In this podcast episode, Sarah Liz King shares her personal experience with hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) and how she recovered from it. She discusses the causes of HA, which include under eating, over-exercising, and stress, and shares five things that helped her recover from the condition. She also emphasises the importance of self-care, patience, and seeking personalised advice for recovery.
Sarah also answers questions from her audience related to weight gain and overshoot weight gain during the recovery process. Overall, Sarah’s personal experience and advice provide valuable insights for anyone struggling with hypothalamic amenorrhea or other related conditions.
Sarah King (00:00:02) – Hi everyone and welcome back to Holistic Health Radio. I’m your host, Sarah Liz King. I’m an exercise physiologist and health coach empowering you to find your healthy balance with food, fitness and your body. Through my one-to-one and group coaching programs, both myself and my team help women regain their periods, find food freedom and have a healthier relationship with exercise, all while gaining a body confidence. Today I am going to be re-sharing an updated version of my hypothalamic Amen Area recovery story. If you have been following this podcast since its inception in 2019, you would’ve remembered that my second episode was my HA recovery story, how I lost my period for 10 years and what I did to get it back. Now I listened to that episode or a couple weeks ago and I was like, you know what? I feel like we need an update here because there were some of the things that I feel like I left out.
Sarah King (00:01:06) – And also I asked you guys if you had any questions that you wanted to know and ask me about my own story. So I’m gonna give you an overview of my story. Again, if you’re new here and maybe you haven’t listened to the episode and then at the end I’m gonna be sharing my answers to some of your questions. So let’s dive in. Um, I’m gonna start with a little bit of an update or a recap of what hypothalamic amen is. If you’ve never heard that term before, maybe this is the first time you’re listening to this podcast or you’re trying to figure out why your period might be missing and you’re wondering if ha is the cause of that. So essentially hypothalamic amen is a type of secondary amenia. So essentially secondary Amenia means that you had had a natural menstrual cycle at some point in your life and then it went missing.
Sarah King (00:02:05) – Now hypothalamic Amenia is one cause of a missing period. Um, it basically happens due to three main reasons. So undereating over exercising and or too much stress. And it’s usually a combination of all of those factors. And the hypothalamus, which is in your brain, essentially gets this information of like, oh, it’s a very stressful environment to be in. Reproduction’s, not really essential. So it down regulates the production of a hormone cold gonadotropin releasing hormone. So that is shortened to GnRH. When that happens, you get basically a shutdown of your menstrual cycle. So all the hormones that kind of like happen downwind from there, basically they don’t cease to exist, but they only really get produced in very small amounts. So low F S H low lh, which means low estrogen. So low estrogen means you’re not going to be ovulating and ovulation is that kind of key point in the cycle that we need for a menstrual cycle to occur.
Sarah King (00:03:18) – Now how common is this? Extremely common. It’s estimated that about 17.4 million women and females assigned at birth are affected by hypothalamic aurea, but I feel like a lot of people get amis diagnosis, which is kind of what I had as well. So if you’re wondering if ha is the cause of your own missing period, there are two of my podcast episodes that I would recommend going back and listening to. The first one is episode 65, which is is HA or P C O S, the cosmo missing period. And the second one is episode 101. So that is how do I know if I have hypothalamic ahea? And that goes through how you basically get like a proper diagnosis even though you don’t really need one. , I didn’t get one. Most of the people that I work with don’t get one because it’s such an underdiagnosed condition and is much less known about or uh, talked about in comparison to things like P C O S.
Sarah King (00:04:22) – So that’s a little bit of an overview of ha it is kind of having three or more missed periods consecutively and like I said, three main reasons are due to undereating over exercising and or too much psychological stress. So my own story , I had amazing period for 10 years, which is a very, very, very long time. Uh, and I definitely ignored this issue for way too long. Um, I remember the year that it went missing was 2007. So I’d just finished high school. I’d gotten into uni. Life was really busy. It was really good from an outsider’s point of view. I was working, I had a great group of friends. I had joined the gym, I was still riding my horse, um, like I was living at home but like life was busy and life was good, but inside it felt very, very different.
Sarah King (00:05:29) – And I think looking back now, I was definitely struggling with a low mood and a little bit of depression that I didn’t really know what to do with. And eventually I was like, oh, I should probably talk to someone about this. So I went to one of the university counselors probably about, I don’t know, somewhere in that first semester of my first year and I was like, oh, I think I’m struggling with being at uni. All my friends were at a different uni, wasn’t really sure if I liked the course that I was studying and I just felt a little bit lost, like at a time where my life was so full I felt a little bit lost. Um, and she said to me, she’s like, oh, it sounds like you’re struggling with your mood. You know what would be great for that exercise .
Sarah King (00:06:14) – So I was like, great, I’ve already joined a gym. So that kind of fueled that fire a little bit. And I think at the same time I wanted to eat healthier and and be healthier. I was studying nutrition and dietetics. So, um, that was a red flag in itself because anyone that studied nutrition dietetics, you know, that you kind of get trained to be the food police. It’s not essentially the best in having a healthy relationship with food because a lot of the courses is focused on like o obesity and like how much of a problem it is and, and I guess it undervalues so much else about nutrition but that is a story for another time. So eventually first semester of uni we get towards our first exam period and the first week of my exams when I’m meant to get my my period , it goes missing completely Mia.
Sarah King (00:07:09) – And I’m like, whoa, this isn’t good. My first reaction was like, I hope I’m not pregnant. Uh, which I wasn’t. I took a test that was negative. Um, and then I was like, well, what’s going on here? So I went to the doctor and the doctor was like, oh, it’s probably just stress, but he tested my hormones and he is like, oh, it’s fine, you are fine, right? So I went on my merry way. That was the start of essentially me missing it for 10 entire years. Now the shorten version of that story was because I was having such a difficult time with my mood, I basically invested a lot of time in exercising and eating cause it was the thing that would bring me temporary joy, temporary happiness, especially the exercise side of things. And we know exercise is really good for your mental health.
Sarah King (00:08:01) – The problem was I wasn’t using any other coping strategies to look after myself. It was basically like exercise a whole lot, prioritize that over multiple areas of my life. And I wasn’t eating enough to sustain that. This eventually led to me in developing an eating disorder. But uh, I’m not gonna go into the full story of my eating disorder in this episode because otherwise we’d be here for like a good hour. But the, the most important thing for me to say is during that time my body was definitely physically stressed and psychologically stressed as well and I tried a lot of different things to overcome my eating disorder, but it was probably when I went to an intensive outpatient treatment program for a good eight months that I really overcame everything. And that was the turning point in where I would say I recovered from my eating disorder.
Sarah King (00:09:06) – I’d gained back the weight that they had recommended. I felt really comfortable eating everything flexible with my exercise. And I was like, cool. I’m like ready to move on with my life. I was excited to travel and start a different uni degree. All the things were going really well except my period never returned , which was a flaming red flag, right? I should have known that something was wrong. And during that time I went back to a few different doctors and was like, I think something’s wrong here. And that was when time and time and time again I got given two different diagnoses and forms of treatment. The first was, okay, let’s get you an ultrasound, let’s see what’s happening with your ovaries. Uh, which showed that I had like cystic looking like ovaries, but that’s just because I wasn’t ovulating. And then they were like, well it looks like you have P C O S cuz you have missing periods and cystic looking ovaries.
Sarah King (00:10:12) – Let’s put you on the pill. Now if you’ve been listening to this podcast or following my page for any period of time you would know the contraceptive pill does nothing, right? It’s just a band-aid solution. You will get a withdrawal bleed, but that is not the same as having your own natural menstrual cycle. So I kind of didn’t really pay attention to having that missing cycle for a while cuz like life was good and I was like, well I’m, I’m healthy. I felt fine. Um, I definitely was having some of the symptoms I now know were related to ha but I didn’t really give them much attention until like one fateful day . I was actually going to this talk that came up because my gym was hosting it. It was an author she’d written a book. Um, and it was about holistic nutrition, right?
Sarah King (00:11:10) – And I was like sure, like I’ll come listen to it. I was going with my friends and this was the first time I’d ever heard the term hypothalamic. Amen. This woman, her name is Kate Callahan, um, sat there and shared her experience of how she too had lost her period, the things that she was feeling and what she did to get it back. And I was like, oh my goodness, this is what I have. I had been searching for 10 years for a word diagnosis, something to put next to what I was experiencing. Just like that, going to this talk, I was like this is what it is. And also now I have what I know I need to be doing in order to get my cycle back, which made me a little bit apprehensive, but I was like I have to, I have to give this a chance, right?
Sarah King (00:12:10) – I lost my period when I was 18 and I was 27 and I still hadn’t had a cycle. I was like I can’t let this go on for another like a few years. I didn’t know if I wanted kids and all that kind of stuff. But my main kind of reasoning for wanting to get it back was the fact that I had osteopenia, which means I had low bone mineral density and I knew how important estrogen was to reclaim my bone health and make sure I didn’t get stress fractures later in life and all of those kinds of things. So at the end of her talk she’s like, you can buy my book if you want to. And I was like, I wanna buy that book. And I went home, I read the whole thing chapter to chapter and now that I’d had I guess a name for what I was experiencing, the next thing that I did was I purchased the no period.
Sarah King (00:13:05) – Now what book by Dr. Nicola Renaldi, which if you have not gotten a copy, is like a chunky 500 page book that is super sciencey and goes through why our bodies go into this state of basically shutting off our menstrual cycle and why it’s important to get it back and and how you can go about doing that. So that is what started my ha recovery journey. I had the two books, I had all of the knowledge but I was like ugh, I don’t, I don’t think I can do this on my own. I know it’s going to be psychologically challenging. And I think my biggest worry was like, what if I make all these changes and it doesn’t work? Like this doesn’t work for me. And I know so many people feel the exact same way. They’re like, what if I do all these changes around my nutrition and I give up exercise and I like really find ways to manage my stress and I put on more weight and nothing changes, but I kind of knew, I was like I have to try this, I have to give this a chance.
Sarah King (00:14:15) – If I don’t give this a chance, I will never know. So I’m gonna go into what I actually changed and how it helped me. This isn’t dissimilar to what I teach other people and how I support other women through this recovery process. I’m not a unicorn. I didn’t do have to do anything special for myself. And I think that like unicorn thinking of like, oh what if I do all this stuff and it doesn’t work for me is so common. But it does actually, it does actually work. You just have to be patient and consistent with the process. So there are five main things that I did to get my period back and they’re not gonna be earth shattering to you, but I’m gonna go through exactly what they are in a little bit of detail and then I’m gonna answer all of your questions at the end.
Sarah King (00:15:08) – And I think those are the great ones. So stay around to the end for those. So the very first one, captain obvious was I had to eat more, right? I was already eating but clearly not enough for what my energy needs were. So this looked like making sure that I was having three meals every single day, rain, hail or shine and at least three snacks. And when I say snacks it was like more like mini meals, right? I was a Pilates instructor at the time. I was working in a gym. I was really active incidentally so I had to make sure that I was eating enough. And I worked with the dietician who wrote that lovely book, uh, Kate Callahan. And she was a really big proponent of like making sure you had enough carbs at every meal and enough fats throughout the day. And I was like, cool, I can do that.
Sarah King (00:16:05) – Slowly but surely. But think the thing that was most difficult for me was I had such a warped perception of what enough was because I’d just been eating what I’d always eaten to feel satisfied. And I had to proactively eat over and above that, right? I had to make sure my portion sizes were bigger. So that was the first thing that I had to do every single day. Rain, inhale or shine. Even when I was working as a Pilates instructor, it would be like having a snack like in between my classes. Nobody cared that I was eating. Like they were just, they just cared about their workout. So that was something I had to mentally get through myself and really just fuel my body even when I wasn’t hungry. And that was a lot of the time because I was eating in a surplus because that’s what I knew would help my body start to feel safe and my hormones to start producing again.
Sarah King (00:17:00) – So a lot of the times eating was like not a joyful activity, but a very necessary one at that. And because I’d already recovered from my eating disorder, I had no issues eating like a wide variety of different foods and having like fun, enjoyable foods. It was just making sure that especially on those days that I didn’t feel hungry and I felt really, really full, I was having those more energy dense, nutrient dense foods. I wasn’t filling up on like green salads. Like that was never gonna do the trick for me. The second thing is I adjusted my exercise down significantly. Now a lot of you already know that at the same time I decided to do this whole recovery journey. I was actually in a really bad car crash, which I don’t know if it was a blessing in disguise, maybe it was, but I was in a lot of pain.
Sarah King (00:18:02) – So I got a really bad back pelvis injury that prevented me from doing kind of any form of significant physical activity. Walking was painful, sitting was painful, everything was painful. So I went from like training quite intensely doing like heavy strength training, kind of like higher intensity cardio workouts to basically just like walking and rehab. And when I say walking, I was walking like 10 to 20 minutes at a time because that is all my body could tolerate for a good like 12 months. So even once my periods had returned, I was still doing minimal exercise mostly because I was still working on overcoming that injury and the chronic pain side of things, which is a separate story. So I really just, it wasn’t even like a choice, it was like my body was like you can’t do the kind of exercise you were doing before.
Sarah King (00:19:00) – This is all your body is capable of now. Which was really hard. Like as a fitness professional, I was teaching Pilates, I was meant to be this like fit healthy human being and like I was struggling, I would often go home and like cry just because I was in so much pain. But again, it was a blessing in disguise for the period recovery side of things. Like it felt really hard not to have the ability to just like go out for a really nice walk and like decompress, but it forced me to go find other ways to manage my stress, which was point number three, right? Proactive stress management. I didn’t think that I was I guess a very highly strong or stressed out person, but when I had the car accident it threw me for a loop, right? I had to figure out different ways of coping.
Sarah King (00:19:58) – If you’ve ever been in chronic pain before, it grates on you in so many different ways. Um, so the biggest thing for me was to find something that really occupied my mind that helped me feel more calm and more at peace. And this used to be for me just driving to the beach, going and sitting on the sand and like listening to a podcast or taking some time to meditate or do a little bit of breathing. And to be fair, it wasn’t every day. It was maybe like once a week, but going to find, going to do something mindful that was just for me, it was just about creating like a calm environment for my body to be in really helped. And over time I got better at meditating and kind of practicing that side of things, which was so helpful for me in so many different ways.
Sarah King (00:20:53) – Um, particularly like focusing on breathing practices, which we know really help down-regulate your nervous system. So if you’re feeling in that kind of like anxious fight or flight kind of state really helps like reduce you down to that calm, restful, peaceful kind of state that you need to be in. Because like I mentioned before, HJ can also happen from a psychological stress. Okay, point number four, and gaining weight. Even though I had reached the weight that all my doctors thought I should be at, I had to gain weight and a considerable amount. Um, I won’t give you the exact number, but it was over 10 kilos that I gained during that recovery process, probably over about six to eight months I guess. Um, but it felt uncomfortable. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think anyone starts gaining weight and they’re like, yeah, this is great.
Sarah King (00:21:51) – It feels so good physically it feels really uncomfortable because you are pushing past your body’s natural barriers of fullness. You’re having to change all your clothes, um, get rid of old clothes, buy new clothes multiple different times and your body just feels so different. The way that I explain it oftentimes is the physical changes that happen. Like your, your brain has this kind, we know from research your brain kind of has this like map of how your body exists. You can kind of think of it as like your own personal Google maps for basically the physicality of your body, right? And when your body starts to change, your brain’s like, hang on, the map is different from how we’ve had it programmed. So it takes your brain so much longer to catch up with the changes that are happening body-wise. And it was the same for me.
Sarah King (00:22:47) – I definitely remember having bad body image days and days where I would like try on things to go out with my friends and be like, huh, this doesn’t fit anymore. And just being really annoyed with that. But I think the most helpful thing was knowing that like body image is always going to be on a spectrum. I’m always gonna have days where I feel great and days where I don’t feel so good and that’s gonna change regardless of like what size my body is. But allowing it to get to a healthier size. If that permits me to be a healthier human, then it’s worth feeling uncomfortable and sad and um, all of these kinds of like negative feelings because they’re momentary and it will get better. And I knew it would get better because I’d been through a weight gain process when I recovered from my eating disorder.
Sarah King (00:23:42) – Um, so I knew that it wouldn’t be for forever. But yeah, I didn’t weigh myself for a very long time and then when I stepped on the scale I was like, oh, that number’s very different. But it’s essentially what my body needed to be and now I can sit at a very happy, healthy, comfortable state. I, I don’t really ever micromanage my weight because it sits in what we know happens for most people, which is you reach kind of this um, what’s the word for it? I’ve had a mental blank. Now you reach your set point weight, right? And it’s not one specific number but it’s a range, right? So your body kind of like happily sits in there and if you’re tuning in and listening to your bodily cues through intuitive eating, which I started after, like I had to eat mechanically obviously to get my period back.
Sarah King (00:24:33) – Once it did come back, that’s when I started to be more of an intuitive eater. Um, so that was the fourth point point. I had to gain weight. And most people do and you don’t have to be underweight for this to have happened to you for you to have hypothalamic ahea. But most people do need to accept that their body changing is a very essential element because body fat does a couple of things for our hormones. Number one, it’s where we store estrogen, right? And number two, it’s also where we have um, a hormone called leptin produced. So leptin is another basically hormone that signals to the brain energy availability when we need that. I said the hypothalamus starts to kick into gear and our sex hormones start to increase. So it does play a role. Now the fifth thing that I did, which is probably one of the most important elements is I, I gave it time.
Sarah King (00:25:37) – I was patient with the process. I knew it wasn’t gonna be like four weeks of putting this all into practice and then like miraculously my cycle returned. And to be fair, for some people that does happen. Lucky them for me that definitely wasn’t the case. I started, I started actively kind of engaging in this process around probably October, November of 2016. And I think I got my first period back in March, 2017, February March, 2017, which was a big surprise. I was like oh this actually worked. Um, lo and behold, like my whole process to getting a regular cycle was not absolutely linear, but those were the five things that I really focused on and patience was a really, really big one. Patience and consistency. I did all of the things that I was saying rain inhaler every day. I mean I had the odd day where I was like fuck it, I’m gonna go to a gym class and like push myself really hard, which I paid for but that’s not gonna throw you off track.
Sarah King (00:26:54) – One hot day doesn’t make a summer, we know that. But for the majority of the time, like 90% of the time those were the things that I was focusing on and that is what helps all of my clients, although personalized to their needs, get their cycles back as well. So if you are listening to this and you’re wondering should I, shouldn’t I, is this really gonna help me? Will it work? It probably will, but you have to get personalized advice to you in order for this to be effective and the changes have to be something that you can sustain because that consistency piece is so necessary for your body to kick back into gear. So with that I’m going to answer some of the questions that you guys left for me. Um, from the q and a box that I put up this week. The first one is what type of eating disorder did you suffer from?
Sarah King (00:27:53) – So I suffered from uh, it was called EDNOS at the time, which is like an eating disorder not otherwise specified. I’m pretty sure now it’s called azed. So other specified feeding and eating disorder. Basically I didn’t fit into the box of anorexia but I had a lot of those I guess classic tendencies but I really struggled with the kind of uh, addiction to exercise and also those like orthorexic tendencies. So because it didn’t fit the picture perfect box, that’s kind of the label that I got given. Um, not that I think is a label is necessary, but that’s the one that they, they gave me.
Sarah King (00:28:32) – Um, how long was your recovery journey? I mean all up like a solid six, eight months to get my period back. But like if you look at my whole recovery journey, it was years cuz there was a point in time where I definitely had to like focus on eating a disorder recovery. And then I sat in a lot of I guess hiding from the problem of a missing period . Uh, and then I decided, I was like, no, I really have to get on top of this. And then pretty much from that point that I decided it was about, yeah, six months later until I got my first cycle back. Um, the next one is what self-care activities helped your recovery journey?
Sarah King (00:29:18) – Ooh, I mean I think we think of self-care as like pedicures and bubble baths and, and those are all nice things. Um, but you definitely don’t do those every single day. I would say the biggest self-care activity that I did was getting outside for fresh air every single day. Um, and taking rest days for myself. Um, where I would just do like fun things. I started to explore like new hobbies that I had, um, and different interests. So I would like, I took up um, pottery with my mom, which was pretty fun. Um, and we made a few things together and I started cooking a lot more and like baking and like really exploring that side of things at home. Um, but self-care was also just like having a cozy night in or like going out with my friends and it was making sure that I was doing those things because I wanted to, not because I felt like I should or I must have to.
Sarah King (00:30:18) – Um, and then obviously all of the nice things like going and getting a massage and like getting my nails done. Um, doing my hair has always been a big self-care activity. I don’t know, it takes forever but I’ve always really enjoyed it and I always feel really good after. Um, so those are the things I probably still keep up with today minus the pottery class. I don’t do that anymore. Um, how did you handle the digestive discomfort or super uncomfortable fullness? Um, I think by the time I’d gotten to the HA recovery side of things, I’d been through that with my eating disorder recovery and it was just knowing that I went last and also knowing that I could, like I knew what foods to swap to to make sure that it was less uncomfortable. So basically like reducing down my fiber on those days was really helpful.
Sarah King (00:31:10) – Going for more like processed easy digestible foods. So again, I wasn’t having like big salads, I was like, oh, if I really don’t feel hungry today I can make a smoothie that’s not gonna sit in my stomach for as long as like something that was like really high fiber and full of vegetables. But some days it also meant crying. Like some days it was really uncomfortable. And I always have this like image in my mind of this day that was just like the day I think I was like close to when I, my period actually returned. But like I remember coming home and I’d like made this like really delicious like yogurt parfait with like chia seeds and like all of this stuff already layered and ready to go and I was so full and like the, the last thing that I wanted to do was eat again and I was like, I don’t know, two or three o’clock and I had to eat this before I went back to work to do more classes and more clients and I sat down on the floor and as I ate it I was just like bawling my eyes out because my stomach hurts so much and I was so full.
Sarah King (00:32:17) – But I knew it was like those little moments I was like if I can just get through this, I know it’ll get better and of course it does. Um, but if you’re someone that’s struggling with digestive discomfort, know that it can get better. Digestive system slows down considerably when you have ha so it is a little bit of a waiting game for that to up-regulate. How did you truly accept weight gain and how your body looks after such a long time of trying to control it?
Sarah King (00:32:49) – I think oh definitely when I had my eating disorder I was very fearful of weight gain. I wouldn’t say that I had that fear when I went into HA recovery. Um, but I knew that like even when I was at my physically smallest, I still didn’t love the way that I looked. I still picked things apart. So I was like, well if I don’t like it now I knew that it was less about my body and more about my perceptions and my feelings and my beliefs around it. So I really worked to shift those and I worked at putting more of my self-worth and self-esteem into other areas of my life. So if I didn’t feel great about my body, I knew it wasn’t the most important thing about me. And that’s kind of still how I feel like I like taking care of my body and like doing things that are generally health.
Sarah King (00:33:39) – But I also know that we’re all gonna have bad body image days. So the way that I go about I guess handling those now is going, I won’t feel like this forever. And also like I don’t have to love my body. It’s like a vessel that does so much for me. Even when I was in pain I could still appreciate that like my heart was beating, my lungs were breathing, my body was digesting food, I had energy, I could concentrate, I could learn, I could do all of those things even if physically it wasn’t letting me do the things that I wanted it to do at that time. So I think focusing on elements of like body neutrality, my body’s not the most important thing about me. Even if I don’t feel great about it, I can respect and take care of. It was a really helpful thing for me to kind of get to that point of acceptance.
Sarah King (00:34:27) – Warrior periods regular after you had your first period? No the first 12 months was a rollercoaster. I got my first one and then my second one didn’t come for like three months. And during that time I was like, oh, maybe I didn’t do enough groundwork, which was the case and I kind of like had to push my body forward a little bit more with a little bit more weight gain for that second cycle and beyond to come. And I always say to people like that first six to 12 months of period recovery, you are still really sensitive to stress and changes. So whatever you’re doing take it really slowly. Like if you’re reintroducing exercise, take it really slowly. I wouldn’t recommend anyone try and lose weight within that first 12 months intentionally. Like you’re probably just gonna put yourself back and did the same position that you worked really hard to get yourself out of.
Sarah King (00:35:19) – So probably best not to do that. Um, but yeah, mine were not regular to begin with, very regular now, um, what was a nostalgic meal or snack that you enjoyed during recovery? Uh, p and j sandwiches, they were great. They still are great. I think that’s just like a childhood memory from being American. Um, did you recover in a controlled manner or just kind of let go gradually getting better? I would say I, I kind of just let go and I don’t know if it was a gradual manner. I made a conscious decision and I was like, nope, these things are changing. Um, so in that sense I felt like even though some of the changes were slow, I definitely went What would, what most people would consider as you know, all in the next question. There’s a few more. Was exercise the biggest factor in your recovery? I don’t think so. I think like most people, all factors have to be considered how much you’re eating, the exercise that you’re doing and uh, how much stress you’re having in your life.
Sarah King (00:36:32) – Exercise is definitely a big factor though. Um, and I went from doing a lot to doing pretty much none. So I’m sure that helped my body in a physical sense even though mentally it was really tough to do. Next question is, what type of practitioners were the most helpful in your recovery? Um, a dietician really helpful. I went back and started seeing my psychologist and I joined a group program much like the ones I run . That was really great because I got to talk to other women who were going through the exact same experience as I was. Ask them questions, get to know what their experience was like and I felt so much less alone because of that. But then also the professional side of things to tell me whether I was making the right kinds of changes and also to support me mentally cuz it’s a very mentally draining experience to go through this. Seeing a psychologist was was so helpful.
Sarah King (00:37:30) – Two more questions, the next one is, did you ever experience overshoot weight gain and then gradually lose the overshoot weight? Um, so overshoot weight is basically bouncing above what is considered your body’s like set point weight. This didn’t happen for me specifically. Um, I gained some weight then got my first cycle and then to get my second one I had to gain more weight. I would say I experienced, um, redistribution of how my weight sat on my body, which most people do. So it was like a lot around my midsection to begin with. And then over that 12 months of having regular cycles, again it redistributed so less around my midsection, more around my like hips and thighs. Um, but it’s, it’s different for everyone. Some people do overshoot and that’s very, very necessary. Um, and some people think they overshoot, but that’s just their body’s preferred weight to be at. Like I think the hardest part to accept is like we, like we don’t get to pick our set point that’s genetically determined most of the time and kind of understanding that’s where your body feels happier, uh, and mentally kind of getting on board with that is key to kind of getting and and keeping your period long term.
Sarah King (00:38:52) – And the last and final question. What was the best and worst thing you felt both during and after the recovery process? Um, what was the best thing ? I think the best thing was, uh, my libido came back. That was nice. Um, the worst thing I think is just how physically uncomfortable that recovery process is on your body. Weight gain just doesn’t feel good. Um, after the recovery process, best thing has been having like high estrogen levels meant that I have completely reversed my osteopenia. So I have normal bone mineral density now and I can’t think of the worst during the recovery. The worst after the recovery process. I don’t know if there is a, I don’t think there’s a worst one. I think my life has gotten exponentially better as a result of being like a healthy human now. And now I have the joy of supporting other women through the exact same journey. So I’m gonna leave this episode here before I chew your ear off completely. If you really enjoyed either listening or watching, cuz now we’re video recording these podcasts. Please take a screenshot of wherever you’re listening and tag myself at Sarah Liz King on Instagram and I will be sure to re-share those stories. But until next time, take care of yourselves and I will be back next week with a fresh new episode. You can wrap your ears around or eyes around now.
❤️ Join my newsletter list for weekly motivation and inspiration and you’ll also receive a FREE copy of my eBook “31 Ways to Boost Your Body Image”
❤️ Ready to get your period back? Join the next round of Healing Hypothalamic Amenorrhea! This 8-week, hybrid group and 1:1 coaching program is designed to help you recover your period while improving your relationship with food, exercise and your body. Find out details and sign up here: https://sarahlizking.com/healing-ha/
❤️ Signature 1:1 Recovery Coaching from qualified health professionals you trust! Sarah and her team will help you ditch disorered eating, recover your period, find food freedom and regain the life you deserve. Fill out the contact form to get started
❤️ If you enjoyed this episode please leave a 5⭐️ review and share a screenshot on Instagram by tagging myself @sarahlizking and I’ll be sure to reshare.
Ready To Improve Your Relationship with Food and Get Your Period Back?
The Healing HA program gives you the exact steps to getting your hormones, period and fertility back WITHOUT the overwhelm or loneliness of trying to do it on your own.
In just 8-weeks, you’ll learn absolutely EVERYTHING you need to know about Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery, so you can get your period back AND make sure it sticks around forever while improving your relationship with food.