The last time I wrote about my self-titled “Operation Period”, I was dedicating myself to relaxation. I was coming to terms with exercising less and eating more. Sounds easy right? Well, unfortunately, for someone who used to spend countless hours in the gym, this has been easier said than done. I spent a couple of months trying to fuel my body with whatever I thought it wanted and never forcing myself to go to the gym. I ended up going to the gym 3-4 days a week and not tracking any of my food. I thought I was on the fast-track to encountering my long lost Aunt Flow; however, she was more distant than I thought.
May came around, and I realized I hit the 2 year mark without a female cycle. As troublesome as they can be, you really miss them when they’re gone. I felt like a freak of nature and less of a woman. So, I did what I didn’t want to do, and I sought out medical attention from an OBGYN. It was the first time I truly felt listened to by a doctor, and I was given a prescription. With that paper in hand, I thought I had a golden ticket to the world.
Fast-forward to September, and I was still in the same boat. Sure, I had a period or two, but they hadn’t been “real”. Each time the medication kick-started me, my body fell flat, and I couldn’t keep it going. On one hand, it made me feel validated in my thoughts that something was off with me and my hormones. My increased anxiety, fatigue, and low motivation for life weren’t (and aren’t) a figment of my imagination. On the other hand, it really sucked. I had tried to promote living a healthy lifestyle and do things right, and I felt like I was being punished for it.
I asked myself if I had been trying hard enough. Had I still been moving too much? Was I holding back? It didn’t take much reflection to know that I was clutching to and being drug by the wagon that I so desperately wanted to be on. With the guide of other women in a similar position to me, I cranked it up even more. I decided to cut out intense exercise virtually completely and to start loosely tracking my food to eat at least 2500 calories a day. I saw multiple accounts of this approach work for other women, and it seemed that almost everything I researched agreed. I had nothing to lose at this point right?
Now that a week of October has passed, I haven’t done a proper workout in the gym in over a month, and I have been accomplishing my dietary goals. The only physical activity I have really done is walking and indoor rock-climbing about once a week just for fun. In a way, I have both lost and gained things in this process. Most obviously, I’ve gained about 5 pounds in the last month or so. This puts me about 25 pounds higher than when I was at my rock bottom. I mostly fit into my same clothes, but they definitely hug me differently. The weight has distributed itself across my body in a pretty natural way. I must admit that I do feel more womanly. I’ve also gained time, which has been both a blessing and a curse.
All of the hours that I spent in the gym suddenly had to be filled with something different. I felt like my identity was ripped out, and I had nothing left to do or relate with. Luckily, I have a husband that forces me to try new things and enjoys hanging out with me in his free time. In this, I have discovered that I actually love to bake, read, and indoor rock climb. Also, my house tends to be a little bit cleaner. I won’t lie though. Each day is a struggle. Each day I have to consciously tell myself (and have Noah tell me) that I am beautiful and worth spending time with, that I am a whole person. Some days, I am better at this than others.
I haven’t completed this Operation yet, but I’m hopeful that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I may not look the same when I come out of the other side, and that is something that I’m still coming to terms with. At the end of the day, I hope my journey promotes a different kind of health than when I first started this blog, and this health transcends body image. Until next time,
PS: I highly recommend watching Stephanie Buttermore’s Youtube videos regarding her “All In” experience- See link here
Double PS: This photo is oddly full-circle for me.