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I have never had a very regular cycle. Sometimes 4 weeks, sometimes 6 weeks, sometimes just a full out skip.

I grew up vegetarian. My mother was a strict ovo-lacto vegetarian ever since she was 11 and found out where animals came from, and raised our entire family that way. No choice, or education, just told that this is how it was. We had many, many soy fake meat products. Soy milk, TVP, tofu, Morningstar Farms products, you name it.

I originally went "primal" in 2009. Dairy in the form of local, whole milk from grassfed cows, greek yogurt, and cheeses remained in my life. That lasted about a year, before I gradually slipped back into my old eating habits. Lots of veggies, but not too concerned about keeping every last carb out of my life.

Last July (2011), after gaining back all of my weight, (about 10-15lbs), I went strict paleo. Out went the dairy for the first time in my life. My last natural cycle happened at the end of July. At first I wrote it off as "well my body is going through huge stress, it just needs time to adjust." And then it didn't come, and didn't come. January I did a Whole30, in the hopes it would help my hormones. I have mostly maintained eating like that, although treats and cheats are definitely back in every now and then. My diet isn't perfect, but I eat zero processed foods and 90% of my meals are whole30 compliant.

I went to my gynecologist about 3 months ago, and she first had me try provera for 15 days, that didn't work, then she had me do estrogen for 30 days with provera also on days 16-30. That DID bring on a period (and REALLY showed me how differently I feel with estrogen in my body, hello sex drive! where have you been?), but now I've gone back to no natural periods. I am about to embark on a second round of estrogen+provera, and am not really looking forward to this being the norm.

My theory is that being raised on soy really screwed up my reproductive hormones. Perhaps going strict paleo last July and getting rid of the dairy was the last straw? Were my hormones somehow being falsely supported through soy and dairy?

How can I fix this through diet and not through estrogen pills once every 3 months?


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I've been in the same boat with missed periods, irregular cycles, etc and I was also a vegetarian and vegan for a hundred years... did all the soy, etc. I went to the doctor and they tested all kinds of hormones, thyroid, and all that.

Just anecdotally, I don't think it was the soy for me...especially after stopping consumption. For me, it was working out too much and just not eating enough in general....even when I was a "normal" weight. I also theorized that it was the soy and dairy that "messed me up" for a long time...but really I just didn't want to work out any less or eat any more because I wanted to lose weight and not be fat (ps, I wasn't fat).

The best thing that has worked for me to bring back a normal period is taking rest/recovery days. If I consistently work out more than 5 times a week I will miss my cycle. I have to take 2-3 days off. It was hard to start this habit because I would feel guilty or fat or like something was missing, and I still feel that way sometimes but my body needs it. The other thing I had to do was eat more. 3 eggs instead of 2. A whole sweet potato instead of half. A big handful of berries. Monster salads with olive oil. Big protein. Fat. Whole 30 things.

I hope you find a solution that works for you, I know how frustrating it can be, especially working with physicians who always want to put us on medicine. Good luck!

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Thanks Gogo.

I don't really do HIIT. I lift 3 times a week, maybe once or twice a week I do a 10 minute interval workout after lifting but I never push myself like crossfitters do.

I walk my dog for 30-45 minutes a day, and will bike to work 1-2 times a week, which is about 2 miles each way. I'm probably around 20% BF.

Possibly it has to do with not eating enough. Even when I did my whole30, I couldn't not count calories. I am terrified of eating too much (clearly my first whole30 wasn't a resounding success).

I just found it odd that the minute I switched to strict paleo, the periods dried up. But, on the other hand, that would be the point I stopped overeating as well. I was pretty strict on calorie counting as well for the first several months of paleo.

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Hi Candy,

First lemme preface with the standard, "we aren't health professionals, check in with your doc" disclaimer. That being said, I think there are definitely legs to your theory, but I'm honestly not 100% sure of the permanent repercussions of eating soy for so long.

I do know that a lot of people's hormone dysfunction actually gets _resolved_ when they go paleo, so it's certainly curious that yours have popped up/gotten worse with paleo. Down-regulation is definitely a possibility. Just curious, how's your stress? Elevated cortisol can mess with androgens as well, so that might be a place to look to for answers as well. I pinged Melissa to see if she or Dallas have any additional insight.

Apart from my nonsensical musings, I'd definitely recommend finding a naturopath that's ready and willing to work with you to avoid anymore HRT and try to resolve your stuff. Good luck!

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Stress is low. I am incredibly lucky to live a simple life with my husband and my pup and we are probably the most even keeled, laid back people we know. We know what our priorities are and we're in the position to be able to put them first (in my case, nutrition, all grass fed meats, high quality food)

Last year my dr. tried putting me on birth control to fix the irregularity of my periods. This was pre-paleo, probably April 2011. It was the most miserable experience of my life. Foggy, depressed, weight gain, leg cramps, ugh! It changed who I was, so I vowed no more birth control.

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Candy, Just saw this after answering on the last post. I'm curious to see if anyone else chimes in.

I think gogo's thoughts on rest days makes a lot of sense. I seem to do better if I'm not pushing my fitness too hard, but hadn't thought about this in relation to my cycle. Like you my periods have never been super regular - but regular enough.

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Cycle issues are tricky tricky, ladies. It's all about hormones, which are affected by food and nutrition, exercise and recovery, stress, sleep, health history, age... you name it. Impossible for me to pinpoint what's going on with you right now without some detailed lab work (including a cortisol panel), but I'd venture a guess.

Stress is one of the fastest ways to smuck up sex hormones, and while you say you're not living a stressful life, under-nutrition is extremely stressful on the body. You were counting calories before, and now that you're eating Whole30 style, you're still counting calories - and there's a really good chance you're not eating enough. Specifically, enough fat. Because if you were counting calories, that tells me you're probably a little bit fat-phobic, too. And not eating enough fat + not eating enough food in general is a fast way to stress your body and not provide the proper substrate for building sex hormones.

On a Paleo style diet, you need even MORE fat than you do otherwise, because you've got to fill in the calories you used to get from processed foods, dairy and soy with something else - and veggies won't cut it. So I'm wondering if you just started eating more, if that would not help? It's a very simplistic view, again, given that I know nothing of what's going on internally... but it's something you could try right now and see if it helped. The next step is a full panel from your doc - sex hormones (specifically DHEA) and a cortisol panel, so you can check your DHEA:corstiol ratio. But in the meantime, throwing more fat into your diet is a good place to start.



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I agree with Melissa. My wife struggles to get enough calories on W30 and has some history with undereating, particularly fat, and we've found a few things that make it easier. Sweet potatoes fried in coconut oil get her more calories and more fat in a way she finds palatable. Coconut chips fried in coconut oil (recipe in Well-Fed) with cinammon are a crispy cruncy snack that's really tasty, remarkably without a strong coconut flavor, and a very, very good vehicle for calories and fat. I try to get avocado into as many of our meals as possible, and generally have a more liberal hand with coconut or olive oil when cooking for her than for myself alone. Good luck - I know from her experience that it can be as hard to keep weight on as to get it off, and it most definitely can impact your cycle.

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Oh, I definitely don't have a problem keeping weight on. It's a fear of gaining weight back that is my fat phobia. I have to learn to let go and trust! So much easier said than done. Added more clarified butter and an extra egg to breakfast. Snacking on Coconut butter (mm heavenly!)

Here goes!

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I have struggled with this before. Lost me period, went paleo, never got it back even through several whole30's. I was stressed and still fat phobic. I was so concerned with being lean.

I was determined to get it back without a BC pill or any pharmaceuticals. Melissa is so right here. What got it back was eating more fat and working with my holistic doctor (who supports paleo) to get blood work done and figure some of my lifestyle factors. You can read more about my story on my blog, where I go into the whole story "My Struggle".

Good luck sweetheart!

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Thanks, Megan! I can definitely relate to much of your story. Did you have to take any supplements or were you able to fix it just with relaxing in your workouts and eating more fat?

It seems like every morning I am firm in my belief that it's so much more important to be healthy than lean and by the evening it's turned into "but I don't want to eat more than 2000 calories a day!"

I've always known I'm a bit messed up about obsessing over the numbers, but I've never actually admitted it to anyone else. I've never kept myself to anything as low as 1200 calories a day, it's always been in the 1800 range with splurges on the weekend when my control breaks. (Or I think I deserve it since I was so good all week).

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Candy, it sounds like we are kindred spirits!

Eating more fat and backing off on workouts was my first step and first priority in getting my period back. Definitely give that a try for a month or two first. Be prepared to put on a little weight, good weight that is, and don't freak out and stop eating fat and go hard on workouts. I did work with a holistic doctor in my area, she supports a paleo diet, and I did take some supplements under her supervision to help regulate my cycle. I was also dealing with some other stuff like adrenal fatigue. So if more fat and less intensity doesn't get things going again I highly recommend seeking out some more help.

I know exactly what you mean about flip flopping between understanding the importance of health over leanness and at the same time begrudgingly looking in the mirror about having to eat more. I know its hard. Keep telling yourself everyday the importance of health. It gets better. I also found that making my goals about health and performance was a good was to get my mind of leanness. So maybe focus on a strength or condition goal, or you could make it about having clear skin...just something to take your mind off of the shape of your body.

I have a Masters in Accounting so I love the idea of crunching numbers and the false sense of control I get by managing ratios and amounts...but that's just it....false sense of control. By body is eventually going to get its away. Trying to fight it and fit it into a shape or idea it was never meant to be is a losing battle.

Something that helped me with "treating" myself with food on the weekends after eating clean for the week was thinking of non-food treats...get a massage, pedicure, or buy a new nail polish.

Hope that helps...keep us posted!

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I put my scale in the basement. I need to have my husband hide it from me.

My face and hair are greasy from the extra fat, can't wait for my body to adjust so I stop looking homeless (baby fine hair + extra grease = not so awesome)

I ALMOST deleted my spreadsheet but it's how I remember what I have in the freezer and plan when to cook things so I don't run out of healthy meals. I batch cook and freeze meals so I don't have to worry about cooking during the week. Hrmm.. I'm just going to have to make myself stop writing down everything I eat. And adding it up. I'm a maniac! Suggestions to meal plan and somehow not obsess over intake welcome.

Heading to Chicago for a long weekend which always helps get me out of my own head and I'll be eating like a queen.

Here we go, Operation: Fix Candy has begun!

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