I don't know if many people are going to disagre with me on this post but I'm gonna post this anyway. I read a couple posts here about amenorrhea so I wanted to share my story about it and my experience with dieting as well. I'm 18 years old at the moment and have hypogonadotropic hypogonadism , also known as athlete's amenorrhea.
When I was 7, I was overweight, not obese, but pretty overweight. Puberty hit at an early age, so to avoid getting my period at the age of 7, doctors put me on Lupron shots for a year. So this delayed my getting my period....a lot. So the Lupron shots must've reaaaaaalllly affected my system because the doctors got pretty worried when I didn't get my period by the age 13. My weight had kind of evened out by then, but I was still on the high end of the spectrum for a 7th grader. (4'11'' and 123 lbs) So they put me on Provera for a week and that's when I got my period. My periods had been pretty irregular (once in every 2-4 months) for the past 4 years. Possibly because my weight had fluctuated a lot. (went from 125 to 103, to 137, to 125 again because of yo-yo dieting) Last summer-fall, for three months in a row, I got my period with an interval of 35 days. I was ecstatic.
However, I was still not happy with how I looked. (5'2.5'' 124 lbs,BMI about 22) I know that's a normal weight, but my hips are pretty large compared to my waist, and its really annoying. It's frustrating to see 145 lbs. women wear a size 4-6 in jeans when I, weighing 20 lbs less than they do, have to take a 8-10. I just thought, hey I'm going to college next year, so I want a new beginning with no body image problems. I also figured that if I reduced my overall body fat, my hips might look smaller and more toned compared to the rest of my body. Boy, was I wrong! I went on the South Beach Diet Phase 1 in December. I bailed out on the 12th day after losing 3 lbs. I also gained those 3 lbs plus another 3 lbs within a week. I decided to just exercise and not diet. I managed to lose those 3 lbs over a week. So at the end of January, I was back where I started, at 124 lbs. For the month of February, I kept up my exercise regularly (about 3x a week) but I was getting very frustrated and I knew I had to diet if I wanted to lose weight. So I decided to try Turbo Jam. The workouts were really a blast and I didnt have to force myself to exercise, I just looked forward to it everyday. The Cardio party is 45 minutes of dancing and jumping around and I didn't even feel like I was exercising although I was dripping with sweat at the end. On top of cardio 4x week, I did the Turbo sculpt, which was 45 minutes of weight training, 1x a week. My diet was low-fat and semi low-carb. The plan was to eat 1100-1200 calories every day. First ten days, the only carbs I got came from vegetables, milk, yogurt and 1 slice of bread everyday. After ten days I gradually increased the carbs to about 100 g. per day by adding some fruit to my diet and upped the protein to about 120,gr. and really cut back on the fat. So the diet plan was to have 40-45% protein/40% carb and 20% fat.
In 40 days, I had only lost 4 lbs. I had lost 2'' from my waist and 1'' from my hips. But I was so frustrated, and so burned out. I had added 1.5 hours of tennis to my exercise routine for the past two weeks, (because tennis season started) I was moody all the time because I hadn't gotten my period in 5 months. I cried for absolutely no reason. I enjoyed nothing I was doing because I was so busy planning my next meal, saving wrappers, or trying to break down the nutrition content of my food intake. I binged 4x during those 40 days. When I say binge, i really mean binge. (I had never binged before in my life) I sat down and ate a half gallon of peanut butter ice-cream, then half a jar of peanut butter (strait out of the jar), 10 slices of bread and jelly, then topped it off with lindt truffles. I went to my endocrinologist yesterday. She told me that my diet had been way too restrictive. Apparently losing too much body fat can signal your body to stop producing estrogen. This causes amenorrhea. As a result my endometrium wasn't building up and I wasn't getting my period. I weighed in at 120 lbs. My pulse was 45, and my blood pressure was very low. The doctor couldn't believe that my body was able to go through that much exercise everyday on 1200 calories. My body was trying to save every ounce of its energy to keep from burning out. Hence the low pulse and blood pressure...etc.
So this was my experience with dieting. I ate a healthy balance of carbs, protein and fats. I exercised 5x a week. What did I do to my body? I lowered my body fat levels...too much. I messed up my hormones just as they were beginning to stabilize. I slowed down my metabolism to the point at which my body thinks there's a worldwide famine going on, and I don't know how to fix it. I am stuck eating some form of cottage cheese and eggs every morning. My hips are still disproportionately large for my top. On top of that, my psychological state is a mess. I am OBSESSED with food. I constantly think about calories and fat and proteins and carbohydrates. They take over my life. I don't enjoy spending time with my friends. I DO NOT enjoy anything I eat. I feel so guilty when I eat. And once I start eating something I consider to be bad...like peanut butter or ice cream, I CANNOT stop. I feel like I have no control over my hands when they open a tub of ice cream. They have a mind of their own. I am constantly in a daze. When I'm not thinking about food, I'm talking about food. When I look at people,I only see body shapes. I constantly compare my body with other people's bodies. I can no longer see people in a different light. They are just a heap of matter, fat or muscle. I live in fear of gaining weight, ALL THE TIME. I cannot eat anything...not just cookies, or cake....ANYTHING....without feeling guilty. I live in constant guilt. I am not happy. I am quite depressed. I feel shallow and vain. I feel like there's a beast inside of me. And what did I have to gain?? I can fit in a size 6...well probably not for long.
I learned that your body image can really mess up with your health. I was completely healthy at 125 lbs, and size 8-10. The pressures I put upon myself...and I kno I'm the only one guilty for making myself this way... were way out of line. I learned that not everyone can look a certain body type. I'm never going to have normal sized hips. Some people's bodies just tend to need more fat; this does not make them any less healthy, in my case, that's what made me healthy and regular. So I've decided that I cannot sacrifice not getting my period for sake of losing weight. I want to have kids one day for certain and if I look like I weight 20 lbs more than I do because of my large hips, so be it.
I know I'm not going to be able to stay at 1200 or even 1500 calories. I know that's necessary for maintenance but I just love food too much. I'm probably going to follow a 1800-2000 calorie diet, as I did before I started dieting. So I'd like to ask everyone if they have any suggestions for me to get my metabolism back. And how to start menstruating again, without gaining too much weight. And any suggestions for me to stop binging, and not obsess so much over food. Or any comments at all.
Thanks for taking the time,
stress ME out