Relax. Eat. Talk with other people. Relax. Eat. Put up your feet and read a book. Relax. Eat. Start writing and drawing. Relax. Eat.
That is my prescription for recovering from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.
On paper it looks very simple: Give your body time to recover (rest) and fuel your body so that it has the nutrients and energy needed to repair (eat). But darn those mental cognitions, boy do they get in the way of resting and eating.
You need to gain weight, but you need to do it the “right way.”
You’re losing your level of fitness.
You’re going to become so lazy that even after you recover, you will not be motivated to work out.
What are you going to do with all that free time NOT exercising or thinking about food?
These are real thoughts. In your heart of hearts, you know that maintaining an extreme level of exercise while not fueling yourself properly will lead to disaster. You plan on eating ALL THE FOOD (especially the sub sandwich you have been craving for months on end but were too scared to actually eat), yet when it comes to making or buying the meal, you freeze and end up defaulting to the normal “safe” meal you normally consume. How do you get past this? You have one of two options:
- Hold yourself accountable. Write down a promise to yourself that YOU WILL eat what your body is REALLY wanting and not anything else. Stick that promise on your mirror, your door, your lunch bag, wherever you know you need to see it.
- Get someone to hold you accountable. When I was at an extremely low weight, my husband was my food defender. He actually went so far as to order meals for me because he knew that I wanted the spaghetti with meatballs but couldn’t get myself to tell the waiter I wanted the plate of pasta. I was very lucky in that I have a mate who would do this for me–if you don’t have someone like this, then getting a coach, dietitian, or nutritionist to aid you is vital for recovery.
I will touch on the idea about being lazy and fitness and figuring out what to do in your free time in upcoming posts. But this idea of accountability with food is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. We are all strong-willed people, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to run miles and miles or hit the gym for hours and hours without proper fuel. But do we always use that strong-willed nature to help us recover? Not always. That is when we need HELP FROM OTHERS. AND HELP FROM OTHERS IS OK.
Eating the food. Resting. Finding out who you are without that crutch of meal plans and training logs is an incredibly overwhelming process. And if you need someone to help you through it, please reach out. Family. Friends. Me.
It took an incredibly long time for me to not feel like I was burdening those around me by asking for help. In fact, those closest to me WANTED me to get better and would have done anything to get me to a place of wholeness and healing.
My experience recovering from an eating disorder is THE MAIN REASON why I am enrolling into dietetics school, became certified as a holistic health coach, and am looking to switch professions to the health field as a thirty-seven year old mother of two. I want to help other people because I know just how challenging recovery can be. Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, excessive exercise…at the root of all these conditions is fear. Fear of what life will be like if you have to deal with pain and anger and sadness and frustration without food and exercise as the remedy.
Do you have someone to help you be accountable? Are you able to hold yourself accountable to eating the food? Please comment below! And if you are in need of someone to help you, please reach out and contact me!