womb yoga

Pregnant after hypothalamic amenorrhea! My story

I recently shared on my social media platforms the reason I’ve been quiet for the last couple of months. Just before the new year I found out that I am pregnant and at the end of the summer we will be becoming new parents! I had told family and friends but I didn’t want to announce on the internet for fear of tempting fate. But now the cats out of the bag I want to share my story here of how I got pregnant after Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA for short).

Where it all began…

For those of you who haven’t followed my blog since the start you might not know that in my teens and early twenties I experienced a lot of hormonal issues. This was actually what drove me to study nutrition and yoga for women’s health and healing my hormones actually ended up being a full life transformation. You can watch the video on this post for the full story but I will just give you a quick summary here.

At around 14 years old, like many young girls I fell into the trap of disliking and trying to change my body. I started dieting without any nutrition knowledge and basically just ate as little as possible each day to try and lose weight. I also joined a gym and quickly became obsessed with burning calories on the cardio machines. I was totally obsessed with numbers and in my naivety I thought that the number of calories I ate in the gym should be equal to the amount I ate in a day. Calories in = calories out right?!

Of course I completely forgot that a human body, and especially a growing teenage body, needs energy just to function. I got quite skinny for my body type, although never underweight. After a couple of years of this behaviour plus one year on the pill, my menstrual cycles stopped. I had had pretty regular cycles since they started at 12 years old so this was unusual for me. Still, for a few years I didn’t care too much and saw it more as a convenience. I went to university and was too busy partying, studying and trying to stay skinny to care.

A diagnosis: PCOS or HA?

Eventually I did get worried and I went to see my doctor but as I wasn’t considered anorexic according to my BMI they didn’t have too much to say. I went for an ultra-sound scan and because there were multiple follicles seen on my ovaries I was diagnosed with “probable PCOS” and was prepared that I’d likely need fertility treatment to get pregnant in the future. Even at 20 with no intentions of having kids in the near future, this was devastating and I remember crying my eyes out when I found out.

Luckily this despair was the catalyst to getting on the path to healing. After I calmed down, somehow I just knew that what I had been told wasn’t true. I knew that my lifestyle was driving this hormonal imbalance and I was determined to find answers and heal my body. I eventually found Dr Nicola Rinaldi via the Seven Health podcast who explained the common misdiagnosis of lean PCOS in women who actually have HA. She described my situation to a tee and finally it was her book that gave me the information and push to start recovery.

Getting my period back after 8 years of HA

Just because I knew the problem it didn’t make fixing it an easy process. I had the knowledge I needed – that eating more, exercising less and gaining weight were the simple actions to get my period back. However, actually putting this into practice consistently took a lot longer. I went back and forward for a few years, gaining weight then losing it. Stopping exercise then freaking out and going back to daily gym sessions. Allowing myself unrestricted eating and then becoming terrified of the extreme hunger and going back to my food rules.

Even though the physical actions are simple, the mental healing that is needed often takes a lot longer. This is what I see in my clients today who are going through this process. What should be easy becomes very challenging when it’s bound up with years of limiting beliefs, the identity you have created for yourself and the life you have built around that. But truly committing to healing means that each time you slip you get back on the path again. And slowly but surely you heal, body mind and spirit.

Healing and life as a cycling woman

I finally got my period back in March of 2017 at 24 years old and after 8 years of HA. I remember exactly when and where I was at this time as it was such a celebratory moment for me! I can’t say things were perfect immediately and I still had a few small slip ups after that. Becoming comfortable with the weight I gained still took time and I often had body image wobbles. But my period was back and came pretty much every month, give or a take a week or two for the next 5 years.

I loved having my natural cycles and finally felt in touch with my lost femininity. I dived into menstrual cycle awareness during this time. I learned even more how to support my hormones and metabolism through my diet, whilst still eating intuitively and experiencing total food freedom. I studied yoga for fertility and this type of practice only strengthened my connection to the feminine energy within me and allowed her to take up more space.

Again this wasn’t a quick transformation but more of an unravelling over multiple years with other teachers and mentors supporting me along the way. Last year I decided to start offering group yoga classes for women and it’s been lovely to also share this practice. Holding space for other women has increased the energy capacity of my heart and womb spaces even further.

womb yoga

Finding out I am pregnant after HA

I’m telling a completely streamlined version of this story otherwise it would take up a whole book! But during these years I also to Greece, changed career path and we all went through the rocky time of the pandemic. Me and my partner just moved house in November last year after living with his mother for two years. Finally everything seemed to be calming down and falling into place. We travelled back to the UK to visit my family for Christmas. Then BAM!

I track my cycles using an app and just before the New Year I realised my period was late. At first I put it down to the travel and stress of moving house and assumed it would just be a few days late. I felt similar to how I would during the pre-menstruum sometimes with bloating, fatigue and mild cramping in my lower belly. But after a week I decided I’d better do a pregnancy test because that was unusually late for me. I bought the test and left it by my bed to do first thing the next morning.

No surprises now but at the time it was a big shock. I was pregnant! I couldn’t believe it because we hadn’t been “trying” to conceive. I don’t like the word accident though as I don’t see anything as an accident. I’m sure that this baby just knew it was it’s time and decided to arrive no matter what. Me and my partner both knew we wanted children, although we had been on the fence about the time because, like many young couples, we had so many exciting plans for our post-pandemic freedom.

Still we were over the moon and decided to tell our close family straight away. Living abroad meant I would have chance to see them face to face for months afterwards and I couldn’t keep the secret that long.

How I got pregnant after HA

I had always assumed that despite having a regular cycle I’d still take a while to conceive. I had told my partner to be prepared for a year or even two until I got pregnant when we decided it was time. Maybe I was just “lucky” to fall pregnant without trying. But I have a feeling that all of the lifestyle changes I made to heal my hormones meant that my body was fertile and ready for pregnancy. I’d been consistently nourishing my body with nutrient dense foods for years, rebuilding my mineral stores and restoring my metabolism.

I’d given up on intense workouts and only moved my body in ways that I genuinely enjoyed and made me feel good. Despite having a busy lifestyle and being an over-achiever, I regularly practiced restorative yoga and meditation to ground myself, reduce stress and allow my body to feel safe and nourished. I listened to my body and paid attention to the phases of my menstrual cycle, taking myself during the pre-menstrual and menstrual phases and supporting healthy ovulation.

Finally, I’m sure that practice and teaching of fertility yoga also primed my womb space and created this cosy, inviting nest that just called in the spirit of this baby. I was doing a lot of breathwork and visualisation, focusing on clearing and energising the pelvic bowl as well as movement to reduce tension and stagnancy from this area. No doubt that all of this helped to create a healthy, receptive energetic space. Or maybe I am in fact just one of the lucky ones – who knows!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me 1-2-1 to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We will create a plan tailored to your individual needs and vision for your health. I will then be there for support, guidance and accountability as you work towards your goals!

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period recovery story

Client success! Elise’s period recovery story

To celebrate 50k views at Moon Life, I wanted to share something special with you all that I don’t usually do. Today I will share the recovery story of one of my lovely clients, Elise. This beautiful soul came to me last year because she wanted to recover her missing period which had disappeared after falling into restrictive eating patterns. She was ready to heal her relationship with food and her body and get her period back.

I know that these period recovery stories are inspiring and great motivation for anyone on this path. So I asked Elise if she would be kind enough to share her story here on my blog. She is also incredibly insightful and has a way her experiences and emotions through her writing. I hope her recovery story speaks to you and offers you a glimmer of light if you are finding this journey tough or you feel that it’s not going as perfectly as it “should”.

Elise’s recovery story: The Nature of Recovery

“It’s like you have a shield in front of you. Imagine if you let down that shield.”

The eating disorder was my shield. It was like a protector from everything I could not control in my life. If I felt like my work was not perfect, then I tried to make my food perfect. The smaller I got, the more obsessed I became with feeling like I could control something and that I could achieve something. The achievement of being smaller was a way to isolate myself from the world, to not have to confront the uncertainty of life.

My eating disorder became my preoccupation. People became bodies to compare myself with and the voices inside of my head grew noisier and noisier. What was I going to eat later? Was the food I was eating too much? How would I reject food if someone offered it to me? Holding onto these thoughts and behaviors were painful and each night when I told myself I would do better, I still chose to make the same decisions the next day.

Recovery is not a linear process, but it starts when you decide to make a change and act on it. At one point, I went to Italy with a friend, and she saw that I was struggling. She told me she had been there and that she promised it wouldn’t be like this forever. Hearing her say that and seeing how she recovered made me believe that I could too. Moreso, it was a moment where I realized that this was not how I wanted my life to be.

I woke up each morning feeling like I had been run over by a truck and even with no energy in me, I got on my yoga mat and did pilates. My spine hurt when I rolled, my knees felt sharp pains in them, and it felt like sometimes my bones were popping out of their socket when I walked. Getting ready in the morning meant checking the flatness of my stomach and wrapping my hands around my arms or my thighs to see if they were thin enough.

My camera roll became photos of salads, comprised of lettuce, beans, and avocado. The photos became another thing to stare at for hours, wondering if it was too much. My body was crying for help. I had dug myself into a hole and I was trying to get out but the hole was deep, a culmination of years of negative childhood impressions around food, a desire for self-perfection, and a strong obsessive mentality that was fixated on food, exercise, and remaining thin.

How dark does life need to get before you seek help? The “I’m not sick enough”
mentality constantly permeated in my mind. The state of my body was not in its equilibrium. It did not feel safe and so it stopped my periods to help keep me warm, even though I was always freezing. It stopped my periods to help me think, even though most times I could hardly think clearly. It stopped my periods to help keep me alive.

Not having my period made me think a lot about what it means to have a period and to be a woman. It made me reflect a lot on how much I wanted children and how much I wanted to be a good role model for them one day. Not having my period made realize that my body was shutting down and so was my life. At one point, I remember saying I have had enough. I need to make a change. I tried to get myself out of the hole I had dug, but some holes are too deep and you need someone to throw you down a rope to help you climb out.

Over a year had passed without a period before I decided to get help. Journaling became a big part of my recovery. Hearing the way I talked to myself and changing the narrative became a big part of recovery. Self compassion and perseverance became another really big part. I never stopped trying to do better for myself. After four months of recovery with myself and Amy, I got my period. I got it three months in a row, and it was exciting to see how far I had come.

While now it has been over two months since I have had one, I know recovery is not a linear process. It takes time and patience for your period and your mind to feel normal again. Now, when I see myself slipping, the hole I fall into is less deep. I know as long as I keep reminding myself that I can be healthy, have a healthy relationship with food, and love my body, that sooner or later when I slip, I won’t fall into a hole but I will be there to catch myself before I fall.

Life is about becoming the best versions of ourselves. I have learned it’s okay to let down the shield. Feel the fear and do it anyways.

My thoughts

Can you hear yourself in her words? Maybe your story is different but can you recognise something? What I can say is that after working with many women desiring to recover their periods, is that this idea of perfection is nearly always involved. It played a big part in my story too. Wanting everything to be perfect and organised and never feeling like we measure up to the standards we set for ourselves.

This idea of perfection can then creep into recovery too. We feel that we are not doing well enough if we don’t do recovery “right” or if our period isn’t perfectly regular every month once it comes back. Or we can even feel that we aren’t “perfectly sick enough” to deserve to begin this healing journey. But there can be no perfect recovery story. Or more like, every story is perfect and plays out exactly as it should for us to learn the lessons we need to learn.

Elise’s story is not unusual. She is a great example of the results you can have if you really commit to this work. What is possible when you are open to reflecting on your beliefs, thoughts and behaviours mindfully and witnessing your own patterns without self-blame and judgement. So many of the stories we tell ourselves and the thought patterns we fall into don’t belong to us or simply aren’t true. But they stick and as time passes we become more and more attached to them.

Unravelling these messy entanglements doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen slowly and surely. One step at a time. And eventually years later you look back and see just how far you have come. I still do this today, many years after I considered my personal recovery story to be over. Some days I reflect on who and where I was before and the journey I’ve been on and I’m still amazed.

So thank you Elise for sharing your recovery story. I’m so proud of you and excited for what’s to come!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me 1-2-1 to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We will create a plan tailored to your individual needs and vision for your health. I will then be there for support, guidance and accountability as you work towards your goals, whether that is recovering your period, healing your relationship with food and your body, overcoming hormonal imbalances or increasing your fertility naturally.

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person holding a blue empty silicon

How can I get my period back quickly and easily?

One of the questions I get asked the most by women is how can I get my period back? I get it, missing periods can be worrying. Even if you are not trying to get pregnant, irregular menstrual cycles are a sign that something is not quite right with your health. It’s always a good idea to visit your doctor first if your cycles have been missing for 3 months or more. They may carry out an ultra-sound scan or check the levels of hormones in your blood. This will allow them to see if there is any medical condition which could be causing your missing periods.

In many cases, missing periods (aka amenorrhea) is functional and a temporary state. Functional amenorrhea can be caused by:

  • Under nutrition i.e. not eating enough or the right things
  • Over exercise or not fueling your body adequately for your exercise level
  • Losing a lot of weight quickly or being underweight for your body type
  • Short or long term stress
  • Being on or just coming off birth control

So how can I get my period back?

In this post I will share the basics of how to get your period back in a holistic way by looking at 3 elements: diet, exercise and stress management. In my experience, these basics are enough to support 90% of women with functional amenorrhea to get their periods back.

#1 Diet

Nutrition plays a key role in your overall health and ability to produce the right amount of hormones. If you are trying to get your period back, it is so important to make sure you are eating enough energy and macro nutrients on a consistent basis. This means regular meals and snacks at least every 3-4 hours containing a balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein.

The exact amount of energy you need will depend on your height, weight, body type and your activity level. You may also need to eat more than you usually would in order to heal your body and to get your period back. Now is not the ideal time for low-fat, low-carb, keto or vegan diets. If you want to recover your missing periods as quickly as possible it is best to let go of all food rules and restrictions while you heal.

Eating a wide variety of foods will also help you to cover your vitamin and mineral requirements. These are important for correct hormone production but also help your cells to produce energy and for your body to grow healthy hair, skin and nails. Some of the common nutrient deficiencies I see in women with missing periods are copper, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and magnesium.

If you need support with nutrition to get your period back, I have created a Period Recovery e-book. This guide to getting your period back includes 27 recipes and a 7 day meal plan designed to meet your nutritional needs and support hormonal balance. I also offer personalised meal plans and eating recovery coaching via my 1-2-1 programs if you need more individual attention and support on your period recovery journey.

#2 Exercise

The second key element in the journey to getting your period back is to address your exercise. Are you working out too much or too hard? We are made to believe as women that we must be super lean and that we should be in the gym every day if we want to be healthy. Unfortunately, often this goes too far and women are exercising like crazy without providing their body with enough fuel to balance it out.

Many of the women who come to me with missing periods are doing lots of cardio, HIIT workouts or exercising in the morning before breakfast. What they don’t realise is that exercise is a stress on the body, especially when it is high intensity or long duration. If you are working out regularly, you need to take extra care to support recovery with adequate fuel and rest. Yes, moderate exercise has many benefits for our physical and mental health. But when taken too far it can create additional stress which can lead to missing periods.

Do I need to give up exercise to get my period back? Usually the answer is no but if you are exercising at a high level you will likely need to reduce the intensity and frequency of your workouts until your period returns. Walking, yoga, pilates, dance and leisurely biking are all great ways to move your body while you are healing your hormones. These lower intensity workouts combined with plenty of rest and relaxation are ideal to help you get your period back.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

#3 Stress management

Finally, but no less important to getting your period back is stress management. Stress can be a tricky one to cover as often we feel like our stress levels are out of our control. It is true that sometimes external stressors are present which we cannot change. For example, illness in the family, moving house, the loss of a job or the end of a relationship. In these moments, all we can do is do our best and find ways to manage the stressful emotions we feel.

Yoga, meditation, journaling, art, music and time in nature are all great ways to reconnect with your spirit during stressful times. Incorporating stress management tools such as these as well as traditional tools such as therapy and counselling are just as important as your diet and exercise if you want to get your period back. They can help to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone which can cause disruption to your entire hormonal system if it is too high for too long.

As well as external stressors, you also have internal stressors which can effect your sense of wellbeing. This includes the way you speak to yourself and the story you tell yourself about the things that are happening in your life. An over active inner critic, a victim mentality and the tendency to over work, rush or pressure yourself are just a few examples of internal stressors which can contribute to high stress levels and missing periods.

get my period back

In my 3 and 6 month Total Nourishment coaching programs, I provide you with tools such as restorative yoga, guided meditation and journaling activities to support you in reducing your stress and tackling some of the mental and emotional challenges that you may face on your period recovery journey.

How long will it take to get my period back?

I am adding this as it’s another question I get asked so often. Unfortunately it’s so hard to say! How long it will take to get your period back depends on many factors including your health history and how consistent you are with your recovery efforts. What I will say is that for clients who are ready to go “all in”, the typical recovery time is 3-6 months. Sometimes it can be faster than this, others need longer to heal. Back in 2017 when I was recovering my own period, it took 4 months to get my period back from the day that I finally discovered the right path to heal. I hope this offers you some encouragement if you are currently on or about the embark on this journey!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me 1-2-1 to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We will create a plan tailored to your individual needs and vision for your health. I will then be there for support, guidance and accountability as you work towards your goals!

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HA recovery: All you need to know!

Recently I updated my website and it changed the way my blog posts show up. I realised it might be difficult for those of you looking for information on HA recovery as most of the post were written a while back now. So I wanted to put together a quick summary of my posts about Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and how to get your period back.

I haven’t written as much about HA recovery lately but I intend to revise these old posts and create new ones for you too. There’s so much that I couldn’t put into words back then that I want to express. It’s also been over 5 years since I got my period back after 8 years of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. So much has changed about the way I live and think since then. I think it’s about time for an update!

One of the biggest changes is that I am now a qualified Nutritionist, Yoga Teacher and Women’s Wellness Coach. All of this suffering and growth I went through had to mean something. I realised that my purpose in life was to share and support other women and going through HA recovery to heal and get their life back as well as their periods.

As well as HA recovery coaching, I also help women with other hormonal imbalances such as irregular periods, PMS, PCOS and unexplained fertility. I practice fertility yoga, menstrual cycle awareness and pro-metabolic Ayurvedic inspired nutrition. My teachers and inspirations include Uma Dinsmore Tuli, Ana Davis, Bobby Clennell, Nicola Rinaldi and Ray Peat.

HA recovery blog archives

Here are quick links to all my blog posts on HA recovery. As I post new ones they will also show up here so save this page to stay updated! If you have any questions relating to HA recovery that you would like answering or you would like to hear my thoughts on please drop me a message. I am here to guide and support you with love where ever you are in this journey!

HA recovery coaching

I welcome women who are looking to recover their periods into my nutrition and wellness coaching programs. The journey to HA recovery is not just about food. It’s about learning to nourish yourself on all levels: body mind and spirit. In coaching I am there to listen to your story and your deepest fears and support your on your path to true wellbeing.

As some one who lived through years of restrictive dieting, over exercise, binge eating, weight control and anxiety, I understand how scary it can be to make changes. But I am also there to mirror to you what is possible after HA recovery. Food freedom, joyful movement, meaningful work and relationships and body acceptance are all waiting for you as well as regular menstrual cycles!

Yes there are some hurdles along the way. Deeply held beliefs about your worthiness and what you are allowed to receive in this life. Fears of not being loved, accepted or successful if you “let yourself go”. Confusion about how to live without tightly holding onto control, although this control is an illusion anyway. But overcoming these hurdles opens the way for more beautiful things to drop into your life – I promise!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. I support women through HA recovery and other hormonal issues. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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how to get your period back diet

How to get your period back? 3 simple steps

I started my first blog back in 2016 when I was going through a healing journey to recover my missing periods. Little did I know that this would be the trigger to transforming my whole life. Since then, I went back to school to study nutrition and trained as a yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. Now I help women overcome hormonal issues and rediscover their natural health and vitality. Today I want to share how to get your period back in 3 simple steps.

This is for those of you who have lost your periods due to Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. If you had regular periods and then your cycles stopped due to dieting, weight loss, intense exercise or stress then this post will explain how to get your period back.

How to get your period back after dieting

One of the main reasons that women lose their period is due to restrictive dieting. This can be either a sudden and dramatic decrease in calorie intake i.e. a crash diet. It can also happen after a long term smaller energy deficit, especially if you lose a lot of weight. When your body perceives that there is not enough energy coming in to meet it’s needs, it starts to panic. It doesn’t know that you are on a diet to lose weight for the summer or for your friend’s wedding. The poor thing thinks you are in a famine and wants to do everything it can to help you survive.

how to get your period back diet
Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

Your Hypothalamus is the master controller gland in your brain. It controls all of your metabolic processes by sending orders to other glands throughout your body. To conserve energy, your Hypothalamus tells your metabolism to down-regulate or shut down unnecessary processes. This can mean your core body temperature drops so you waste less energy as heat, leading to feeling cold all of the time. Your capacity to reproduce is not important during a famine when you need to survive. You stop sending the hormonal signals which produce your menstrual cycle.

So how to get your period back after dieting? The simple answer is to eat more! If you have been cutting calories, gradually increase your food intake to maintenance or higher. Your body cannot sustain a long period of intense dieting. If you are underweight or towards the lower end of the BMI scale, your body may not be happy and fertile at this weight. Or if you do have weight to lose, it’s better to diet in a cyclical way to help your body feel safe. Do you need help understanding how get your period back with food? Check out my period recovery meal plan where I have done all of the hard work for you.

How to get your period back after over exercise

Another common reason for women to lose their periods is due to over exercise. We are made to believe by the media and fitness industry that fit equals healthy. This is simply not true! You can be fit and unhealthy or equally healthy but unfit to a certain degree. Six pack abs, low body weight and endurance exercise all receive gold stars. However, women need a certain amount of body fat to be healthy and fertile. Female athletes often have a very low body fat percentage and many lose their periods as a result.

REDS (relative energy deficiency in sport) is when female athletes do not take in enough energy to meet their needs. Physical activity burns a lot of calories and so it is important for athletes to eat enough to fuel their sport. There is a lot of pressure for female athletes to stay thin either for practical reasons e.g. runners or aesthetic reasons e.g. ballerinas. This can lead to under eating over a long period of time. It is not only professional athletes that can experience this but also women who go to the gym regularly or participate in amateur sports.

how to get your period back exercise
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

So how to get your period back after over-exercise? You guessed it! Take a break from exercise and make sure you are fueling your body. It really is as simple as that. The amount of time your body needs to rest will depend on many factors. A months’ break from intense exercise is probably the minimum, although some women need several months to heal. Low intensity activities such as walking in nature and yoga can be helpful to maintain fitness during this time. Why not join my online yoga class and join a like minded community focusing on true health over aesthetics.

Often clients ask me how to get their period back whilst still exercising. It’s true that some women are able to get their period back when switching from cardio to more strength based training. The worst culprit seems to be endurance training such as long distance running. It varies from woman to woman so the best thing is to listen to your body. Rather than being afraid of losing fitness, see it as a holistic healing retreat and chance for your body to heal any injuries or damage to come back even stronger!

How to get your period back after stress

The final reason for losing your menstrual cycle can be due to stress. Again this can be either a short period of intense stress such as a traumatic event, losing a loved one or physical injury. It can also be a longer period of lower level stress such as an intense job, family issues or mental health struggles. Too much stress from any source can affect your nervous system and trigger your periods to stop.

How to get your period ack after stress? Often what’s needed is patience. It’s first important to reduce the stresses in your life. You can do this my removing yourself from the stressful situation, finding resources to help you deal with the problem or by changing your perspective and mindset. Start by making a list of all the things you feel are stressful in your life. Then one by one decide whether you can do something about it or not.

For those you cannot change, ensure that you have enough support either from family or professionals such as a therapist or counselor. You can also use personal tools such as meditation, journaling, breathwork or spending time in nature to reduce stress. Sometimes our reaction to a situation can be more stressful than the event itself. For example, if we get ourselves worked up about starting a new job. Or if we let our self care slide following a period of change or uncertainty (ahem – the pandemic). So be sure to check in on your mindset and thinking patterns regularly.

My experience with missing periods

Personally, I lost my periods for 8 years due to a combination of all of these things. I was under-eating, over-exercising and putting too much pressure on myself to perform in school and work. I was a classic Type A personality and I wanted to be the best. Needing to be the thinnest, the smartest and the most successful led to A LOT of anxiety and mental strain.

Luckily, I discovered feminine energy yoga and resources for self-therapy. Over a few years I was able to let go of old limiting beliefs and unhealthy habits. Once I truly committed and went “all in” to the healing journey, I recovered my period after 4 months. It has been somewhat regular for the 5 years since. Tracking my cycles has helped me to see the impact of my lifestyle habits and external stress on my hormones. It’s so fascinating to me now – our bodies truly are amazing!


To recap: how to get your period back in 3 simple steps:

  1. Stop all restrictive dieting, eat enough for your body and nutritious food
  2. Take a break from intense exercise, especially endurance exercise such as running
  3. Reduce the stresses in your life and find tools to help you manage stress you can’t change

I hope this was helpful for those of you currently trying to get your period back. It can be a challenging time but also a beautiful period of transformation. I promise, the freedom you experience on the other side is so worth it!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Period recovery meal plan

THE Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan

It’s been a bit quieter around here for a while, and for a very good reason! For a long time I have wanted to create a tool to support women to recover their missing periods. I know that changing my diet was one of the hardest things parts of my period recovery journey. So, my secret project for the last couple of months has been creating a Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan!

I am so excited to finally have this ready to share with you. Hopefully it will be a helpful tool for you on this exciting but challenging journey of getting your period back. I know that a large percentage of my readers are women who are were I was 5 years ago. At that time I was trying to get my period back after 8 years of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. I have also shared many posts previously about why your periods can stop and how to get your period back.

When I finally realised that my “healthy” diet and workout regime was the reason for my missing periods I was stunned. I remember being extremely confused and so unsure of how to eat more after years of restricting how much and what I ate. I swung between restriction and binge eating on processed foods more times than I can remember. I’d feel ashamed of my huge appetite and couldn’t understand why my meals weren’t satisfying.

Back then I would have loved to have a Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan to guide me. I even went back to university to study nutrition and spent countless hours researching nutrition, metabolism and hormonal health to figure it all out! Then I trained to become a Women’s Wellness Coach because I was determined to use this experience to help other women. So I am very happy to finally be able to offer your this period recovery meal plan where I have done the hard work for you.

What does the Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan include?

The Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan is 38 pages long and split into 10 sections:

I have created 20 simple recipes and combined these into a 7 day Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan to inspire you on your period recovery journey. As I highlight in the book, I am a Nutritionist and not a Chef. For this reason, all meals are super easy to make and take less than an hour to prepare. The recipes use cheap and easily accessible ingredients that you will find in your local supermarket. No expensive superfoods needed!

I have based this meal plan on a minimum of 2500 calories per day. This is the recommendation of Dr Nicola Rinaldi, researcher and author of No Period Now What. I highly recommend purchasing her book for more on the science of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and the recovery process. Yes 2500 calories can sound scary if you are coming from the world of diet culture. I explain why this minimum energy intake is necessary within the guide.

How was the Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan designed?

I have carefully designed the meal plan to ensure that each meal and snack is energy dense. Each one contains a balance of macro-nutrients i.e. carbohydrates, fats and proteins which each have an important role in your hormonal and metabolic health. This is to provide your body with the fuel and building blocks it needs to recover your hormones and restore your period.

In addition, I have chosen a wide variety of foods throughout the Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan. This is to maximise the micro-nutrient intake and ensure that your nutritional needs are met. Nutritional rehabilitation is a major part of recovering your period if it has gone missing due to under eating, over exercising or excessive stress. Therefore this was an important element when designing the period recovery meal plan.

You want your body to finally feel safe and nourished. I hope that the recipes in the Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan will do just that! The plan is designed around whole, unprocessed foods with a high nutrient density. Not because these are the ONLY foods you should eat. Rather to give a strong nutritional foundation from which you can play around with other foods.

It is designed to inspire you and give you a launch pad from which you can get creative. The sample 7 day period recovery meal plan includes different recipes for each meal, every day of the week. However you can use the 20 recipes in which ever way you choose. Personally I like to consume the same lunch and breakfast for a whole week to make meal preparation easier. Then I switch it up to ensure variety throughout each month.

I have provided a full macro and micro nutrient breakdowns of the 7 day meal plan. Additionally, each recipe comes with a summary nutrient breakdown in EU label style. I know not everyone likes to focus on numbers. However it can be a useful tool to understand how different foods can support your body. Full macro and macro nutrient breakdowns for each recipe are available as additional pdfs.

Will I definitely get my period back if I follow this meal plan?

Of course there can never be any guarantee that you will get your period back. I would be lying if I told you that. However it is very possible and so many women have made this journey to regain their natural cycle even after many years of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. It is important first to confirm the diagnosis your doctor. You want to rule out any other medical issues which could be causing your missing period. The rates of recovery for confirmed Hypothalamic Amenorrhea are very promising when following a healing lifestyle.

A survey concluded that after making lifestyle changes (including adopting a period recovery diet and reducing exercise), 57% of women recovered their period within 6 months. For some women the process can take longer, sometimes up to 2 years. What I can say is that regardless of the outcome, adopting the period recovery diet will NOURISH you. Eating this way will ensure that your body gets plenty of energy from nutrient dense source. This will improve your overall health and vitality, not just your hormones!

Remember to focus on the process and not the outcome. Your body is intelligent and knows how to heal itself when it has the resources it needs.

How can I purchase the Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan?

So, is this is something you are interested in? Would you like to invest in the Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery meal plan as a tool for your period recovery journey? Well I have an exciting offer until the end of the year! I will be selling the plan at a discounted price until 31/12/2022. So if you want to have this as a tool for the new year to start or continue your period recovery journey then go ahead and grab your copy now.

NOTE – If you have any questions about the meal plan, you can email me or leave a comment below. If you do purchase the plan and you find it helpful, I encourage you to please leave a review and to share the product link with other ladies who might benefit from this tool.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Comparing your body to others on social media

Self-comparison is a natural human instinct. We are social creatures and self-comparison is one of the ways in which we form our identity within society. Your psyche has built in mechanisms to compare yourself with others in your community. You then use this comparison to make a judgement as to whether they are above or below you in the hierarchy. This could be in terms of comparing your body to others, your beauty or strength, intelligence or material belongings. Basically any other factor that might affect your ability to survive and reproduce. We also learn from others through role modelling and we based our self-image on the response we receive from those around us. We are primed to be hyper focused on others, what they think of us and how we compare to them.

Self-comparison and social media

Unfortunately, the people we tend to compare ourselves with are not those that we see in our daily lives. Rather it is those we see in the media, far removed from our own communities. We forget that the people we see in the media are usually in the spotlight because they are amongst the most beautiful, most successful or most wealthy people in society. We use them to benchmark our own worth and feel inadequate as a result.

Comparing yourself to others in this way often leads to negative self-talk and feelings of not being worthy or good enough. And since the explosion of social media, our exposure to visual media has sky-rocketed. Teens across the world are now spending around 3 hours a day on social media according to this report by Social Buddy. Instagram, the most visual social media platform, now has approximately 1 billion users, with almost 40% under the age of 25.

Comparing your body to others on social media

Based on the number of beauty and fitness influencers, it’s pretty clear that comparing your body to others is one of the ways that we compare ourselves to others. When I was a teenager in the early 2000s, I was already under the influence of media messages. I would compare myself to celebrities and models that I saw in the glossy photos in magazines or on TV. This led me to spiral into extreme body dissatisfaction and almost a decade spent chasing the thin-ideal. I believed that if I only looked like the women I saw in the media I would be happier and my life would be perfect. But at least this was only a small part of my life and most of the time I was in the real world with real people.

These days though, social media is full of “real” people showing us how beautiful and successful they are. We are constantly surrounded by advertisements whose sole purpose is to make us feel like we are not good enough as we are. Research into the impacts of social media on body image shows that social media use increases body dissatisfaction and self-objectification. Social media users are also are more likely to internalise body-ideals, that is adopting the belief that certain body types are more socially acceptable than others. It is a double edged sword as you open yourself up to feedback from others when you post images of yourself and you compare yourself to others in images that they post.

How to stop comparing your body to others online

I’m not saying that you have to avoid social media altogether if you want to stop comparing yourself to others, although it definitely could help! I simply want to raise awareness of this issue and share a few tips from my training in the Non-Diet Approach to Health Coaching on how to stop comparing your body to others online.

Practice mindfulness

Staying mindful is the first step as self-comparison is most toxic when we don’t see clearly what is happening. In particular, when we believe everything that we see online and we create a world view in our head that is different from reality. Exposure to images of ideal body types changes our perception of what is normal in society. We then raise the standard that we set for ourselves. If you spend too much time online comparing your body to others, you can easily start to believe that all women look like models and that you are the only one who doesn’t measure up. Your standards of what is healthy and normal become warped. Especially when you are constantly exposed to images that use posing, lighting and editing to curate a perfect image of beauty.

The simple act of becoming mindful that not everything you see online is real can really help. Stay aware that that social media can negatively impact your body image and self-esteem to reduce these negative effects. Pay attention to how you are thinking and feeling when you spend time on social media. Identify which channels trigger self-criticism or negative self-talk and work towards creating a healthier online space for yourself. Make the conscious effort to bring yourself back to reality and recalibrate your mind by spending time with real people. Observe the huge variety of body shapes and sizes that exist amongst normal, healthy women rather than only comparing your body with images you see on social media.

Use critical thinking skills

Alongside practicing mindfulness, start to think critically whilst you are spending time online. If you view content passively, you let it dictate your emotions and program your subconscious mind. Take a moment to question why that content is there and how it was supposed to make you feel. Remember you are in control of what information you feed into your mind. Question everything! Especially when someone has something to sell, don’t take anything you see or read at face value. Be aware that every image you see is possibly edited or airbrushed and may not represent reality. Even photos from “normal” people who are not trying to sell anything but still want to portray themselves in a certain way.

I had a discussion with a friend not long ago about why she was editing her photos for social media. Her opinion was that it is harmless and just a way to show your best self online. My opinion is that it can be extremely detrimental and create impossibly high standards that you and everyone who sees your photo then feels like they don’t measure up to. It is one thing to see a perfectly curated photo in a glossy magazine advert. In that case you are aware of the amount of work that went into creating the image. But it is entirely another thing to see a “casual” selfie on social media of someone looking completely flawless and suddenly become acutely aware of your own imperfections. So keep a critical eye when you are on social media knowing that everything may not be as it seems.

Cultivate body appreciation

Finally, develop an appreciation and gratitude for your body and all it can do for you. Body appreciation is a proven a weapon against comparing your body with others online. This study showed that women with low body appreciation were more likely to experience body dissatisfaction after watching media adverts. On the other hand, women with a higher body appreciation were more resistant to feeling bad about their body and were more likely to remain neutral. You can nurture a positive attitude towards your body by using techniques such as guided meditations and affirmations. These techniques work by planting the seeds of positive thoughts in your mind. For example by repeating to yourself or writing down statements such as:

  • My body is strong and capable
  • This physical body is unique and beautiful
  • My body enables me to experience the joys of life
  • I am more than my physical body
  • My body is a miracle of life
  • I deserve love and respect

Focus on qualities you like about your body. Perhaps the amazing things your body does everyday or the things it allows you to do. Cultivating respect and gratitude for your body can help to boost your self-esteem and create a more positive body image. Therefore enabling you to be more resistant to comparing your body with others in a negative way. This also gives you the freedom to stay in your own lane when it comes to improving your health. It allows you to focus on healthy behaviours rather than aiming for a particular weight or body shape goal.

Summary: How to stop comparing your body with others

Next time you are online, remember these 3 key points to protect yourself against negative self-comparison:

  1. Practice mindfulness
  2. Use critical thinking
  3. Cultivate body appreciation

In today’s world, with so many potential traps to fall into, it’s so important to be mindful of our thoughts. We need to actively work towards mental health, especially maintaining a healthy sense of self-worth and self-esteem. I try my best to be authentic and honest on my social media platforms. Perhaps that is why I don’t have a huge audience! Unfortunately perfection sells pretty well.. BUT I commit to empowering myself and finding my own path to true health. I encourage you all to give yourself this precious gift too.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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How to deal with weight gain in HA recovery

Hello everyone! Today I want to share my experience with dealing with weight gain in HA recovery. HA stands for Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and is when your periods stop because of under-eating, over-exercising, being underweight for your body or too much stress. I am sharing this because I know a big proportion of my audience have found my page because you are trying to get your period back.

If you want to balance your hormones and find true health after years of restrictive dieting and/or over-exercising then you are in the right place! It’s been 5 years since my recovery from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. I don’t talk about it here as much as I used to. However, I know so many women are still struggling with this and I want to offer support and inspiration.

Weight gain in HA recovery

Dealing with weight gain in HA recovery was one of the most challenging aspects for me. I hear from many women the exact same thing. It can a struggle to let go of exercise and to eat more food but they are actually simple behaviours to change. It’s the thought patterns behind restrictive and controlling behaviours that are hard to change. Accepting weight gain can be extremely difficult as it relates to to our deepest beliefs and fears.

If you haven’t already, you can read my story of how I got my period back after 8 years of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. I also have written about the reasons you can lose your period and the recovery process including how to eat to get your period back, exercise during HA recovery and can you recover your period on a vegan diet. In this article I want to focus on the weight gain aspect of recovery. Particularly my tips for dealing with weight gain in HA recovery.

Not sure what to eat to recover your period? Check out my period recovery meal plan!

Why is dealing with weight gain in HA recovery challenging?

Most of us who have experienced Hypothalamic Amenorrhea did so because of a fixation on maintaining a lower weight than is natural for our body type. A major part of the recovery process is therefore gaining weight. It sounds simple but for many not accepting weight gain is a major roadblock to recovery. I know for me this kept me stuck in “quasi recovery” for years. I gained some weight by eating more and exercising less but I was unable to allow myself to truly let go and let my body reach it’s natural set point.

Often with HA we become attached to a certain image and identity as the skinny one or the fit one. Our mind is corrupted with beliefs around our self-worth and our weight. We believe that gaining weight means letting ourselves go or giving up. We also compare ourselves to others. Especially those who are thinner and still have a healthy period. And we are hyper-critical of our bodies. We are constantly checking and assessing our body against our internalised ideals.

My weight gain in HA recovery

Accepting weight gain is one of the most important mindset shifts we need to make during HA recovery. Allowing yourself to gain weight can also be one of the most difficult. For me personally, I was never underweight according to the BMI scale. This made accepting that I needed to gain weight even more challenging.

I am not going to share specific weight numbers as I don’t want to trigger any comparison. However, I will share that during my recovery I gained a total of 30lbs. This was 10lb during the initial quasi-recovery stage then a further 20lbs in the space of 4 months when I went “all in” . By that I mean zero exercise and completely unrestricted eating.

On my 5ft 2 frame, this was quite shocking to me and I felt extremely uncomfortable in the beginning. My clothes didn’t fit and I felt like I didn’t recognise my body anymore. I was afraid of what other people would think about my changing body. It felt like a total ego death as I let go of my previous identity which revolved around fitness.

I also got tired more easily and I just felt this over all sense of heaviness and lethargy. Now I realise that my tiredness was partly because I had finally stopped exercising and started eating enough food. This allowed my body to go into a deep rest and healing phase. But at the time I blamed my recovery body. Every day it was a struggle not to give up and go back to my old ways.

Tips for dealing with weight gain in HA recovery

In this post, I want to offer my top 3 tips for dealing with weight gain in HA recovery. I also summarise these tips in this video on my Youtube channel, which I filmed earlier this year. These are physical actions you can take to support you through the weight gain process. Alongside this, it is also important to do the mental work of changing your beliefs around body weight and your self-worth. But I will save that for another post! So go ahead and watch the video and read my 3 tips below.

3 simple actions to help with dealing with weight gain in HA recovery

1. Wear comfy clothes which fit

My first tip for dealing with weight gain during recovery is to wear comfortable clothes which fit. It might seem obvious but how many times have you gone back and tried on old clothes during your recovery process? I know I did this a lot in the beginning and I was only torturing myself. I might have woken up in the morning feeling fine in my body. But then I’d try on an old dress or a tight pair of jeans and be totally crushed when they didn’t fit or no longer suited my body. It might seem superficial and I guess it is really. But at the time my mood and self-worth were so tied to my body image and to the thin ideal that I had internalised that it seemed perfectly normal.

So, wearing comfortable, loose fitting clothes that don’t bring awareness to the changes in your body can really help! For me that looked like soft yoga pants with loose tops or flowy, feminine dresses. I avoided tight waistbands, form-fitting dresses and crop tops. I have to say, once I had accepted my new body I went back to wearing these things without an issue. But at least in the beginning it helped to feel more relaxed and less self-conscious of my body as it changed. Also, I spent a lot of time relaxing during my recovery process. So it was really nice to feel comfortable and cosy.

2. Hide the full length mirror

My second tip for dealing with weight gain during recovery is to hide the full length mirror if you have one. I used to have a full length mirror in my bedroom. I would check my body in it several times a day, even more during recovery as I was anxious about the changes I was seeing. In my mind it would ease my anxiety. However, checking the size of my stomach or thighs only made me feel worse and focus on my body more. I am sure many of you can relate to this excessive body checking if you are experiencing Hypothalamic Amenorrhea…

One of the best things I did for my recovery was covering up the mirror with a big colourful scarf. This helped me to break the habit of body checking and shift my awareness to how I was feeling on the inside. After the initial period of fatigue I actually started to feel more energetic and alive and I think not focusing on my outer appearance helped to observe this positive change.

I won’t say that it was easy, in in the beginning I found it tough not to just take a peek. Body checking was almost like an addiction and after quitting cold turkey it became much easier not to do it. It was exactly the same for weighing myself daily, I got rid of the scales and this helped immensely to let go of the fear of seeing those numbers creeping up.

3. Do a social media purge

My third tip for dealing with weight gain during recovery is to do a social media purge. If you are a social media user, you are trying to get your period back and you follow any diet, weight loss and fitness accounts, you are not helping yourself! I know I used to follow so many health and fitness accounts and I would be constantly negatively comparing myself to other people’s bodies online.

Every time I opened up Instagram or YouTube, I would be feeding my mind with ammunition to beat myself up with later. I’d constantly find new things to dislike about my body or areas I didn’t measure up and needed to improve. So at one point it had to stop and I did a huuuuge purge of all of my accounts, unfollowing anyone that I compared myself to or anyone who shared content relating to weight loss or the diet mentality.

Instead I followed normal people with normal, unedited bodies as well as accounts promoting body positivity and the non-diet approach to health which is what I now use with my health coaching clients. This was such a big step and helped me to shift my perspective and let go of some of the ideas about how I should look. I reprogrammed my brain to see what a healthy, female body should look like and this helped me to accept the changes I saw in my own body during recovery.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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How I finally let go of dietary rules and let myself eat more food

One of the hardest things for me in my recovery from disordered eating and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea was finally being able to let go of control around food. I went from restricting the amount of calories I ate and recording every bite in a calorie tracking app to various phases of restrictive diets including dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo and finally all varieties of veganism. Whole foods, high-carb, low-fat, raw foods you name it, I tried it. I was addicted to manipulating my diet in some way or another but now, 3 years later I can honestly say that I eat whatever I like and however much I like. And the ability to not overthink food and trust in my bodies’ signals is one of the most beautiful things about being recovered.

Now as a nutritionist and health coach, I support women through this process of escaping dietary prison to find food freedom, true health and a regular menstrual cycle. With so much information available online and in books, I find that most women know exactly what they need to do but the problem is actually doing it. What seems so simple (eating more food and resting) becomes extremely difficult when we factor in all of the emotional ties and conditioned beliefs around food and body image. We have been brainwashed to believe that we aren’t good enough if we don’t look a certain way and that certain foods are bad for us or even toxic. I found this to be especially prevalent in the raw vegan community where everything is considered toxic, even cooked food.

When I first realised how important it was for me to recover my menstrual cycle and the damage I could have caused to my body through 8 years of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, the first hurdle I had to jump was allowing myself to eat more food. I was so used to dieting and living life with this restrictive mindset that to suddenly jump to eating 2500 calories a day (the minimum recommended for recovery) seemed nearly impossible. One thing that terrified me was this idea of losing control. During this time of restrictive eating, I experienced a lot of binge eating episodes where I would accidently eat more than I intended to or something “unhealthy” and this would trigger a huge overeating spree where I would eat everything in sight. I felt like I had to control every bite or my appetite would over take me.

However, at some point I realised that the more I tried to restrict my food, the stronger the urge to binge became. When I purposely ate less food after a big binge episode, it would only make it more likely to happen again a few days later. Over a period of a few months, I started to entertain the idea that maybe if I just ate more food on a regular basis, the binge eating would stop. I think I even did a calculation of the average number of calories I ate in a week , taking into account days of restriction and binges (see the graph below for a visual!) and I realised that actually I would probably be much happier and my body would be more stable if I just ate that amount consistently each day. I also finally accepted this idea that food is fuel and that our bodies need a certain amount of energy each day just to function and keep all our systems going, even if we are completely sedentary.

And it worked, this was the first step towards letting go of control. That said, I still had a long way to go! Even though I was eating more food and feeling healthier, I was still consciously controlling the amount I ate and the idea of stopping tracking my food or increasing my calorie intake made me extremely anxious. I still avoided certain foods that I believed were unhealthy like bread, dairy and processed foods. Then a funny thing happened. I discovered the idea of a vegan diet, first through watching documentaries about the environmental impact of animal agriculture and then through the world of Vegan YouTube which was booming at that time. Back in 2015, everyone in this community was promoting the idea that you can “eat as much as you want, as long as it is plant-based” and stay slim and healthy. I was so desperate to be free of this restrictive mindset, but I still was so attached to maintaining a low body weight that I fell straight for it.

This led to a weird couple of years where on one hand I felt extremely free and I allowed myself to eat more food than I ever had, without tracking. However this control that I had around food hadn’t disappeared, it had only shifted to another form. I no longer checked the calories for every food I ate, but I would rarely eat anything that wasn’t vegan or a whole-food e.g. fruit, vegetables, starches, nuts and seeds. I did get my period back during this time because I was finally providing my body with enough fuel, but I still suffered with signs of hormonal imbalance and other chronic health issues like insomnia and fatigue. Because I had allowed myself to be brainwashed by the idea that a vegan diet cures everything I thought that I needed to be more strict with my diet if I wanted to heal. Actually it was an illusion of freedom and abundance that took me a while to identify and break free from.

Don’t get me wrong, the foods I ate when I was vegan were very healthy but as PART of a balanced diet, not the whole diet!

So fast forward 3 years, I started to realise that some health problems I was trying to heal from via my vegan diet could actually be a result of this very diet which was really quite restrictive. I also started to experience new health issues out of nowhere which I couldn’t explain like dry skin, hair loss and constipation. I never considered that it could be the vegan diet but once I started to research online, I discovered a whole community of people talking about how their vegan diet had impacted their health in a negative way. I read stories of people who had done a complete U-turn and adopted a high-fat, animal-based keto or even carnivore diet and were claiming to have healed their chronic health issues. I could have fallen down this rabbit too but luckily, this really opened my eyes to the real situation, that humans can survive on many different diets and that we thrive on a variety of foods.

I had believed for years that animal products caused all sorts of health issues and here were people healing using these exact foods. Same with calorie restriction, for years I had thought this was the healthy thing to do until I found out about the impact of dieting on our hormones and our overall health. Finally, I started to open my mind and see that when it comes to nutrition and I discovered that there is so much conflicting information out there and you can find research to back up any claim that you want. The online health and wellness sphere is a minefield and it is almost random which hole you fall down. The problem with social media is that once you fall down a hole and adopt a certain mindset, you only see information which supports these views. If you want to question your beliefs you really have to make the effort to seek out new information because everything that is fed to you is more of the same.

(Side note – I recommend the documentary The Social Dilemma if you are interested in learning more about how social media sells our attention as it’s main product!)

Luckily, this was also the time that I decided to go back to university and study for a Masters’ degree in nutrition because I knew I wanted to help women heal their hormones using food. This gave me a much better understanding of human nutrition and metabolism and an understanding of the damage that extreme or restrictive diets in any form can do to the body. During my years of study, I adopted a much more balanced diet. I reintroduced animal-based foods and processed foods in moderation. I completely let go of all my conditioned beliefs around food and stared to understand both the health and environmental benefits of eating more seasonal and traditional foods. It’s funny because my diet is definitely much less like the typical “healthy diet” now and yet I am healthier than ever. I feel like we are given the false idea that we are either following the typical SAD junk-food diet or that we are on some super restrictive clean diet when in reality there is a huge grey areas between those extremes where, I believe, true health can be found.

Now I eat ice-cream and crisps but also salads, fruits and organic meat. I realised that foods are not inherently good or bad, they just has more or less energy and nutrients. Even processed foods with additives are fine in moderation our body can handle them and, despite what healers in the detox world say, they do not build up in our tissues and need to be purged by colonics and fruit fasting. Sure, if you only eat processed foods and don’t provide your body with enough nutrients, it will be overloaded. Plus, such cleansing practices have been used by ancient cultures on an annual basis for example but you only need to look at long-term detox practitioners to see that this restriction and stress actually ages the body causing premature skin damage and thin, poor quality hair, never mind the likely damage to internal organs. Perhaps it is vain, but seeing this reality really helped me to let go of some of my lingering fears around certain foods.

Some examples of foods that I had written off as unhealthy which are actually very nourishing for the body and soul!

I think to finally let go of dietary rules and surrender to the unexplored territory that is your natural appetite, a key thing is to really explore this idea of control. Why do you need it and what does it really mean to be in control? My idea of control has shifted dramatically over the last few years. I used to feel in control when I ate clean and resisted my hunger. I now see control as taking my health into my own hands and making decisions based on what works for my unique body, rather than listening to the advice of others who claim to have found the holy grail in terms of food and lifestyle. It also helps to consider your idea of health and what it means to be healthy. For me health is a feeling, having energy, a strong and fertile body and feeling free to live my life and have fun. No restrictive diet ever gave me health in these terms but I never considered that at the time.

This post is perhaps a bit long and jumbled but I think it is really important to talk about this subject and I wanted to write without editing. I speak to clients and female friends and so many have been indoctrinated into some dietary cult or another. Whether it is an attachment to the low-fat, low-calorie diet and the idea of being skinny or whether it is an obsession with clean eating and having a cupboard full of supplements at home, it’s so unnatural and is so far away from true health. Breaking free of whatever dietary rules and restrictions you have become attached to is a personal journey and a decision that only you can take but I hope that my story at least helps you to see that there is another way to find health and it is one that can include chocolate!

Over to you…

Please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts on this topic, I’d love to hear your opinions and have a discussion. If you found this article interesting, please like this post and follow my blog to be notified when I post something new.

If you are looking for guidance, support and accountability on you health journey, please contact me or check out the nutrition and holistic health coaching packages I offer. I am a qualified Public Health Nutritionist and hatha yoga teacher and my specialty is helping women to balance their hormones and heal their body and metabolism after restrictive dieting. I would love to work together with you to move past any health blocks and get you feeling your best again!

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How to get your period back on a vegan diet

Women often ask me whether it’s possible to heal your hormones and get your period back on a vegan diet. In this post I will give my opinion and explain my reasons why. If you haven’t read my previous posts on the HA recovery diet and how I got my period back, I’d recommend to check those out first before going ahead with this one. There I explain all about the factors that can cause your period to disappear or become irregular. I also explain in detail and the nutrition strategy to recover your menstrual cycle after Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

So to return to the initial question: can you get your period back on a vegan diet? The short answer is yes, it’s absolutely possible and I did it myself. I went vegan in 2015 after watching documentaries about the environmental impact of animal agriculture and the health benefits of a plant-based diet. At the time I was committed and I chose to maintain my vegan diet whilst trying to recover my period. I did manage to get my period back after 4 months of going “all-in” with my diet and no exercise. So it is definitely possible to get your period back on a vegan diet!

However, does this mean I recommend a vegan diet to my clients? Or that I believe it is optimal to get your period back on a vegan diet? Definitely not! In fact, I am no longer vegan and re-introduced animal products to my diet 3 years ago. Although I have no regrets, if I could go back in time with the information I have now I would definitely choose differently. Here are a few reasons why it might be more difficult to get your period back on a vegan diet. This is a topic I have researched extensively over the years and I have personal experience with.

Why might it be hard to get your period back on a vegan diet?

Eating the amount of calories needed to heal

One of the important factors for many women with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is eating enough calories. When you lose your period due to an energy imbalance, increasing your energy intake is very important. You need to eat enough to support your bodily functions and daily activities. Plus extra for healing and repair of damage caused by malnourishment. You can definitely do this on a vegan diet simply by eating more food. However, as many plant-based foods are more calorie dilute this can be a struggle!

Fruit and vegetables, starchy carbs and legumes all have a high amount of water and fiber. If you base your vegan diet on these healthy whole foods, you might find that you get full before you consume the amount of calories that your body really needs. This makes a plant-based diet great for weight loss! Unfortunately, it’s counter-productive when boosting your energy intake is your goal. If you want to get your period back on a vegan diet you need to eat a lot of food!

How to eat more calories on a vegan diet

Adding in energy dense vegan foods such as nuts and seeds, nut butters, oil and processed foods helps. These foods are lower in water and fibre. This means they take up less space in your stomach and are easier on your digestive system. But in my experience, bloating and other digestive issues are likely. Even when consuming the minimum calorie intake for healing your hormones. As a vegan I ate a lot of beans, vegetables and nut butters which are all super high in fibre. Actually I forgot how it felt not to be bloated until I finally reduced the amount of fibre I was consuming.

If you want to try to get your period back on a vegan diet, focus on lower fibre foods. Don’t get caught up in the low fat trend. Eat fats from nuts, seeds and coconut. Opt for easy to digest foods such as bread or crackers with jam, processed cereals and plant-based milk. However, as I will come to in the next point, these are not the most nutritious foods. Therefore, you might find that your body needs a large quantity of them to satisfy your nutrient needs for healing.

Getting adequate nutrients

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is an issue primarily of energy imbalance, but as all foods contain both macro and micronutrients, not eating enough food can easily lead to nutritional deficiencies. Part of recovering your menstrual cycle is nutritional rehabilitation. This means flooding the body with as many building blocks for repair as possible. Nutrients that can be difficult to obtain and absorb in a vegan diet include iron, calcium, vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin D.

Under stress our bodies also use some nutrients at a much faster rate than usual. Yes, it is theoretically possible to eat a well planned vegan diet which meets all of the recommended daily amounts. However, we don’t have control of our internal processes. Often hormonal imbalance and compromised digestion go hand in hand. If your digestion is poor, you can’t be sure you are benefitting from all of these nutrients.

Nutritional rehabilitation on a vegan diet

It’s important to reflect on your history with dieting. Consider if your past experience with restricting the amount or types of foods you eat could put you at risk of nutrient deficiencies. If you’re unsure you can also ask your doctor to run a blood test for the key nutrients. If you have the budget, you can also order tests online via companies such as Thriva or Forth. What ever diet you follow, make sure to include foods containing these nutrients to rebuild your stores.

The only problem is that there may also be additional compounds present in animal products which we don’t yet fully understand and aren’t covered by tests. I think it is better to heal your body with a high nutrient, omnivorous diet. Then once your body is healthy and functioning optimally you can consider adopting a more plant-based diet long term if you desire. You want to make the healing process and simple as possible for yourself! You have a whole lifetime to follow a vegan diet once you get your period back and your body is healthy again.

Quantity and type of fat on a vegan diet

In general, a vegan diet tends to be higher in carbohydrates and lower in fat compared to diets including animal-based products. In addition, the fats available in plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados are generally poly-unsaturated fats. There is some research to suggest that these fats are actually less supportive to metabolic health. Conversely, saturated fats which you mostly find in meat and dairy, are pro-metabolic.

Losing your period is commonly a sign of being in a lower metabolic state. So you really want to be eating a metabolism supporting diet to get your period back. I am by no means saying nuts and seeds are unhealthy and that you should avoid them entirely. But when you want to send the body the signal that the famine is over and its safe to rev up the metabolism and reproductive system, you want to make sure you are consuming enough saturated fat.

Adding in more fat from coconut is a good step towards a more metabolically supportive vegan diet. Eating coconut oil, milk or flakes will make it easier to get your period back on a vegan diet. However, consuming more variety of fats and nutrients from animal based sources will take your diet to the next level.

Low cholesterol on a vegan diet

Animal fats also contain cholesterol which is another nutrient you want to include daily when you are trying to get your period back. Often cholesterol is demonised and nutrition guidelines tell us to avoid high-cholesterol foods if we want to be healthy. When it comes to hormone balancing and especially recovering from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, hormone production is lower than it should be. In this case, having some cholesterol in your diet is actually beneficial and speed up the healing process.

Cholesterol is a building block for reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are necessary for a healthy menstrual cycle and regular period! Cholesterol cannot be synthesised by plants and is only found in animal-based foods such as meat and eggs. Therefore consuming even a small amount of these foods on a regular basis can support your hormone healing process.

Overcoming mental restriction

This is a tricky one because personally, adopting a vegan diet was what finally enabled me to let go of restrictive dieting and allow myself to eat an abundance of food. Because I was no longer focusing on choosing food to maintain a low body weight. I was focused on sourcing ethical food which took the focus away from calories and allowed me to eat more. That said, once I finally decided to let go of veganism and re-introduce animal products, I experienced a whole new level of food freedom which I didn’t know I was missing.

Especially in social situations where I had always felt isolated being the only vegan. I think you have to be very honest with yourself about the reason you want to follow a vegan diet. Is there is any chance that a desire to restrict your food is influencing your decision? Are you consuming a balanced vegan diet or are there still rules and restrictions present? Do you still fear certain foods because you believe they are toxic or will make you gain weight?

Restrictive vegan diet rabbit holes

Unfortunately, there are also many rabbit holes to fall down when it comes to the vegan diet. This can lead to some pretty extreme dietary restrictive diets. Raw vegan, starch solution, high carb low fat, 80 10 10, vegan keto just to name a few! So while it is possible to get your period back on a vegan diet, I’d say that for a full mental recovery following a balanced diet that includes all foods is optimal.

Coming back to the idea of safety, you want to create an environment of abundance. You need to really allow your body to relax and heal. This requires abundance both in terms of quantity and variety of foods. If you are 100% sure that you are choosing a vegan diet for ethical reasons only, support your body better by eating a varied and balanced vegan diet. Don’t be being seduced by the health claims of these more restricted vegan diets!

So is it really possible to get your period back on a vegan diet?

So those are my thoughts on why a vegan diet is not optimal when trying to recover your period. I understand that for some, eating animal products is simply not an option. So I hope the few tips for how you can modify your vegan diet to be more hormonally supportive were also helpful. Are you interested in this topic? Would you like me to talk more about my experience with getting my period back on a vegan diet? Leave me a message or email me at lovemoonlife.mail@gmail.com.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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