Updated Period Post- Have To Keep Pressing Forward

by tessa8m on November 10, 2011

in Serious Stuff

Thank you again for your well wishes and positive thoughts on my birthday WIAW yesterday! I have come to conclusion that I need to try a cookie cake, eat more rice krispies a la mode, that it is perfectly okay to enjoy froyo more than cake, and striking that balance is the ultimate goal

Alright so I want to get right into this post today, because I have a whole lot to say… it’s long and wordy. But goodness I am once again just…full of thoughts I suppose.

*I talk numbers in regards to weight and calories, disordered eating habits, and health-related female issue- yep periods. If you are a easily triggered, sensitive to such topics, are a male or unable to handle such topics, then please read with discretion or not at all. Thank you!

It’s time to get personal. Perhaps more so than usual?

I try to be as honest as possible on this blog. I mean, what would be the point of lying, putting up a front, and acting like everything is fine and dandy when it’s not? The answer is, there is no point because not only would I be lying to you all, but to myself as well. Facing what is on my mind, the constant torment, is what has enabled me to come so far in this recovery process.

As I have discussed a number of times, it is essential that you are the one that is ready to recover, but support from others is important as well. Having someone, anyone, there to give you a bit of extra help, makes this healing process suck just a little bit less.

My mom and family are my main support system, but I also see a therapist on a weekly basis, have a primary care doctor while at school, and I am also now seeing a nutritionist. By the way, after some finagling, persuasion a bit a bit of begging, all of this is covered by my health insurance, otherwise I would not be able to afford any of this.

When I reflect on the number of professionals I see, it makes me feel a bit crazy to be honest.

I mean wow, do I really NEED all of these people to tell me pretty much the same thing?

Why yes, it seems that I do, because I still have a long way to go in this process.

I have been seeing my therapist and the doctor a doctor here on campus for about a year now, but yesterday was my first time with the nutritionist in the area. My therapist suggested seeing a professional in this area, to help me understand and heal my anemia, and analyze my current heating habits, and what needs to change. Clearly things do need to change- I have severely low iron, I get head rushes that leave me feeling faint several times per day, I am still moody, oh and I still don’t have my damn period.

 

I have been obsessed with proper nutrition and everything related to food consumption, exercise, metabolism and so on, for quite some time now. Along the way, I have gathered and stored a lot of what I read in regards to these subjects and learned a whole lot. However, even though I “know” the way I should be eating- number of calories and all of that, I often choose not to because it makes my eating disordered feel nice and safe. Therefore seeing a nutritionist is sincerely helpful, as hearing what I need to know from a professional, is much easier for me to believe and understand that the information is legitimate.

Well I learned a whole lot in this appointment. Information that is hard for me to believe is true, yet my logical brain knows that it is. We first discussed more ways I could bump up my iron, which I am doing my better with. Check out my post on iron here, if you are looking for more info.) And then, it was time to discuss the lack of period situation.

Here are the things we went over:

  • She began by analyzing what I eat, which I told her with complete honesty. My usual daily eats came out to around 2,000 calories, as I knew it would.
  • We looked at the rough breakdown of carbs, proteins, and fats.
  • Next, she measured the size of my frame and apparently I have a medium-large bone frame.
  • We discussed my exercise and workout schedule- 6 days per week at least an hour per day. Usually running 3x/week anywhere between 6-9 miles typically. The other 3 days are circuit workouts, strength training, HIIT style workouts, and other fairly demanding exercises.
  • Measured my height- 5’10” and ½…not quite 5’11” but quite close!
  • Calculated my BMI based on all of these factors- it’s around 20.5 in the normal range.
  • Calculated the amount of calories I should be consuming based on my current weight, height, daily activity level, and healthy status- in regards to iron (which we know is low), hormone levels, and of course the missing period.

What I learned from all of this nearly made me shake with anxiety. She told me that really and truly I should be eating 2,800-3,200 calories per day… that is where I would feel the best.. where I would be the healthiest. Just because I am in a normal BMI range does not mean I am “healthy.”

My jaw literally dropped when she told me this. Umm excuse me? No no, you are certainly wrong, I don’t exercise enough, do anything enough, to ever eat that amount! Plus I gained weight by eating 2,500 calories a day, how do you explain that one huh?!

Well she was ready to, and what she explained makes sense.

When I was at my lowest weight and eating about 1,000 calories per day, I was becoming increasingly thinner simply by eating less and less and exercising more. However, I was forcing my body into a semi-state of starvation and therefore my metabolism was basically at a stand still. Instead of burning perhaps 2,200 calories per day, I was burning less than 1,000 because my body was slowing my metabolism down for basic survival.

When I started to eat more, I gained weight so quickly because my metabolism was still crawling along, but since I was feeding it so much more, my body was holding onto whatever it gave me… again, basic survival!

Now that I have been regularly been eating 2,000 ish calories for several months now, my metabolism has sped back up, because it is not long fearing starvation….it is trusting me again. Reaching 2,000 has been very mentally challenging, as the “need” I feel to consume less than that number is ever-present.

And now I am supposed to eat up to 1,000 calories MORE per day? Are you effing kidding me?!

Well apparently I do. However, according to the nutritionist, I won’t gain at a speedy rate like last time because my metabolism is no longer non-existent. It can be sped up even more as a matter of fact, as I continue to eat more calories.

Still very hard for me to believe though… how can I need that number of calories? I am not a freakin Olympian or anything, sheeshe!

But then I got my blood work back earlier today, and the information was further legitimized.

  • Iron is still low of course, but we will be measuring this again in about a month.
  • Blood glucose: slightly under the normal level. What does this mean? Basically I am not providing my body enough calories to have reserved stores of glucose, so when I have not eaten for a few hours, I have no extra reserves to supply my body with glucose.
  • Estrogen levels are STILL too low, although they have improved a significant amount. Earlier this year in April, my estrogen levels were 7, and the normal for women my age is 39- 375 pg/mL. Yikes.
  • Estrogen levels now: 22, so a huge improvement, but that number is normal for someone who is in menopause, which clearly I am not.

What I am gathering from both of these appointments is this- I need to increase my calories by a minimum of 800 calories per day. A large majority of these calories must come from fats. Iron rich sources of food must be a focus. Calcium consumption must increase to save my bones. I need to EAT MORE.

Anyone that does not have eating issues would probably deem me as “lucky.” Well that shouldn’t be a problem, you know, just eat more! Have a piece of pizza with that salad, go have a plate of french fries, have a huge dessert every single night! 

Some people reading this might even roll their eyes at my problem. Is she serious, that is what she is complaining about? Just go eat a hamburger for God’s sake… or how about exercising less?

Not that I want anyone to ever experience this illness, but you truly don’t know what it’s like unless you have an eating disorder. It’s so easy to tell someone to “just eat more and not worry about it.” What I have to do is a simple process and I also know that my body will be that much healthier with the extra calories and food, and inevitable weight gain of course.

I know all of this, but I will be honest again, I am terrified. I cannot fathom the fact that as much as I have overcome in this recovery process, I still have to do more. I still have to increase my calories, I still have to gain weight, I still have to get my period back. Please tell me when this hellacious illness is going to stop. DAMNIT when?! Because I want it to go away NOW.

 

Stop stealing my life from me.

I need to stop comparing myself to others and being influenced so easily. Just because a magazine tells me that 1,800 calories is a perfect amount or only people with severe eating disorders “should” be having about 3,000 calories per day…does not mean that it’s what is best for me. I am unique, as we all are. I am taller than most people, exercise a whole lot more than the average person, I walk around a bunch on campus… despite my kicking and screaming I need to eat more. I need to gain more. These things must happen, I mean I have physical evidence and professional input about this!

Maybe for awhile there 2,000 was enough. But that was when my metabolism was still quite slow and I have been mainting my weight for months now. However, I am mainting at a weight that is just too low for me, and it’s time to accept this fact and get over it. Easier said than done of course.

When I get my period back and maintain it for consecutive months, that’s when I know I am in a healthy state.

Again, it has not happened. I haven’t had a natural period (I am not including birth control in this, as that is NOT a natural period) for FOUR years. Good gracious that is too damn long. I want to have children one day….

After finding this all out, I of course called #1 supporter MUMZY, told her what was going on and began to sob. I was not expecting to cry like that (in the middle of campus surrounded by a lot of people mind you), but I could not seem to keep it in. I have to keep challenging myself, keep facing my fears, keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone because unfortuntely, I am just not there yet… “there” being a recovered and stable young woman.

My emotions came from the frustartion of this all. Like I was on Monday, I am simply pissed at all of this. When is it going to stop? When am I going to be free of this torment? When am I going to stop worrying what others think of me? When am I going to be happy with my body? When will I no longer base my life off of my appearance, my weight, how much “fat” I have on me?

I don’t know when and that really sucks. However, I WILL keep believing that continuously making positive changes will only continue to heal me. I don’t know how much more weight I have to gain, or how much more I have to eat, how much LESS I should run and exercise…and that is scary.

But you know what? Just have to keep facing those fears, no matter how frightened I am, I will beat this MOFO down.

1) Not that it really matters at this post, but is this like, way too much information to be sharing? haha

2) Can anyone relate to this? More about the bit of being told, “just eat more!” Or “just gain some weight!” How do you overcome such comments and thoughts?

3) Because I am in a bit of a poopy mood, tell me something happy about you today! Anything at all :)

Thank you for reading this if you chose to. I really do appreciate it.

I hope that you all have a fantastic Thursday, one more day y’all :) (until the weekend of course!)

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{ 135 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jillian @ DNA and Dessert November 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

What a crazy day for you! I hear you on all of this post. I feel like you crawled inside my head sometimes. I have been batting around the idea of seeing a nutritionist for a while and I think after reading this I may try to seek one out close to home. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Jillian @ DNA and Dessert recently posted..Cultural Competence

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2 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Hey Jillian! I think it could really benefit you! It really helps when you hear from someone that is in fact a professional

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3 Ashley@MyFoodNFitnessDiaries November 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Once again, I can completely relate. I know it’s hard, but you can do it. I know you can. You’ve come so far already!
Ashley@MyFoodNFitnessDiaries recently posted..Vacation Workout Game Plan

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4 CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com/ November 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Hey girly! I’m so proud of you for seeing a nutritionist, getting the facts, and having a great attitude to accomplish your goals. Please let me know if you need any additional support! I’m only a tweet or email away my darling and you know I KNOW exactly what you’re going through!!!! Xoxo

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5 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Thank you CJ, that is so nice for me to know

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6 meg November 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Tessa I think you are so so inspiring and awesome. I have to admit that if I were in your situation I would be super tempted to just take birth control pills and not gain weight but I am so proud of you for taking the higher road and choosing health over vanity. Your nutritionist sounds really awesome too – it is great that she took so many factors into consideration like your frame and things like that. I think this is also just another example of how much that stupid BMI calculator sucks. I hate that thing so much and wish there a better alternative out there. I mean there are SO many factors that go into determining a healthy weight for someone and all that stupid thing accounts for is height and weight. Haha sorry I got off on a tangent but I just wanted to say I’m incredibly proud of you and would give you a huge hug if I could!

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7 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Trust me Meg, I am tempted to just take the BC pills and be done with it… But no! Natural must be the goal, because I know it is possible, it’s hard, but it’s definitely possible
BMI charts really do suck! I have always thought of myself as having a small frame and therefore would look at the minimum weight I should be and just go with that. But I need to accept that it’s simply not appropriate for my body
Virtual hugs :)

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8 Emily November 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I remember my first visit with my nutritionist and I thought she was a crazy lady. ME? 2500 a day? No way. That is not “normal.” I’m slowly moving towards accepting those numbers. And I never thought I’d actually be wishing for a period. It’s weird, so many women would love to give up their periods…not me!
Emily recently posted..“Gratitude is the Best Attitude”

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9 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Not me either Emily! I know, that number just sounds so ridiculous to me… but a part of me knows that it’s the right one (and even more than 2,500!)

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10 AJohnson November 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm

ahh what a heart-filled post. tell you the truth, the nutritionist was the hardest person from my time to make sure I saw every week. The information she gave me was so real and yet so hard to swallow (hahah literally). I know exactly what you mean about gaining weight. It was difficult and no one could understand why I struggled so much. I was always saying how I would do anything to be at a healthy weight and to be free from Ed but then I could not/ would not gain weight. I am not saying this is true for you, but for me, I was not ready to give him up. It feels like free falling when you allow yourself to truly give your body the extras it needs. Its terrifying and you don’t know what to expect. So I was not ready, even if I swore up and down I was. I was still attached to my thin, underweight body and I wasn’t willing to give it up. I know you feel ready and I am positive in so many aspects you are. But let’s be real, the best part about Ed (if we can call it that) was being thin. And now you have to give that up. This was the original thing you wanted and know you have to stop wanting it. And for me, I didn’t even think I was thin enough when I was told to gain. I hope this makes sense, helps in some way, and doesn’t come off the wrong way. You will get there. Remember (not quite sure if this is also appropriate or not) but God does things in his time, not ours. Give it time while always working. When you are ready, you will find the tools, strength, and opportunity to gain the weight!
AJohnson recently posted..Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat

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11 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm

This is such an insightful thing to say…seriously I really understand what you are writing here. You hit the nail on the head, the best part (ha.ha.) is being thin.. and yes, I am attached to that still. I like being able to feel my hip bones, see my skinny arms, not let my thighs touch. Yes I hold on to this feeling. But I know it has to stop, I have to let the skinny/thin body go.
Thank you for this

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12 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie November 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm

This was definitely not TMI in the least, thanks for sharing your struggles because I can completely relate. I’m currently not seeing a nutritionist but I’m considering it because I’m really curious how many calories I real need. I justify eating smaller amounts because I’m a small person and I don’t get that hungry but I really believe I should probably be eating more. And I have a similar issue with my period, except I have never had a natural period and I’ve only had a fake period on birth control for about 2 years. Yeah it makes me feel safer because I don’t have to gain weight to get my period naturally but I know that I can’t and don’t want to stay on it forever. And sure I have fewer symptoms than I probably would without it, but I know that someday I have to see if my body can have a period on it’s own.
Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie recently posted..WIAW: What I (Wish I Ate) From Whole Foods

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13 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I think that someday you should Ashley and trust me, I know how terribly awful it feels. Perhaps let’s try and encourage each other okay?

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14 Liz @ Southern Charm November 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Never TMI! Your honesty is why I’m such a fan of your blog.

You are very lucky to have a nutritionist … one with so much information and the ability to explain things. Hopefully the nutritionist will only add to your healing process :) I’ll pulling for you!
Liz @ Southern Charm recently posted..Cookie Monster

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15 Stephanie @ Snacking on Sunshine November 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Girl you’re awesome! What a heartfelt post :) I think that it’s fantastic that you’re listening to your nutritionist. I got stuck in the “starvation-stall” for awhile too and it took me AGES to break out of it and get myself up to “normal” eating levels – by my standards, I still don’t think I’m eating *quite* enough. I’ve been toying with the idea of seeing a nutritionist, but to be honest I’m a little worried that we’ll disagree as my diet tends to be more plant based… maybe seeing somebody holistic would be better. Bah, I don’t know.
Anyway, good for you for sharing what you did. You basically wrote down one of my deepest fears. I commend you for your bravery, woman!
Stephanie @ Snacking on Sunshine recently posted..Fall Salad with Maple-Lemon Dressing

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16 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm

OH yes I can see why you would be reluctant! But maybe you could go and just see what she has to say to you about it? And then you could tell her want you want to base your eats off- more plant bases I mean and see what she/he says

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17 Kat November 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Yep Ive been told to eat more, and it is now my favorite thing to tell others. Girl we NEED to keep our metabolisms up!! As we age its going to slow, and if Im only eating 1500 now, Im only going to be able to eat 1000 to MAINTAIN the same weight Im at now. Thats why older people have such a hard time losing those extra pounds.
BUT Im super happy that you are discovering this!! While it may seem overwhelming, it is definitely necessary. The way I think of it is this – when I have a little girl one day, I dont want her to EVER experience what I have. So Im going to eat all I can and be the healthiest I can be, so I can pass it on to her :)
Kat recently posted..How To Make Your Own Canned Pumpkin

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18 Jenny November 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Sorry , but your statement that you can ‘only eat 1500 now” is pure crap..eat NORMAL…eat over 2000
Sure , you’ll gain at first – but when you’re body is used to it, it will even out and you’ll bounce to a set point.

And age is just an excuse.
Trust me: whether you’re 20 or you’re 35 , you’d be very very surprised at the little difference in approaches.
Ages and “my body is different” are just excuses.

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19 Jenny November 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Sorry, just realized that you were discrediting that statement and understand that it is crap and false.

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20 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Oh gosh so true, that low number of calories would suck!
That is a good thing to remember Kat, thank you for you the encouragement

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21 Savannah @ Sweet and Savvy November 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Tessa! You are so amazingly strong for posing on such sensitive topics! I struggle with the same things a lot! I am trying to get better, because, like you, my wake up call was when I stopped having a normal period. It has not stopped completely, but is definitely not regular. In the last 6 months I have had three periods… which is NOT close to every 28 days. I know for a fact that you will improve and get better! You already have healed SO much from the time when you were obsessively exercising and eating only 1000 calories a day. Look how far you have come from there… it is only a small step from here! :)
Savannah @ Sweet and Savvy recently posted..I’ve Been Converted

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22 Allie November 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Oh, I can definitely see how needing to add more calories would be scary, especially if you’re just getting comfortable where you are–but if you need ‘em, you need ‘em! You’ve come this far, so I know you can keep moving forward! And that period is important for so much more than just future children, it keeps you in balance and like you say, an overall indicator of health. I went without mine for two years, and it was sporadic for years after that. But did you also ask about being super active in relation to your period too? I know that can throw it off even if the rest of what you’re doing is health, or at least so my non-medical self has heard rumors of, of course :D

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23 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm

It really is an overall indicator! Gah it’s so hard, but I know it can be done. And yes that is true about being active.. I am meeting with her again in about two weeks and will ask her about my activity level and what that has to do with it

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24 Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles November 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I know where you’re coming from! I was losing weight and KNOW I needed to eat more, yet I was still afraid (and still am) to stop counting calories and EAT. I’m still not great at stopping when I’m full, it’s still a learning experience and it’s still scary.

Just for some perspective: I’m 5’3″ with a small frame and I was losing on 1800-2000cal/day!
Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles recently posted..More Notable Seattle Finds

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25 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Thank you for the perspective…it just means that we BOTH need to eat more…it can be done Kaitlyn

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26 Sara November 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm

This is NOT too much information. Reading your blog really comforts me. I love the way you write. I can’t express myself so it’s really nice to read your thoughts because its just what I am thinking! I really can relate to you. Stay strong and keep your head up!

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27 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Aww thank you for telling me that Sara! You keep your head up too

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28 Amy Lauren November 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I don’t think your post was TMI at all. I actually read an article about a girl who lifts weights and eats fairly clean, and she has gained weight, you don’t even know it because she’s so muscular. And she eats like 3,000 calories a day. It’s inspiring to know that when you gain a pound or two, stop obsessing over the numbers, you really don’t wind up looking bigger. And the metabolism drop is exactly why people who diet hit “plateaus”- because your body adjusts to what you give it and when you’re not giving it much, it doesn’t deliver much either.

I hope you get the low iron straightened out too… anemia is no fun and really not good for runners. It’s tough now but I promise will be worth it in the long run.
Amy Lauren recently posted..Almost Wordless Wednesday- Halloweekend!

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29 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:47 pm

That really is nice to know. Thank you for including this information Amy

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30 Amy Lauren November 10, 2011 at 11:04 pm

You’re welcome! Here is the article if you’re interested. I don’t think I could ever go to the extreme she does, because I like treats and sweets and I don’t eat meat so paleo would be impossible for me. BUT, even just looking at the pictures, you can see that gaining weight doesn’t always make you look “fat” or “thick” or “plump”… she looks much better at a higher weight, imho.

http://nerdfitness.com/blog/2011/07/21/meet-staci-your-new-powerlifting-super-hero/
Amy Lauren recently posted..Almost Wordless Wednesday- Halloweekend!

31 Karla November 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I cannot relate to what you’re going through at all (I’ve always been a ‘bigger boned’ person and don’t struggle with being too thin…at all). That being said, I know you can do what is best and needed for your body. You’ve come such a long way thus far. Sure, it’s another kink thrown your way but you can do it. =) <3
Karla recently posted..Winter Weather Wednesday

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32 Kiah November 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Something good that happened to me today: I find some great running gear, on sale! Keep truckin’, girl :-)
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33 Janetha November 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I’ve thought you should be eating 3000 for a long long time but I didnt say anything because its your business and I don’t want to butt in.

I’ll tell you what puzzles me though. What if you have been sedentary (absolutely sedentary) for a few years , and you’re 33 years old, and now you have to gain, but you are completely sedentary. Then how do you approach that? If you have any thoughts, feel free to email me. But don’t feel obligated.

P.s. there was a resources link that CJ (above) linked on her blog a few posts back. You should link that on your blog for readers. It has some interesting articles about why its so important to gain on a lot (3000ish) versus less; and articles on why binging even after you’ve gained weight or come to peace with food is not something to be concerned or ashamed about.

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34 Jess November 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Janetha, you need to stop asking others what to do when you yourself know perfectly well. “Absolutely sedentary” — what do you do? You’ve emailed me and you seem to complain a lot about your situation, but I don’t see what’s so difficult about even working out at home if you’re so concerned about being sedentary all the time. Stop asking people who have eating disorders/are battling eating disorders what their advice is and just go DO something about it!

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35 Janetha November 11, 2011 at 7:48 am

I can’t work out; I cannot jog (I haven’t literally for years and years…i’m physically incapable). And I can’t work out at home because I have no money for equipment or dvds…i barely barely have money for toothpaste and that is honest truth…

doing a random pushup , stuff like that…its useless…no equipment, no gym, no abiity to run, etc etc
people say “no big deal’ but they don’t GET it…they don’t truly get it…if they were in that situation they’d crumble…its not not not easy. And its worse worse worse when people say “just go do something”.

36 Jess November 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Janetha — if what you say is true, and doing “random push ups” and whatnot is useless, and you’re in the kind of situation no one can really understand, then I still don’t understand after you have emailed me and post comments on other people’s blogs what you want US to do to help you. I’ve tried giving you suggestions, but you keep telling me you can’t do those things, and they’re very practical, then… I don’t know. Some people are wheelchair-bound but at least do weights or something?

37 Anna-Maria (www.pinkbarbells.com) November 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Loveeee your post!!!! Nop it is not too much information.
Once again I can totally relate. This week I am increasing my calories as well. Not a lot, just by 200 (for this week) because I have been feeling tired and because this is the only way for me to gain the muscle I want. Any one not suffering/suffered from an ED would be glad if they had to eat more but for us it can be really frustrating.
When I was recovering I was gaining weight like crazy eating 1300 kcals!! like you my body had gone into semi starvation mode and was burning less than 900 kcals/day!
You can do this! we can do this! :)
something happy about me today: my gym manager keeps asking me what is my secret and that I need to tell her so that she can get a body like mine. I guess I am doing something right after all:)
Have a great day hon! x x x x
Anna-Maria (www.pinkbarbells.com) recently posted..Pumpkin recipes

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38 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Thank you for sharing this Anna-Maria! It’s nice to read that others, like yourself, have had a similar experience but were able to reverse it.
That compliment from your manager must help out too :) you go girl

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39 Anna @ Food Fitness Frolicking November 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Tessa, I’m actually so glad you shared this post! I read every single word and I think it’s great that you share your struggles so openly. I’m glad you’re getting help from a nutritionist and others..don’t ever feel weird about that! That’s why everyone has different talents and personalities..we need eachother! I’ll never be a surgeon or someone that likes to fix things..but thank goodness there are doctors and mechanics who can! Do you see what I mean? We weren’t meant to live alone with no help..we were made to help each other out!
Anna @ Food Fitness Frolicking recently posted..Effortless Ratatouille for a Not So Effortless Lifestyle

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40 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I do see what you mean! Thank you for this perspective Anna

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41 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count November 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I’ll tell you something happy, Tessa…Your readers Love You! Yes maybe this is too much information, but I’ve come to feel that you trust us as a group and can vent when necessary and this certainly is a time that is necessary, I would say. I mentioned before that I have no experience with your side of the weight issue. I have tons, you should excuse the expression of experience on the reverse side. Having struggled to lose weight all of my life and having people say, oh just eat less and exercise more, I know how frustrating that can be. In finally losing the weight and then becoming a Weight Watchers leader in order to help others, I have learned that each of us has to find the place within ourselves that will allow us to make the changes that will save our lives. You try it once, it doesn’t work, you try again, no luck, you try again. Each time you try, you learn something that will help you make the right choices and eventually turn the corner. In every word you write, I hear myself from the other side of the glass, hating myself and wondering why I’m saddled with this and everyone else is just fine. You have it within yourself to do this. One step at a time. This may sound too simplistic, but have you ever tried meditation. It teaches you to find that center in yourself where all of your truth lies. That may help. I wish the best for your and I am listening and happy that I can hear in hopes it makes a difference for you.
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42 lindsay November 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm

well said Fran. Great perspective!
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43 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:13 pm

This really is a great perspective! Thank you for sharing this
I appreciate your input on this. I never thought it the opposite way, that being told to just go and exercise or “eat less” is so much more difficult than people can imagine.
I haven’t tried meditating but it could be something to consider. I am really up for anything at this point!

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44 Kate @ Chasing It November 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

ok so first because i’m too technologically impaired to figure out how to reply to comments on blogspot – my bedtime snack was a slice of toast with a tonn of PB (usually like 2.5-3 T…ish), fresh strawberries and blueberries topped with some edy’s slow-churn ice cream (berries n cream ftw!) and part of one of the “normal people muffins” I baked…its easily more of a meal than a snack haha, but I guess its my pre-workout fuel too!

ok ANYWAYS – this isn’tTMI, in my opinion – you are definitely super brave for sharing all this, and honestly, its YOUR blog and blogging is only good for you if you’re allowed to vent and be honest on it! Especially when you feel like you have to put on a front all day. Amenorrhea and calories and iron/blood glucose deficiencies are really widespread issues – I mean, ED’s are – and I personally think we NEED to start talking about them! I think part of the reason so many young girls go without help for so long is because its such a hush-hush subject. so yes, speak out and share all the gory details, america needs to wake the fuck up!

Ok rant over. I 100% relate to this post. I haven’t menstruated since I was 15 years old – that’s seven years. At this point it may even be too late for me and that thought scares the bejeezus out of me – I started getting it again last year, during a period where I was dating someone who encouraged me to, yep, eat more. And the funny thing was, I didn’t gain any weight from the increased eats! But of course, the ED tendencies came back, so I really haven’t gotten it for a whole nother year (sorry if THAT was TMI lol).

Increasing the eats is definitely scary. It took me so SO long to get to 2000….and I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t progressed past that because the number still freaks me out. But according to my nutritionist, I need to eat between 2500-3000 (depending on my workout – right now towards the lower end since I’m resting way more) in order to be in energy balance. SHe says I’m at a healthy weight, so its not so much gaining weight that’ll get good old aunt flo to come back, but rather simply eating the amount I burn. And that it might even take several MONTHS of being in energy balance before I get it back.

So long story short…you and I are kinda in the same position! and it’s going to be a long, scary, frustrating process. And its going to suck. But hopefully you know you’re not alone – I’m right here with ya!! maybe we can help encourage each other :)

Something happy about my day…I got a job interview at a bakery! so fun!
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45 Janetha November 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I eat WAY more than that before bedtime…seriously…and I don’t work out..this is the toughest confusion for me.

I’m so mad at “it” you know…whatever “it” is.

And the stupid thing is that rationally I know…I know that we coul all (even sitting lazy bums) eat a TON and simply not even gain. Our poor brains, muscles, blood, etc..

My iron is SUPER low Tessa. And my kidneys, creatine, and liver show lower values too. My doctor just keeps saying to gain. She said a ton of protein won’t hurt…I hope not…the trouble is that I’m making it all worse cause at night I binge on things like crackers, snack chips, chocolate…its really bad.

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46 Kellie November 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I too have upped my calories after going back to my nutritionist. I am not running at all (just walking and yoga) and I have upped the fat in my diet, along with calories. I fought it, but you know what, today is the first day I have felt like my old self in such a long time. My period has been gone for almost two years now and even though I got my weight up from when I was my sickest, it is obviously not enough. I started over exercising again and cutting calories, and sure enough my nutritionist told me that my body is holding onto calories because of it. It is time for both of us to start up our metabolism again. I can tell you this, I am not thinking about food or obsessing about it as much since I did add more fat and calories. I am afraid of the weight gain too, but I also know that sometimes the body will gain, then realize it will still continued to be nourished, then stabalize. So do not weigh yourself during these next couple of months. I am letting my body do its thing and when my period comes back and stays back, then that is a healthy weight for me. I am happy you are seeing a nutritionist, I promise you will feel better eating more. Just one more thing (sorry this is getting long) ED is going to make you start questioning and doubting what your nutritionist says or what’s on your meal plan, don’t fall for the disordered voice. My husband goes to my appt. now with me so that I have someone who helps me listen and stay accountable.

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47 Janetha November 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Wow, we need to talk. Wish we could, cause it might be insightful for me.

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48 Kellie November 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Janetha,
you can email me at kmmorgan80@yahoo.com. I will be honest, I have my good days and bad, but today was the first day I could really see a possibility of recovery. I know from experience that ED will be louder tomorrow (seems that ED hits hard after I have a good day sticking with my food and exercise plan), but at least I know what to expect.

49 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Wow this is really inspiring Kellie, and I am so so happy for you and how you are feeling! I would love to reach the point that you are currently at, and you are proving to me that it can be done.
And thank you for adding that bit in about ED questioning the meal plan…because I will be honest and say it has already happened! I can’t help feeling that I don’t “need” those extra calories. God damn though, I do

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50 Tara November 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm

TESSAAAA. Oh my gosh. I wish I were right there with you right now to talk about this because I have waaaaaaay too much to say! I im in the exact same boat. 4 years with no (real) period, need more calories… ah it’s crazy isn’t it!? I stopped seeing the dietician I was seeing because she was a !@#$% (not just because I didn’t want to hear what she had to say, my mom agreed!), but what she told me was essentially the same thing, just a less because I’m shorter! It was so hard for me at first, but I realized that you really just have to throw yourself into it. You want this. You have overcome scary things before and felt better. The first time is the hardest. But once you see that it’s better for you and really not so bad, it will come easy. Take a cue from nike and “just do it” – that was what I did even though it was freaking scary. If you need anyone to talk to, seriously just email me because I’ve been there and I’m actually going through it again because of my stress fracture! I’m really glad you opened up about this because I know EXACTLY how it feels.
Tara recently posted..WIAW–food swap!

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51 Tara November 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm

ps. you just inspired tonights post. I really needed to get it all out so thank you so much for being the catalyst!
Tara recently posted..WIAW–food swap!

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52 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Well as soon as I write something here, I am off to check out your blog! I am honored to hear that my post has helped you out in anyway at all!
I will certainly email you sometime, I really could use any kind of help on this. Thank you so much Tara :)

53 lindsay November 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm

our bodies take time to adjust back to normal, it will happen. But fear keeps us for getting there. I know that seems like a lot food to consume, but one thing that might help is just adding in more oil for good calories, and shakes. I know i know, easier said than done. Thanks for an open and honest post Tessa. You inspire a lot of gals.
;)
lindsay recently posted..30 minute Thursday: Today

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54 Sam November 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm

awww, sweet girl, i’m so sorry! i’ve never really struggled with this (always naturally a little chubsy!), but i’m sure it’s so hard.

happy things…hmmm…i leave work in 6 minutes!
Sam recently posted..health and fitness link love 15

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55 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Weeee yay for being out of work at this point!

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56 Sophie @ LoveLiveAndLearn November 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Oh that sounds like such a difficult and taxing day.
I completely understand that you are struggling and like I’ve said many times before you are doing so so well! :-)
Seriously girl, you’re inspirational with the way you fight!!
And I can understand why that number sounds so scary, I would panic if someone told me I should be eating that amount!
I’m so glad you have your mother there to support you and I think it’s great that you have a whole team of people helping you, including your nutritionist, it’s so important!

My main struggle lately has been a bit of an odd one. Because I’ve struggled with eating problems in the past (I lived off about 1000 calories a day for several months and haven’t really gotten over my issues with food and my body since) I have to be really careful with my eating. Since being at uni I’ve been having a lot of negative thoughts about eating and about how I look so in order to make sure I don’t go down a similar route to before, as I know that that would be bad, I’ve been making myself eat more. I’ve been snacking on junk food in order to make myself eat more calories. But now I’ve gained a good 5 kilos so I’m even more miserable with myself… Talk about a messed up situation!

Anyway, I hope you’re feeling a bit better!
Love you <3
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57 Maria@La_Piattini November 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I think your point about not comparing yourself to others or to what it says in magazines is the best point in your post- and as simple as it may sound it’s probably the one that has helped me in my struggles the most. What is right for you is not going to be right for me or for the next girl. We are all individuals and need to take care of our body’s needs. I think it’s great that you went to the nutritionist and got this amazing advice- it was very informative and interesting to read. But I know how you feel. When I hear I need to eat more, which I hear quite often, it’s usually brushed off with a “yea, yea” but becomes a screaming battle in my head. Knowing you should and actually doing it are two VERY different things. I know it will be tough but good luck and always try to focus on your health first.
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58 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Oh yes, they are certainly TWO different things! I know it will be tough too, but yes, I want my health back and that’s that!

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59 Sonia (the Mexigarian) November 10, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I’m glad you are surrounded by so many people that love and support you and you’re getting the professional help to heal and become healthy. It’s a long road that isn’t easy, especially without the guidance of doctors and nutritionists. (I never went to see doctors for it and I have not talked about my obvious ED with my family). The calorie count may sound scary, especially after you are trying so hard to become healthy, but if that’s what it takes, baby steps towards it.

Personally, I commend you for being so open and honest about your E.D. I have been thinking about sharing my own story on my blog, but am still afraid of how it makes me look. I know. Issues. Lol. But with people like you sharing, and being completely raw about what you are going through, more of us with E.D’s can open up, can speak, discuss, share and heal. E.D’s can be very isolating while we go through it, but the healing process can bring people together. Never censor yourself. And to those that may say otherwise, I just stick up a finger and tell them to sit down and shut up. ;)

Something happy today? Hmm. Well I’m happy I woke up, breathing, beside my husband with my crazy pets and that I am still here chugging along.
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60 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Hi Sonia,
I think if you want to share your story then go for it! I believe it will make you feel a whole lot better and people may support you more than you think
You made a good point, the healing process can bring people together, keep that in mind :)

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61 Alexandra November 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm

You know something? You’re amazing Tessa :) It takes some serious guts to vent about this kinda stuff, so number one, I applaud you for that.
Number two (haha poop ;)), I think it’s neat you saw the nutritionist! Sometimes we need outside input to get perspective. I’ve never been to one, but when I saw how many calories I needed when I first started to recover, it seemed impossible to obtain. But in time, I realized I was so much happier with the extra food and I actually felt like living! It’s amazing what a few hundred calories can do!
So many people did that same “go eat a burger” thing to me and it made me angry because I wanted to gain in a healthy way. Just gotta roll with it I guess :)
You totally got this my friend, just keep your head up and I’m sure your girl cycles will return in no time!
Sending hugs and love!! :)
Alexandra recently posted..FAIL

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62 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Tehe poop indeed, I am so so glad you appreciate that humor as much as I do!
Yeah I am planning to just roll with it as well, easier said than done though, but it helps to know I have support :)

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63 Rach November 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Oh precious girl, I just wish I could wrap you up in a hug. I keep starting to write something and then end up deleting it. This is scary news. I get that. But I am SO glad that you realize your need to up the calories. I know it will be hard and there will be days when you don’t think it’s possible, but I also know that you have been keeping this ED’s butt and that you will get there. Love you, lady!
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64 hannah November 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Tessa! First time commenter, love your blog! Your honesty is refreshing, and I love that you can talk about this, with practically complete strangers! I can totally relate to where you’re coming from! I think it’s also good to remember that when we’re starving our bodies, our brains/thought processes become distorted. Just try to tell yourself that not only will eating more make you physically healthier, but also mentally. Being mentally healthy is one of, if not THE most important aspect of recovery. Stay strong, and know I pray for you&every other person that struggles with horrendous disease!

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65 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Hi Hannah! I am so glad you commented, it’s nice to ‘meet’ you :)
Yes you are right, our brains really do become even more disordered as the sickness gets worse! Must remember this
Thank you for your thoughts!

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66 Kellie November 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I just wanted to say that you are absolutely right about our brains becoming distorted. That is why recovery is so challenging. I have found that adding fat has increased my ability to think clearly and fight ED harder. Being mentally healthy is definately a HUGE aspect of recovery!

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67 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

It certainly is!

68 Kim @ Eat, Live, and Blog November 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I love how you share all of your personal things to us reader. It makes me feel like we’re best friend or something. ;)

I’ve beed told to eat more too, so I can somewhat relate to how you feel. I don’t want to go eat a hamburger just to gain weight. I want to gain it the healthy way. Lately, I’ve been creating more food and eating more nutritious meals, which really help. And slowly, I’m starting to gain more weight the healthy way.

Just keep being strong and you’ll get through this Tessa! :)
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69 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

It’s nice to know I am not alone in this Kim! Thank you for your input

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70 Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats November 10, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Thank you for sharing this! The part about your body being used to such a low number of calories and your body adjusting to that and slowing your metabolism made me wonder if that could be another cause of why I packed on pounds so quickly after about two years of eating 1000-1200 calories a day!
One thing that I feel like I can relate to with “go eat a hamburger” types of comments is my family commenting on my eating habits. They would make “anorexic” comments but then comment about the amounts of desserts I would eat at holidays–I typically would have one of everything. Honestly, I have gained about 35-40 pounds since I was at my lowest weight during my disordered eating (2 years ago) and I am terrified at what my family/people back at home are going to think about my size. It is exhausting to have these kinds of thoughts.
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71 Julia November 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I am so glad you posted this – you know I’ve been looking forward to this post for weeks now! This is definitely helping me and making me open up my eyes a bit more! I eat around 1200-1300 calories (it has taken me TWO years to get to this point) and I KNOW i have to eat way more to be healthy again..it’s so hard. Thank you for posting all of this + your honesty because it helps WAY more than you ever think! Love ya girl
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72 tessa8m November 10, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I am sooo glad this might help you…you definitely need more than that low of calories! Keep going forward lady!

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73 Sarah - Feeeding Brain and Body November 10, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I’m so glad you opened up and shared this info with us readers! Honestly i can relate so much! At first I didn’t care that I didn’t get my period, but honestly one day I DO want to have children! It scared me to think I have confused my body so much! I can totally understand how hard it much be for you to increase your daily calories, but YOUR DOING THE RIGHT THING! Not only that but it’s very inspiring to hear that you will be making an active effort to increase despite the fear! You rock!
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74 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health November 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Tessa honey, I love you! And no, I don’t think you are oversharing at all! I can completely understand why eating more calories would be scary- especially for you since you have and still are overcoming something that is so mentally and physically challenging! When I took a dietetics class in college and found out that I should be eating around 2300 calories a day it freaked me out, but I can say that I really do feel so much better and healthier when I eat around that amount! I know it’s going to be a challenge for you but I really think it will be worth it. And considering how far you’ve already come I know that you can totally do it! If you ever need to vent or talk, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
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75 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! November 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Your determination is truly inspiring, I hope you know that! I love that you are honest and open enough to share this much information – and unless it makes YOU uncomfortable, there is absolutely no reason to hold back those emotions.
While my main issue was eating too much, I can definitely relate to triggering comments on eating habits. For a while, everyone around me told me that I ate too much. For a while, I didn’t care, until i was 20+ pounds above my ideal weight. Then I became a ‘sneak-eater’ – I appeared to be eating normally, but I would still binge behind closed doors. It’s so hard to put yourself out there and give in to regaining ‘normal’ eating habits. To be honest, I still don’t know how much I should be eating each day, but I probably do need to eat more as well – which is hard to do, for me out of fear of going overboard. I’m afraid to let go, always afraid to lose control.
I think you are well on your way to being fully healthy, and it’s so so great that you have someone in your life like your mom who you can just spill to!
p.s. – something happy? tomorrow is friday!!
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76 Kristy November 10, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I don’t think this post was TMI at all. I actually thought it was very honest and helpful. I also haven’t had my period in a number of years, and I lost it due to Ed. Even at my highest recovered weight, which was on the bottom end of normal, I didn’t get my period back. I probably could be eating more too. Although I feel like I eat a lot, I am pretty active and am obviously not healthy if I am not having my period. Like you, I hate it when people tell me to just eat. If it was that easy, we wouldn’t have constant battles going on inside our heads. Like you alluded to, however, it is ultimately up to us to make healthy decisions and overcome disordered thinking. I know it will be a challenge to up how much you eat, but I know you can do it! Just look at how far you’ve come in the last year!
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77 Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups November 10, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I just hope that every day can get a little easier for you and can be one step toward some peace of mind and you living a happy and fulfilling life. You’re so strong. I know you can do this!
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78 Turtle-speed Runner November 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Hmm, this is interesting. I think I need to see a nutritionist too. I’ve not had a period either for three years… yet I am at a “healthy” weight and have been for 2 1/2 of those years. In fact, my BMI is a little more than 24, which is close to the overweight category.

I wonder if you can still have period problems because of not eating enough even if you’re at a healthy weight? Because I must admit I still eat 1300-1500 calories… My gynaecologist seems confused by my situation. I’m her “mystery patient” because I’m at a healthy weight yet still have not got my period back.

Sorry to ramble on a bit :) Thanks for this post!!
Turtle-speed Runner recently posted..Perfectionism.

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79 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm

You didn’t ramble, I am glad you shared your input on this! That is a bit of an odd situation, let me know if you find out anything!

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80 Jane November 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Yes, you’re at an energy deficit.
1500 calories? That is insanely low for a sedentary person, let alone an athlete.
You’re young women, not frail children.
Increase by another 1000-15000. You might gain 5 , maybe 10 lbs with some time…but trust me, it will settle away once again as you live life and you will then be at a naturally healthy, wonderful weight WHILE eating your near 3000 calories …you’ll get to the point where you can maintain a great energetic weight (maybe even what you are now if you are “healthy” and “normal” but be able to eat SO MUCH more).

81 Leila @ spinach and skittles November 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Oi, tough to hear but I know you’re strong enough to do it. Baby steps-throw an extra 2tbs of hummus into you’re afternoon snack. Bam! 50 healthy cals. 1/8th cup pecans in your morning oats, boom! Another 100. Trust me, taking care of yourself NOW will be so much easier than trying to repair even more damage later. I’m going on 15 months of not ovulating after getting off birth control. One bc related some ED. Aggghhh!
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82 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Great tips :) Argghhh indeed! Must.overcome.this.

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83 Colleen November 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Tessa, once again you have written about every thought and health issue I face. I haven’t had a period in almost 7 yrs. 7!!!! Since before I was married. I have gone through 6 IVF treatments and you know why they fail?!! I started to gain weight and freaked. I disobeyed drs orders about exercising. I lied on the paperwork about my BMI (I had to gain before he would do IVF #3-6). My BMI didn’t change–I wouldn’t let it. I refuse to go through the process again b/c of many reasons, but ultimately the weight gain from the drugs. I am a horrible person. No really, I am. My BFF has actually offered to carry our baby. We are heading down that road now. However, the dr is again insisting I gain weight prior to the egg retrieval. What have I done?! Lied. Did I meet with his nutritionist? Yeh. What did I do with the 3200 calorie diet plan she wrote? Threw that paper away like it was on fire.
This is long and I apologize. I just typed out my deepest, darkest secret. What is wrong with me?!?

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84 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Please don’t apologize Colleen. I really am glad you wrote this out because you are typing out exactly what you need to change. You KNOW that what you are doing is so wrong and so bad for you. Knowing this is essential for healing and recovering!
There is nothing wrong with you. It’s this horrible, tormenting illness that we are dealing with and are going to overcome!! It can be done, I know it, I believe it, we both deserve a life free of this bullshit

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85 Lindsey @ Happy or Hungry November 10, 2011 at 11:19 pm

This was a great post, and happy belated birthday!!!!
I have never seen a nutritionist, but I personally find that when I eat more calories I lose weight if they are the RIGHT kinds of calories. Not just gorging myself on cookies and cake, but healthy fats, protein, whole grains, etc. It is also when I feel best about myself.
I agree with the other commenters about sneaking healthy calories in – nuts, hummus, cheese…good examples.

I don’t know what other advice to give you about how to stop obsessing over your body and your appearance…but once again I am blown away at how many people feel this way. Why is this something we have to think about? Why can’t we eat what we want and not worry about it?

Tessa you are beautiful and you will be at any weight. Your weight does not define you. Just know that healthy and STRONG is beautiful :)
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86 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Why indeed Lindsey :( I ask myself this all of the time!
I appreciate the encouragement you provided me with…any words are helpful right now :)

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87 Corrie Anne November 11, 2011 at 12:53 am

Ayyy! I can understand how that would be tough to hear. I’m gad you’re taking such positive steps though. It sounds like you got some good advice from someone seriously knowledgable, so thanks for sharing!! Something happy about myself is that we’re finally in a more permanent apartment, and the weather was so nice we got to run outside with our dog tonight. And…. it’s almost Friday! :)
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88 Khushboo November 11, 2011 at 1:05 am

Wow, what a day! It’s all too easy to say ‘eat a bit more’ or ‘stop exercising’ but I know how daunting it is…especially after years of believing that ‘eating less’ and ‘exercise more’ was the route to success. All I can advise is baby steps…it’s not physically possible/fathomable to expect you to eat 1000 extra calories daily…but make small goals: like 200 more each week. I like that your nutritionist suggested fats- it’s the easiest way to up your calorie intake without feeling bloated.
Khushboo recently posted..11 things before 11/11/11

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89 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm

yes I am sure as heck going to focus on fats more. I know that is the easiest way to pack it in! Thanks for the encouragement <3

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90 Isabelle November 11, 2011 at 3:44 am

I’ve been tiptoeing around this issue for months now…not really wanting to acknowledge it. The dreaded issue with periods! I’m tired too of people telling me to eat more, when I know it’s not that easy and simple. Even though I am eating more, I think now it’s what I’m eating that’s not allowing me to menstruate. Plenty of veggies and fruits but I lack with other foods.

Where you mentioned about being influenced by magazines. I also need to realize that those mags are aimed at the average person who doesn’t exercise as much and definitely not as intensely as me.

I hope you have a lovely weekend Tessa!
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91 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I hope you have a lovely weekend too Isabelle <3

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92 Jessy (squeezetheday) November 11, 2011 at 3:45 am

Hey Tessa, I don’t follow your blog, but Tara linked to it and I’m glad she did – this post was very inspiring to read. Your honesty is absolutely amazing!

I too have gotten a bit too restrictive (and focused on food) over the last year and I wasn’t eating enough. I thought I did, because I wasn’t hungry or anything, but thinking back I probably only consumed about 1100 kcal per day. :/ I lost my period and patiently waited for it to come back naturally (I got the pills, but didn’t take them) and honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to it too much anyway. Well, guess what? The restriction led me to binging. I spent the whole summer starting June at home binging almost every day and I gained a lot of weight. And yes, I did get back my period naturally – I don’t know if it was because of the weight gain or because I ate much more and more fat&carbs.

I’m still struggling with binging and now on the top of that I’m also struggling with body confidence, as I have gotten chubby and I do not feel comfortable in my body at all. The weight gain issue is making me want to eat very little and low-carb in order to lose fat as fast as possible and I think to myself that I’ll start eating a normal amount after I’m back to my feel-good weight … but on the other hand I’m aware of the fact that the restriction will not help me in the long term and it’s probably those disordered thoughts and not eating ehough what is making me still binging, despite the fact that I’m over my healthy weight now and my body is not deprived anymore. Agh, I just want to overcome this – at the same time I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to restrict, because if I do I won’t get out of this vicious cycle. :( I hope you manage to beat this!

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93 Sonya November 11, 2011 at 3:56 am

Tessa,
I am now in my early thirties but could have written an identical post five years ago (if I were eloquent enough!). The thing is, I never got help and so 10 years later, I still haven’t got a ‘natural’ period, despite eating well and being at a ‘normal’ weight. You may be freaked out now, but please listen to professional advice – especially if you want to have children one day. Also – have you seen an endocrinologist? An underlying thyroid and adrenal problem may be present that could have been exacerbated by the ED (am in no way a medical practitioner – just going on personal experience)
Best of luck!

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94 sarah (onedayiwillseethesun) November 11, 2011 at 6:00 am

Thankyou so much for posting this, you are such an inspiration. From having anorexia for over 10 years it has given me hope that things can get better. I love how personal you are on your blog and how I can relate (sadly) to a lot of your struggles with food and exercise.
xxxx

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95 Carolina @ Peas in a Blog November 11, 2011 at 8:47 am

Happy belated girl! This is a great post, as women we struggle so much with food/exercise/image. I can totally relate.
Carolina @ Peas in a Blog recently posted..HanGawi, New York, NY.

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96 Mary-Catherine November 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

Hey Tessa! I’ve been reading your blog now for a few months, and although I haven’t commented, I can totally relate to the majority of things you post on your blog! You really are such an inspiration and have helped me in more ways than you can imagine!!

Like many other of your posts, I am experiencing the same thing!!!! Before going to see a counselor and nutritionist about a year ago, I had been engaging in ED related behaviors for 7 years! Like you, I LOVE running — mainly just because I love it and its a huge stress reliever, but yes, it does make eating easier too….. When I went to my college nutritionist, she told me that I should be eating between 2,800 to 3,000 calories too (I’m 5’8), when in reality, I was only eating about 1,400 to 1,500 a day. Since than, I’ve managed to increase it up to 2,000, but now I’m a little stuck. Your post has given me additional motivation to get back on track though! Like you, I experienced some weight gain early on, which made me reconsider if I should really be eating that much. However, it of course became more stable and now I still have about 10 lbs to gain in order to be in the “low healthy BMI range.”

I didn’t have a period for 6 years, and than I finally had 2 about 5 months ago, but they haven’t been back since (which is probablywhen I started cutting out enough fat again). I love meat, so protein/anemia has never been a concern and all of my nutrition levels appear “normal” which is why it has been a little frustrating — if my nutrition levels are normal, why do I have to eat so much. Well, our bodies are great at adapting and surviving, even though I’m not fueling it properly.

I should also mention, you may want to have a bone density scan. NOT to scare you at all, but without having a period for so long, and not always having enough fat, my own bones have suffered….. my results showed osteopenia in basically every place it could be. As a result, I’ve had to increase fat and dairy sources. My gynecologist also prescribed boniva, because we are still young (I’m a 25 y/o graduate student in counseling psychology) enough to where its reversible!

Thinking about you and praying for you too! Remember how far you have come — YOU CAN do this!!!!!! Show ED who is Boss!!!!! :)

Have a wonderful weekend!
MC

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97 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

Hi Mary-Catherine!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and share your own story!! It is so nice to know that I am not alone in this journey at all, and in fact, you can relate to it a whole bunch!
Also, I am glad you shared the bit about the bone density scan. I know I need to do this, and plan to soon. But this all can be reversed, we just have to make it happen. We can do this lady :)

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98 LightOnMyFeet November 11, 2011 at 10:38 am

Aw, you’re so inspiring Tessa! You can get through this. I know you can. It takes time, some longer than others, but I just know you WILL overcome this! Good luck & best wished to you with your new eating plan! :)
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99 Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense November 11, 2011 at 11:17 am

Definitely not TMI!! As you can see from the responses there are so many of us that can relate!
I know it seems crazy to eat more when you think your eating enough already so just take baby steps… slowly working toward your new goal.
I know I mentioned this before but decreasing the amount I exercised was key to getting my body back in balance and getting my period back…
I actually didn’t increase what I ate that much… I decreased exercise and increased my intake of healthy fats — it’s all about balance =) In time you will find what works for you…
Stay positive Tessa =) Years from now when you have little ones you will wonder why you were so hard on yourself! I’m saying that out of experience =)
Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense recently posted..Protein Packed Cream of Butternut Squash Soup

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100 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Finding a balance is definitely the goal! Goodness it is so so tough… like I want to screammm in frustration at all of this! But knowing that in the grand scheme of things that all of this nonsense is not worth it, is very helpful
Thank you Lisa

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101 Lizzy November 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

Hi gorgeous girl! this post rings very true with me (and many other readers i’m sure!!) I know that a higher calorie intake will turn me into an even better athlete/woman on a mission…but it is difficult to climb out of the comfort zone! the thing to remember is that weight is not permanent, you may gain 2-3lbs in the beginning, but once your body responds it will fall off and you will no longer have food-conscious thoughts/always be stressing about food. those thoughts are signs from your body that it is not being fueled enough. I am right there with you girlie and struggle almost daily, but with the support of your family, doctors, and the loving blogging community YOU can do it! you deserve to be happy&healthy (the go hand in hand!) I’m fighting for that with you chica! xoxo!
Lizzy recently posted..The ing New York City Marathon RECAP!

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102 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Wow thank you for this message Lizzy!! Seriously reading something like this is incredibly helpful right now. I really cannot tell you how many times I want to just throw in the towel. Sad but true. It’s nice to know that the weight may come on initially but then my body will stabilize… gosh this is so hard to accept though

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103 Kellie November 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Lizzy is right. It is not normal for us to always think about food. That is our bodies way of telling us to eat! I have stuck with my food plan for almost a week now and not only have I not gained weight, but the food obsession is lessening. Easy ways that my nutritionist added fats to my diet was more hummus at lunch, half an avocado a day, 2% dairy (which tastes amazing!) and eggs with the yolk. Simple to do and so much better for your brain!

104 Allie November 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

This was not TMI at all, at least not for me. I think you are awesome for sharing your struggles and fears. It is normal to fear eating more/gaining if you have had an ED. It makes sense. I know you can do it :) Take life one step at a time!!

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105 Shannon (Healthiful Balance) November 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Great post, Tessa!
I know what you mean..that sounds like a lot of calories BUT it is the amount of calories your body needs to perform its best. :)
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106 Kat @ a dash of fairydust November 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Thank you so darn much for sharing this post with us; being honest & brave enough to tell us about your experiences,aims,fears and feelings! You are SUCH an inspiration for me and I am so,so happy I found your blog! :)
I can definitely relate to your situation very well! Although I know my family wants to support me and stuff,I get to hear comment like “why don’t you just eat more chocolate?” or “why the hell is it so difficult for you to just eat some more and GAIN WEIGHT?!”,which makes me feel pretty bad every time. Of course,they are actually right,but at the same time,they’re not… They can’t understand my way of thinking and my feelings about eating more; they don’t know how much I am struggling every day and how hard it is for me to eat the amount of food I am eating right now already. Theoretically,I know that I’m still eating too less and should be eating A LOT more,but for me,it seems so “scary” to really do so that I don’t even dare trying it once. :(
But girl,I know you are STRONG and I also know you CAN do it if you really want to! You have to believe in yourself and then you’ll see – everything’s possible as long as you stay strong & keep fighting,no matter what!
If you’d like to,we could kinda do it TOGETHER – you increase your calories,I increase my calories. In the end,we can share our thoughts,feelings; we can support each other and yeah… Whatever we need to do to stand it through! ;) If you think this could be helpful for you,just write me an Email or something – let me know about it and we’ll do it. Together. :D
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107 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm

yes you are exactly right here…. they are telling you the right thing and you know what to do physically. However, actually going through with something like this is intensely difficult! It’s terrifying as a matter of fact. I wish it wasn’t but that’s just the way it is I suppose
The idea of doing it together is a fantastic one! I’ll write you an email right now lady :)

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108 Kat @ a dash of fairydust November 12, 2011 at 10:48 am

Yay,great! :D
By the way, I just gave you an award on my blog!
Kat @ a dash of fairydust recently posted..When cravings become problems.

109 sarah@spinach and spice November 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Great post, Tessa! Thank you so so much for sharing all of this info, especially the metabolism stuff. I put on weight at a scary fast rate after my eating disorder, and honestly it scared the shit out of me. I’ve gotten to a more “normal” state, though I sometimes feel I have to restrict in order to keep the pounds from packing on. This is not the case! I need the food, my body needs the calories, I need the energy! I’ve suffered from many similar problems as you in terms of blood glucose levels and iron levels, though I never lost my period. Remember that you need the calories to be HEALTHY, and make those calories count girlfriend! Eat the avocado, the nut butters, the full fat dairy. More calories, but you don’t feel the need to “stuff” yourself, especially on unhealthy stuff. Head up, Tessa, you’re moving in the right direction!
Love love love
Sarah
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110 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 7:58 pm

That’s a good description of this whole thing “scared the shit out of me!” because that is what it did for me too…and still does, ugh!
Yes, stuffing myself feels quite terrible, so I am definitely avoiding that
Thank you for your support Sarah <3

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111 June November 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Delurking to say that a couple years ago, I was pregnant with twins. (I’m a lot older than you, don’t worry, I’m not a college student!) So it turns out that there is fairly compelling research showing that early maternal weight gain is one of the biggest CONTROLLABLE factors that improve outcomes of twin pregnancies. Around week 10 of pregnancy, after I’d lost about 7 lbs from nausea, I met with a nutritionist. She first scared the crap out of me by telling me what happens to babies born to moms who do not gain the weight early in pregnancy (complications of prematurity, essentially). Then, she told me that, to give my babies the best chance, I had to regain the 7 and then put on about another 15 lbs… all before week 20 of pregnancy. Gain >20 lbs in 10 weeks? That’s crazyland, right?

Everyone who heard this story whooped and slapped me on the back and offered to buy me double bacon cheeseburgers and milkshakes, but the truth is that it was incredibly hard to eat, let alone eat HEALTHY calories. (You’re working against an eating disorder, I was working against severe nausea.) Anyway, I drank those awful little Ensure drinks because I could not keep up my calories with food alone.

But it was incredibly hard, mentally and physically, to eat and eat when your body and mind struggle against it so. I understand and sympathize with what you are facing.

(If you are curious, I did gain the weight, my pregnancy went to full-term [I had to be induced!], and the babies were 6.5 lbs and 7.5 lbs, so everything turned out fine.)

Good luck to you.

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112 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Hi June!
I am so glad you are no longer a lurker :) I really appreciate you sharing this information with me because it helps to know I am not alone in this struggle. You have proof that you have overcame a weight gain situation, in your case pregnancy, and that it was incredibly beneficial for you and your children.
I also appreciate the empathy because you have been here before. This is going to be hard, and suck a whole lot, but it can be done

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113 Lauren November 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Wow, this is really great. I struggled with disordered eating for a while, and it still comes back and haunts me occasionally. It was hard for me to eat over 1000-1200 calories a day for a long time, but when I finally did, my energy returned and my running got so much better. Eating 1000 calories more probably sounds like a challenge now, but maybe focus on adding 200-300 calories extra each week until you reach that higher goal.
Lauren recently posted..World Run Day

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114 tessa8m November 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Thank you for your support Lauren! Reading this makes me feel better… that once you eat more it does feel so much better. I can’t wait to reach that point!

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115 Meg November 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Hey love, I can relate in way more ways than one. I too have seen many professionals and often thought – Wow, I must be crazy. But really, you would be crazy not to be getting help :)

I am so proud of you for your honesty AND for getting the help you need! Keep doing what you are doing xo

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116 Liz @ iheartvegetables November 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I know this part is going to be super challenging but look how far you’ve come! You can DO this!!! Maybe it would be easier to divide those extra calories across meals and snacks? So it wouldn’t feel like quite as huge of a step as like, a giant dessert at night ;)

You can do it!!! :)
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117 tessa8m November 12, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Dividing them up will be helpful, then I won’t feel so darn full!

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118 Chelsea @ The Nut Butter Runner November 11, 2011 at 10:48 pm

This is a great post.. And inspired me a lot. I struggle with eating, and I’m trying to get better about it. I love how you’re so honest.. I hope you know you’re helping a lot of people out there. More than you know. Keep on truckin’ girl and get those calories! Smoothies can pack a punch calorically, and are super healthy and easy to get down. YOU CAN DO IT! Your journey makes me think I can too. :)
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119 tessa8m November 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Hi Chelsea! i am so glad you stopped by my blog! It certainly is tough but we can BOTH do it! Smoothies are a good idea too :)

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120 Danielle Spellman @Squirrel Snackin' November 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I can totally understand how you would feel about this. When someone tells you to eat more, it’s really not as easy as one may think! You’re already recovering so well that I’m sure you’ll be back to healthy in no time!! :)
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121 Sarah@The Flying ONION November 12, 2011 at 7:39 am

*Virtual hugs*

Hang in there, girl! I went through a time when I was underweight, no period, and trying to gain weight. It was tough. Very tough. It’s an emotional roller coaster (especially with the lack of period and feeling like I was doing everything I possibly could without the results!) What made it even tougher is that most people couldn’t understand how hard it was to gain weight/increase calories.

All I can say is, it’s worth it. YOU’RE worth it. You’re becoming increasingly healthy, even when your body hasn’t proven it yet. Just keep moving forward towards good health. One. Step. At. A. Time. :D
Sarah@The Flying ONION recently posted..Productive Mornings.

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122 tessa8m November 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Must remember the worth it part, you are quite right Sarah! Thank you for your support deary

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123 Paulina (One Smile Ahead) November 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Tessa, I know exactly where you’re coming from! It’s really easy for people to tell you to eat more, but it’s so much different when they don’t know what thoughts are going around in your head. Upping the calories is definitely scary! To be honest, I’d be nervous to go to a nutritionist because of that. Although, something tells me it won’t be a bad idea at all. Good luck with the higher number though! I know you can do it if you’ve come such a long way! :] I’m sending you big hugs!
Paulina (One Smile Ahead) recently posted..Little Miss Debbie

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124 tessa8m November 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Thank you for the support Paula! I think it could really benefit you, it helps to hear this information from a professional

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125 Eleanor@eatinglikeahorse November 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Your posts are always really inspiring and they sound to me like someone who’s 90% beaten the eating disorder and is well on the way to kicking it out for good… I wonder if this last bit being so hard is because the eating disorder bit knows it’s beaten and is making a last fight for it – sounds mental but do you know what I mean?!
Glad you’ve got your mum and you will beat it :-)
Eleanor@eatinglikeahorse recently posted..Running scared

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126 tessa8m November 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I definitely know what you mean! That really could be it, I hope so at least, I would love to be done with all of this

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127 Lindsey @ Cardio Pizza November 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Thank you for sharing! You are really brave for posting all of this, yet I know others can learn from it.

This is why I don’t like the BMI scale – it’s NOT the holy grail of figuring out if you are healthy. So you are so smart to be seeing all these professionals (and it’s not crazy!) – they give you actual numbers and facts that really tell the whole story.

My BMI is somewhere between 22 and 23 and I feel best here. I don’t count calories, but I do eat a lot, I would guess 2500-3000 on average. There is not perfect amount, but I can tell you that my weight that I am at makes me feel the best and have the most energy – when my weight dips even just a few pounds, I can feel a huge difference in energy.

My advice for eating more is to start out slowly, adding a few hundred more calories a day. I hope it gets easier!

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128 Electra @ Vanilla Bean Lean November 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I know I’m a few days late with this post, but oh my goodness girl. You’re absolutely amazing. You’re so strong. Your blog posts probably get to me more than any other blog I read. You’re so darn real. And It’s amazing. SO refreshing.

I am SO SO sorry you have to deal with some of these REALLY tough things. BUT I know you’re super strong and if you maybe increase the calories gradually over a bit of time it will be mentally more do-able. I am so proud of you for seeking such a fabulous support system and seeking help to become healthy so you can do things like have children in the future.

You inspire me little mama. I’m so proud of you!
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129 Jentry Nielsen December 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm

You are amazing Tessa, good for you for getting help! I am fortunate to never had experienced this as bad as you are, and I am sorry for that for you! But I do know slightly how you feel. I too was at a state of obsessing too much about my weight. Counting every calorie I ate, exercising more than enough. Some people do not understand and think simply said “eat more”. You’re right, it’s not that simple! It gets annoying when your every thought is about the amount of calories you’re eating, your appearance, your weight, when you can fit in a run, every thought is about your weight. Its hard to not think about those thoughts when you do have an issue at hand, but I support you and making that change! Good luck, I can’t wait to hear when you get that first period :) I love following you in this journey! You are truly inspiring!

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130 Julia December 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Hi Tessa,

I know this is such a late reply to your post, but I just recently have gotten into reading wellness blogs, and I came upon yours a few days ago! I just want to let you know that I know EXACTLY how you feel with this issue. I had an eating disorder in middle school and the beginning of high school, lost my period, and was finally sent to inpatient treatment. I came out 10 weeks later, happy and healthy, and my period came back, but my issues were far from over…

About a year and a half after my period had returned, I took a Plan B pill after a pregnancy scare with my boyfriend, and after that, my period never came back. I had also started to work out more frequently and gained more muscle, but I hadn’t lost a significant amount of weight. I can totally relate to the fact that I had a normal BMI, normal everything, and very low hormone levels, so no period. It totally sucks because like you know about osteoporosis and stuff, but you feel so helpless. I’m like you in that I eat at least 2000 calories a day, and more than my friends it seems, but my period has still not come back. I have had only spotting a few times, and now I am on birth control, but I worry that I’ll never know when my body is actually healthy now that I’m on it.

So I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone! Even though you’ve come so far, it’s just like that one thing that’s weighing down your recovery… at least that’s how I feel. So if you ever need to talk/need advice or anything, feel free to email me!

I’m Julia, 20 years old, and a sophomore in college by the way!

Good luck in your recovery, and I can tell by your blog that you are incredibly strong and going in the right direction :)

-Julia

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131 tessa8m December 30, 2011 at 7:05 am

Hi Julia!
I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you…. that was rather lame of me! But thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and personal input on this! You put into words exactly how I am feeling… that everything is fine except for that one thing… oh right, the lack of period! And one an important aspect of all of this that it is! Thank you for telling me I am not alone, it helps so much :) Best of luck to you Julia, I know both of us will eventually get it back! I really do believe that

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132 Miranda December 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Hey, just recently found your blog, and i feel like youve crawled into my brain! Its all so relatable! Ive started reading other blogs that deal with EDs as well…its encouraging to read that others deal with the -exact- same problems. Im pretty young and am dealing with this- i most definitely dont still wanna think this way when im 40, 50, 60…that would suck! Just thank you for
your blog and know you have a new follower :)
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133 Hannah April 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm

First of all, love this post and how honest you are. Secondly, I feel like you’re my twin. I’m also 5’10.5″ and going through the same thing. I lost a lot of weight (like 40+ lbs) over a year through running and eating too little and now am on the very low end of the “healthy” BMI range and no period (it’s been 9 months?). I know I have to gain weight and feel like I should be gaining by the amount I’ve been eating lately but still stick to the same +/- 3 lb range. I’ve only seen a gyno so far, but thinking now I should see a nutritionist, too.

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134 tessa8m April 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Hi Hannah! Wow we really are soo so similar! I hear you on holding onto that range too, and yes, I do think the lack of period has to do with not eating enough. No matter how I try to turn it in my head, that has to be the reason, even though I am eating more than I used to, it doesn’t seem to be enough to repair all of the damage. I’m considering making a plan with a nutritionist again too, could really help! Best of luck to you and let me know if you ever want to chat more.. email or something :)

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135 tessa8m November 12, 2011 at 7:41 am

Hi Jess!
So Janetha has emailed you several times in the past?

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