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Anorexia/Eating Disorders/Stopped period and exercise

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Question
Hi, I'm 20 years old I love excercising and it's truly what I live for ! I have lost my period at the beginning of this year, I went to gynecologist for check up and I absolutely had nothing wrong all thing perfect including ,y hormones and ovary. So the dr just put me on a hormonal therapy for 4 month and unfortunatly I took it, got my period but that after stopping I didn't get my period for two months, went again to the dr and she referred me to nutritionist, I weigh 37.8 and I'm 154 cm, I know I have a low body weight + exercising is maybe the reason for my period to stop! The nutritionist tolled me to up my weight it's dengrously low, I asked her how many calories does I need and she didn't tell me she just said eat everything and include full fat food to your diet, I just can't follow this and I really like to be in correct diet plan cause I'm not good at eating Alot and I usually eat very little depending on my hunger cues sometimes I end up even sleeping with no dinner and I feel so anxious right now cause my next appoinmtment is soon and I have no idea what to do, cause you please tell me what should I eat and how many calories per day and what is the best thing that I should do. And please tell me that I could exercise cause I can't really effort to not exercise !

Answer
There are a few things in your e-mail that concern me.  First, it is likely that your exercise regimen has caused your period to stop.  For some women, a little exercise or a change in their training can do it, even if they are of a healthy weight.  This, while other women can get very very low body fat percentage and continue to have their period and even conceive!  It's natures way of not letting you get pregnant during times of hardship, like food shortage.  We are designed to not conceive in times where food is scarce because it would make it difficult for the baby to develop.  Some women's bodies are very sensitive to this and others aren't.  

The nutritionist likely didn't tell you the number of calories because people who have a pattern of disordered eating often get preoccupied by numbers: how many calories to eat, how many they need to burn, how many they can avoid, etc.  The goal should be to take in enough fuel in the form of calories to have enough energy to do the things you want to do and to maintain activities of daily living.  It's impossible to tell you what your minimum number of calories is without a basal metabolic rate test.  Then, you have to factor in all of your activities to get a minimum calorie intake number.  Even with that, you'll need to listen to your body for what it needs.  

As someone with disordered eating patterns, it's difficult to listen to what your body tells you it needs because you have a strained relationship with food in your life.  Like any relationships, the more strained, the more difficult it is to actually "hear" what the other needs.  Your hunger cues and feelings of hunger and fullness are often misinterpret or not heard altogether.  The fact that you use a word like "anxious" to describe your feelings about having to go back to the doctor and perhaps have to change your diet says a lot as well.  I have a feeling that you struggle with mindfulness...that is your ability to feel, experience and accept how you truly feel and not always be trying to change how you are feeling.

A good counselor can help you with that aspect.

Anorexia/Eating Disorders

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Ryan Hale

Expertise

I can answer questions specifically geared towards athletes and their eating issues. I would be able to assist parents or coaches with questions or concerns about disordered eating practices often found in the exercise and sports settings. I also have experience in training and conditioning so I am in a position to discus how the two interrelate.

Experience

I have a bachelor's degree in sports medicine and master's degrees in sport psychology and clinical counseling. I have done counseling with individuals, couples, and families, with specialization in athletes. Past clients have included triathletes, dancers, college cyclists, and Pro Tour cyclists.

Organizations
National Athletic Trainer's Assoc. American Counseling Assoc

Education/Credentials
bachelor's degree sports medicine master's degree sport psychology master's degree clinical counseling Nationally Certified Athletic Trainer with NATABOC Nationally Certified Counselor with NBCC Colorado Registered Psychotherapist

Past/Present Clients
U.S. national team level female athletes High school athletes Semi-pro soccer Pro Tour cyclists Triathletes Dancers

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