The results are in...

7:14 AM

My body likes me fat and lazy.

Let me qualify:  my 3 month "save my period" experiment proved to be true - my exercise routine coupled with extremely clean eating habits resulted in Amenorrhea (the disappearance of my period).

At first, I thought I was going through early menopause and it manifested in many ways that led me to believe this - my skin dried out, my periods were inconsistent, very light when they did show up, or absent altogether.  My sleep got shitty, my internal body temperature shot up (not quite hot flashes but pretty close) and I was always hot at night (not quite 'night sweats' but pretty close).

I was in the best shape of my life yet, hormonally my body was a mess. How ironic is that?

Looking back, a few things happened that led me to this:
(1) I was approaching 40 and was likely going through a mid-life crisis.
(2) I discovered, and fell in love with, muay thai.
(3) I wanted to see just how fit I could get...see #1.

From that, I set a goal for myself - to get in the best shape possible just to see if I could do it.  I didn't set a time frame but my goal was to work out as hard as I could, eat as clean as I could and see what happened to my body.  And abs, I wanted to finally see my abs; not just the obliques but actual 4 or 6-pack.

This goal wasn't a hard one to achieve either (I know, shut your face, Kathy) but hear me out -- I was already eating clean (had been since 2012) so the only thing that I changed was my fitness routine and muay thai made it really easy because I love it so much and because it's so much fun, it doesn't even seem like a workout.  Two years flew by and I was the leanest I'd ever been - muscle definition everywhere, abs!! , my body fat% had never been so low (due to crazy caloric expenditure during muay thai) and I was at a weight that I haven't been since high school.  I felt amazing, looked amazing and I felt so strong.

But despite feeling so good and healthy, I was actually sending my body down a dangerous path.  At some point during this crazy routine, my body went into "overtraining mode" and stayed that way for about 2 years, even though it never felt that way.  I was having such a good time working out and seeing amazing results that I ignored the classic signs of overtraining (consistent/recurring injuries, muscle strains and constant fatigue, joint pain etc) and ignored what my body was screaming at me.  Keep in mind that only those in fight camp (those who are training for an actual fight) train at this level but fight camp typically lasts for 3-5 months; not 2 years.

My doctor told me that consistently low hormone levels leads to early osteoporosis so I kicked off my 3 month experiment in Dec 2016: I was going to gain a little weight and reduce my exercise frequency (and intensity) which made me nervous because well, I didn't want to gain weight. I was afraid of an expanding waistline, of losing my strength and having to start all over again and trust me, when you've worked as hard as I have to get to where I was, that's a pretty daunting thought.

Despite my fears, I knew I had to do it so I did.  For three months, I loosened the eating reigns and actually ate liberally.  I made cookies and ate them. Chocolate? sure!  cupcake?  sure, I'll have some, thanks. When I wanted another helping of food, I went for it.  While I ate clean most of the time, indulging when I wanted to was actually fun.

So here's the current situation:

Previous weight: 124-126lbs.
Previous body fat%: 18%
Previous exercise schedule: 6 days a week muay thai, 1.5-2.5hrs per day
# rest days: 1

Current weight:  133lbs
Current body fat%: no idea at the moment but a bit higher than 18%.
Current exercise schedule: 3 days a week muay thai, 1 day a week strength training.
# rest days:  3

A 7-9 pound weight gain, more rest days (resulting in slightly increased body fat) gave me my period back; as in for 3 consecutive months, my period was consistent, normal, came when it was supposed to and lasted for more than a day (5 days, to be exact).

And guess what? I'm still happy.  I'm still strong. I'm still fit.  Being away from the gym more than 1 day has invigorated me and I go there wanting to smash pads and work even harder.  Unfortunately, my abs aren't as defined (boo) but I'll take less-than-optimal defined abs over broken bones any day.

You Might Also Like

19 comments

  1. Yay!!! I'm glad it worked and your body is back to loving you again. Plus, isn't it nice to have a reason to say yes to the cupcake every now and then?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dont know if you follow Blogiates - Casesy Ho - she talks about that - how her body is better not training hard core for body bikini competitions - but just being a normal every day "healthy" - she talks about how it makes her feel so much better - more natural. It's so funny to see how a body works & how changes effects it in so many ways.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! Good for you! Good for you for busting your butt and reaching goals, but good for you for realizing when you needed to take a step back too. Sounds like you are on track perfectly and finding optimal health. It's a tough balance to know when to loosen the reins a bit and indulge and when it's too much. Sounds like you've gotten there! You are inspiring and awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The good news is - you are still a total bad ass AND you get to eat cookies :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm happy that you found your body's happy place. A few years back I had some disordered eating and lost my period. It took me a loooong time to get it back and have it regularly. Now it seems to be here to say (HA).

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think this is fascinating... TV shows and magazines are filled with stories about people who go from not working out and are overweight to being fit and healthy, but you rarely hear about the effects of training/working out too much and eating too clean. I'm glad you and your doctor were able to pinpoint the issue and resolve it! I hope it helps to ward off injury and strain now!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had a conversation about a very similar topic this morning at the gym. The woman I was speaking with has mental health issues as well and is on meds and was complaining about the weight gain. I mentioned I'd rather have an extra ten pounds and feel good than the opposite. She disagreed and we left it at that.

    I'm glad you're feeling better and that your experiment resulted in positive outcome for your health.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Me. This.Was.Me. Except I was against gaining weight at all odds until my body decided to do it for me...and in excess thanks to binge eating for a year. Granted my period has not come back full effect, but I've had three normal ones in the last year. Which is more than I've had for three years. So mentally I need to get there and I think things will balance. I also could now afford to loose a few lbs, but I try not to obsess. LOL. Thanks for posting. Needed this.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm so sorry that your body went through that, and love hearing that you're feeling more happy and are still fit. You look amazing girl and are killin' it, cheers to the new and healthier you <3

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, this is so interesting. I'm glad that you were able to figure out what was going on before it got any worse! As Audrey said, you really don't hear about the effects of over training & what it can do to your body.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm glad that your period is back to normal & that you're still happy even with the changes in eating & working out. You're still completely bad ass!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is such an interesting post - so glad you are finding that things leveled out a bit and you are still feeling fit and healthy.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You are so damn disciplined. Even when you are slacking off you have a very specific plan lol. I LOVE this about you. I aspire to be more you in this way too! The human body id so freaking amazing and every teeny tiny thing we do matters. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You rock, glad you found a happy medium. Now could you send me some of your discipline, I could really use it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think it's so awesome that you hit your fitness goal, but then also realized when it was just too much! You're amazing, Kathy -- we all know that, but now you get a cupcake (or two or seven) to tell you you're awesome. Trust me, cupcakes do speak.

    ReplyDelete
  16. hell yes. broken bones and your body breaking down internally? SO not worth it even a little. good for you for actually changing though. some things are more important than abs ;)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm so glad that you found the healthy sweet spot for your body AND that you're still feeling good--two very important things!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The important thing is that you're happy and you feel strong. Good job!

    ReplyDelete