November 4, 2015 By Leanne Vogel December 19, 2018
I struggled with a lack of period and low hormones for 8 years. How eating high-fat, keto healed my amenorrhea without the need to go on artificial hormones.
If you haven’t read My Last Chapter or The One Thing That’s Holding Me Back or It’s Just Not Okay, and you’re curious about how I got here, have a read before you continue. This topic is highly personal. I know that you will be gentle with my story and with others that choose to share their experiences in the comments. I hope that in sharing my experiences, the women in our community are encouraged to seek help, embrace healing and create beautiful lives for themselves.
I’m beyond thrilled to be sharing that I (officially!) no longer have amenorrhea. Just after preparing this video last week, I got my third period! I am living proof that you can heal your hormones, and amenorrhea, with a high-fat, keto lifestyle.
I mention this in the video, but it’s worth noting here, too. The three most-powerful things I did to get my body to this place are…
Also, in the video, I shared what I did the day before I got my first natural period in over 8 years. The big bowl of dairy-free yogurt was part of my carb-up (carb-up instruction in Fat Fueled), a bowl of sugar-free coconut milk yogurt with berries, grain-free granola and melted coconut oil. I don’t think it was the actual yogurt that nudged me over the edge, but the thoughts I was thinking while I was eating it.
For all the ladies who struggle with hormones and feel a little hopeless. Psst.. you don’t need to feel that way!
For video transcription, scroll down.
Dude or dudettes, I kind of spilled the beans two weeks ago in my keto video about what eating 12 months of high fat, keto did to my body, but basically I got my period back. If you didn’t watch that keto video, I’ve linked to it below and also to the side.
I had amenorrhea for eight years and I have been ovulating now for two months and I have had two cycles completely beautiful and amazing. I never thought I would ever say that about getting my period, but I got to say, when you’ve been without it for eight years, it’s freaking awesome to get it back.
Today, I am going to be talking about all things amenorrhea. The first one is a lost of period when it never started. Let’s say you’re like 14, 15, 16, and you never got your period and it just keeps continuing. Then, stage two is you had your period at some point and then it went missing.
I shared my amenorrhea story and lack of period story and hormone replacement stuff on my blog a couple of years ago. I was blown away with how many women suffer from this very thing, either because of their body weight or maybe they had an eating disorder or they’re on birth control and they went off birth control and they never got their period. That was really my story.
I went on birth control when I was 13. I had had my period for maybe three months and it was super painful and really heavy and just horrible. I got really bad acne and I wish I would had known what I’d do now because it was just an imbalance of hormones. All I had to do was really balance it out. Unfortunately, I went on birth control and I was on birth control until I turned 21. I went off birth control because I was starting holistic nutrition at the time at CSNN and learned that birth control wasn’t all so good, so I got off of it. That was in 2007. I had been eight years on the pill. I’m 29 years old now, so I was 21, my period never came back. For about five years, I didn’t care. I was 21. I could swim whenever I wanted. I didn’t have to worry about things. I saved like $100 on feminine products every month, so it really wasn’t an issue. At that time, I was thinking I don’t want babies, so who cares if I don’t get my period. Whether or not you want babies, should not dictate whether you have your period or not. If you are having issues with fertility and your cycle, regardless if you want kids or not, it’s super important to get your cycle on track.
Fast forward a couple of years and I was finally in a place like I was getting married. Kevin and I were really happy. I knew this was an issue and I knew I had to deal with it. I started meeting with gynecologists and they would ask, do you want babies? I would say well, not right now, maybe not ever, and they were like well, why do you care? I was like it was important because I’m not ovulating and I would really like to because it’s a sign a health, no? I met a lot of doctors like that and a lot of endocrinologists that told me to just go back on the pill.
Then, I met one endocrinologist that convinced me that going on hormone replacement therapy was a good idea. I got my period a month after I started with the hormone replacement therapy. This was an estrogen patch that I wore on … almost by my butt, like right above my butt and wore that all the time. I replaced it … I think it was like every three days and then on the first to tenth day of every month, I would take a progesterone pill. I kept at it for nine months. I was getting my period. Always awesome. The doctor was like, yeah, everything is so great. We don’t even need to test you, but I wasn’t ovulating and I just felt crazy. Like, straight up mad, crazy. I was gaining weight like mad and I don’t care if I’m gaining weight for health, like if gaining weight helps me get healthier and helps me be balanced, totally awesome with it, but I felt crazy. I felt crazy. I remember the doctor saying so, you’re likely not going to feel so good when you go through this therapy and you’re probably going to gain a lot of weight. In the back of my head I was thinking, but if we trying to get me balanced, why would I feel like garbage?
After nine months, I just figured I’d been having this cycle for nine months, maybe if I go off of it, it’ll boost my body, as all the doctors said. Well, I went off of it and I didn’t get my period again. At that point, I felt like I was going to give up, but then I persevered and I kept going because I knew that I would discover what worked well for my body if I just kept trying things.
I met my naturopath, who specialized in women’s hormones, back in May 2014. I didn’t waste any time. I went right back at it. She introduced me to Keto and I got going with the whole Keto thing and my hormones really started to increase. By December of 2014, my hormones were at the highest they’d ever been. My cholesterol was high, which is a good thing when you’re trying to heal or hormones. It’s the precursor for all of your hormones and you want your cholesterol to be high enough that your body can use that cholesterol to make all the hormones. I ordered every blood test, every urine test, every every single test, x-ray, ultrasound, everything, to really get an idea of what my body was saying. Reviewing those results was like the most liberating and most scary thing I’ve ever done, well one of the most anyways, because it was so, so evident that I had been spending a lifetime of depleting my body. When I was reviewing these results with this doctor, it was like somebody just hit me over the head, like Leanne, wake up. Like, you have to wake up or you are going to … well, in a way die. Die early. There’s only so much this body can handle and that was a major wake-up call to me.
After that meeting, I shifted towards more of a fat fueled, keto lifestyle, which I have outlined in my newest keto program Fat Fuel. I switched to a fat fueled lifestyle, where I am still burning fat as fuel, but I am being a lot more lenient and a lot more open. In fact by doing this, I’m eating more Ketogenic than I ever have before. I’m just not stressing about it.
The days leading up to when I got my period … dun, dun, dun. Let’s go through them. I ovulated 18 days before I had my period. I traveled from Calgary to Frankfort. I was on my own a little bit, met up with family and friends and Kevin. He was there for work. It was amazing, but I was on a plane. Flew to Germany, got to Frankfort, and the next morning, that’s when I got my period.
That night, I had a huge bowl of yogurt, like dairy free, keto yogurt. It was huge. I was just so hungry and tired. It was yogurt with coconut oil and grain free granola and salt. Like, I was so hungry and berries. It was so good and so nourishing and I remember thinking to myself, I’m just so happy to be here. I didn’t have any stress. I’d taken 10 days off work and I was just ready to be in Germany, in my husband’s home country, and just experience everything that was ahead of me.
The next day, I woke up and went to the bathroom, and holy crap! It happened. It wasn’t until I found the doctor that was willing to support me and listen to me and respect my experience that I felt supported. It wasn’t until my hypothalamus … so your hypothalamus … I imagine like the master computer and the record player that plays in your head constantly saying this is not safe. We can’t have this going on. Until I took that record, smashed it, and moved on and stopped tracking and stopped worrying about all of the things, was when I really let go of control, that I ended up gaining control, in a way.
I never gave up, regardless of what doctors were saying. If it didn’t resonate with me, I said thank you and I left their office. I’ve met with many women that put so much trust in their doctors and if you found a good doctor that resonates with you and you totally understand each other, awesome, but if the doctor is saying things and you are like, what, no, and they you agree to it just because they are a doctor, like no. It’s your body. It’s your life. It’s your responsibility. I just kept telling myself that constantly. All the time. I will find someone to support me and in the meantime, I will do XY and Z and it lead to marvelous things. The fact that I got my period … I know that everything I’m doing is working. Up until this point, while I made momentous changes, eating high fat, keto and being okay with animal fat, has been the spark that ignited my journey toward being here right now.
Really, that’s what my newest keto book and program Fat Fueled is all about. It’s about taking the Ketogenic framework and making it work for women that are healing from imbalances. I’ve got news for you, I would say that like 95% of you watching right now, probably has imbalances, usually to do with your thyroid or adrenals or sex hormones. If your periods are irregular, if you suffer from depression, anxiety, candida, like all of these imbalances … if you don’t feel like a million bucks, then there’s work that needs to be done within your body. I really feel and believe and I’m living truth, that fats can help take us there, but there needs to be some adjustments.
I want to start the conversation about the fact that Keto doesn’t have to just be 20 grams of carbohydrates all of the time. While that may work really great for men, which unfortunately the space is saturated with men talking about this, it’s really about how can we use fats to heal and how many carbohydrates are okay for our body with where we are at right now? Our bodies want to be healed and balanced. They want to be at a specific weight. They know what’s good for us and so if we just step aside and let our bodies totally rock it, we may be surprised on where it goes. That’s definitely been my experience through eating this way and discovering a Ketogenic eating style that works best for me and maintaining being fat fueled, but also understanding that my body is different from your body that will be different from Sally’s body down the street and really honoring that.
I’ve linked below this keto video for everything I’ve ever talked about, about hormones and amenorrhea, hormone replacement therapy, so you want to check it out. Do it! If you enjoyed this keto video and you want to learn more about all of the things high fat, keto, feel free to grab my keto book linked up here and also below and if you want to hear from me every Wednesday about all things high fat, keto, hormones, who knows what else I will be talking about in the future … adrenals and thyroid … feel free to subscribe to my channel. You were here in the corner to grab that and to subscribe. Also, below, if you are watching this on my blog. I will see you next Wednesday. Bye!
This entry was tagged: eating high-fat, eating keto, eating low-carb, fat-adapted, hormone, hormone replacement, keto, keto basics, keto diet, keto life, ketogenic, ketone, ketosis, low-carb, low-carb paleo, what is keto
Hi! I’m Leanne (RHN FBCS)
a Keto Nutritionist, host of The Keto Diet Podcast, and best-selling author of The Keto Diet & Keto for Women. I want to live in a world where every woman has access to knowledge to better her health.