I remember 11 years ago sitting in the OB/GYN’s office for the first time in my life. At the ripe old age of 15, I had yet to have a regular period. I had one here and there from the age of 13, but they were super hit or miss and there seemed to be no pattern whatsoever. I was also struggling (as most teens nowadays do) with cystic acne. I would get it around my mouth, chin, and in the hollow of my cheeks. Every morning, I would vigorously apply my recently discovered concealer in hopes to hide my imperfections. After what was already the most shocking doctor’s appointment I had ever been to, I was told there was a solution to both of my problems.
Going on the pill would actually REGULATE my cycles AND clear up all of my acne! Wow.
“What’s the catch..?” I asked, because this seemed a little too good to be true.
“Nothing,” I was assured!
The doc said that like 1 in like [insert number that seemed irrelevantly large to me] girls developed blood clots in their legs but that I was healthy and would be totally fine.
“Hmm…” I thought, “Well if a doctor is recommending something to me, it must be what’s best for my body.”
Fast forward 10 years later. It was June 2017, and I was knee deep in learning everything I could about fitness and nutrition. I was a recently certified Personal Trainer and starting my journey as a Crossroads of Fitness coach. Being in the fitness industry, I heard about women losing their periods. I had always gotten mine regularly since going on the pill – but something about the whole thing seemed off to me. The more I learned about the female body, the more questions I had about properly caring for it. I questioned society’s terms of “normal” and “abnormal”. I couldn’t help but wonder what my body might do if I went off of birth control. Would I even be regular? I guess I wasn’t so sure…
As a Catholic, I knew the Church wasn’t too keen on the whole birth control thing, but this was always something I hadn’t thought much about. It was recommended to me by a doctor for a way of “healing” my cycles, so how could it be all that bad? I began to spend more time in daily prayer and really felt that God was calling me to place the course of my life in His hands. I’ve always had an issue with control. I want to control every aspect of my life, and we all know that’s not possible – but the pill was one thing I could count on to allow me to control something. I could control exactly when my period was, I could control that fact that I always had great and clear skin, and ultimately I could control the fact that if we weren’t “ready” for a baby then we wouldn’t have one. Whatever “plan” I thought I was trying to control, would never lead me to where I was created to go so long as I was the one in charge. I knew I had to go off of the pill. So, at the end of my prescription in June (after talking it through with my husband), I quit birth control.
I knew that anything you stop doing after doing said thing for 10 years would be an adjustment to the body, so I prepared for potential pimples and who knows, maybe even terrible cramps, heavy bleeding, the works. After a few months, the acne came back with a vengeance, but nothing else ever did. Including my period.
I began to share my journey with others and most people told me I just needed to gain more weight. This frustrated the heck out of me because I had talked with and follow countless folks in the fitness industry and while some girls had lost their periods when they were “stage lean” (aka SUPER skinny and SUPER low bodyfat at 10% or lower), other girls of the exact same body fat percentage had perfectly healthy cycles. If some women could be that lean and still have a normal period, what were these two types of women doing differently?
STAY TUNED FOR HORMONE JOURNEY PART 2
Now, you have to understand that when I jump into something, I don’t just dip my toes in, I cannonball into the deep end. So, when I had totally missed (not even spotted) 2 consecutive periods, I hit the library (after taking 3 negative pregnancy tests). I started diving into any book, article, blog, podcast on the female body, hormones, reproductive diseases, fertility, etc. that I could find.
Turns out, what I learned not only shocked me because I was previously so uninformed, but it shocked me that THIS ISN’T STUFF THAT IS BEING TALKED ABOUT. This isn’t something doctors tell their patients, this isn’t something mothers even know to tell their daughters, this isn’t something women realize is happening inside of their own bodies…
We are the coaches here at CROF! The #Daretoeat 12-Week Program is what we are most known for here at Crossroads of Fitness. We teach flexible dieting helping our clients find moderation with their nutrition and exercise. The program is one-on-one, coached through email. Together we can help you find a way to get leaner, and stay lean for life!
x, Garrett and Lauren