I need some serious help - my periods have stopped

(34 Posts)

I've been doing ADF for 2 months now and my periods have stopped. This has never happened to me before. I've always been so regular. I'm 31 so should still be having periods. I've got all the cramps and bloating and weight gain you would expect when your period is due, but it has never arrived (2 weeks late). I'm 100% not pregnant.

I work out hard 5 times a week so I spoke to my gym instructor but she said your periods don't normally stop unless you're underweight (I'm certainly not underweight!)

Despite my strict diet & exercise regime I'm gaining weight. 3lbs this week. No weight loss last week.

WTF is going on? sad I am actually losing sleep over this.

I try not to slate other people's diets of choice but ADF and 5 days a week hard working out really can't be a great combination can it? Your body must not know what the hell is going on, stuck on a desert island being chased by a wild animal perhaps? Think of the stress you are causing it, your hormones are reacting accordingly...sky high cortisol will be telling it to store fat and non-essential functions (like periods) will stop. I'd strongly suggest you drop, or at least cut right back on the fasting and maybe do a couple of yoga classes instead of intense workouts? Your body will tell you what it thinks pretty quickly.

SquirrelledAway Wed 21-May-14 20:07:38

Just a thought - could you be cooking up a wee Womble?

I don't understand. Surely with such a big calorie deficit, I should be losing weight. It's science! Burn more than you consume = weight loss.

I'm clearly burning more than I consume. I'm very careful on NFDs consuming just 1300 cals.

Panzee Wed 21-May-14 20:11:27

Are you 100% not pregnant because of abstinence or contraception? Is it worth POAS?

Labracadabra Wed 21-May-14 20:26:28

Do you know your body fat percentage? If you're working out and doing weights you may be gaining muscle (hence the weight increase) and losing fat. A few years ago I dieted strictly and worked out every day and my body fat went down to about 14-17% I think (that's very low) and my periods went crazy, huge gaps of up to 3 months between periods, not ovulating etc. I was 30 years old and just married and hoped to conceive so it was a disaster! When I calmed down and gained a bit of fat it started to normalise again. Now got 2 DDs so all ok in the end. I think you're overdoing it, although it probably scares you to think of easing up a bit.

Bodies are cleverer than that Wombles, you are not a machine, the calorie thing works to a point but your body will always fight to maintain a certain level of body fat and if it comes under attack in the way yours is then will adjust ferociously to do that. It's better to have a 10-20% calorie defecit to lose weight slowly and the body then gradually adjusts, too dramatic a cut and you may lose lots initially but the 'kickback' from your body then slows it down a lot and damages metabolism (and as by the sound of your case, causes hormonal issues).

here is a great blog that explains more about the process. I will see if I can find any more links....

Oh and just assuming for the sake of argument that you need about 2,000 calories a day (accounting for 5 hard workouts) and you are only eating on average around 700 shock then that's more than a 60% deficit! not healthy at all.

JennyPiccolo Wed 21-May-14 20:45:27

This has also happened to my SIL who's been doing 5:2 and the gym 6 days a week.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 21-May-14 20:50:21

This sometimes happens to me but not on the 5:2 - yet anyway. I just have an incredibly long cycle and suffer horrific bloating anf pms. It has happenedabout four or five times in the last ten years. i don't have a clue what caused it in my case, sorry

more info re calorie deficit/weight loss. Also here.

Too big a calorie deficit can cause your periods to stop whatever your weight. Your body will work very hard to preserve energy if it thinks it's starving. That means eliminating non-essential functions like the reproductive cycle. Your hair, skin and ultimately bones will suffer too.

You may find that you're cold a lot and lack energy for day to day activities. Again, that's your body preserving energy.

You really need to eat more. I'll try to find some links that might help.

Are you actually overweight?

ChocolateTwist Wed 21-May-14 21:31:58

Have you ever heard of female athlete triad? Amenorrhea, osteoporosis, disordered eating, all caused by excessive exercise on not enough energy. If you aren't pregnant, I would seriously consider giving up fasting and giving the exercise a rest for a bit. I have quite literally known anorexics who eat (substantially) more than 700 calories a day let alone with the exercise. You definitely don't need to be underweight to have an eating disorder and a binge/starve cycle is most definitely disordered eating, at its most severe it is a form of bulimia (look up "exercise bulimia").
I'm sorry if this is harsh but please consider having a rest and if that seems unbearable then... All the more likely that it is an eating disorder. Osteoporosis is bl**dy scary.
Take care of yourself, please.

5OBalesofHay Wed 21-May-14 21:38:15

Because you are starving yourself. Eat food, move around. Be happy

HumphreyCobbler Wed 21-May-14 21:56:53

The OP has not said that she is starving herself, she is doing ADF. Lots of people do this and don't have issues with menstruation. What we don't know is how big the calorie deficit actually is as we don't know how much the OP eats on her normal eating days.

You could all be right, but I do think there may be another explanation.

Humphrey 1300 cals on non fasting days, alternate day fasting, assuming 500 cals on fasting days means an average 900 cals/day. Well under the basal metabolic rate of even the smallest woman. That is pretty much starving.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 21-May-14 22:14:19

oh yes, sorry, I missed that despite re reading.

BikeRunSki Wed 21-May-14 22:18:01

My periods always stop when i lose weight. Never done 5:2 though.

Wombles you know the whole basis of ADF is that you eat normally on the NFDs, right?
1300 cals on NFDs is NOT "normal" eating, it is extremely restricted, even before you factor in hard workouts on top of that and then the ADF.

You need to eat more - if you stick with this you can expect more side-effects, not just missed periods and could do yourself real damage.

The weight gain is probably just water. But please think about eating more. Lots of exercise is great, but you need to eat enough to support it.

How do you feel in general?

SquirrelledAway Wed 21-May-14 22:26:11

Wombles your calorie intake is way too low.

This might be an interesting article for you.

Wombles Several old hands have repeatedly warned you over the past several weeks that your combination of diet and exercise is far too stressful to be healthy.
I explained why it might cause you to INCREASE fat.

You have been doing:
. ADF with far too low calories on both NFDs and NFDs, in fact often zero cals NFDs
. AND exercising 5 x days per week for too many hours AND
. AND BFing (at least earlier on)

Before you really damage your health please listen and stop this !

For the next 2 weeks let your system recover:
. Stop all exercise
. Stop fasting, just eat healthily to TDEE, no junk or alcohol, no bingeing.

We've been worried about you, so please let us know how you get on.

Oops zero cal FDs, but still bad on ADF

plecofjustice Wed 21-May-14 22:54:51

Wombles.

Just wanted to add to this, I'm concerned that your approach to food and exercise is coming across as dysfunctional/disordered.

Please read the post above from BCF. Please be honest with yourself, if you cannot follow her advice, please go to your doctor as you may need intervention assistance.

Thinking of you

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