The Picture of Health? – My Nutrition Journey

So this is another very personal post that has taken me a long time to write. If you have been following the blog you will know that I haven’t always been a clean eating sugar free foodie. It was a search for better health that lead me to first kicking my sugar habit and then turning vegetarian. But there is another side that I rarely discuss. This year it has gotten worse and I have explored a number of ways to become healthier. This is a work in process so bare with me while I get my sh1t together!

I’ve always had digestive issues and when I was In New Zealand I first started experimenting with sugar free living. I stopped buying biscuits and would only keep whole unprocessed foods in the house. My best friend thought I was crazy, why eliminate all the nice things in life? Then came the wheat or grain free phase. Gone was pasta for dinner, my beloved porridge also took a hike. In reality we were working in a physically demanding job and I could have easily burned off the extra calories.

Two ingredient sugar free pancakes
My grain free, sugar free pancakes with berries and yogurt.

So when I moved home the sugar free phase stayed as much as possible but I always had cheat days. Thankfully I was back eating my oats but my eating was becoming extremely disordered. It wasn’t that I was trying to massively restrict my calories but I was. It was a lack of knowledge of what my body needed. There is so much information and misinformation out there about diet and nutrition its easy to get lost in the details. So around this time last summer, my periods stopped. As I was living with a partner at the time, queue mass purchases of home pregnancy tests and many a stressed night. Negative after negative test result left me very confused and wondering what the heck was going on with my body. I was researching and reading as much as I could on hormones and nutrition requirements. Precision Nutrition is my go to source for really good science backed information. I have even started their level 1 nutrition certificate so that I can advise clients who may be in a similar position as me, lost in a world of information.

By under consuming calories my body prioritised essential functions and my period is nonessential.

Of course I went to the doctors but I was told to reduce my exercise and try not to stress and my period would return. Eh, try not to stress?! Great advice! Then of course I had my accident, now my body had a whole lot more to deal with. Funnily enough my period returned but very sporadically; one in December, February and April.

In April I started working with a brilliant nutritionist to try and sort out my hormones and balance my blood sugars. I recorded my “healthy” three day food diary and to be honest the results shocked me. I was under eating massively. Elysia calculated that I need 2700+ to support my lifestyle and work. On average I was consuming about 1500 Calories. Remember this was also what I considered a healthy diet! We started by increasing my calories, plenty of unprocessed carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and brown rice, lots of protein and some healthy fats. It was safe to say that my hormones were completely out of whack and it was going to take a lot to get them back on track.

Sweaty selfie
Picture of health?

I’m trying to educate myself on how much food I actually need to eat. Some days I under-consume and some days I’m over. My main problem is if I haven’t been consistent during the day, I have a ravenous appetite at night. I can consume anything, whole packets of biscuits, loads of toast it tends to be high calorie or high carbohydrate foods. The most frustrating thing about this journey, my periods are still missing. Today I went back to my doctor, to get bloods done and explore some other options.

I’m writing this post to help women who may be severely restricting calories or over exercising to lose weight, is it worth the picture of health? My lack of knowledge lead me to under consume calories and essential nutrients, now I am trying to repair to repair my body. I will keep you updated and I hope you find this post helpful!

Stay healthy X

 

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