In all of this time, I realized I have yet to share my personal testimony of healing. I may have mentioned bits and pieces here and there, but nothing sharing the details of how I came into Functional Nutrition, Energy Medicine, and Quantum Hormonology.
I personally like distilled rather than drawn out stories, so I am going to give you the summary of my journey and how I got to where I am today.
Like many, I grew up on the standard American diet full of processed and fast food. When I got to high school, the obsession with weight and dieting began. I basically lived off of pop tarts, slim fast, and strawberry frappuccinos (seriously).
I began to have terrible acne, anxiety, and period issues which led me to the doctor which led me to put on birth control.
With years more of eating terribly, when I got out of high school I began becoming interested in health. With the information at the time, I thought to be healthy was eating a ton of fruit, whole grains, and an overall low-calorie diet.
So my diet went from a bunch of processed foods to mostly fruit, ancient grain cereal, carrots, protein bars, and plant foods. Although definitely an upgrade, this was definitely not doing my body any good.
One, I was still concerned more about weight and what I looked like than if I was healthy or not. I thought healthy was skinny and abs. I thought I was healthy.
Plus, I was modeling which did not help my body image issue.
Fast forward to a few years down that trail and I decided to get off birth control. Well, after 1 year of no period coming off birth control, I knew something wasn’t right.
This is the time my husband and I really wanted a baby, and I couldn’t (anyone who has gone through this knows it is heartbreaking!)
I went the traditional medical route first which only left me with greater anxiety and fear as they told me I would not be able to have kids, that I probably have PCOS, that I needed hormone treatments and more birth control.
Well. I knew there was a different way.
This led me down the path of functional medicine, Weston a Price Foundation, hormones, and fertility. I went to school for all of it and it changed my life.
Main Causes of HA:
- eating too little (calories, carbs)
- exercising too much
- too low body fat
- blood sugar dysregulation
Check, check, check, check, and check.
Healing the Body
Healing my body was the first step.
What I had going on: Hypothalamic amenorrhea is the technical name for when the hypothalamus stops sending “go ahead and reproduce!” signals to the pituitary gland resulting in a missing period.
Summary of what I had to do to heal my body:
- Get over my body image issues: learned to love my body whatever it looked like. Changed my view that skinny = beautiful. Not limiting my food to lose weight. Not working out just to change what my body looked like. This was a journey, but SO WORTH IT.
- Nourished my body with the right foods: I had to eat ENOUGH each day. This looked like plenty of healthy fats, vegetables, clean proteins, and complex carbs. Eating things like liver, wild salmon, cod liver oil, raw goat kefir, and fermented veggies.
- Avoided Toxins: Switched to all natural personal care products. Filtered water only. Avoid sugar, vegetable oils, processed foods and conventional animal products.
- Healed my gut
- Learned to listen to my body about what kind of workouts to do instead of pushing through feeling awful.
- Supplemented wisely: fish oil, minerals, probiotic, collagen, bone broth, greens powder, and vitamin C (really effective in increasing progesterone). Brain octane oil
- Ate enough carbs: One mistake I made was eating too much fat and not enough carbohydrates. If you have HA and are on a low carb diet, please don’t be!
Healing the Mind
Once I began to change my diet (eating lots and lots of nutrients dense foods) I had a period! It wasn’t regular though and months and months still went by with no baby.
Like many with HA, I began to become too focused on being healthy, what my body needed, and what I needed to do. FIY I am an Enneagram Type Three for anyone that is into that stuff hahaha! Meaning achieving and being image conscious are pretty dominate areas.
Although doing the best you can to take care of your body is important, the work you do with your thoughts and emotions is more important and what will create lasting change.
This is when I started stepping into the world of quantum physics, neuroscience, and epigenetics. I learned the absolute incredible power of the mind and its effect on the endocrine and reproductive system. I realized my thoughts and emotions were keeping me captive.
When I put all my focus on creating healthy thoughts and emotions day after day, everything changed.
Caroline Leaf does a fantastic job explaining the science behind the mind and how to rewire it
How I Healed my Mind:
- I stopped stressing about food and being healthy. I ate the best I could without stressing about it. The less focus you put on your body and food, the better.
- I brought PLEASURE into everything. Eating, moving, relationships. The more I enjoyed each thing I did, the healthier I got.
- I visualized every day: I started noticing the biggest changes in my health when I started doing this. When your hypothalamus is not communicating with your ovaries and the reproductive system correctly (hypothalamic amenorrhea) fertility issue occurs. I visualized my hormones flowing beautifully from my hypothalamus to my ovaries. I visualized clear skin. I visualized taking a pregnancy test and watching it show up positive. I generated a strong feeling of GRATITUDE each time I did this, like my body was already exactly how I wanted it to be. The mind and emotions has the biggest impact on the body.
- I wired out thinking patterens of anxiety and lack! —> How I healed my anxiety around money
Within months of doing this, I took a pregnancy test after the Broncos Super Bowl 50 Win and it showed up with a big fat POSITIVE!
Healing Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Naturally
You can begin the journey of Healing Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Naturally. It requires stepping back at your life and taking an honest look.
- Are you eating enough?
- Do you worry about gaining weight? Eating unhealthy food? Not being able to work out?
- Are you exercising too much?
- Are you stressed and anxious about everything?
- Do you care too much about what you look like? Do you love yourself no matter what you look like?
- Are you too disciplined and healthy and not allowing any room for pleasure?
In my experience, most women with HA are very driven, type A, beautiful souls that just think way too much. Ha!
If you are experiencing HA, take 2 months to really nourish your body with lots of healing foods, do something that brings you pleasure each day, and really, really start practicing taking fearful, judging, and anxious thoughts and replacing them with thankfulness, self-love, and pleasure.
Let me know where you are at in your journey and how I can help in any way!
This spoke to me sooo much ????????. After hours of research about anovulation & the hypothalamus I stumbled upon this article. You are the ONLY one who’s talked about the mind/body connection. I’m grateful for your post, I’m going to start doing those things you mentioned & start living stress free & stop being so critical of myself. Thank you!
I am so glad you found it, Anni! The mind/body part is the BIGGEST factor, and I wish I would have known that a long time ago. Nothing has brought more health and healing to me and the people I work with than focusing on daily mental and emotional states and intentionally generating them. Let me know if you need anything!
Thank you for sharing your journey! I currently am in the process of healing my HA. When you say avoid sugar, is that referring to just added sugars or fruit as well?
Hi Kirsten! Just processed sugar, I ate all fruit once I got over the ‘fear’ I had about fruit having too much sugar. It’s important to let all of that go. I would honestly just focus on pleasure in whatever you eat, and eat plenty! Let me know if I can help in any way! I definitely get what you are going through!
Thank you so much for writing this article. I have been under extreme stress, over exercising and also under eating. I am also a type 3 personality as well haha
I have a feeling that is what I have because I haven’t had my period for 2 months. Luckily finding your article I am catching what I think I have now and I can focus on fixing it.
If my body is finally the look I want it to be. Did you completely cut exercise out or just decrease it and eat a lil more? I just don’t want to gain all that weight I worked so hard to lose.
Again thank you for this article I am so grateful I found it!
Hi Kacy! I am SO happy you find it as well! I get not wanting to gain weight, that was a huge problem I had but I finally got to a place where I worked on intuitive eating, and knowing my body would go to it’s natural setpoint weight it was supposed to be at (even if that weight is higher than I ‘wanted’) as long as I nourished it as best I could. I just decreased exercise and focused on more low-intensity things like walking and weightlifting. But I also listened to my body so if I felt tired, I didn’t work out (in the past I would have). Let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂
Having just found out today that I have HA, I am feeling very lost and also devastated. Exercise is a huge and very important part of my life. I find that it reduces my stress, and makes me so happy. I also love feeling strong and fit. I am devastated after reading that I need to stop exercising to heal my HA. I would be alright with giving up cardio as I don’t do it often but I don’t know how to give up weightlifting. Is it possible to just increase calories and continue weightlifting? As well as working on the mind/body connection and still heal HA?
I totally understand what you are feeling. If I could offer anything through my experience is that the emotions of fear/devastation and wanting to be and look a certain way are the biggest contributors, more so than exercise. There is no one size fits all solution, so yes, you could still work out and get your period back. It’s more about getting out of the state where your body thinks it’s not okay to ovulate, which can be from lack of food and too much exercise but also self-criticism/control, anxiety. I would focus more on how you feel each day and really recognize when fear and overwhelm try to sneak in and just do the best you can without obsessing or thinking too much about nourishing yourself or exercising. Here is a post a just wrote with other things I did to heal! Let me know if you have any other questions or need support!
I went off to college in August, and being terrified of getting the “freshman fifteen,” I increased exercising and cut back on my calories. At the beginning of the semester, I just ran a couple times a week and ate normally, but I quickly became obsessed with making sure that I only ate how many calories I burned at the gym. I didn’t realize what I was doing to my body until I weighed myself and realized that I actually lost fifteen pounds this semester. I also realized that I haven’t had my period in almost three months, and that really scares me.
I’m looking into natural ways to cure HA, and your article was one of the best I’ve run into:) I love how you mentioned the mind/body connection. You’re article is the only one so far that has mentioned that.
Even though I truly want to recover, I am worried about coming to terms with gaining weight. I know that will be extremely tough (as it is with everyone). Do you have any suggestions to help overcome this fear?
thank you so much!;)
Thanks so much for sharing Claire! I understand 100% and felt the exact same way. Here are a few helpful things:
1. I recently wrote this article about body image and what helped me, check that out here
2. On top of those things in the article, I had to realize Women are created to have some curves and extra body fat (a lot of people actually think that’s more attractive) & body diversity is everything. Meaning, if you eat well to nourish yourself, your body will naturally get to and stay at what it’s meant to be and stay at no matter what you eat.
3. An extra 10-20 pounds actually won’t make you look that different. I am 20ish pounds heavier than when I was struggling with HA and it’s actually not noticeable at all.
4. Focus on what your body can do, not what it looks like. I started making a practice of listening to my body each day to what it needed exercise wise. I started doing more weight/body weight/yoga ish and flexibility things. And focusing on having goals like being able to do a pull-up or a handstand verses exercising just to change the way I looked was a good shift in focus. The funny thing is, my body looked better because I wasn’t pushing it so hard so my hormones balanced.
5. Get far away from measuring your calories and weighing yourself. I know it’s hard but your mind is so powerful and needs to be focusing on joy, pleasure, and loving yourself no matter what – not dumb calories or a number on the scale that doesn’t mean anything.
6. Flood yourself with what you need to hear. E.I follow body positive people. Not people focused on working out, diets, or looking a certain way. I really like Simi Botic or Real Food RN on Instagram for inspiration on that. Social media will be the #1 trigger for you so monitor that as much as you possibly can!
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Thank you so so much for your insight! I just recently learned about Dr Caroline Leaf, and had no clue that her techniques could help transform some of the same struggles I’m going thru which you mentioned in here! Thank you again!
I am so glad! Rewiring my mind is what made the biggest difference in healing my HA. Let me know if you need anything!
Thank you for sharing your story! I haven’t been diagnosed with HA but a few months ago I stopped having a period. I had this happen to me earlier before my pregnancy last year that ended in a molar pregnancy. This process is somewhat frustrating, but it’s encouraging to read what has worked for you! & I’m excited to start loving & healing my body.
I have had HA for 3 years, from over exercising and possibly under eating. I have been in recovery for 4 weeks. I have prediabetes, since trying to eat more carbs (been low carb to control diabetes) my blood sugar has jumped as high as 257, morning fasted glucose 146! My dr said to go back to low carb and just eat more fat. Your post says one MUST eat more carbs. How does this work since I have passed from prediabetes to diabetes?
Hi Amber! Every body will need a different way of eating, most cases of HA carbs are helpful because of the undereating and overexercising but it’s not the answer. The answer will be to experiment with the amount and TYPES of foods/carbs that your body responds to best. Try different ways of eating and see how you feel and how your body reacts. The most important part of everything will be to signal your nervous system that it is safe – and that is done through diet (eating enough high-quality/nutrient-dense food), but more so through thoughts and emotional states. Eat the most organic food you can, try to incorporate a healthy fat, vegetable, protein and a small portion of complex carb at each meal and then not stress about diet for a while and focus more on what mental and emotional states you are in each day. Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂