These flax-hempseed bites are a convenient and tasty way to get in tons of anti-inflammatory omega three fats! For those of you seed cycling for hormone balance, two bites get in all your day’s servings of seeds! (Paleo & Vegan)
I am about to get super personal in this post. Please, in your comments remember I am a human being with feelings. I’m sharing my story in hopes it helps someone else struggling with something similar.
Hey, guys, if you couldn’t tell from the post title, this is going to be another period talk post. I know that I don’t have that many male followers, but I do have some that enjoy the recipes (side note – I’m happy to answer questions about Male hormones, what do you want to know?.)
Anyway, just check back tomorrow for our regularly scheduled program. As always if you know a female that would benefit from this information, then please send it along. If you aren’t interested in the personal part of this post, just scroll down to the recipe!
I can’t believe it was almost one year ago (October 21st) when I got my first cycle back after a 5-year absence. It’s weird how it feels like something that never happened to me. They say hindsight is 20/20 right?
So now that I’m looking in retrospect, I want to share with you guys what I think the most significant contributing factors were for my amenorrhea (and share a new seed cycling friendly recipe!).
The Main Contributing Factors
Although my weight was never too low, nor was my body fat I think it was the way I lost weight that may have been a problem. I’ve shared this story several times, but when I initially lost some of my college drinking weight, I did it by counting calories (see why 1200 is never the right number).
The website told me to count calories to 1200, and so I did, sometimes lower than that. When I got down to my original weight,(I lost 15-20 pounds in a couple of months) I figured I’d just have to maintain 1200 to stay at that weight.
So, that’s what I did for almost two years until I started gaining weight anyway, I guess that was the point my metabolism gave me the middle finger. Keep in mind I was on birth control during that time so I don’t actually know what was going on.
Over the period that I had amenorrhea, my weight fluctuated 10-15 pounds and not all at once, several times. So I don’t think it was that I was every too low in weight, but instead, I believe it was the manner or mode in which I lost weight that pissed off my HPA Axis.
When I finally got my cycle back I was at a number I had been at before during the five years of amenorrhea so what made the difference this time? Read on.
I’ve decided not to be specific about how tall I am and my actual weight, mostly because I don’t want people comparing their story to mine. I think it’s best you seek help from a Dietitian that knows about hormones (yes I help clients with this, see my nutrition services website) or a great naturopath, see more on that below too.
Stress & Life Outlook
I wholeheartedly believe that changing my outlook and learning how to be a more positive person made all the difference. One day, I merely said F*CK IT and stopped staring in the mirror, weighing myself every day, or giving a shit what I stuffed in my pie hole.
No tracking, no caring, just how I eat now, trusting my body to do what it needs. (Yes at first I did want to drink wine and eat all the holiday treats all day long, but eventually, that desire subsided.) For the most part, I used my nutrition knowledge to realize when I was craving crap foods because I was too tired and instead of judging myself, I made the changes necessary to feel better about my choices (like sleeping more.)
I chose positivity every single day, a life skill that was extremely new to me and incredibly motivating. I’m telling you, I read the Success Principles starting in June, three months of practicing all the positivity techniques things were changing like they never had before.
I’ve been tracking my cycle using Kindara since it came back, I can tell you that nothing effects it more than stress. In fact, I almost missed a full month in April when I took on too much work and again when we moved this summer.
To me, this demonstrates that the stress of grad school, driving 45 minutes in back pain to a job I hated, then working a job I loved that was 70 hours a week was probably the MAIN issues. More so than anything else.
That’s why now when I work with clients with amenorrhea, I don’t tell them to go on walks and meditate. That shit ain’t gonna work if you literally hate your job or can’t keep up with it. If you feel like you are in survival mode, no amount of meditation is going to change that. (Trust me I tried diligently mediating during that five years, I bet the stress of waking up early to fit that in, was worse actually.)
So, ya STRESS was the definitely a big part of it. Year one of HH full time wasn’t exactly perfect, it was stressful at times, but that book helped me see the silver lining and change my attitude about that too.
Back Pain – Meloxicam
A picture of me going in for my first hip MRI two years ago.
For over six months I took a high dose anti-inflammatory called meloxicam daily, just to be able to sit down for more than 5 minutes at a time. I had given up on the fact that my pain would ever be fixed.
Fast forward, thanks to Dr. Khavari, I now only need a half dose when traveling (otherwise it feels like I’m sitting on a rock on my right, but bone and the pain travels from the SI joint to my thigh like sciatica but not). Planes aggravate the shit out of it, especially shitty Southwest seats on their old planes. I can usually do okay on the new ones but ya.
One day, after my cycle returned, I noticed on the Meloxicam bottle it said if you are of childbearing age or pregnant discuss the risk/benefits of this product with your doctor. Some google research and I was more pissed than I’ve ever been in my whole life.
I found this study investigating the potential for meloxicam to be a BIRTH CONTROL because it tends to DELAY ovulation in healthy women. You can imagine why I was so pissed for so many reasons. First of all, my hip pain was related to my back, and I had to go through 3 chiropractors, 2 physical therapists, and 2 pain doctors without figuring that out.
Dr. Khavari decided to treat it as a back issue within 5 minutes of assessing me, not a hip issue. So that made me angry enough because the medical bills were insane up until that point. (Thank God he gave me the Life Time trainer discount or I wouldn’t have been able to afford him either.)
No one, despite my medication list, said hey you should know a side effect of this medication is delayed ovulation potentially preventing the return of your cycle. I’ve literally never been so mad, it makes me made just to write about it.
A Negative Response To Birth Control
In addition to the contributing factors above, I think I was on a shit type of BC that has a history of causing post-pill amenorrhea. Yaz and Yasmin are well known to cause post-pill amenorrhea more often than other types of oral birth control.
It isn’t uncommon for someone taking these pills to not have a cycle for 6 to 8 months after stopping them. Who knows maybe I would have got my cycle back if I hadn’t gotten injured at the one year mark and had to deal with that stress. Maybe I just had an exaggerated response. It’s kind of hard to say.
However, I think it’s fair to say that my body didn’t react well to birth control. I know this because I was experiencing symptoms of low estrogen when I was on it. It’s just that at the time I didn’t know the symptoms I was having were symptoms of low estrogen.
Seed Cycling & Professional Support
My naturopath is literally incredible (if you are in AZ feel free to email me for her info.) I’d been to see naturopaths for amenorrhea before that put me on a MILLION supplements, which never worked.
I had restarted most of them when I went to see my current naturopath, and she took me off 70% of them. It was a TOTALLY different experience; she wasn’t pushing supplements as the fix of all fixes. In fact, I ordered her recommendations through my fullscript account.
That was the first sign of significant support and took all the stress of me. Her seed cycling protocol was different too, and that helped. Within 90 days my cycle came back, it was terrific. I took a small break from seed cycling over the summer because things to seem pretty regular and now I’m back at it.
I’ve been traveling a ton, so I’ve had to take a couple of doses of meloxicam I’m hoping it will help combat that. She’s also recently added a few things to my regimen, and I shared a few of them last Friday.
PS Since I know a handful of my readers are Dietetic students and RDs I have to say there isn’t anything more valuable than finding professional support. My NP takes so much time to explain things to me, so I fully understand her recommendations.
She has helped me to see where I can adequately help my own clients and where I should refer them out for more support. I learn a lot from her every time I go in to see her. She also reminds me that even she has to go to other NPs to make sure she isn’t always self-diagnosing and taking to much stuff.
For those of us in the medical field, the struggle of self-diagnosis is real. Get out of your head get some support from another holistic RD or a great non supplementing pushing NP.
Flax & Hemp Seed Energy Bites
Like I said since I’m traveling this month I wanted to find a way to incorporate the flax & hemp seeds in a portable way. These energy balls are perfect! Sometimes I eat them for a snack, sometimes I eat them first thing in the morning with my coffee then have a more substantial breakfast around 10 am or so. Definitely, let me know if you give them a try!
[clickToTweet tweet=”#anti-inflammatory #omega3 rich energy bites! Great for #hormonebalance! #paleo #vegan ” quote=”#anti-inflammatory #omega3 rich energy bites! Great for #hormonebalance! #paleo #vegan “]
Flax & Hemp Seed Energy Bites
- 1 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 cup hempseed hearts
- 7-8 medjool dates
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until completely combined. Do not over process into a spreadable butter. Stop when you can form the balls with your hands.
- Form 16 balls with your hands. Store in the refrigerator! (see note)
As you can see, a lot of things finally came together for me at once, a little higher weight (but also more carbs), a less stressed outlook, the right support that provided me the right nutrition changes. Side note: I have yet to find someone who has a similar story to mine.
The most common cause of amenorrhea is “the athlete/personal trainer that trains harder and is thinner than their body would like.” However, this wasn’t the case for me, I ran a half marathon the month my cycle returned with no issues (which is a high level of activity for me.)
That’s why I wanted to share my story. I want others struggling with this issue to understand that it is unlikely there is no one thing that is causing you to lose your cycle. You need a holistic plan that addresses all potential reasons that could be affecting your HPA Axis. Of course, I’m happy to help you with this, just check out my nutrition services website.
- Recovering from 5 Years of Amenorrhea
- Post-Pill Amenorrhea Update (4 months later)
- Seed Cycling for amenorrhea, irregular cycles, and hormone balance
- How to Make Your Hormones Work For You (What to eat/how to train)
- Why Your Hormones Need Carbs
- Iron Foods, Functions, and Facts (related)
- My friend Ashley wrote an ebook called Fit & Fertile (affiliate link)about her experience with Amenorrhea as a Group Fitness Instructor and what she did to get pregnant naturally. Her experience was different than mine, but similar in some ways as well. Either way, it was definitely a comforting read.