Word Games

As a writer, I’m fascinated by how different words can drastically change the meaning of the same sentence. For example:

“I don’t get my period” sounds like a blessing. (Seriously: no cramps or hormonal swings? Check please!)

“I stopped getting my period” sounds like cause for concern, but nothing too horrific.

“I have amenorrhea” sounds like it’s time for a trip to the hospital because there’s something seriously wrong.

And if you’re not getting your period (and you’re not prepubescent or in menopause), then there’s something seriously wrong.

Destruction thesaurus page

How many words can you think of for all of the horrible things we do to our bodies in the name of losing weight?

I already knew that I had stopped getting my period, but when the physician called it secondary amenorrhea, I panicked. It dawned on me how serious things had gotten, and how seriously I had started to destroy my health with my obsession with being healthy.

The diagnosis came in August. In the months that ensued–months in which I was hired by the Fruit Stand and I gave up my life, my food schedule, and my ability to exercise regularly to retail, months in which I found out that I could be passionate about other people and their needs and interests and not just my own body–I gained back about ten pounds of healthy weight. I was still eating mostly lean meats, cottage cheese, and protein powder, but I was at least eating more of them and exercising less. And though I gave up dairy completely in January, I was still eating enough to finally get my period back by March.

I thought I was home free.

And then I did something stupid: I became a vegan.

Now, I’m not calling vegans stupid, so please don’t get offended. I don’t believe that veganism is inherently wrong; however, given my OWN health and the damage that I had done to my body over the preceding 10 years, becoming a vegan was a dumb choice for ME. Here’s why:

In July, I stopped eating all animal products completely, because I was “getting fat.” After reading Crazy, Sexy Diet and the Engine 2 Diet, and hearing about all of the amazing health effects (read: weight loss) of a vegan diet, I figured that I should just go whole hog (see what I did there?) and cut out the whey-turkey-and-chicken-breast that was consuming for six meals a day.

Now, being a vegan didn’t mean that I was eating less; in fact, I probably ate more than I had eaten while body building, which is saying a lot. I had oatmeal, sprouted grain bread, cereal, black beans, chickpeas, peanut and almond butter by the jar full, tons of veggies and up to three apples a day….and soy. A LOT of soy.

Soy is unhealthy even if it is organic

If only I knew then what I know how…

And a few months into my vegan experiment, long after the horrific acne had taken over and destroyed my face, I lost my period again.

I was 125 lbs, and definitely not “restricting” in the same sense that I had been when I lost my period the first time. I wasn’t over-exercising–this was long past the point of my ankle injury, so I was mostly sitting on my rear when I wasn’t at work–so it couldn’t be exercise-induced amenorrhea.

It was completely mysterious to me, and yet, there was no denying that I was simply, once again, not menstruating.

May 2012 with my sister

May 2012: Unhealthy under the surface

The lack of period, combined with the horrific acne, bloated stomach, fatigue, depression, and a number of other things, was what instigated this crazy descent into the world of ancestral health and nutrition…and I discovered how incredibly delicate the body’s hormonal balance is–and how absolutely abysmally I had disrupted mine with a diet of soy milk and tempeh…

Stay hungry,


Getting Healthy…Period
My Boy…Friend, ED
Sex With ED, or Let me Be Frank
The Disappearing Woman
Becoming ED: The Female Athlete Triad and Amenorrhea
Sex vs. Sexy

3 thoughts on “Word Games

  1. I’m a part time vegan and full time vegetarian but I keep my soy consumption really, really low. I have hypothyroid and soy is bad for that (yup, hormonal imbalances from 20 years of ED). I find too much soy makes me bloated whereas dairy doesn’t bother me at all. I have to say that my vegan phases are always closely linked to my ED intensifying. Sadly, being vegan is probably the least of the horrific things I have done to my body.

    • Soy is a really scary thing, ain’t it? (The only thing scarier is that darn ED…) I actually really liked being a vegetarian, but I couldn’t handle dairy (a part of the reason why I ended up a vegan)…I just combined my vegetarianism with my ED and ended up throwing things off balance. I do have a lot of respect for anyone who can stick to their ethics and beliefs while making a healthy lifestyle out of it…for me, veganism was about weight loss and ended up throwing my health completely off, which is why it was a stupid move in my case…

      PS, I’d love to hear more about how you’re dealing with hypothyroid, if you don’t mind sharing. I have low T3 (according to the doc, not statistically significant enough for alarm, but the estradiol was low enough to raise red flags), and it seems like it’s a never ending uphill battle to fix it…

      • Yup….fixing messed up hormones is an excruciating task. Hypothyroid is terrible. I take synthroid everyday which has definitely improved my overall condition but I have never fully regained my energy, hair or weight control. I did discover in my research that a lot of people live with symptoms of hypothyroid but will never be diagnosed because the basis for diagnosis is based on a very old criteria that has never been updated and it is a much more narrow margin than is realistic. It seems that hormones have a very delicate balance and once you throw them off, it is very hard to stabilize them again. Let me know more about your issues with it. I hope you get some answers and find a happy balance.

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