Tuesday 2 July 2013

Hypothalamic amenorrhea - huge thanks and an update

First of all I have to say how blown away by how much support I received from you all following my last blog post (which you can read HERE if you haven’t done so already). It was honestly so overwhelming – I can’t even express in words the gratitude I felt/feel.

I also received a lot of comments/emails/messages from women/girls who are in the same situation. No period for quite some time. Realise they need to put on weight as they are jeopardising their health and fertility. Scared to do so. 

What bothers me is the amount of conversations I have had that go like this:

Me: “I haven’t had my period in 2 years”
Them: “Oh that happened to me too”
Me: “Really? How’d you fix it”
Them: “Oh I just ate more and stopped being obsessive with exercise”

And what really concerns me is how blasé everyone is about all of this. Like losing your period in the pre-menopausal years is normal. I’ve got news for you – IT’S NOT! If your health is suboptimal, your reproductive system will be the first to stop working. You don’t need it to survive. And the first sign of your reproductive system going into shutdown mode is a lack of menstruation. Let’s not dull down how significant this actually is peeps!

OK, so I thought I should give you an update on my progress. No period yet. I have put on 6-7kg. Note – this has been over the past 4-5 months, not the past 5 weeks. That would not be healthy. Just as a healthy weight loss is around ½ kg per week, a healthy weight gain is about the same. I have reached the weight that gives me a BMI of 22 (I was 19.6 before). This is where my doctor and naturopath felt would be ideal for me in terms of baby-making.

How have I done it? I eat more. And I eat more carbs. I snack – mostly on smoothies. Yes, I have become one of those annoying people who drinks green smoothies, but not in a mason jar. My friend Caitlin won’t allow that kind of crap. She already tells me that giving thumbs up isn’t cool anymore. 

Just for you, Caitlin. xx
Aaahh where would I be without my young uni friends to keep me in line?! But I still eat in a paleo/primal/Weston A Price manner. Just because I have needed to gain weight doesn’t mean I should throw away all of my basic nutritional beliefs and principles. Especially in the pre-baby-making phase of my life. You can read my post on that here.

How do I feel about it? I’m not going to lie. I still have the occasional “I’m fat” moments. And then I just give myself a mental slap in the face, tell myself I’m beautiful (yes, I have also become one of those hippy-dippy self-love people. Laugh all you want. It helps), then get back to focusing on things that actually matter in life. You see, what I have realised is this – nobody cares if your thighs touch except you. And you only care because you think everyone else cares. Which they don’t. So stop caring! And please….go and un-like anything related to the “box-gap”. That shit is just going too far!

Because I like lists so much, I have decided to create a little pros and cons of gaining weight:

  • My jeans don’t fit me anymore – actually it’s only one pair that doesn’t fit. The rest are pretty good with their stretch-ability (yes, that is a word!).
  • I probably won’t be called up by Victoria to replace Miranda as her new Angel.

  • I have boobs (see below) – this may seem insignificant to all you life-long well-endowed ladies out there, but coming from someone who has always struggled to fill an A cup (don’t laugh!), it’s pretty exciting! My husband also agrees. Although he says he likes my old boobs just as much. Smart man. Very smart man. Learn from this, gents!
  • My skin and eyes are clearer than they have ever been (see below). And I don’t use any fancy shmancy skin products. I use olive oil and soap. Maybe a bit of rosehip oil in the winter. That’s it!
No filters - I felt it only right to show my skin as it is. And boobs.
Thanks to Bloch for the new top! 
  • I feel stronger. I can lift heavier weights in the gym! Despite doing less exercise overall. Maybe there’s a lesson there….?
  • I have more energy. Eating more = more nutrients getting in!
  • Most of the time, I actually feel more comfortable in my body. Seriously. For the first time in about 15 years, I feel good. Really good.
  • My husband still finds me sexy and my friends still want to hang out with me. Some of you may laugh at this one and say “of course they do!”, but this is actually a legitimate concern for some people (including me) as stupid as it may sound (and yes, we know it sounds stupid too, but the mind works in funny ways).
  • Did I mention I have boobs?!

So it would seem that this whole business ain’t so bad after all!? And yes, as I said, there are days when I feel a little frumpy and want to go back to my svelte ways. But slowly, the good days are crowding out the bad. These things take time. And they can be scary. If you’re in the same position as me, please don’t feel that you have to do it alone. Telling friends and family (or, in my case, the entire inter-webs) about what’s going on can be so powerful. The feedback and support you receive might surprise you. I can tell you – writing that blog was the best thing I have ever done for my health. But if you don’t want to tell people close to you, feel free to tell me – either in the comments below or email me kate@theholisticnutritionist@gmail.com. This is an issue that needs more attention! So let’s get talking!

Thanks again everyone! Much love to you all! I'm off to have a bath and admire my new boobs! (kidding! Or am I?) xx


  1. Sharon Simmonds2 July 2013 at 02:46

    Really really great boobs Kate!! Glad to hear your health is improving. I admire your transparency and dedication to health. What we know and what we believe about ourselves are often very contradictory, I find saying things out loud can make you aware of how unrealistic and unfair your expectations of yourself can be. I am sure this blog has been very therapeutic for you, thank you for being so open and honest. While my personal experience is at polar opposites to yours, I think everyone could benefit from being kinder to oneself. x

    1. Thanks so much Shaz! It has been very therapeutic for me, and really nice to know I have support from friends (and strangers!). When are you in Syd next? Can we catch up? I want to meet your family! xx

  2. Such a great series of articles, thank you for your candour! Like you, I am a perfectionist and that has had consequences. I can relate so much to what you say, especially the challenges of accepting what needs to be done and knowing it rationally versus really wanting it and loving it. I have had hypothalmic amenorrhea for 17 years and I consider myself very lucky because my bone density is in the "low normal" range and improving - it could be so much worse. I was going to write privately but the more people that come out and speak about the real issue of amenorrhea and the difficulties of overcoming it the better.

    1. Hi Alex. Thanks so much for sharing! You're absolutely right - the more people speaking about this, the better. I am sorry to hear that you have experienced this for so long. I hope you are on the mend now. x

  3. The skin looks shiny and fresh. The ability to lift things, anything, is impressive to me. How are you at opening olive jars? I like to ask my husband to do it, then take over when he's done the major loosening and act like I've cracked it open myself. I think he hates me. Good job on the boobs. I'd give you some of mine, if that weren't very weird.

  4. Hey babe, give yourself time, your period will come back (because you're smart and so is your body!). It took me about 2 years to achieve a balance (I was on the pill for 8 years). Every time I get my period now I buy myself a huge bouquet of roses. Anyway contact me if you wanna know what I've done to heal myself. It's fine if you don't. It's all good. Hugs

    1. Hi Iga! Thank you so much for reaching out! I would love to chat more with you about your experiences. I just sent you a message through your contact form. Hope to hear from you soon. x

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