How this runner recovered her period in just 8 week 

Nov 5, 2023 | Recovery Stories

Andrea Hunter is originally from Colombia but has been in the US since 2010.  In 2014 she met the two loves of her life: her husband Zach, and running. As a goal oriented person, Andrea set a goal to run the 6 major marathons in Boston, Chicago, NY, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. She pushed herself to the limit, overstressing her body through training keeping her food intake very meticulous and just enough to fuel her runs. It wasn’t until her and Zach decided they wanted to start a family that Andrea realized she wasn’t getting a period, and that she would have to make major changes to recover it and be healthy.  Andrea shares that through all of her  accomplishments recovering her period is one she’s most proud of! 

In This Episode:

  • The normalization of period loss among runners 
  • Why you shouldn’t rely on birth control for bone loss prevention
  • Recovering from a femoral stress fracture 
  • Learning to view food as more than just fuel
  • How to stay positive during your period recovery journey

Connect with Lindsey Lusson: Instagram: @‌food.freedom.fertility
Website: www.foodfreedomandfertility.com/
Twitter: @LindseyLusson
Tiktok: @food.freedom.fertility

Transcript:

Andrea Hunter  00:00

My relationship with food and exercise has been so much better. When I was in your group and I was gaining all this weight and I had to like buy a whole new wardrobe. Say when is this going to stop? It does and your body just like finds like plateau, it just stays there because it’s happy to help you and it just stay there. It takes hard work to let go of so many wardrobe and stuff, but oh my god, it is life changing. It truly is.

Lindsey Lusson  00:29

Welcome to the Period Recovery and Fertility Podcast, a podcast that provides you with the information and inspiration you need to get your period back fill your relationship with food and take charge of your fertility. If you’re a listener, and you are on a healing journey from hypothalamic amenorrhea, I want you to mark your calendars for November 24 in the relaunch of my online course the Period Recovery Academy. This self-paced course provide you with a clear cut plan to get your period back by following my proven Food Freedom Fertility method that has allowed over 250 women to recover their period and restore fertility naturally. To get the insight info and details on the course plus $100 OFF for Black Friday, be sure to subscribe to my email list linked in the show notes of this episode. I hope to see you later this month inside the academy but for now, let’s get into this week’s episode. 

Lindsey Lusson  01:19

Andrea Hunter is originally from Colombia but has been in the US since 2010. In 2014, she met the two loves of her life, her husband Zach and running. As a goal oriented person Andrea set the goal to run the six major marathons in Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Berlin and Tokyo. She pushed her body to the limit over stressing it through training and keeping her food intake very meticulous, just enough to fuel her runs. It wasn’t until her and Zach decided they wanted to start a family that Andrea realized she wasn’t getting a period, and that she would have to make major changes to recover it and be healthy.  Andrea shares that through all of her  accomplishments, her journey to recovering her period and getting it back is one of the ones she’s the most proud of! 

Lindsey Lusson  02:07

All right. Welcome to the podcast, Andrea!

Andrea Hunter  02:10

Thank you so much. I’m very excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Lindsey Lusson  02:14

I am so excited to have you on! Andrea is like the little cheerleader for recovery that everyone needs on their shoulder at all times and I just can’t wait for you guys to hear her story and for her to speak just like some encouragement to you guys. So, why don’t you kick us off by telling us a little bit more. So we talked about in your bio, you are a professional runner. Professional runner, semi professional, what is your title?

Andrea Hunter  02:42

Semi professional? Definitely.

Lindsey Lusson  02:44

You run fast? Like are you keeoing an app on your left like five minute miles.

Andrea Hunter  02:50

Yeah, yeah my math and he’s like 146, 246 [inaudible]. So yeah, that is pretty fast on [inaudible].

Lindsey Lusson  03:03

Yeah. So like to set the stage, this is not like a recreational, like she’s just casually running some miles like Andrea is a serious runner. So tell us more about how you got into running, what it’s been like to run competitively. And maybe even how you feel the sport or maybe just you personally and your intensity of the training, how that played into period loss for you?

Andrea Hunter  03:26

Yeah, perfect. So basically, I have always been super competitive with myself, not against other people, but with myself, like I expected a lot from me. So I moved home. I’m from Colombia. So I moved away when I was very little, like 18 to start college. So this stage of survival started since very early. And I started college, I moved to Raleigh for work. And I didn’t really know anyone there. And Raleigh, North Carolina is a huge running community. So I was like, “Well, if I don’t know anyone, I might as well just join like a running group and see how it goes.” And I have a very obsessive personality in the way that like, I have to be very, like very put together. Like everything has to be perfect. And running and the professionalism don’t go together very well. Because I got into running and I absolutely loved it to the point that I became kind of obsessed. And I kind of started realizing that there is marathons on races and half marathons and you can win and you can be better and you can like actually make money winning races. So I just started kind of getting into this world. 

Andrea Hunter  04:41

And since very early age, my food intake has also been very, very, restricted in a way that I eat very clean. And we’re gonna discuss later that’s not very healthy. Healthy eating is not necessarily healthy. And so with these I started noticing that like, with my running or with my food intake, I started obsessing into like, being leaner, being faster and being more competitive. Because you know, I was performing well. But it only last a short period of time, maybe two years or so until you start noticing that your body starts asking something else. So your body starts taking energy and, and stuff that it needs from places of your own body. So all these little like energy intake, very obsessive kind of food intake, and this competitiveness of running really took a toll and I think the reason why we started in this Amenorrhea world that I had very little knowledge on.

Lindsey Lusson  05:50

Yeah, when a lot of times, it’s not just one thing. So you mentioned, you know, having already kind of coming into running and running competitively, your diet was already very clean, restrictive, kind of the pairing between the two, but I’m curious in being so involved in running communities over the years that you have, do you think period loss is pretty common?

Andrea Hunter  06:12

That’s a great question. And it is very sad. Because it is. And it’s so common, and it is actually something that like, we celebrate, like, not celebrate, but like we kind of feel like proud of. I don’t get my period. Oh, I don’t have it either. Oh, that means that we’re like working super hard. We’re training super high. We’re super committed. And the issue here, Lindsey, that I’ve noticed, is that women who really run competitively or like really, really, truly into running who like get a coach and start working with coaches, these coaches have like groups of runners and like 90% of the of the coaches in the running community.

Lindsey Lusson  06:59

Okay. They’re not even thinking to ask for a sound checking.

Andrea Hunter  07:05

That question didn’t even come to picture. And the thing is, I have an IUD, I put an IUD on, like, many, many years ago, when I met my husband, Zach, I put it on, like when I was working in Raleigh like, so I had an IUD for like years. So that masks the issue. And I put it on like, oh, I don’t get my period because I have an IUD. So I didn’t really know is it because of the running or because of the IUD? But I didn’t care like I didn’t, I didn’t have I feel lucky me because I don’t have to worry about that. I don’t have to put any tampons or anything running. And then the running coaches that I’ve worked with, like how was your period count? That you get period? That wasn’t even a question. And then also, when I went into my OBGYN and all the doctors, and I told him, I don’t get a period say, oh, that’s fine. It’s because you’re super fit. And so whenever you want to have kids, we will worry about that later. But don’t worry. So I could run my run and running hard, running with the guys, running like a guy,  I was I was following the coaching program that our normal guy will follow. Like, there was no, like, no correlation with cycles, like this was like, okay, run 120 miles a week. Okay. Yeah, it was fun, challenging, it’s accelerating to run faster than guys and or with the guys like, so you become like one of them. 

Lindsey Lusson  08:33

Right, you’re training like a guy and there’s no limit to just the differences between male and female anatomy, including the fact that women you know, need different amounts of energy and should be training differently to support having a regular cycle. And so when you came to this place of getting your IUD out, you know, your doctors basically saying, Oh, well, you know, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Were you with Were you shocked to learn that you weren’t getting a period?

Andrea Hunter  09:02

I kind of have, like an intuition. I don’t think my body is working appropriately because when I decided to get the IUD out after I did the six major marathons are like six major marathons. So I finished with Tokyo this year. And I told Zacj like, “Okay, we finished this Tokyo Marathon and I take it out and boom, we get pregnant right away.” No issues like I was like, so nice situation. But before Tokyo, I started getting all these injuries. and like running became so toxic, like running like, what 60 miles or like, he was a normal training day. It became like, like a big task. I was so exhausted. I was like, This is not normal. So when I took it out the doctor’s like, Okay, wait, wait three months, and then the period should come and it’s not coming and like so I waited three months, four months, nothing. And I was like this is just strange. And then my doctor actually, I was surprised because he knew all the time that you have HA.

Lindsey Lusson  10:07

Okay. Familiar.

Andrea Hunter  10:12

You have HA. He didn’t even tell me hypothalamic amenorrhea. He just told me HA, like, what does that mean? So then I went on Google. And this whole thing came up. And then I was like, Oh my God. And then I learned, like, the recovery is like, the completely opposite of my personality. Like, you have to eat 2500 calories, you have to not workout. I was like, “Okay, this is a big challenge. This is something serious.” And then what nobody told me is that like, if you have no estrogen, which I didn’t have estrogen, I have no reproductive hormones at all, your bones take a toll, a big toll, like your bone density starts declining. And so I started realizing and learning that I don’t only have HA, but I had something called the Athlete Triad. It’s like RED-S, like low bone density, no period, and low energy availability.

Lindsey Lusson  11:09

Right. So for people who aren’t familiar, RED-S stands for relative energy, deficit and sport. And it’s basically the rename of the female athlete triad, which is the three things that you just talked about your pineal osteoporosis and distinct cycles and then the third of the triad is typically disordered eating.

Andrea Hunter  11:27

Right? So we did the bone density test, and we realized that in my spine, especially, I have osteoporosis. So that was very awakening. That was like, a very sad news to figure out like, well, I’m 30 years old, and I’m sitting here, all the other people in the waiting room were 70 up. And I was like, Well, I’m not supposed to be here. And I that’s when I realized, like, what am I doing? Like, what is the reason behind all of a this? Like, yeah, like running? Yeah, like winning the like, do I like that better than just having a normal life? I want to be a mom, I want to be an active mom. I want to carry my baby, Like, you know, I need my back for that. So like, that’s when I started questioning my life. Wait, what? What am I doing? Why am I here? So that was a big big awakening call. And I was like, if I need to eat 2500 calories a day, I need support, I need help, I need accountability. Because this is a very big challenge. And I know that my obsessive personality, I need a change, I need help. Because it is hard work. You are eating when you’re very full. You’re eating, when you’re very uncomfortable. You’re noticing your body change, you have to buy bigger clothes. So all of that by myself was like, I don’t think I can do this by myself.

Lindsey Lusson  12:55

Yeah, yeah. And I mean, yes, it is so hard and so challenging, especially when maybe there’s been a decade of your life where that’s been maybe one of your biggest fears, right. Like a lot of times, I don’t know if this was the case for you. But a lot of times people’s drive to train at the level that they do is to have this specific look or body and seeing change might even be really hard and something to even grieve. I’m curious, Andrea in all of this, like you became a competitive runner, you checked in you went to regular health appointments, your doctor, you said I’m not getting a period, your doctor said no big deal. Go on the IUD, you come off the IUD, and not only are you now not able to get pregnant, but you also have osteoporosis. Was there ever any like frustration or anger just at the whole idea that oh my gosh, like I have been led astray and basically told that this is no big deal and it actually is a big deal?

Andrea Hunter  13:57

Oh my god, Lindsey, you like you saw my words out of my mouth exactly that. I have frustration with so many people, with myself, especially but with so many, especially the medical community. So this is very serious. I mean, nobody told me I had to like Google, like nobody told me if you don’t have estrogen, your bones are going to decline if you don’t have a period that is not just to have babies, period is to have good bone density, good hormones to be happy. Like your mood changes, your hair changes your skin changes, like nobody told me it’s like now that I have a period, I am a totally different person in the best way. I was like, I kept running and running and running. And I thought that that was a happy life. I thought that that was happiness. Like don’t get me wrong. I like to run but when its that obsessive And when when it becomes your world, the only thing people know you of is because you’re running or you’re super fit or super fast. But what else like what else can I open like? Do you know who I really am? So, so yeah, it was very hard to break that body, to break that fitness. I mean, if you stopped running for four months, it’s like you’ve never run before. That’d be so hard. But you know, it’s like that is besides the point like, that doesn’t even matter. That becomes like so like, small of an issue compared to the other great things that happened when you recall it.

Andrea Hunter  15:22

But like, so I was so mad, that I was like, wow, I was like, pounding my body and like, just like, demanding so much of my money for 10 years. And people were celebrating these, people were like, yeah, go, go, go, run, run harder, run faster, and run more than 120 miles a week. Yeah, you can do. So like, you’re like kind of this like little puppet. At that point people are going to tell me actually, this is not healthy, this is not okay, this is not good. Like, I’m having such a low heart rate is not because you’re fit. Like nobody told me, I had a heart rate of 131. Like actually, like just a little little story here just to kind of make my point. Like I had, I cut my finger a couple years ago. And I had to get surgery because I caught two tendons. So my pulse was so low, that they couldn’t even put anesthesia on me because they were scared that I wouldn’t wake up. So I had to have surgery, fully awake in my hand. So that pain was so bad. So this is one issue. Like if you want if you want to have surgery, you better get your period back because your heart rate needs to be healthy, it affects all the aspects of your life. It’s insane. So I was mad with the medical community. I was mad with myself because I was so negligent. I was so selfish in a way. And now that I want to have babies, I realized like, wow, my body’s definitely not ready to house, to feed another baby like trying to survive just me. Right? It’s definitely not ready to bring another person into the world. Because when you rip up the system shuts down, is because he’s like, your body’s like, what I need to give priority to other systems in the body. And I need to shut this down.

Lindsey Lusson  17:18

When you joined the group, you know, I think we like started discussing your exercise. I’m like, Well, you’re a competitive runner, like, you know, are you willing to cut down on your mileage? So that’s what I typically asked my runners and you were like, Oh, well, actually, I’m kind of sideline right now. Because you were suffering a major stress fracture. Correct?

Andrea Hunter  17:37

Major.

Andrea Hunter  17:45

That’s a stress fracture in the femur. This post doctors like you’ve been running for for a couple of years, right? So yeah, This is so weird. Nobody gets this. Like, seriously, that was my second stress fracture, I had a calcaneus in the heel [inaudible] and then I had this one, and then I broke my finger. So like, all these things, like, equate to low bone density. So thank god, that was a blessing in disguise looking back, because it allowed me like it lasted like three months to get better. And like even walking hurt. So for your program for those two months, exactly. I was like, Well, I cannot even run.

Lindsey Lusson  18:28

And we talked about that how it was basically perfect, because you know, stop. We were forced into this. But um, yeah, and it’s interesting too, I’m guessing even with those three, you know, injuries bone related, obvious in hindsight, related to low bone density that anyone ever connect the dots with you or, or refer you to a registered dietician, or anything like that?

Andrea Hunter  18:52

So my OBGYN was the one who told me, I think he should get a bone scan, because this is not, this is like you have HA plus this, this doesn’t add up. And and I was like, Oh, God, and then when I got the bone scans, like, yeah, you have low bone density. So now I’m with calcium with vitamin D. I mean, like, I have all like, I’m like in a menopausal woman. I was like, This is so sad. You know, it’s like, it’s not supposed to be like this. So like, I’m sharing this because, uh, you know, it’s like, yeah, it’s like fun to be skinny. Like, in that moment, you know? And when you’re skinny when you’re lean, like, you’re not even happier they got you know what I mean? Like, you’re always looking for more you’re like, so like, there is never like, Okay, this is the perfect part is when you’re looking for to be skinny. Like it’s like a never ending spiral. And like for me like it is. So I want to Yeah, I want to be leaner. I want to be faster. So you keep being leaner means faster, and you want to be leaner and faster, as like so that it never ends. And at what point are you going to realize that it’s too late so hopefully you realized before I did. 

Lindsey Lusson  20:03

Well, and I would say the good thing is, is you being 30, you do still have time to regain what was lost. But I think the frustration, especially thinking about, you know, athletes that maybe don’t catch this at the time that you did is just the idea that like this could have been prevented, right in coaching, working with, you know, sports dieticians. But we’re here now.

Andrea Hunter  20:28

You know what, one thing that you mentioned, that is very important, and like, since I started your program, you’ve helped me in so many aspects just to get my period back, but like food rules, and we can get into that later. But one thing that you said in one of the coaching calls, is like, Hey, if you’re going to compare yourself with a person who has a six pack, who runs faster, right, and like gets her period back, or what you don’t know, you don’t know, her life internally, you don’t know if she had to get like fertility treatments to get the baby, you don’t know what like, so you don’t know the real life of a person until that point, a lot of runners either one do not have kids, adopt kids, or get fertility treatments like impeccability in running world is massive. So huge. I, for example, Tina Muir, is a British runner. She wrote all her story of amenorrhea because she did the exact thing as like, I want to have a baby. So this entails that I need to stop running for a full year, to have fun with food, you know, the ice cream and everything. And then eventually she did get her period, she did have her son.

Lindsey Lusson  21:38

She’s still running today, right, Andrea? That’s amazing.

Andrea Hunter  21:43

So that’s a story that is very uplifting, like she stopped for a year. And then she came back. And you know, like she came back with a healthier mentality about running healthier mentally around food. And that’s exactly what I did with your with your group. I mean, my relationship with food and exercise has been so much better. And like you have to stop cold turkey, just know that he’s not forever, you know, like I was when I was in your group, and I was gaining all this weight. And I had to like buy a whole new wardrobe. Say, when is this going to stop? Like, but it does, and your body just like finds like, like a plateau and like just stays there? Because it’s happy to help you. I mean, it stays there, you know, but you just have to trust the body. It takes hard work to let go of something. But oh my god, it is it is life changing, it truly is.

Lindsey Lusson  22:38

Yes. Well, let’s let’s rewind a little bit. Because right now it sounds like your relationship with food is very free, you have crushed the discomfort of weight gain and body changes. But take us back to maybe even earlier this year. You had shared that the way that you basically viewed food and approached food maybe even before you started running, but especially as a runner was very this is for fueling and I think you even said to me at one point, you would look at something like a cookie and be like, Oh no, like, what is the point that is not going to provide me with the energy that is going to fuel my body properly for running. So tell us about how you feel like you got wrapped in to that and how you were able to get out of that. 

Andrea Hunter  23:28

So that mentality started way early. Like in college, I was like in a survival mode. I had to like, just like, you know, study and just like survive, like, get past the six inches of snow just like so I conquered down in the gym and I was like, just eat because you have to eat. So I was very meticulous, always. And when running came it became worse because you know, it’s like, well, I am kind of like, I’m kind of good at this. So I want to like exploit that talent. So to do that, I thought that was like I need to eat super clean, super healthy. I need to be like a full athlete like no athletes eating junk food. No athletes like taking bad care of their body. I have to like be an athlete and think like an athlete. But spoiler alert, athletes love fun, athletes love food, athletes do all the fun things with food, because it’s good. It’s actually healthy, but you live on your merits. So it started like a cookie and a sandwich even like the like the craziest, craziest food rules like super, super high protein, super a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruits, not a lot of carbs at all, like [inaudible] to be like fried potato quinoa every now and then like not even you know super little oatmeal or PB. No peanut butter. No way. 

Lindsey Lusson  24:53

We did have to get you off the PB two in the group, remember that?  That was a change like week one. It was like Oh, Andrea, where is this gonna go?

Andrea Hunter  25:02

[inaudible] And then and then I try it again the peanut butter I’m like, and then I literally close my eyes. I was like, oh my god, this is good. It is so good. So then, Okay, so I had all these food rules and like, I spent so much energy and time getting away from the cooking, planning ahead if he was picked up for dinner. Well, I will ask for the salad with chicken on the side, or like, whatever. Um, so I so much energy and like, the thing that helped me the most was like your program, your food rules like you have like these challenges every weekend. And I would just laugh out loud because like, oh my god, she gets me every time. I say five, and bacon on ice cream and pizza. And here I was, I was literally super committed. Like, I don’t care. I’m doing it. And you know what? I tried it. And guess what happened? I love it. And yeah, nobody did nothing. And I was like, You know what, this is amazing. And the beautiful thing about it is like, now I could participate in social events. Now I was eating sandwiches with my husband together. The best thing ever, is that now we actually eat food together like the same food in the table. Like, this is huge. And not only for our marriage, but like thinking ahead for our kids like, yeah, it’s a big, big, it gives me chills, I’m so excited. And I’m so thankful because this is something that is life changing. You know, like, here it was cooking vegetables and, and grilled cheese for me chicken for me, versus like, they were eating the fajitas. Now everybody can eat as a family. And we can sit down and I kind of enjoy and put the sour cream and put the water I don’t you know, like, it’s like so much better. And you realize, when you let go of that your body so resilient, like the only thing that’s gonna happen is good thing. Like, your body will eat that up. And it will like be thankful for that, like, actually needs it. So I’m like, wow, I spent all this energy, just thinking I was doing good for my body. But actually, the only thing I did was get HA,  I just got Amenorrhea.

Lindsey Lusson  27:26

Yeah, so I’m gonna say that, like, you know, you, I always just say this to everybody, like you don’t know what you don’t know.  It’s not like you were going to your doctor and he was like, Andrea, you need a regular period. And you know, you are compromising your fertility. And you might have stress fractures, or the reason for your stress fractures is the fact that you’re not filling for your sport. And so, it’s just been a journey to get where you are and a journey to you know, progress through recovery, I always tell people that the body is super resilient, and the body like if somebody’s listening, and they have to fear that like, I just don’t think my body can ever recover. That is false. The body is incredibly resilient. I think the harder part for most people isn’t a mental side of recovery and coping through the discomfort. Now, Andrea, you’re quite literally one of the most positive people I have ever met in my entire life. And it was so cool to hear you every single week staying positive. And so how do you stay so upbeat? And do you have any tips for fostering positivity during recovery for someone who might be struggling today?

Andrea Hunter  28:44

Okay, great question. One of the things that helped me the most was like in your program, you have like these, what you call the A team, that is people that they are going to support you like, no matter what. So I wrote a list of that people. And one of them was my husband and like, yeah, I was positive in the calls. But at home, it was hard. I’m going to I’m not going to lie, like Zach was there every night. And I was like, oh my god, like my body’s changing so much. I’m afraid you’re not going to even like it like I am not good. I don’t know if I’m getting anywhere. I don’t see any cervical mucus and I don’t I don’t see. I’m like, so I was like, super flustered. I made especially when like, things got really high. And I was like, just like I just dump it all in stock. I was like, Oh my God, and he’s super positive. So I learned a positivity from him and like No Keep going Keep going Keep going and like he this is going to work this is like just think big picture just big picture just like keep pushing, keep pushing this like this is working. And he told me something that like, “you’re going forward you’re not going backwards. Like if you stop now, like you backtrack, we don’t want that. like you’re doing the hard work, You’re in the mode right now. But you’re going to get past that.” So I was like yes, yes. So having that support is super important. And then when I went in the calls, I was like, You know what I felt like, I felt like I’m with positivity. And I know that the girls in the group needed that more than I did. Because I had such a big support at home, too. That was what I’m just gonna arm myself with positivity. And I’m gonna show up being so positive, because we need that, like, we need all the support we can get. We need all the friendships, and the friendships we formed in your group, they’re so special. And I still am friends on Facebook, and we like DM every now and then with the girls. And it’s so nice. So like, I was like, You know what? Okay, this is a good day. And I just repeating to yourself, like fake it until you make. I’m going forward, this is going to pay off, this is going to pay off. And just like I kind of ignored, I didn’t look at myself and I was just like, get going. Just live your life. Don’t worry. So just like having that support. And like telling little lies to yourself until they become true. Because like this process is so hard. And this is a big, this is the hardest challenge I’ve ever done. Because it’s very hard. It’s like, it’s you changing your entire life in two months. And that’s like, you have to change your personality or your routine, you have to look for a new identity. Because if you don’t run, or if if you don’t do CrossFit or whatever you were doing back then who are you? 

Lindsey Lusson  31:40

it’s a lot of internal work in a lot of detail. Right? Yeah, refinding who you are what you want to find your identity and I always tell people that that can be a bit of a reframe, like for 10 years, or whatever your identity has been in running or looking a certain way or being the fit girl. And that’s okay, like that can be a piece of who you are, that doesn’t have to go away completely. But what else would you like to find your identity and then like, the opportunity to figure that out and to explore.

Andrea Hunter  32:15

And also keep yourself busy, like, like you don’t think about working out like because like, I used to spend my time running, I started learning learning French learning a new language, or like reading a ton of books. Or, or if you like puzzles, you can do puzzles, or like just like a bunch of things that you can do like listening to podcasts. Like for example, I listened to a lot of your podcast episodes like arming myself with knowledge with with actual facts about HA and that gave me the certainty and the courage to keep going because I’m not going back to that like I’m not like, you know, I have low bone density, I need to keep doing this. This is good for me. Like I want to have a baby. That was a huge motivator for me. But it might not for a lot of people. But it doesn’t have to having a baby yes is huge. But it’s not the only thing. There are so many other things. But having a baby for me. It’s huge. Like, you know, like, this is a gift that I want to give myself and I want to give back. I want to have a five star hotel for my baby.

Lindsey Lusson  33:31

Yeah, exactly. We’re building a Ritz Carlton. And I mean, I think what you touched upon is just like really thinking about your why and thinking about your motivators. And for a lot of people, it is the baby or the period and you know, or both, but like, you also have to think about your bones, you also have to think about your relationship with food and why you want you you know, those family dinners of everyone having fajitas not you cooking a separate meal, those types of things. And I think that those can be really, really powerful and transformative, especially when you’re in this like gray space. My body’s different, I’m uncomfortable, I’m tempted to restrict her exercise again, like what’s going to keep me going. So thanks for sharing that. With being on the other side of going through a process of re nourishing your body being able to regain your period and you know, I think I think we’re still working towards baby as a goal but like when you think about Andrea running in the future, what excites you and what do you think you’ll do differently in terms of how you approach nutrition?

Andrea Hunter  34:39

Oh my god, Lindsey, I am so excited because I think it’s gonna be a game changer. I never run fully fueled. I’ve never run fueling correctly for my body and the functions and the running. It’s gonna be amazing. Because I was so fed up with injuries. I was so fed up with just like feeling so tired after running. I just like pushing myself out the door just like get through this wrong, I want to go and like, just like have fun during the run and like, I want to like running, pushing the stroller like, and I want to I want to teach that to my kids, you know, like having food freedom, it’s like so, so good. And I’m telling you, like, I think, honestly, my fastest times are ahead of me because like, if I did those times underfueling like I did, I am just so excited to see what I can do with with correct fueling. But also knowing how to treat my body good. Like, if I don’t want to run today, I’m not gonna push it like, I kind of like I became so in tune with my body. And yes, as you said, our bodies are so resilient. But if we let them if we allow them the opportunity to be, because like, we pushed our bodies to a limit for 10 plus years, and now here we are in recovery, he’s asking us for like, a couple months, two months, three months, whatever it takes to recover it, just give that grace to your body. 

Andrea Hunter  36:02

And like, yes, it’s gonna be uncomfortable. And yes, you’re gonna feel like you’re losing the fitness, but your body was with you for so long. And it helped you out for so long. And it allows you to do all the crazy stuff that we did, now is the time for your body to be the main driver, and you take the backseat, and you just like, okay, and that’s one of the things like coming back to running, Yes, I’m excited. But I want to let my body dictate kind of the running and it’s tired today, I’m not gonna push it like, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna go back to HA.. And I’m telling you like, I’m a little bit nervous to go back to running full full fully, because I don’t want to relapse, right. So that’s when finding a coach, that is female coach. Running is so important. And I’m not saying that male coaches are bad, though, great. But if you have a male coach, just make sure that the cycle is part of your training, that the cycle is part of a conversation. But I feel like now a female running coach, I feel that will be a game changer. Because I feel like for me now the [inaudible] just this precious thing. I don’t want to lose it.

Lindsey Lusson  37:22

The way you are approaching your training, right? Like you’re like I like yes, I’m excited to get back to running, I can’t wait to see what my body can do. We know that if your body can perform that well and her fuel, like sky’s the limit for when you’re fueling properly. But I also love how you were like, “and I’m gonna listen to my body.” And so you hit mile seven, and I had planned to run 10, You know, I’m gonna listen to my body and be like, “This is not the day this is not the day to push.” I need a rest day I need more food, those types of things.

Andrea Hunter  37:59

Before it was like, I need to run ten, I will and I will run ten no matter what I was like, I just push push, but no, now it’s like, okay, what do we need? What do I need? And yeah, it’s gonna be a game changer in those terms. Because for me, like my health now and women, we are so different. We’re so complex, and we have completely different needs than mean. And I feel like we don’t know that. Nobody told us that actually, like spoiler alert, carbs are great. And we need so many carbs. Like you need carbs to ovulate.

Lindsey Lusson  38:36

Yeah. Yeah. That gets hrown around very often. But so it’s so important.

Andrea Hunter  38:42

And it’s so good to take ownership of your body and like not let another person decide what to do or how to do it. Or like, you’ll notice, like, I felt like I was the entertainment for Instagram. If I post that I run x miles. Like, oh, that’s super cool. It’s like no, so I’m not a puppet anymore. I know this, like my body’s mine. And my body’s not well, you know, it’s like, and, and I see all these all these women running and running and they keep running. And I literally want to like DM them.

Lindsey Lusson  39:26

Just Andrea popping in every runner’s DMS about getting a better period.

Andrea Hunter  39:34

I’m like, Oh my God. I just feel like I don’t want anybody to go as deep as I went, you know?

Lindsey Lusson  39:40

Yeah. Yeah. Well, your story is just so inspiring. And I think that you being open and sharing your story, especially as a runner, hopefully reaches the running community and hopefully even like reaches somebody listening at this moment in time and helps them to recognize that You know, no period isn’t healthy, it can impact your bones, it can impact your fertility your body can recover. But you know, how many years you know, could you have been running faster, better fueled and not done the damage was done. 

Andrea Hunter  40:14

it soundds like we don’t know what we don’t know. But also, we cannot unlearn what we already learned. So right, I already know all of these. So that’s why I want to share with the world and I hope this catches someone who needs to hear it because like, I know that your recovery stories on the podcast, that’s what got me is like, Oh, my God, this person is like a speaking my language. And I want to be in that finish line, I want to, I want to have my period. And like, I’m telling you, the day you get your period is like the best day of your life like, like, keep pushing to that moment, because you need to experience that happiness, like it’s so crazy is like, oh my god, it’s like, you know, you forget what having a period is. And it’s like, that first day that you gotta wish when you were so young, that like, now you live that again. And now with so much knowledge and with so much appreciation

Andrea Hunter  41:11

of the whole cycle, like what happens to your body, when you get the period, it means that your whole body is healthy, because it reaches menstruation, you menstruated , you’re healthy, you’re good. So that’s, that’s a big sign. So I feel like it’s so important for women to understand that when you menstruate that everything in your body is working perfectly. 

Lindsey Lusson  41:33

yeah exactly.It’s a synergistic event. And it is a vital sign, you know, like every, every women of reproductive age should be having a period. And so thank you for sharing your story and sharing the details during the ups and downs. And, you know, also just giving some tips on how to keep it positive and how to keep going. So thanks so much for your time.

Andrea Hunter  41:56

Thank you, LindsEy. Thank you for everything that you’re doing. You’re literally changing lives on your program made me such a better person. So I appreciate. 

Lindsey Lusson  42:03

You are to kind and I mean, I miss having you in the group, but you know it’s time to go so thanks again for coming.

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MEET THE HOST
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I’m a fertility nutritionist and registered dietitian who specializes in hypothalamic amenorrhea. My passion is helping women trying to conceive find freedom with food and exercise, so they can recover their period, and get pregnant naturally.

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EPISODE 1: MY RECOVERY STORY

Jan 19, 2022

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