I have been waiting for years to write this blog post:
– 2.5 years ago- I was confused. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting my period. My brain fog was so thick that I didn’t realize my sadness and exhaustion had anything to do with my hormones or low body weight. My doctor at the time told me that it could be normal for some women to need extra time after getting off of birth control for their regular cycle to kick in. I left without worries.
– 1.5 years ago, I felt defeated. I decided to seek a different doctor’s opinion, and I was more than frustrated at her response. She offered to put me back on birth control, and I thought I was going to cry right there in the room. I left with a referral and a heavy heart.
-.5 years ago, I felt determined. 2 years was just too long to not have any answers. I finally acted on my referral and went to a specialized doctor. I told them my background, but it is hard to explain just how far I took my body a few years back. They didn’t tell me that I needed to gain more weight for my body to be happy, but I knew it in the back of my head. I left with an action plan, a few prescriptions, and a heavy heart.
~3 months ago. The medication that I was given didn’t seem to be working, so I started doing what I knew I needed to do for a long time. With inspiration from the Youtuber Stephanie Buttermore, I went “All In” by eating as much as I wanted (but at least over 2500 calories a day) and not working out. It was hard to see the pounds start coming on, but I began to feel more and more like myself once I got over the void of my fitness passion.
Now- I thought the day would never come when I rejoiced at the arrival of Aunt Flo. Cramps, I’ll take them. Bloating, I’ll take it. Having a well-operating female body is a gift, and I will never take it for granted again. 30 pounds. 30 pounds over my lowest weight is what it took for me to get my period back on track. Even with 30 pounds (over 25 % of my starting weight), I can still fit in many of my clothes. My body obviously needed the extra love so badly that I can still get myself into size 0-2 jeans, because the weight was needed everywhere. Overall, I feel more feminine and energized. Noah even thinks that I look more beautiful than ever before, but then again, he could be just a little biased. Beyond my physical changes, I feel happier, and aspects of my life that once seemed hopeless don’t really bother me anymore. I still have low moments and even low days, but they are not the norm. Often times, grabbing a quick bite to eat is enough to lift me out of it.
I think this timeline would have been much shorter if I had made myself get out of my comfort zone sooner. Even after getting a specialized blood test that reported low female hormone levels, I didn’t go the extra mile. As you can see, I started to see changes once I took the situation very seriously. I value healthy living, but sometimes our bodies need medical help. That said, even the medication that I was on didn’t push me over the hump until I fully let go my control of “looking good” and living “clean”. I’d be lying if I said that eating more and exercising less was the only factor in my healing, because the doctors were messing with my prescriptions as well. I believe it was a mixture of both.
If I were to give anyone in a similar position as me some advice, I would say to trust the process. Our bodies and chemistry don’t change overnight even though we may want them to. I hear people say all the time that eating extra a couple of days won’t change anything; however, the flip side is also true. Making your body feel safe and comfortable after an extended period of deprivation will take time. Even though you may be at a “normal” weight, your body may need some more convincing, and it’s not the end of the world. Also, medication does its best to help, but it is not necessarily a miracle worker. Trust that it and your doctors know what they are doing.
Being underweight and restricting your body are serious health concerns. Wanting to look like people on social media or in Hollywood may seem like a good idea at the time, but there are consequences and more important things in life. For me, my issues didn’t start by wanting to look good. I think I just wanted to control something in the midst of being in a major at college that I didn’t love with no direction or goals. If you catch yourself labeling foods as “safe” or “unsafe”, exercising out of fear/anxiety, or hating what you see in the mirror even if you are at a healthy weight, then go tell someone and get help. It is a slippery slope my friend, and I don’t want you to experience what I did. I lost years of my life to sadness, and it took years to turn it around.
Completing Operation Period was a goal that I wrote at the beginning of the year, and I was beginning to think I would not be able to finish it. I am so thankful for my health, and I am thankful to be able to share it with all of you. Closure never felt so good (and crampy).