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.
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.
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.
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