Meet Abby – one of my HA recovery clients! I love telling Abby’s story because she was a dream client for me and I think you’ll find her inspiring too.
As a kid Abby was athletic.
“Growing up, like many of us, like I was an athlete. My whole life I can remember tumbling, gymnastics, and I was in every sport I could think of. I’ve always been super into fitness and my passion for health and fitness early on came very naturally.”
So it’s not surprising that into adulthood she found herself LOVING CrossFit. She was competitive at it, too.
“In my freshman year, but mostly my sophomore year of high school, I really got into CrossFit. It was never chasing an aesthetic that was a main driver for me but I was developing patterns around eating and stress and exercise. More so because of my love for competition. If you just ask any of my friends, I’ve just always been a competitive person.”
“Pretty quickly, I realized, “wow, I love this. I want to do this and do it at a competitive level”. I started to realize “this is this is a sport people do competitively.”
But let’s be real, there usually is a desire to look the part, too.
“When it comes down to it, whether you’re an elite CrossFitter or not, you are aspiring to look like these elite athletes. I think i’s a little bit different in some other sports. As a runner, you may be looking to have a much smaller figure whereas in CrossFit, you want to look lean. You want to look really muscular.”
Naturally, she lost weight – but she didn’t feel like it was a ton of weight.
“I didn’t really lose a ton of weight. I may have lost 10 pounds by the time that I actually lost my period and it wasn’t even that short of a time. It may have been two or three months and I was pretty healthy. I don’t know if I would look back and say that it’s healthy now but just it wouldn’t be your traditional “oh I lost 10 pounds in one month or 10 pounds in two months.”
So where did her period go?! After diving into the research, including discovering The HA Podcast she made some connections.
“I really started to listen to more podcasts and read more research about hypothalamic amenorrhea.”
“Looking back to now, realizing it was a restrictive diet just around how clean of food I was eating and the pressure that I put on myself to not go out to eat and not do certain things…you don’t think it’s stressful but it is. It was so stressful to me”
“It was not enough food for what I was doing (CrossFit). It wasn’t 1200 calories, absolutely not, was it maybe around 1800 to 2000? Probably. Maybe sometimes it was going above that but just looking at the level of everything I was doing it just wasn’t enough food. It wasn’t at all.”
Eventually, Abby was ready to take some action to get her period back. She stopped exercising and started eating a minimum of 2500 calories a day.
“I tried to really work on taking down the intensity, taking down the hours of training I was doing during the week, making sure I was eating a little bit more food. And I would say during that time, I definitely made progress. You know, I started to feel like some more symptoms of having a period and things were coming, I would say I was having some positive symptoms.”
But she also knows herself well and realised that there was only so far she could get going 100% solo.
“I like to pride myself on being a person that can handle all things and do all things. But looking back, it’s like, what do I know? It got to the point where I just know my personality, and I have an addictive personality. If I’m going to do something like I do it 100%.”
Abby joined The HA Society to get that extra boost and that was one of the biggest pushes she needed to be able to see that she was NOT a special unicorn who didn’t fit the description for hypothalamic amenorrhea and she was not alone.
“Obviously The HA Society was such a groundbreaking piece of my journey. You don’t know until you connect with other women that are going through this. You feel so alone in your healing journey and you feel like you’re this anomaly and that your body is broken. And that you’re just one in a million that are going through this, despite all the signs that would point to the direction that this isn’t you. This isn’t your situation, this is not me. And then you connect with these other women that, yeah, you might not be able to relate to every single one of their stories, but when you find those people you’re like “Oh my gosh, that is me. They say things that are me.” Yeah, we all think that we’re the anomaly.”
To keep momentum up, Abby started working with me doing 1:1 HA coaching. We met every week for a few months and went over the past weeks, always making a plan for the week ahead.
After a couple of months together addressing her nutrition, life stressors, fears and looking at her charts (assessing basal body temperature, cervical mucus and more) the symptoms started to get stronger and we were anticipating a period…and it came!
“It was probably the end of the two months that I got the first one. And it was a pretty typical seven day cycle. I mean, it wasn’t as heavy as I was expecting at first, but it definitely got there.”
At the time of this interview, she was waiting on her third cycle.
“as we speak right now, I’m kind of waiting for that third period.”
Don’t worry, it came! That’s kind of the journey of HA recovery. First, you work for your cycle to come back and then when it does, you worry about the next one and the next one!
Today, Abby is working CrossFit back into her life carefully so that she doesn’t lose her period again, preparing for her wedding day and building her own personal brand as a dietitian.
“[When you’re obsessed with working out and exercising] you just close yourself off to so many other possibilities. Look at what more you have to offer and what you’re capable of.”
Although we’ve finished our coaching together now that she’s recovered, she messages me with questions if she ever has them. I am open to that for all of my clients!
“Working with Dani was the “push” I needed to fully embrace the all-in process and commit to recovering my period. I could not wait for our call each week, because it forced me to dig deep, think hard, and truly reflect in ways I wouldn’t have been able to on my own. Not only did I come out of our time together with a recovered period, but I also gained new insight and motivation for the trajectory of my life both professionally and personally. Dani’s energy and wit will basically keep you laughing at all times, but her ability to genuinely listen and reflect with you is where the real magic happens.”
Ready to have this transformation for yourself?
Book a free 15 minute call with me to see if working together to get your period back is a fit!