Amateur Athlete and Periods

Let’s talk about my ignorance in women’s health.

I’ve been trying to go back to my regular MMA training routine and have been struck with the reality that I am putting my health at risk once again. I’m feeling exhausted in between sessions. I feel weak and irritated for the inability to keep up like I use to. I understand it’s a process to build back up. But why am I feeling this drained? I am eating “more” and “right” (at least I think so). I am drinking plenty of water (at least I think so). And I’m getting more than enough sleep (I think it to be true!) So, what’s the deal?

Oh yes. And my period cycle is almost nonexistent. The most concerning part of it all and the fear kicks in. Because I want children one day. And as much as I’d like to plan and choose when I want one, that can be irrelevant. If my health is at risk. And don’t get me started on these “doctors” that can care less about women’s health or provide accurate information specific to our medical history. (Baby-less talk and concerns for older women, blog idea to be revisited??***)

You see I use to train because I fell in love with it in 2015. It saved my life. I was just out of a toxic relationship and had no sense of self value. I was eating horribly and drinking heavily. Strung out and stressed out. MMA was the first “healthy” activity I developed a liking in. Up until just recently, I did it to not feel depressed. Now for the first time EVER, I’m looking at it through a different lens. I’m able to choose it as a lifestyle because I enjoy the challenge. Not because I NEED it. And so with that, comes the reality that I have not been approaching it in a smart way.

So I started doing some research on nutrition and women’s health and fitness. Yes, I know. I’m late in the game. But it’s like I said before. I could barely keep my head above water from my negative thoughts. How could I even care to make sure I was eating or supplementing right?

Anyway, come to find out that I’m most likely suffering from RED-s (relative deficiency syndrome). My vitamin D levels are low, and my hormone balance is well, irregular based on my blood work.

Suffice to say that it’s a problem many women in sports face. I think another reason why I didn’t look too much into my diet or intake was because I didn’t consider myself to be an “athlete”. Honestly? I started training regularly at 25 years old. I couldn’t consider myself as a professional in sports or athletic. What a rooky mistake! Now I can see how wrong I was to assume that. If anything, I am an amateur athlete and I sure as hell train like one.

 So what to do. What to do now that I’m a little more knowledgeable in the subject. Well. For one, I wish more women in the field connected and talked about the challenges we face in MMA. Maybe they do already, and I just have to find them?

I’m going to continue doing research on nutrition for athletes, mental health in sports and specifically on following my intuition regarding my body and my health to help assess the best diet and supplements I need to properly recover. Regulate my metabolism. Get that vitamin D intake up. And hopefully perform better. Make sure I can regulate my hormone levels as well. This I have yet to discover or learn how to do. Feel free to share if you know.

It’s crazy because I never envisioned myself to have the ability to care for my own body. How sad is that? But it’s true. When you suffer from multiple mental disorders, your mind wanders into self-harm more than anything else. And now I’m here writing about how to nourish my body. Talk about growth! I think about younger girls who grew up in similar distraught households. And how there are probably many who will never realize the importance of taking control of their own health. Yeah. I’m lucky. And I’ll make it a mission to share my experiences through here or in person with other women who quietly suffer these problems as well. Transparency. My favorite thing to try to be.

I hope this helps provide reassurance to some. And ignorance to none. Enjoy the rest of your week!

M.