Hello everyone, Fitbabe here. Let me preface this blog with the disclaimer that I am not a writer. I have horrible grammar, my sentences run on, and I write as I would talk: fast, intense and full of curse words. My passion is the physical culture, and the gym is my home. Find me there and you will see the best of me. I will leave the writing to FFG, as she is the professional. Anyway, with that being said. Read on!
So, I am 38 years old. I haven’t had a menstrual cycle since I was 33. I have been on the birth control pill for 22 years. I am single. In fact, I haven’t been in a relationship for over 5 years, so one day I said to myself: ” I am going to go off the pill and give my body a break from artificial hormones, it is not like I am trying to prevent getting pregnant with the non existent sex life I am having.” I had no idea that when I stopped taking that tiny little pill every morning it would bring on the most challenging year of my adult life.
October 2015. I am really doing this. I do not start a new pack of pills. I feel normal. I read everything I could get my hands on about the possible side effects of coming off the pill, notably weight gain or loss, spotting, acne, mood disorders, and depression. I reach out to mentors and educators, including professionals I had met at The Women’s Fitness Summit in Kansas City the year before. They all tell me I should be fine. There are supplements recommended to take post pill to help with estrogen dominance. I decide to take maca root, ashwaganda and rhodiola which are adaptogen herbs to help with stress, mood and relaxation. I can still see my abs and am killing my workouts. No big deal. I do not need to worry. I am 118lb.
December 2015. My clothes are starting to fit tight. I start to see cellulite on my bum and thighs. I NEVER HAD CELLULITE THERE BEFORE? I have not been one to weigh myself due to a decade of eating disorders and body image issues. I weigh myself…I am 122lb. I have gained 4 lb and my body is changing. Still no period and I start to wonder if I made a mistake. I start to double my cardio sessions and cut calories.
January 2016. Happy New Year….to my new BOOBS AND ASS! My breasts are getting bigger, and my ass is now a booty- well to me it was anyway. You see, I had stayed so lean for the last 5 years that my body was not happy with being over-trained and underfed. Even though I had cut calories and doubled my workouts, I was gaining weight. This tells me I had long needed to gain some weight for fertility and health. I speak to my doctor and ask to go back on the pill. She lovingly says that we need to give my body time to adjust. My doctor books me a full body bone scan to be sure I do not have the female athletic triad (a syndrome in which an eating disorder, amenorrhoea/oligomenorrhoea, and decreased bone mineral density are present). I already have amenorrhea, along with the history of eating disorders and over exercising. If my bone scan comes back with negative results, this could be serious.
February 2016. I am super freaked out. I can’t fit any of my jeans. I start to panic and immediately hire a local coach and ask to be put on a fat loss plan. She is amazing with me and decides that I need to work on my metabolism and dial back on the obsessive training. I try to resist, but with her coaching I realize that if I want my body to respond again, I need to trust her. I slowly add food in and am eating up to 1500 calories a day, while training only 4 days a week. Previously, I would do an hour of cardio a day and lift weights 6-7 days a week. I never took a rest day. I had been cutting my calories too low. This new plan is good for me. I have injuries and hormones to heal.
March 2016. I continue to gain weight. I am up to 127lb, but I am not going to quit. I listen to my coach and continue to back off my crazy training and let my body enjoy yoga, leisure walking and baths. I hate my cellulite and my belly. WHOSE BODY IS THIS ANYWAY? I do not recognize myself in the mirror. I feel like my body is betraying me. The bone scan comes back normal. I rejoice and celebrate my two decades of lifting weights. Strength training for the win!
April-May 2016. My weight jumps up to 129lb. I only have 2 pairs of nike tights that fit. I buy one more pair of ADIDAS tights that are huge. I dig out an old pair of jeans that were given to me. One of my clients gave me some beautiful clothes that fit me before Christmas, but are too tight now. I feel so gross. My blood work has now been taken 3 times. Full hormone panels. They all come up normal? I am so stressed. I cry a lot. I feel like nobody will ever love me, and I fall into a depression. I stop working with my coach and try to train and eat intuitively. By the end of May, I have cut out all sugar, caffeine, grains and alcohol. I don’t drink wine for 3 months. I miss that the most, but I want to get healthy.
June 2016. Still no period. I return to my doctor and she refers me to an endocrinologist. I book an appointment for July 22. At the same time, I have a pelvic ultrasound where they discover I possibly have a blood clot in my uterus. They can see only one ovary, but I guess that is very common? I can’t wait to see the endocrinologist. I have a notebook of questions to ask. I am also booked for an MRI to get to the bottom of that blood clot. The MRI is on August 22. So, here we go.
July 22, 2016. My body is changing again. My weight drops down to 125 and stays there the whole month. I see the endocrinologist. She is wonderful. She suspects that because I was on the pill for so long it will take 1-2 years for me to get my cycle back. At this point I am so happy that I am maintaining my weight and am back in the gym squatting and deadlifting heavy, that I do not care about my period. However, fertility is a beautiful thing and it is my right as a woman to have it. I start using a dating app called Bumble. I swipe right and end up going out with a few men which doesn’t really go anywhere. I know what I am looking for, and I am not willing to settle for anything average. My girlfriend Chantal gives me a few pairs of jeans, size 27. THEY FIT and they look fabulous. My breasts are full and my bum is round. My bras fit perfectly and I feel sexy. [Aside: at the beginning of this month, I drop a 35lb barbell plate on my foot but the x-ray shows no broken bones. Hooray for strength training again. Still, I am limping and have a swollen foot. Thank you universe for bringing me more obstacles!]
August 2016. I am back full force in the gym. I am eating foods I love and drinking my beloved wine again. I decide to delete the dating app and just meet men the old fashioned way. I decide to swipe right one more time and BOOM I meet an amazing man. His name is Ben and it turns out that he knew who I was. He had seen me in the gym in which I train clients. We connect immediately and he makes me feel so sexy and desirable. All I can think about is what if he sees my cellulite and stretch marks and is turned off? What if my round belly makes him grossed out? I also didn’t previously mention in this post that I have braces on my teeth too. I have had them for 19 months. Ben likes me anyway and insists I am perfect the way I am. Still no period. I am finally sexually active again, but wait now I need birth control. Fuck. August 22 come around. Ben comes with me to the MRI. I am so grateful.
September 2016. I finally get answers. My doctor tells me I do not have a blood clot. Great. No tumours, cancer, or anything. Instead, she says to me: “Deanna, you have a Unicornate Uterus.” I am stunned. What the heck does that mean? A unicorn? What??
Definition: A unicornuate uterus represents a uterine malformation where the uterus is formed from one only of the paired Müllerian ducts while the other Müllerian duct does not develop or only in a rudimentary fashion. The sometimes called hemi-uterus has a single horn linked to the ipsilateral fallopian tube that faces its ovary.
The doctor tells me that if I do get my period back, I could get pregnant, but most likely would never carry a baby full term. I sit and absorb this information. Am I half a woman? What does this mean? Do I want children? No I don’t, but I want the choice. I will be 39 in just over a month. 39! I am sitting here wondering why this is happening. Why didn’t I meet a man and try to start a family. Would I have discovered this information only after having several miscarriages? It would have been devastating if that had happened. At least I am a strong, capable, empowered woman who knows in her heart that it is ok not to have children. I cry. I have just started dating an amazing man who may want children. Maybe he will tell me it is over. Maybe he will say, “Deanna, I need to be with someone who can have my children.” I am scared, but know I am going to be amazing with or without a man.
I tell Ben. He is the first person I tell, even before my mother, sister, or best friend. I tell him first. He does not miss a beat. He is kind and supportive. When I ask if this makes me half a woman, he replies: “You are not half a woman. You are SUPERWOMAN.”
I could have not asked for a better response.
My weight is stabilized now and I feel way better. I have my sex drive back, and am so grateful for this experience. As hard as the last few months of 2015 and the majority of 2016 was for me mentally and physically, I look back and am in awe of how amazing my body is. My body has been beaten down with brutal workouts; it has been underfed and stressed out. I had punished myself for so long, but when I started loving myself it began to thrive.
I get my braces off on Sept 7. I am dating a super HOT sexy man, who loves my curves. I am back in the gym with a new energy and mindset. I am better than before. I have so much gratitude. Life can kick you in the ass and then swoop you up in a cloud of happiness just like that. I still have some time left in 2016 to turn things around, so that is exactly what I plan on doing. Everything is temporary. Happiness is a choice, and today I choose happiness.
Thanks for reading.