As I am sitting here at my desk it’s still surreal to me that I’m writing this. My name is Alaina, and struggled with secondary amenorrhea for almost 6 years. I didn’t realize how much it affected me until this last year though. I finally decided I was done. My husband and I want a family someday, and it was time I figured out what the heck was going on with my body.
So here’s a little background. I’ve never been the skinny girl. I’ve always had to work hard at staying lean and fit, and my go-to way of eating was low carb. Meat and veggies have never been difficult for me to eat, so eating low carb was honestly pretty easy. My parents always encouraged me to be active, which I appreciate SO, so much. I swam competitively on a club team from 6-17, and then I swam on the team for a season in college. I continued swimming with my old coach in an organized practice every morning even after I was no longer on the team, simply because I loved it. When we didn’t have practice, I ran instead. Any chance you can you see where this is going?
When I was 21, I heard about this thing called CrossFit. A friend of mine and I decided to give it a try and see what all the hype was about. I had never really trained with weights before, aside from a couple days a week of dryland while I was swimming on the team. So when I walked in the gym and saw these incredible athletes with chiseled muscles lifting what seemed to me at the time like millions pounds over their heads, I was a bit intimidated. March 12, 2012. You know why that date is so clear in my mind? Two reasons. It was the day I fell in love with the sport of fitness, AKA CrossFit, and it was the last day I got my period.
Before I go any further I want to make something very clear. CrossFit was not the reason I lost my period. Paleo was not the reason I lost my period. My lack of understanding and appreciation for what it truly meant to fuel my body, is why I lost my period.
When I started CrossFit, I was introduced to a paleo lifestyle. My body started to transform immediately. I was swimming or running every single morning, and then doing CrossFit in the evenings. I LOVED the way I felt, every morning I would wake up and it seemed like my body was different. More definition throughout my legs, arms, and core, and I thought the harder I pushed myself (physically and in regards to my diet), the more excellent of an athlete I would become. At this time Paleo was still very new to me and I truly had no idea how to eat paleo properly. I would eat one or two eggs for breakfast, half an avocado and some peppers for lunch, and then a chicken salad for dinner. Do you think that is enough food for a young, female athlete who is pushing herself physically for 3+ hours every day? Absolutely not. So a month after I started CrossFit, it’s no wonder my period never showed up. I was swimming, running, and doing CrossFit on minimal calories, and my body recognized it wasn’t consuming enough energy to support my activity level, so it said goodnight to my reproductive system.
I would eventually become a CrossFit coach, graduate college, and get married. Lots of big events, and lots of stress. Every once in awhile I would go to the doctor to see if they could figure out what my problem was. They would run hormone panels, and do ultrasounds and while everything was just a little off, it wasn’t enough to cause my doctors any concern. They just did the norm, gave me 10 days of progesterone and told me I’d start bleeding a few days after I finished the prescription. I did that 3 times. Did it work? Nope.
There were lots of things I would do over the last 6 years to “try” and get my period back. I quit CrossFit and started solely lifting, I introduced macro counting with the hopes a more varied diet would help, I even stopped using Stevia because I read some different articles about how it was used as birth control in years past. I tried EVERYTHING, except the one thing that had always been in the back of my mind. Letting go.
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