Porridge of Champions!

Today, I have my first follow-up session with my doctor since my diagnosis (in March 2015). I am nervous, but a little excited – I hope that all of the lifestyle changes I have made have truly increased my estrogen!

Before the visit, I was sure to power up with a nutritious and delicious breakfast:

– Masala chai latte with organic nonfat milk (the version I make at home only has 52 calories, and is deliciously spice – comment if you’d like the recipe)

Nana-Nut and Seed Porridge

– Organic steel cut oatmeal (1/4 cup dry, cooked in 2 cups water so it is a little creamy)

– 1/2 medium banana, sliced

– 6 organic, raw almonds

– 1 tsp organic coarsely ground flax seeds

– 1 tsp chia seeds

– 1/2 tsp organic ground cinnamon

Breakfast Total: 374 kcalC: 59g, F: 11g, P: 17g, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 19g (all natural, from fruit)

Would pictures make my posts more interesting? Let me know! I was too busy devouring my breakfast to stop and take a photo this morning, haha.

Happy healing!

Lots of love,

Girl Guilt-Free

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Check-in With Yourself – It’s Liberating

Today was a good day! ūüôā

What I had been fearing – feeling just as crazy hungry as Monday and Tuesday, despite eating over 1900 kcal – did not happen! Today, I felt like a “normal” eater; I was not constantly thinking about food, and I stopped eating when I was full.

I also took time today to check-in with myself, and to remind myself that everything is okay by putting things in to perspective. I have been living with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea for a year; if my ignorance of it let me live stress-free, then why does my diagnosis of it have to change anything?

A Diagnosis is a Step Forward – Never Forget

Every time I feel overwhelmed, stressed, or hopeless about HA, I am going yo remind myself that I am only better off than I have ever been before: I don’t have to worry about being overweight; I have no other medical condition; I am no longer hungry all the time, and I am headed towards recovery. Sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective, so it’s important to remind yourself that you are in a much better place than ever before, so it can only get better from here on out.

I am grateful, and re-charged – no guilt; no stress.

Happy healing!

Lots of love,

Girl Guilt-Free

P.S. had a phenomenal burrito bowl from Chipotle, WITH GUAC!

Sometimes, you’re just hungry, and that’s OK!

Over-Snacking?

So I am trying my best to not constantly think about food, and one of my ways of doing this is to reduce how many times I eat in a day. I had got up to eating about 8-10 times per day. In doing so, I was trying to minimize my caloric intake at every meal. I did this because I was constantly afraid to be hungry and overeat at any given point in a day. I figured that eating smaller, more frequent meals, would help me curb my frequent hunger. The drawback? I began to constantly think about food; I was continuously planning my next meal, and this was because I would never fully satisfy my hunger.

Wholesome Nutrition

I am now making an effort to eat about 6, more wholesome meals in a given day – this way, I hope that I will stop thinking about food all the time. Food is an important component of our lives, but it certainly should not be on our minds all of the time. This is how food and eating become unnecessary stress. That being said, given that I am still tracking calories, I sometimes stress about eating closer to 2000 calories, and have caught myself feeling guilty if I exceed 1900 calories. It is important to understand and accept that on some days, we are just more hungry. I am trying to transition to a healthier mindset around food – if I am eating filling and nutritious foods, but my body still wants more, then I am going to listen to it and feed it up to 2000 calories a day. Who knows, I just may not be as hungry the next day, or the next week.

Guilt-Free Feeding

This is certainly a work-in-progress for me, but here’s a plug to, collectively, let-go of the fear and guilt associated with food. I catch myself, scared to gain weight, worrying about letting myself eat up to 2000 calories a day. “What if my body just gets used to 2000 calories and starts to want that every single day? That would put me at 1400 calories more per week than if I were eating only 1800 calories per day.” Well you know what, no one knows what tomorrow holds – if I feel just as hungry tomorrow, so be it, and if I don’t, so be it. Here’s to just letting go and not feeling guilty about eating the 2,000 calories!

My Typical Monday

One thing I wished more HA bloggers talked about is what their typical day looks like, in terms of food. After all, a huge part of the recovery process is rooted in nutrition. So here is my typical Monday:

5:00 AM (before heading to the airport): I woke up super hungry, and decided that I couldn’t wait till I got to the airport to eat breakfast, so I ate 1/2 cup of Nature’s Path Flax Plus cereal with 1/2 Cup whole Foods Unsweetened Soy Milk¬†(108 kcal).

6:20 AM (at the airport): Organic steel-cute oatmeal with blueberries, and 1 cup of black coffee (228 kcal). I also had my multivitamin, fish oil, and biotin (18 kcal).

9:20 AM (in-flight): Kit’s Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Bar (190 kcal).

12:45 PM (keep in mind, I had a +2 hour time zone change at the airport): Starbucks Tall Soy Misto and Subway 6-inch turkey on wheat with guacamole, lettuce, spinach, tomato, cucumbers, and peppers (420 kcal).

2:30 PM (in-flight): KIND Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond Bar (200 kcal).

4:30 PM (in-office): Medium organic pink lady apple, and an earl grey latte using the Tassimo Cappuccino creamer (140 kcal).

7:00 PM: Nonfat Greek yogurt with about 1.5 oz of mixed berries, and 6 raw almonds, all organic (160 kcal).

8:00 PM: Grilled 4 oz salmon with approx. 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup sauteed green beans, and a little local honey (473 kcal).

9:30 PM: I was craving a little chocolate, but wasn’t super hungry and didn’t want anything too sweet, so I had 5 Somersault cookies¬†(50 kcal).

Daily Total: 1,987 kcal

Happy healing!

Lots of love,

Girl Guilt-Free

You are your own boss!

This post may seem a little ironic, given my main message is to not let bloggers tell you what to do, or scare you. Now feel free to use my own advice against me and completely disregard this post if you wish, haha.

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Bloggers

You will find several blogs, and increasingly so, regarding Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA). It seem that this phenomenon, which you can read more about here, is not well understood among the medical community, or at least this is the rationale behind so many blogs related to HA.

One blogger in particular, who shall remain unnamed, has really started to bother me recently. This blogger, who we shall call B, does not seem to have any formal education in nutrition, nutritional therapy, or any other medical degree. She also went through a series of weight fluctuations, restrictive eating, and diet fads, but mended her ways once she was diagnosed. B’s¬†mantra: high-calorie, high-carb, low-fat, and all-vegan. B¬†seems like a wonderful person, and it seems as though her regime worked to help her get her period back. Oh, what I forgot to mention is that she is still¬†extremely skinny.

Now here’s why B’s advice bothers me:

1. She has no formal qualifications

2. I don’t quite believe that she practices what she preaches

РShe is constantly talking about how it is wrong to look in mirrors, and take photos of your body, but B frequently posts pictures of her super skinny waist, with her bones showing

3. She may have been lucky, but not everyone is – there is NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL

– She went through the whole IIFYM (“If It Fits Your Macros”) phase, where she counted calories. She said this drove her insane, so she is completely against calorie counting. B says that everyone should eat whatever they please, so long as it’s plant-based, vegan, high-carb, and low fat. Unfortunately, B, while you were able to ‘miraculously’ maintain, or even lose weight (she supposedly got her period at a lower weight than that at which she was diagnosed with HA), that doesn’t quite work for everyone. Additionally, what B considers to be a feeling of ‘fullness,’ may not be something that others experience in the same way. I, for example, am still trying to understand what feeling ‘truly full’ still means for my body, which is why I think it is impractical to give people (who have struggled with restrictive eating) the advice to “just eat” and “stop when you’re full” – some people can’t do that, yet.

4. What’s with all the fat-hating?

– Fats (unsaturated¬†and saturated) are the building-blocks of our hormones. This is where I am calling a little BS on our friend B. If her philosophy really is no longer about minimizing calories, then why substitute peanut butter, which is packed with healthy fats and omega-3s, with PB2, which just gives you the taste of peanut butter, but without all of its benefits. Sure, PB2 is about half the calories, but if you’re trying to help your hormones, then you need those fats! This is not only backed by science and the Internet, but also by my Ivy-League doctors (sorry, I know it sounds snooty, but I thought the Ivy-League plug would make it more compelling).

So, long story short, unfortunately I think that B’s mantras, and immense following of worried fans looking for anything that’s worked on the Internet, may be going down an unhealthy rabbit hole.

Do What Works For YOU!

Let me cut to the chase – don’t let people like B shame you for counting calories. Different things work for different people – being vegan, and following a high-carb, low-fat diet is B’s equivalent of counting calories. I say do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable with yourself and feel as though you have control. One thing that B and I agree about is that you do need to be eating more. However, per my doctor’s and registered dietitian’s advice, this does NOT need to be excessive (2500-3000 kcal). It can be, if that’s what your body needs, but it really doesn’t have to be.

You don’t have to give up on your goals!

Girl, if you want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, don’t think that you have to give that up because you have HA. What you DO have to do though, is pause and maintain, until your body trusts you again and gives you your period back. After that, consult with your primary care provider, registered dietitian, and / or sports nutrition to understand how far you can push your body, and the healthy road to get there. Now, I’m not promising anything – maybe some of our body’s need a minimum body fat percentage to have a period. However, you can’t base what works or doesn’t work for you based on what others experience. Just because girl X had to gain 20 lb to get her period back, doesn’t mean you do. By the same token, just because our friend B can (supposedly) eat whatever she wants, with a ton of carbs and hardly any fats, does not mean that you won’t gain weight and will get your period back by doing the same.

The bottom line: you are your own boss, and other’s experiences¬†can guide, but should¬†not dictate yours!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE only use the Internet as a supplement or guide. Do NOT let bloggers scare you, or tell you what to do. Work with medical professionals like your primary care provider and nutritional therapist to find what is right for you.

Happy Healing!

Lots of love,

Girl Guilt-Free

How to Sit at Your Desk to Avoid Pain (INFOGRAPHIC)

I wanted to re-blog this wonderful post on preventing neck and back pain whilst working / studying.

I have been experiencing a stiff left shoulder, and some neck pain as a result of my long commutes in-flight, my work posture, and constantly studying at tables and on planes. I do yoga regularly, and got a massage yesterday. These things help, but I recommend you to consult a chiropractor for a diagnosis and natural corrective options (e.g. massage, exercises) if your pain persists.

Our health is rooted in our back, so don’t ignore your spinal health!

The Basic Life

James Cannon, the chair expert, created this comprehensive infographic illustrating the proper way to adjust your office chair to avoid fatigue and back pain. Getting the proper alignment is more complicated than you might think. Check your desk chair now and follow these steps to a pain-free and productive workday.

How to sit at your desk

How did you do? Share your experience below!

Visit the entire article at How To Adjust Your Office Chair | 6 Easy Steps | Comfy Office Chair | The Ultimate Guide to Best Office Chairs.

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“Let It Go” – You are so much more than the number on your scale!

Today’s post is about letting things go ūüôā and of course, I had to name it after my favorite song from Frozen!

I wanted to give you all an update on my Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Journey, in 2 week increments (by the way, I am 5’6.5, so I just round to 5’7, haha):

Friday, March 12th: Diagnosed with HA; Weight – 127.5 lb

– Immediately following my diagnosis, and prior to visiting my Nutritional Therapist, I assumed I would need to up my caloric intake to well over 2000 calories, and that I would have to gain weight.

– I ate 2200 calories, on the weekend immediately following my diagnosis, but then switched to a 1800 – 2000 calorie range after seeing the nutritional therapist.

– I took a weekend trip for a friend’s birthday, which involved a lot of dessert, indulgent meals, and alcohol, so I felt super guilty after that weekend.

– I did not let the guilt prevent me from eating, and I continued to eat 1800-2000 calories during the following week.

РI did not exercise at all РI may have taken one long walk, once.

Friday, March 27th: Weight – 128.5 lb

– I ate 1800 – 2000 calories (staying closer to 1800).

– I took another weekend trip, which involved a lot of dessert, indulgent meals, and alcohol, so I felt super guilty after that weekend.

– I did not let the guilt prevent me from eating, and I continued to eat 1800-2000 during the following week.

– I did CorePower Yoga Sculpt 6 times in these 2 weeks, and went to the gym on 1 day, where I did 15 minutes of spin, and 30 minutes of mixed lifting.

Friday, April 24th: Weight Р128.5 lb

– I ate 1800 – 2000 calories (staying closer to 1800).

– I did CorePower Yoga Sculpt 5 times in these 2 weeks, and went to the gym on 1 day, where I did 15 minutes of spin, and 30 minutes of mixed lifting.

Sunday, May 10th: Weight Р127.5 lb

РI ate 1800 Р2000 calories, but did not try to stay closer to 1800 this time, and even had a day where I ate 2200 calories.

– My weekly average was probably 1850 – 1900, with several 2000 calorie days.

– I focused on ‘intuitive eating,’ really trying to listen to my body’s hunger needs.

– I satisfied cravings like cookie ice cream sandwiches, and they even fit my calorie range.

– I did CorePower Yoga Sculpt 6 times in these 2 weeks.

Sunday, May 30th: Weight Р129 lb

It has now been 12 weeks since I embarked upon my journey to kicking Hypothalamic Amenorrhea in the butt, gently, haha. While I was not entirely happy with this morning’s weigh-in, I had to take a step back and put it all in to perspective.¬†I had to remind myself that fluctuations are completely normal, and common. Back when I was at my lowest of 123.5 lb, my weight would fluctuate like no other on a weekly basis. I am trying to keep in mind how far I have come, and that it is basically impossible to have gained 1.5 ‘real’ lbs in these past two weeks given:

– I have not binged.

– I have not been sedentary.

– I have averaged under 1900 calories / day.

Of course that is easier said than done, and I was super focused on food today. Thinking about food ALL THE TIME, is certainly not healthy, which is why I decided to empower myself and uplift myself from a constant focus on food by blogging, and by doing the following:

– Eating fewer, more wholesome meals per day, so that I am not constantly thinking about eating.

– I am targeting 5-6 meals per day instead of 7-8, which I was doing previously because I had a fear of getting hungry and binging.

– Reminding myself that I am SO MUCH MORE than the number on the scale – I have come so incredibly far from the 200 lb days, and I don’t look bigger to anyone else! The number on the scale, again, could just be a fluke.

My plan for the next week? Continue to do what I did the past two weeks, and then (maybe) weigh myself again next weekend. If the number stays the same, I will test another week out. I need to keep in mind that I fly a lot, which may be causing the water retention, as may be my increased intake of salt. If the number increases, then I will consult my nutritional therapist.

I have a blood test to check my hormone levels this Friday, so I am radiating some positive energy for myself and hope that everything I have been doing has made a difference. ūüôā

Happy healing!

Lots of love,

Girl Guilt-Free

Nourishing My Soul – Travel Series

I am constantly on-the-go for work, but I need to be mindful of nourishing my body, specifically with healthy fats and wholesome foods, within the 1800-2000 calorie range. I typically request a refrigerator and a microwave in my room, and do a Monday morning grocery store trip so that I can stock up on snacks and frozen dinner for the travel week.

A lot of blogs dedicated to Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recommend eating much more than this, and doing no exercise other than walking. As I’ve mentioned, I have been working closely with a doctor and nutritional therapist, who have advised me to maintain my weight, and not gain. ūüôā

Exercise and Restrictive Eating

As I mentioned in an earlier post, extreme caloric increase, ceasing all exercise, and sudden weight-gain may end up causing your body more stress, and your hypothalamus will continue to freak out. The key to recovery is achieving a balance, so that your hypothalamus has confidence in you, and hopefully kick-starts your hormones. This is achieved by establishing and modifying a routine that your body is comfortable with. For example, if you are used to strenuous exercise, you may not want to stop working out all together. Just work to tone down your exercise routine – if you do a lot of heavy lifting and cardio every day, focus on working out no more than 3-4 times a week, and switch up your exercise between spin, hot yoga, weight-training, and barre, for example. I still recommend stopping your running routine though!

Here’s is a typical travel day for me (food-wise):

Breakfast, 7:00 AM (422 kcal): Starbucks Tall Soy Latte (130 kcal), Steel-Cut Oatmeal (200 kcal), Mixed Organic Berries (50 kcal), 6 Organic Raw Almonds (42 kcal)

Snack, 10:00 AM (200 kcal): Kit’s Organic Bar / KIND Bar (

Lunch, 12:30 PM (343 kcal): 2 oz Turkey / Chicken Sandwich with Whole Wheat / Rye Bread, Tomatoes, Lettuce / Spinach, 1/4 Small Avocado

Snack, 3:00 PM (200 kcal):¬†Black Coffee, Kit’s Organic Bar / KIND Bar

Snack, 5:00 PM (100 Р140 kcal): Apple / Grapefruit / Somersault Dutch Cocoa Cookies (available at Whole Foods and Fresh Market)

Image Source: https://thewindsorwriter.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/193852_10150128455571297_5497249_o.jpg

Dinner, 7:30 / 8:00 PM (260 Р320 kcal): Luvo (available in the frozen section at Whole Foods and Fresh Market) Chicken Chile Verde / 9-Grain Pilaf

Image Source: http://luvo.tetherinc.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/meal-healthy-frozen-chicken-chili-verde.jpg

Image Source: http://luvo.tetherinc.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/meal-healthy-frozen-nine-grain-pilaf1.jpg

Dessert, 8:30 / 9:00 PM¬†(200 kcal):¬†KIND Bar / Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries and Almonds / Somersault Dutch Cocoa Cookies and Tea (Women’s Moon Cycle or Healthy Cycle)

DAILY TOTAL: 1725 – 1825 kcal¬†(I usually end up snacking some more, or add some more toppings to my sandwich, to hit a minimum of 1800 kcal) ūüôā

Happy healing!

Lots of love,

Girl Guilt-Free