The Truth Is…

How’s that for a dramatic title!?

I’m not revealing anything new to y’all, but I did want to update you on how my body’s been doing since I decided to cut down the exercise and bump up the eating about three months ago.

First things first: I have not gotten my period back, and in fact, I haven’t really had any signs of it at all (besides a little bit of acne?). Yeah, I’m getting a little pretty darn frustrated, but I’m doing my best to stick with it and be patient.

The truth is… Even though I’ve decreased exercise significantly (mostly yoga, walking, stretching, and some bodyweight strength exercises), I think my body has still been stressed in other ways besides exercise: lack of sleep, lots of traveling, moving back into college, anxious feelings more often than I’d like. I also don’t really feel out of shape, which I guess is good, but it’s also indicative of how hard my heart is still working just doing daily activities.

I’ve gained almost 10 lbs. (mostly fat, some muscle) in the past three months, and I feel more energetic. (I had to go on a shopping spree for a whole new set of jeans!)

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

The truth is… I am very comfortable with my body, even as it continues to grow outwards and not upwards. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t looked in the mirror or at photos and thought, “Whoa, hello, childbearing hips.” Or I’ll put my hand on my waist and think, “Hm. Much squishier than before.”

Coming back to college has been mentally and physically tough. I’m still eating a lot, but I’m also walking ten times more than I usually do at home. I’m sure I’ve already lost a little weight just in the past week. Also, I feel like maybe I can go to the gym, just for a light workout. I honestly believe that I look and feel healthy and that I can enjoy working out without worrying about body image.

But the truth is… I put so much stress on my body during my eating disorder, and even during recovery. My endocrine and reproductive system are not happy with me. I might be 99.99999% mentally recovered, but my body obviously isn’t. My body has been damaged, and it needs time and energy to be fixed.

Despite my lack of a period after these three months, there is still so much I have gained (besides physical weight).

The truth is…

  • I know how much rest and fuel it takes to build muscle. I’m working out less than half the amount I used to be working out, but I actually gained muscle the first couple of weeks just from giving my body proper rest and lots of food.
  • I’ve learned the value of warming up and going back to basics. What used to be my warm-up is now my workout for the day, but I’ve found that my body needs to warm up for even that.
  • I’ve gained back some more mobility and flexibility because I don’t write off yoga and stretching as “nothing.”

IMG_7188

  • I am more efficient with my time of day. I used to be so concerned about moving and exercising whenever I could that it would distract from my other daily activities.
  • Most importantly, I’ve gained confidence in myself…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

…If I’m not considered that “fit person”, fine. If I don’t have abs, fine. If I can’t do 20 pushups in a row, fine.

If I put all my self-worth into my fitness, that’s NOT fine. I’m more than my body. It’s about time I started living like I truly, deeply believe that.

I’ll be the first to admit that dance class (and a one-time game of ultimate frisbee with friends last night) may or may not be too hard on me right now. I’ve been letting those things slide because my brain needs the movement as much as my body does after sitting and studying.

I’m going to the gynecologist today because I’m not 100% sure what’s happening in my body right now. Maybe I just need more time. I’m still planning on gaining weight here in college, and once I get into a school rhythm, things may normalize a little more. Or maybe I’ll need to cut out dance class. We’ll see.

I’ll post another update sometime later, but thanks for listening and being so supportive of me on this journey.

 

Advertisements

Reflecting on My Exercise…Again

Deep breath. This post is important.

I’ll start by saying this: I genuinely enjoy exercise. I have learned this past semester especially (through my anatomy course and just through lack of time to work out) that I truly love exercising because it is a blessing to be able to move, sweat, produce endorphins, and do something good for my body. I no longer see it (primarily) as a way to burn calories or “look good.”

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

While my relationship with exercise has improved during my freshman year of college though, one thing has not. My period. (Sorry, TMI for the fellas.) This is straight-face talk, and it’s very similar to my talk on this blog about a year and a half ago. I haven’t had my cycle in nine months, and I’m sure that my amenorrhea (absence of menstruation for an unusually long period of time) is due to a combination of school stress and— unfortunately—exercise stress. My history with an eating disorder very likely contributes as well.

63bb3414bf1578fc35fafa72cd196949

[source]

Another big reason why I think exercise is causing my amenorrhea is because I got my cycle last summer after only walking and doing yoga and eating more for a couple months. However, I have a hunch that I jumped back into intense exercise way too quickly, and although I had this hunch all year during school, I was in denial.

Finally, after reading Emily’s post about amenorrhea and Julia’s post about how she gave up exercise, I realized that I’m definitely putting too much stress on my body. Those two ladies are incredible— humble, honest, and inspiring. Ashley, Sam, and Courtney also have experience with hypothalamic amenorrhea, and they have been amazing resources.

(If you’re wondering why I don’t just check with my doctors, it’s because I did that last year for this same reason. All of them say my bone density is fine, my thyroid is fine, my weight is fine. They say exercise is fine, but I know in the depths of my being that my current exercise regime is not fine. See this article for more information.)

Even though I view exercise in a healthy way currently, I’m eating plenty, and I feel 100% healthy, I’m not actually quite where I need to be. Honesty is the best policy here on Moves and Grooves, and honestly, there has been pride involved in all of this too. All my friends see me as a healthy and active person, so if I stop exercising intensely, I feel as though I will lose this “image” that they all have of me.

ea393d0b1c716e67529cf1eebbbc757f[source]

But I must remember that ultimately, fitness is not about lifting myself up— it’s about taking care of my body in order to lift up glory to God. Fitness is not what makes a person beautiful, and I firmly believe that. I have to believe that about myself too.

b058bbe569db873ba8de4fa33cf4709c

[source]

So what am I going to do?

  1. Eat more. Like, EEEEEAAAAAATTTTT.
  2. Decrease exercise and intensity. Only walking, yoga, low impact bodyweight strengthening (barre/pilates). No burpees.
  3. Gain weight (fat, not just muscle).
  4. Pray.

Yes, I’m bummed. Yes, I question whether this is even worth it. What woman wants a period anyway? But alas, it’s important, and I don’t want my lack of menstruation to have future repercussions on my health/fertility. I am beyond thankful that I still have the sheer ability to move.

fe9ace5d75344278fb696e26cc4ed75b[source]

For a while, I was disappointed that I would lose my fitness progress that I had worked so hard for in the past couple years. I’ll be losing some stamina, endurance, and strength. However, I realized that I have come to love the journey of reaching fitness goals, not just the result. I have learned to appreciate and celebrate progress. So wherever my body is when I start increasing my exercise again, I will hopefully be less frustrated with my slow start.

97f3777388e933b10cd56dea12ce5252

[source]

Thank YOU for your support, encouragement, inspiration, and prayers. If you ever need a friend to talk to about this issue, email me at dailymovesandgrooves@gmail.com.

Hope you all have an awesome day!

So tell me: Whatever you’d like. 🙂