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-   -   Overtraining/Undereating... Worst Case Scenario (https://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/exercise/219719-overtraining-undereating-worst-case-scenario.html)

mkroyer 12-14-2010 07:11 PM

Overtraining/Undereating... Worst Case Scenario
Theres been a lot of discussion lately, whether specifically or generally, about overtraining... it seems many are uneducated about how serious it can be, how easy it is to do, and what the warning signs are..... Many assume that if they lose X pounds eating this much and working out this much, they can lose 2X pounds eating lerss and working out more.... sometimes that works..... many times it doesnt....

Of course, there are many many numerious factors that come into play with regards to what constitutes overtraining for YOUR body, and what symptoms you get or dojnt get..... many people dont realize the very direct impact overtraining has on fat loss (or more accurately, lack-there-of) and many other functions in your body, from metabolism and reproduction to your immune sytem, hormones and psychological and emotional well-being..... But i digress....
i wanted to share my own personal experience and the dire circumstances i now find myself in.....
to very briefly sum up, for the past year and a half i have been suffering symptoms of overtraining, as a result of not eating enough, and training too much with little to no-recovery. I trained for and ran 3 marathons on approx 1200 cals a day... i didnt know any better.....
fast forward to the present...... i havent had a period in a year and a half and went to go see an endocrinologist, believing my thyroid functioning had been compromised. After 3 weeks of testing, my doctor has determined that tho my thyroid hormone levels are *normal*, my estrogen level is undetectable, and whats even more frightening, my pituitary glad has stopped working. For those who dont know, your pituitary glad is like the control center for your hormone production in your body.

in a nutshell, i now have a tumor in my pituitary gland.... at 30 years old and i have progressed to a menopausal state, with an on-set of osteoporosis.
This is not "genetic".... i literally did this to myslef.......

JessLess 12-14-2010 08:36 PM

Sorry, I hope you can find a doctor or treatment plan to help you.

krampus 12-14-2010 09:01 PM

*big hug.* I'm wishing the best for you. Thank you for making this post - it's easy to get carried away.

ncuneo 12-14-2010 09:28 PM

I saw this on the home page and the first person I thought of was you MK. Big hugs and thanks for posting to try and get some education out there. I think those of us who've been overweight can be extremist and slide right over to what you're describing. I sure hope the dr is able to help you find a solution and I hope you're being kind to your body. Hang in there, I truly believe that just as with the issues that come with obesity those that come after can be reversed by establishing good habits.

shelle58704 12-14-2010 09:37 PM

Wow. I'm so sorry.

saef 12-14-2010 10:12 PM

MK, I am very sorry to read this. Did you just hear from the endocrinologist today? So you are still processing what this means.

I'm trying to understand your situation better, too, myself. You mean that overtraining & under-fueling oneself can literally lead to a tumor growing in one's pituitary gland? Tumors are so mysterious to me; I always thought their cause was very hard to determine. But maybe not here.

I may have mentioned in a thread on which you posted that my period stopped many years ago for about 18 months, after I lost 100 pounds, couldn't stop losing compulsively, and developed anorexia. This all happened when I was about your age. I did not run marathons, but I did exercise for three hours daily, speed walking, stationary bike like a demon, and oh, the aerobics classes, specifically step classes, a great big fad of the time. (I didn't do weight training. Didn't know any women who did, really: Just the pink Barbie weights during some aerobics routines.) At the same time, I dropped my calories really low. I have no idea how low because I didn't count them. But describing what I ate in the course of a day (or didn't eat) would appall most people here. At any rate, when my eating disorder changed from overrestricting & overexercising to bingeing, and I couldn't exercise off the weight from the binges, and gained back about 15-20 pounds, my period returned. I didn't have the sense to go to an endocrinologist, as you did, but I did see someone at Planned Parenthood, who shrugged it off & told me basically to come back to see them if it never came back, ever. So I have no way of knowing if our situations are analogous; they may very well not be. But I do want to repeat to you, I did get my period back once my body composition changed.

Did your doctor give you any sense at all that your situation is, if not reversible, then somehow able to slowed or alleviated with medication or diet?

I should have mentioned before now, I'm so glad you're here, because I like your posts a lot, and you come across to me as someone who's become very educated about training & fueling. Also, since I am someone who once had an eating disorder, I am very troubled by people posting here who I think may be going the same way, often without realizing it, and I am glad for a strong, sane voice speaking up with the facts.

Best wishes for coping with this thing. :hugs:

joyfulloser 12-14-2010 10:12 PM

Hopefully most of the damage is reversible. I think it very loving to share your story in the hopes of saving someone else from learning the hard way.:hug:

twinmommaplusone 12-14-2010 10:22 PM

Wow, I'm REALLY sorry you are going through this. I hope you find a treatment plan that allows you to feel good again.

With that said, there is NO connection between the two. Many People run and train aggressively and never get tumors on their pituitary. I was thinking as I read your post I was going to read something about an increased risk of several other factors like inflammation and injury but not tumor growth.

I just dont want people actually believing that over-doing it can cause those sorts of problems.


MariaMaria 12-15-2010 12:21 AM

I'm sorry you're going through this and I hope your doctors are able to get you back to normal.

In general, losing your period should be a HUGE HONKING warning sign that you're doing something wrong.

(Aside for the distance runners: Raise your hand if you were just a bit surprised to see both Paula Radcliffe [again] and Kara Goucher pregnant. Yeah, me too.)

joyfulloser 12-15-2010 08:01 AM


Originally Posted by twinmommaplusone (Post 3608333)
With that said, there is NO connection between the two.

This is from the link you provided:

"The cause of uncontrolled cell growth in the pituitary gland, creating a tumor, remains unknown".

Unknown...so we don't really know WHAT causes it...do we?


Originally Posted by twinmommaplusone (Post 3608333)
Many People run and train aggressively and never get tumors on their pituitary. I was thinking as I read your post I was going to read something about an increased risk of several other factors like inflammation and injury but not tumor growth.

As I'm sure many people do. Without taking my own personal poll of the millions of runners, how can anyone be sure?


Originally Posted by twinmommaplusone (Post 3608333)
I just dont want people actually believing that over-doing it can cause those sorts of problems.

...many people are able to do their own research, speak to their doctors, get medical testing and form "educated" opinions of their own without the benefit of other people's "opinions". I guess that's what is so amazing about "opinions"...we all have one.:)

toastedsmoke 12-15-2010 08:55 AM

Wow mkroyer, I'm really sorrY to hear that you're going through this! :hug: please know you're in my thoughts and I hope everything turns out well for you.

As far as overtraining goes, I agree with everyone above who said that we who are trying to lose weight tend to be very susceptible. I still have a lot of weight to lose but I'd think nothing of working out (hard cardio) for 2-3 hours on 1000-1300 calories a day. And logically speaking if you still have a lot to lose, you may not notice any negative health effects now, but it's building a habit that could become a problem when you eventually reach goal! I don't consider myself an overtrainer because in my mind I don't work out hard enough (I'm not a competitive runner or training for any specific purpose other than weightloss and general wellbeing) so I tend to pat myself on the back on days when I do a long, hard workout and have eaten light, forgetting that my life and my health is more than the number I get to see on the scale on weigh in day and that food is more than a challenge, it's most important function is fuel so I can keep on keeping on.

Does this mean I am allowed to eat double the calories because I went for a jog? NO! But it does mean I have to try to be reasonable when allocating myself calories for the day, and up them a little on hard workout days. Someone brought up Paula Radcliffe earlier and I remember reading she ate something like 3200 calories a day while in training. And of course she did! She's probably working out hours and hours a day. (I'm not saying this Should be replicated unspervised by an amateur runner but just to keep things in perspective). But just as mkroyer did I bet the majority of us if we were training hard for a marathon and running hours a day would think nothing of keeping our calorie intake at 1200-1500. It's really sad how our battle with weight turns us normally rational and intelligent people into people that do things which if we removed ourselves from the situation, we'd realize were patently dangerous, things we'd never want our friends, sisters or children to do because they sounded too extreme to be healthy.

Mkroyer I hope you get well soon and I hope we also all make an extra effort to look after ourselves.

myk98it 12-15-2010 09:14 AM

This is a good article from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Health Issues for Women Athletes: Exercise- Induced Amenorrhea

I do not have enough posts to add the link. Hopefully you can google it and find this research paper.

joyfulloser 12-15-2010 09:45 AM


Originally Posted by myk98it (Post 3608651)
This is a good article from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Health Issues for Women Athletes: Exercise- Induced Amenorrhea

Here goes it:


Thanks...great article. But after reading it and some of the other comments here...I think I'm lazy and lack willpower!:?: First, I could not even IMAGINE doing more than an 1 - 1 1/2 hrs exercise in one day...Second, when I'm hungry, I eat...the more I exercise, the hungrier I get, so yes, I eat. I choose healthy foods like fruit, nuts, yogart, etc., but I do eat. If I were running a marathon (26 miles???:dizzy: ) I'd probably eat about 3,000 calories...EASY...NO PROBLEM THERE!!! HAHA!

With that said, and I've said this before...I think the true problem lies with the ALL or NOTHING attitude. Most people don't get overweight by exercising too much or eating too little (albeit some do from eating too little:^: ), we generally gain too much weight from eating TOO MUCH and exercising TOO LITTLE! When we try to reverse this process we quickly fall into the the reverse (exercising TOO MUCH and eating TOO LITTLE). It's a vicious cycle. MODERATION is key. Food is not bad. Food is energy. You NEED energy to exercise. Everything works in synergy.

Just some food for thought. It's only taken me 43 yrs to figure this one out!:dizzy:

Eliana 12-15-2010 09:48 AM

You're right, many people who have been obese or just overweight are extremists. All-or-nothing mentality runs deep around here. I personally appreciate the warning and am planning on taking that "break" we talked about very soon now. :D Looking forward to it!

Slim CB 12-15-2010 09:54 AM

:hug: mkroyer I am really sorry to hear and I am sure many of us will be heeding your advice.

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