1

votes

Hormone/Period regulation and weight gain?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 28, 2011 at 2:54 PM

After years of veganism, my body stopped menstruating, and this was one of the reasons for my switch to paleo (in 2008). The switch was primarily for health reasons, not for weight loss. Beginning, I was 5'7" and ~132 lbs (unsure of bf%, but I can guess around 25%). In the first year or so I regulated at about 123 lbs. I very strictly stopped eating all sugars about one year ago, and my weight dropped to 113 lbs- too low! So I started adding in more vegetables, tubers, and occassional dairy. Since last August (9 months ago), my period FINALLY came back (after 4 years MIA), and my weight has shot up to 130lbs.

My question is... Do you think that my hormones regulating was the cause of this weight gain or vice versa?

Has anyone else experienced something similar? I've found it very difficult to accept this weight gain, although I know that it's a healthy weight, and I'm THRILLED to be FERTILE!-but I feel like I didn't have much control over it. Any thoughts?

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 02, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Jenni, thank you so much for your response. It really is such an emotional and mental journey along with the physical. Best of luck to you and your cycle!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 30, 2011
at 06:39 PM

I started eating more animal fat and dairy in the past year... It's really looking like that was key in tge hormonal shift for me. I've always villainized dairy, but perhaps it's best for my body. (my diet was very heavy in it when I went thru puberty, so I'm wondering if it has a say in my 'set point'?)

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 30, 2011
at 06:35 PM

Thank you, Terry, I'll check her out!

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on May 30, 2011
at 05:19 PM

WHR has almost nothing to do with total body weight, it has to do with body type and hormone levels.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on May 30, 2011
at 05:16 PM

Body fat percentage has less to do with it than most people think. It's all about hormone regulation and production, which is somewhat affected by body fat percentage, but more so by the content of your diet, and your activity and stress level, IMO. I am great evidence - I had a BMI of 14-16 and probably around 15% or less body fat for the first 9 years I was menstruating - never missed a period in my life. Of course if a naturally normal-weight woman starved down to my size they'd be bound to have many more problems than I did/do.

32123f4f25bdf6a7b70c9c2a719386ed

(396)

on May 28, 2011
at 11:08 PM

The book "Schwarzenbien Principle" by Dr. Schwarzenbien has some very good information about how a damaged metabolism heals. She states that healing can't occur without weight gain. She is an endocrinologist who damaged her health with bad diet and how she became healthy again. She gives advise for many differnet combinations of adrenal, diabetes, thyroid and other hormonal problems. You might want to take a look at her books. She has 3 I believe and one is a cookbook. Her advise is easily Paleo friendly.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Also, possibly worth mentioning... I spotted 2 times in those 4 years of amenorrhea, both times in conjunction with falling in love! Could be coincidence, but could be my body saying 'this guy! Make babies with this guy!'. I think the emotional body has a lot to do with the physical body!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:47 PM

I honestly don't think it was because of gaining weight- my gut instict is that the change in hormones caused the weight gain. And how did the hormones change? I think perhaps the time of eating Paleo (4 years). I experimented a LOT with cutting out other things, such as high-Lectin foods (nuts, dairy, nightshades, eggs), FODMAPS, and (a big one, I think) all sugars. It could have been helped by any/all/none of these!

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 28, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Quilt: How do you know your "good" doc is doing the right work up? What tests? Damn hormones, tricky devils.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:35 PM

Thank you, Terry. I think I assumed that my weight had 'settled' when my period came back, but it makes sense that it may still shift around. Time (and some blood tests) looks like the answer!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:32 PM

Leptin, that tricky bastard! So confusing... I'll check out GnRH, and look forward to reading your 'quilt'!

8b982d4beccca9fcb85affe8d4bd4ff2

(1585)

on May 28, 2011
at 05:27 PM

Yes I agree! What I mean by high BMI is upper end of overweight and obese BMI levels. That is what I mean by a "too high" BMI level. It is dangerous to be too overweight/obese.

8b982d4beccca9fcb85affe8d4bd4ff2

(1585)

on May 28, 2011
at 05:26 PM

Yes I agree! What I mean by high bmi is upper end of overweight and obese BMI levels that is what I mean by too high BMI. It is dangerous to be too overweight/obese.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:42 PM

Great advice but I would not wait......with treatment it can fixed quick.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:41 PM

Women have to have higher bmi for oocyte maturation. That is why they have higher leptin levels and why they deposit omega FFA preferentially to their hips and butts and not waist. Evolution dictated a hip to waist ratio of 0.7 ideal for attracting mates and ideal for th offsprings brain de velopment because it signal led a female to a male who had ideal omega three levels. There is a reason for everything In biology whether you believe it or not. Some of us want to know it all

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:39 PM

In your case it's not about size......too many here get stuck on the that issue and try to generalize it .......your case isma special one. Something is blocking GnRH at the hypothalamus Get er checked

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Not menstruating tells me it's one of two issues.......high cortisol or high omega six to three ratio causing leptin receptor issues at the oocyte level. You need a workup by a good doc

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7 Answers

2
3657c47af794a29e8d8f7f1760b804c4

on June 02, 2011
at 08:57 AM

First of all, congratulations on getting your period back! Amenorrhea (loss of period) has serious side effects, including loss in bone density, and of course, due to lack of ovulation, it is a form of infertility. I am currently being treated for amenorrhea in Finland.

Amenorrhea can be caused by low body weight, over-exercise, stress, disordered eating, as well as by medical conditions such as thyroid problems and poly-cystic ovaries. When it is due to energy deficits, whether through over-training or under-eating, or when it is due to stress, it is usually Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. This can happen even if your BMI is in the normal range, and their are many women whose BMI is low, and yet do not suffer from this. From the research I have read, BMI really isn't the best indicator. Every woman's body is different.

I would say that the weight gain is a necessary part of your healing. The article [Overtraining the Female Athlete][1] recommends:

  1. Decrease training intensity/duration by 10%
  2. Attempt to increase body weight by 2kg
  3. Supplement calcium intake to 1500 mg per day
  4. Gain psychological support
  5. If amenorrhea is persistent after 3 months of modifying behaviour, gain medical advice.

While this is regarding amenorrhea due in part to over-training, it seems to match with other regimes I have heard regarding recovering from Hypothalamic amenorrhea: I have heard weight gain is almost necessary. Also, it might be good to question if stress or similar had a part to play, and whether that still needs to be addressed

A month ago I added whole dairy and fish back into my diet, and for the last week and a half I have replaced running with walking and yoga. I have seen an improvement in my hormone levels. It was a STRUGGLE to add dairy and fish back into my diet, too-- and to stop running. However, it is also important to remember that amenorrhea can cause bone loss. Diary should help with calcium intake, and FULL-FAT dairy consumption seems to promote ovulation and natural, fertile, cycles.

So, i would guess that the dairy and weight gain are important factors in your recovery. Your body needed, and needs, the excess energy to restore reproductive function. The important thing give yourself time to heal completely, and to consider the menstrual cycle as a important vital sign for the future. The need for increased weight might be a temporary phase needed for healing, but it might also be good to explore seeing the beauty in your still VERY slim but now FERTILE shape.

Amenorrhea is also discussed, helpfully I think, in the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

Best wishes for a continued recovery!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 02, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Jenni, thank you so much for your response. It really is such an emotional and mental journey along with the physical. Best of luck to you and your cycle!

1
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on May 30, 2011
at 05:26 PM

I don't think it's a simple chicken or egg question either. I think you put some healthy weight back on and ultimately healed your hormone balance by eating a whole foods, paleo diet with starch and dairy - which is awesome! But achieving fertility probably contributed to your weight stabilizing where it is, as well.

I am a big believer in the body weight set point and believe that body weight and shape is highly influenced by genetics. So yes, somewhat outside our control in many cases. Your weight has fluctuated very little, all things considered, and now that you have returned to the size you were when you had your period before and are eating fantastically, it's not a coincidence that you had a return of fertility.

A BMI of 20 is pretty much perfection for a woman. It's slim, while still having enough mass to have decent strength and adequate resources to get you through illness or pregnancy. Your body is where it needs and wants to be. If you suddenly drop or gain 20 lbs, then you have cause to worry (which you did, thankfully, and corrected things when you went down to 113 lbs). But if you keep eating like this and getting your period, I would bet money that it will never happen. ;)

1
32123f4f25bdf6a7b70c9c2a719386ed

(396)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:07 PM

At 5'7" you are at a healthy weight. You may go through some changes in your weight before it settles. As you continue to eat this way you may put on more muscle mass and more normalization with your hormones. This process could take a year or so to complete. Your body was damaged with your previous diet and it will take time to heal.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:42 PM

Great advice but I would not wait......with treatment it can fixed quick.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:35 PM

Thank you, Terry. I think I assumed that my weight had 'settled' when my period came back, but it makes sense that it may still shift around. Time (and some blood tests) looks like the answer!

32123f4f25bdf6a7b70c9c2a719386ed

(396)

on May 28, 2011
at 11:08 PM

The book "Schwarzenbien Principle" by Dr. Schwarzenbien has some very good information about how a damaged metabolism heals. She states that healing can't occur without weight gain. She is an endocrinologist who damaged her health with bad diet and how she became healthy again. She gives advise for many differnet combinations of adrenal, diabetes, thyroid and other hormonal problems. You might want to take a look at her books. She has 3 I believe and one is a cookbook. Her advise is easily Paleo friendly.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 30, 2011
at 06:35 PM

Thank you, Terry, I'll check her out!

1
8b982d4beccca9fcb85affe8d4bd4ff2

(1585)

on May 28, 2011
at 03:41 PM

You are not wrong! If a female is to low or high in weight she will lose your period and put herself at risk for cancer and other health issues.

I honesty feel we are meant to be in the middle spectrum of a healthy BMI, not too low or too high.

A BMI at your hight of 17.7 is underweight and not healthy. A BMI of 19.3 is still the lower end of the spectrum. A BMI of 20.7 is a way better weight for you I feel.

Not that I trust "BMI" totally because it can very between muscle mass etc... It still is just an example that your weight was too low before.

(I have gone from your weights listed to get the bmi's)

I think it's awesome that you are fertile now, it should be a good sign to you that you are doing the right thing ;)

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:41 PM

Women have to have higher bmi for oocyte maturation. That is why they have higher leptin levels and why they deposit omega FFA preferentially to their hips and butts and not waist. Evolution dictated a hip to waist ratio of 0.7 ideal for attracting mates and ideal for th offsprings brain de velopment because it signal led a female to a male who had ideal omega three levels. There is a reason for everything In biology whether you believe it or not. Some of us want to know it all

8b982d4beccca9fcb85affe8d4bd4ff2

(1585)

on May 28, 2011
at 05:27 PM

Yes I agree! What I mean by high BMI is upper end of overweight and obese BMI levels. That is what I mean by a "too high" BMI level. It is dangerous to be too overweight/obese.

8b982d4beccca9fcb85affe8d4bd4ff2

(1585)

on May 28, 2011
at 05:26 PM

Yes I agree! What I mean by high bmi is upper end of overweight and obese BMI levels that is what I mean by too high BMI. It is dangerous to be too overweight/obese.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on May 30, 2011
at 05:19 PM

WHR has almost nothing to do with total body weight, it has to do with body type and hormone levels.

1
62f354c72aae8bd8f641ada886d583a2

on May 28, 2011
at 03:20 PM

I believe that a female needs to have a certain body fat percentage to be able to menstruate and have normal fertility. I might be wrong about that but I swear I read it somewhere. You may have hit the magic number or something? Either way it is a good thing that you regained your fertility :)

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on May 30, 2011
at 05:16 PM

Body fat percentage has less to do with it than most people think. It's all about hormone regulation and production, which is somewhat affected by body fat percentage, but more so by the content of your diet, and your activity and stress level, IMO. I am great evidence - I had a BMI of 14-16 and probably around 15% or less body fat for the first 9 years I was menstruating - never missed a period in my life. Of course if a naturally normal-weight woman starved down to my size they'd be bound to have many more problems than I did/do.

0
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on May 28, 2011
at 08:31 PM

Do you think that my hormones regulating was the cause of this weight gain or vice versa?

I think they are interrelated. My weight fluctuates with my hormonal cycle, for sure, but fat tissue also has a say in your hormonal state.

Do you get enough animal protein and fat now? That can affect you body composition, and your hormones, too.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 30, 2011
at 06:39 PM

I started eating more animal fat and dairy in the past year... It's really looking like that was key in tge hormonal shift for me. I've always villainized dairy, but perhaps it's best for my body. (my diet was very heavy in it when I went thru puberty, so I'm wondering if it has a say in my 'set point'?)

0
560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on May 28, 2011
at 07:33 PM

That's great to hear your period came back, did you change anything else to help restart them or do you feel it was just down to weight? Interested to hear more about why you think they restarted after such a gap.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Also, possibly worth mentioning... I spotted 2 times in those 4 years of amenorrhea, both times in conjunction with falling in love! Could be coincidence, but could be my body saying 'this guy! Make babies with this guy!'. I think the emotional body has a lot to do with the physical body!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:47 PM

I honestly don't think it was because of gaining weight- my gut instict is that the change in hormones caused the weight gain. And how did the hormones change? I think perhaps the time of eating Paleo (4 years). I experimented a LOT with cutting out other things, such as high-Lectin foods (nuts, dairy, nightshades, eggs), FODMAPS, and (a big one, I think) all sugars. It could have been helped by any/all/none of these!

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