spend too much time working out too hard. This might also be related to the awesome spin class that I went to this morning where the instructor talked about why recovery (within a class specifically) is so important. I’m kind of a balls to the wall person and even though I’ve been working with a coach, I find it so hard to tone my workouts down and to keep my heart rate in a happy zone. No wonder I’ve been so tired and exhausted and injury prone in the past, I know, but seriously! Maybe this has something to do with it…bring on the long, somewhat leisurely bike rides! Variety is the spice of life.
- Maybe I just am not in the place to have a baby. Emotionally, mentally and therefore physically.
Andddd enough of the girl talk (continued). It is SO past my bedtime it’s not even funny!
Can you relate?
Did you find any of these resources helpful?