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Keeping my Fertility: Life after Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery and Child birth

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, hormonal or fertility specialist. I am just a personal trainer and fitness instructor who healed my hormones naturally and recovered from hypothalamic amenorrhea. For more detailed information and an awesome resource on HA check out No Period Now What.

Over the last few years, my body and mind have been through a lot of changes. I went from living my crazy fit life, to discovering my Hypothalamic Amenorrhea diagnosis, to changing my whole world to recover, regaining my period, finally getting pregnant, and now a few months postpartum as a mom to a beautiful baby boy. What a whirl wind! (you can read more of that journey here)

While going through this journey, most of my focus was on the end goal of having a baby. I did it! And I can honestly say it’s brought more joy and peace (in a crazy roller coaster kind of way) to my life than I have ever felt. It was worth every heart ache and tear shed along the way. But now what lies ahead is the unknown. Now what? What does life look like moving forward? There’s a lot of unknowns, but what I do know is that I want to keep my fertility that I’ve worked so hard to restore. I’ve learned the importance of keeping a regular menstrual cycle and the impact that it can have on your over all health. I don't want to return to my HA lifestyle, but I’m ready to move forward from recovery, pregnancy, and postpartum mode. What does life look like with fertility and fitness for me?

I’ve reflected back on the things I believe impacted my fertility the most; Mistakes I made, mindset shifts that had to happen, and things I just had no idea were effecting me in this way. I’ve compiled these into my game plan for keeping my fertility and living my healthiest, most balanced life. Hopefully these tips can be helpful for those of you going through your own recovery process.

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  1. Learn to say NO and set boundaries. Stress is a huge contributor to HA. Your body shifts into a constant state of cortisol production, taking away from your bodies sex hormone production. Over the years I’ve discovered I’m a chronic “yesser” and a goal setter. Any others out there? Not saying that setting goals and saying yes to things is always a bad thing. However, I would often feel this overwhelming pressure to please everyone around me, making sure I never let them down. Somehow I made the connection in my head that saying no to an offer or task would make me a failure in someones eyes. It was the same with not having a constant goal I was working towards. I associated this with laziness and failure as well. These are common traits among women diagnosed with HA. Go getters with a lot on our plate.

    NOW: Learning to simplify my To-Do list and be ok with not having big goals at times has been huge with my recovery. This New Years was the first New Years I can remember that I didn’t write down a few pages of goals in several categories of my life. It was liberating! This hasn’t made me a failure or lazy. It’s helped me relax and even love myself more.

  2. Carbs are my friend. Looking back on what I was eating when I wasn’t having a period, I realized there was very little carbohydrates involved. Not a good combo with the amount of activity I was doing. Looking into research about HA and healthy hormones in women, I found that carbohydrates are crucial for women and our hormones! I was working out and staying active multiple hours of the day and trying to follow a low carb diet that consisted of maybe a piece of toast in the morning and 1 piece of fruit a day, then mostly veggies and protein for lunch and dinner. I was doing all the “healthy swaps” such as cauliflower rice instead of actual rice, lettuce wraps instead of any sort of bread or bun, zucchini instead of actual pasta, etc. Not saying that these are bad swaps, however if you have a sensitive hormone system and are experiencing a missing period, you’re body NEEDS healthy carbohydrates. And I would argue that women in general need carbohydrates to function their best. Yes, fruit and vegetables are carbohydrates, but my body was not getting enough.

    NOW: I make sure I have a serving of carbohydrates at every meal and snack. My favorites are Oatmeal or steel cut oats for breakfast, toast topped with avocado and eggs, peanut butter and banana toast, Loaded sweet potatoes, Rice or quinoa bowls with a veggie and protein, fresh sour dough bread with goat cheese, and I love all fruits throughout the day for a little pick me up snack or treat.

  3. Never workout fasted. If you’re following any sort of body builder’s guide to getting lean, then you’ve heard about fasted cardio. I’ve always been a first-thing-in-the-morning kind of exerciser, and I’ve always wanted to “get lean”, so this seemed like the right plan for me. For the most part I felt good working out on an empty stomach in the mornings, however my hormones did not. You see, with HA you want to avoid being in a caloric deficit for too long because that sends your body into starvation, stress, survival mode (more cortisol, less healthy hormone balance). Our bodies only have a finite amount of energy, and when we are in an energy deficit, our reproductive system is the first thing to shut down. When we sleep, we are in a fasted state, so upon waking we are typically in a neutral or negative calorie zone. When we workout first thing in the morning on an empty tank, we go deeper into that caloric deficit. Our body has to work all day just to get back to a caloric surplus where are reproductive system can work. The cycle continues and you can see how this can mess with our hormones over time.

    I would also add to this that any sort of intermittent fasting in general for women of child baring years is a bad idea. I don’t care if it’s the latest weight loss fad. If you want to have healthy hormones and fertility, fuel your body regularly!

    NOW: I’ve changed up my routine so that I can have a nice and big nutritious breakfast within the first hour I wake up (usually toast with 1/2 avocado and 2 eggs or a hardy bowl of steel cut oats with nuts, seeds, and fruit). Then after I’ve given myself 30-60 minutes to digest my food I get my workout in. Somedays it doesn’t happen until after lunch and I’m fine with it. I actually LOVE not feeling like I’m starving during my workouts. I feel more powerful and energized! It feels good to know I’m fueling my body with what it needs.

  4. Learn to turn down the intensity. I was the type that hated yoga, barre, pilates, and walking because I felt it wasn’t intense enough for a workout. I wanted to sweat hard and breath hard. I always gave myself one rest day a week, but the other 6 days I was working my butt off. A missed workout felt like a wasted day to me. During HA recovery it’s advised you take out all intense workouts and stick to slower paced walking and yoga. This was SO HARD at first, but it taught me so many valuable lessons. First, I realized I didn’t lose strength and progress as quickly as I thought I would with not working out. Second, I learned to appreciate movement. Any kind of movement just made me feel so good no matter how intense it was. Third, my body needs rest. Simple as that. My body was craving the rest I wasn't giving it. This contributed big time to the hormonal imbalance.

    NOW: Instead of doing HIIT and Metcon (metabolic conditioning) type workouts 6 days a week, I’ve scaled back to 1 HIIT workout, 2 strength workouts that are much slower paced, 1 steady state cardio (under and hour), and 1 Metcon type workout each week. This leaves me 2 rest days a week. None of my workouts are longer than an hour, most are 30 minutes. I add a slow paced walk every day that is more therapeutic than anything, and it’s very leisurely, usually pushing the stroller. This schedule shifts around a bit week to week, but so far I’m loving it! I still like to push myself hard, but the variety has been so good for me.

  5. Listening to my body: “Be stronger than your excuses”, ”rain or shine - rise and grind”, “no off days”, just a few of the Pinterest quotes you may seem floating around to motivate your fitness game. This is the type of mentality I had. No matter how tired I was, or if I was feeling a bit under the weather, on vacation, Christmas morning, wherever I was and however I was feeling I never missed a workout. Dedication for sure, but also sort of missing the point. I wasn’t listening to my body. I wasn’t taking into consideration that my body maybe, just maybe, needed a break or some flexibility in my routine.

    NOW: I have my tentative workout schedule as I mentioned above, however, I wake up each morning and decide which modality of movement my body is feeling for that day. Some days I feel amazingly energized after a good amount of sleep and the right fuel and I’m up for going all out beast mode strength training. Some days I wake up and feel a little achey and I know thats the perfect day for some rejuvenating yoga or slower paced pilates. Somedays I just want to go on a beach walk with some friends. As I mentioned in my instagram, it doesn’t have to be All or Nothing, but Always SOMETHING.

  6. Avoid hormonal birth control (and be my own advocate): Birth control is a very personal subject, and there is absolutely no judgement here on what anyone chooses to do in this department. I’m simply sharing my experience to shed some light on how birth control relates to hypothalamic amenorrhea. The pill was suggested by my OB, and I didn’t know enough to say anything against it, so I followed her advice. Little did I know this was masking the fact that my body wasn’t naturally cycling! Yes, you have a withdrawal bleed while on the pill, but this has nothing to do with our body’s hormones and natural ability to do so on its own. No body told me this! There is so much misinformation and guidance out there, especially to young girls that are put on the pill for pretty much everything!

    NOW: If I want to stay in control of my fertility moving forward I need to monitor my hormones and how they’re naturally operating. At one of my last OB appointments before the baby came they were already asking me about birth control. It felt good to stand up for myself this time and let her know that I was taking care of it and wanted to avoid synthetic hormones.

  7. Disconnect my worth from my body: Throughout this process, I’ve reflected a lot on myself and my mindset trying to figure out what my motivation was for living the way I was. How did I get to the state I was in? I narrowed it down to two main driving forces. First, I truly do love exercising. I love feeling strong and fit in my body. I love sweating and working hard. It’s never been a chore for me, I genuinely love it and still do! Second, and harder to admit, but I thought my worth as a woman, wife, trainer, my whole identity, was wrapped up in this image I felt I had to keep up with. I was known and applauded for being the fit girl, and I didn’t really know myself outside of that roll. This process has taught me a lot (can read more here), but this is probably the most valuable lesson of all. I have value outside of what my body looks like, my body fat percentage, and my fitness level! I discovered all my loved ones still loved me, and even more than they did before. I could still be a great coach, and an even better Mom. This was a huge self discovery!

    NOW: I’m less critical of myself and less critical of others. This has sweetened my relationships. I remind myself each day of great qualities I have that are completely separate from anything physical. I express gratitude and positive affirmations each morning to help my mindset stay in that space. This takes constant work and some days I still struggle, but the progress I’ve made has changed my life.

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If you are approaching HA recovery, whether you want to get pregnant or just get your period back, know that there is life after HA. Not just an ordinary life, but a great life! I remember feeling so depressed about changing my lifestyle, thinking I would never be the same again and everything I loved to do had to be removed from my life. While there was a time of change and removing exercise, I now get to enjoy all the things I love to do again, but with a much more balanced approach. I fuel my body better, I take care of my muscles and weaknesses better, I move solely for the sake of feeling good and health, I have more quality time with the people in my life, and I absolutely LOVE being a mom.

This is still a big learning process for me. I’m still breast feeding so I’m not sure when my cycle will return. To be honest I’m still nervous about it coming back at all, but I feel much more empowered now that I know what to do. My body needs rest and relaxation. My body needs fuel, and a lot of it. It’s possible to be fit and fertile. Here’s to the next chapter of life!

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HA Recovery & Pregnancy: Why I'm GRATEFUL I recovered BEFORE I got pregnant

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HA Recovery & Pregnancy: Why I'm GRATEFUL I recovered BEFORE I got pregnant

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While going through my journey over the last few years of realizing I was infertile, changing my mindset and behavior to recover from hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA), becoming fertile again, and now about to have my first child, I’ve done a lot of pondering and self discovery. I’m a believer in things happening for a reason, and that our trials are catered to us and our specific needs to mold us into the best versions of ourselves. While finding out about HA I was frustrated. I couldn’t help but think “why does this effect me and not the other girl?” “Why can’t I just keep living how I’m living and get pregnant?” It didn’t really seem fair. I heard of women living a similar lifestyle to mine and getting pregnant naturally or with medical intervention, keeping their fitness level in the process. It seemed very appealing at the time. However, since going through this process, I have learned so much about myself and discovered that this trial was EXACTLY what I needed to become a better mother, a better wife, a better trainer, and just a better me than I would have been without it. I needed to be pulled out of my obsession. I needed balance in my life. I needed a wake up call. 

In this blog post I want to focus on why I wouldn’t change a thing. These seven lessons are why I’m grateful I recovered from HA before getting pregnant and becoming a mother.  



  1. I learned to overcome my fears & anxieties around weight gain. When I was in the depths of HA, one of the things that made me most anxious about becoming a mother someday was having to sacrifice my workout routine and possibly gaining weight. I’ve said it before, but gaining weight was literally my biggest fear. Seems ridiculous now, but at the time it was real! Having to face that head on did wonders for me. I learned that my marriage didn’t fall apart (it actually got better), my clients didn’t leave me (we actually got closer), and I wasn’t miserable (this took time, but now I’m happier than ever!).

  2. I learned to accept and love my forever changing body. Part of my HA recovery I went through was the mental work of detaching my identity and worth from my body, and loving myself aside from what the scale said. Since I put in this mental work before getting pregnant, all of the physical changes that come with pregnancy hardly even phased me. Ya I’m not 100% stoked on how my body looks all of the time, but I know that if I would have become pregnant without going through this process, pregnancy would have freaked me out! When stretch marks appeared on my boobs and my butt, I sort of smiled and thought to myself “sweet, I’m joining the club!” Rather than it seeming like the end of the world, I’ve realized that their are MUCH greater issues that people deal with than a few stretch marks.

  3. I’ve learned more patience. I’ve been fit and healthy pretty much my whole life and have never had to struggle through a process of trying to fix or course correct my health. Through HA recovery, I learned that adjusting anything to do with hormones takes TIME. It took my body three months of no exercise, eating 2500+ calories, and relaxing my mind for my body to produce a natural period again (and 3 months was on the quicker side compared to most). {check out No Period Now What for more details on this process} It took 6 months after that for my body to Ovulate on its own in order for me to get pregnant naturally. Because of this process I know I’ll be more patient and understanding with my body postpartum. Had I gotten pregnant without HA recovery, I know I would’ve jumped right back into my old ways, stressed about losing the weight, and possibly caused permanent damage to myself in the process. 

  4. I learned to love exercise & movement completely aside from weight loss. Pre-recovery, my workouts were usually focused on how many calories I could burn, how much I was sweating, and how dead I was when I was done. From taking exercise out of my life for a season, I learned how much I just craved movement. I learned to appreciate a simple walk around the block, or a light yoga session. It became more about mental clarity and functionality rather than numbers to track. I learned to love exercising with people again rather than being so worried about my own results. I know this mindset will benefit my kids, my husband, and myself throughout our lives. 

  5. I learned to be OK with days that I don’t get a workout in. Working out has always been ingrained into my daily routine, and ask anyone who knows me - I was not a happy camper if I didn’t get a workout in. I would be irritable and antsy for the rest of the day, and anxious around food. With this process I had to learn to cope with my emotions without exercise as an outlet. I’ve learned that somedays you don’t get it in and thats alright. Somedays your body says, “let’s take the day off, stay in bed and cuddle with your cute husband”. I’ve learned to cherish those mornings because the old me never allowed that! If I need to be in bed all day caring for a sick baby, I’ve learned that I can live with that and my workout can wait. There’s so much more to life that we can miss out on if we’re just worried about looking good in a bikini.

  6. I learned to honor my bodies hunger cues and remove food guilt from my life. One of the most eye opening things about recovery was how much I had been unintentionally starving my body without even realizing it. I had been working out like crazy and depriving my body of the fuel it needed. No wonder I had a sweet tooth, my body was craving carbs so badly! I was used to this under fueling state, so when I did actually fuel adequately, or “over-indulge”, I felt like it was too much and there was some guilt associated with that. I would already be planning my workout for the next day to make sure I worked it off. With HA recovery, I was able to reset my bodies hunger triggers and I feel so much more in tune with what my body needs and am willing to provide that. I know this step has been so important for a healthy pregnancy, and will help me through breastfeeding and just being there for my baby with full energy. 

  7. I learned to be less judgmental and critical of myself and others. In my naive HA brain, I would see mothers gain weight with pregnancy and then be surprised when it didn’t just come right off afterwards. I thought it was just laziness and lack of dedication and discipline. I would look at myself and compare my body to other trainers and was rarely content with my current state. I’ve since learned how dumb I was. First of all, the “extra” weight on a women is exactly what a baby needs to grow and thrive. Not even just the baby, but our bodies thrive best with some extra cushion. When we have “a little weight to lose” we’re probably in a great spot as far as hormones, energy levels, sex drive, and mood are concerned. I’ve learned to view this as a badge of honor. I believe one of the best gifts we can give our children is a healthy relationship with ourselves. Showing them that we care for our bodies and health without criticism will go along ways! 



So there you have it. Seven lessons I would have never learned had I not faced Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery head on. At times during this process I was far from grateful for it, but now I can honestly say I am so grateful I went through this and the person it’s helped me become. If you’re struggling with a missing period or infertility due to over exercise, under fueling, or over stress in your life, then I highly recommend the recovery process. If you’re like me and want to start a family, I know that this process will do nothing but good for you and the sweet baby waiting to call you Mom.

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How to Accept Weight Gain

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Being a Trainer without the "Trainer Body"

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Fitness and Fertility: The road to regaining my period

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Fitness and Fertility: The road to regaining my period

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