Ask-me-anything A Lady Goes West Advice Corner: third edition

Hello, friends! How are you? I hope you had a nice weekend (maybe even a long one). Welcome to the third edition of the Ask-me-anything A Lady Goes West Advice Corner. I’ve really enjoyed putting together these posts for you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them too. 

Before we begin, a quick reminder: I’m not an expert in anything we’re talking about below, but I love to help you out. These are my neutral third-party honest responses for the questions I’ve been asked. Take it or leave it. Let’s dive right in …

Ask-me-anything A Lady Goes West Advice Corner: third edition

Ask-me-anything A Lady Goes West Advice Corner third edition by A Lady Goes West

The following are totally anonymous questions that you’ve submitted, and I’m providing my thoughts and advice. I received some great questions and not all have been included, but could be included next time. If you have a question that you’d like advice on in the next advice corner, please submit it here.

HORMONES AND HEALTH

Question: “Can you please tell me exactly how you got your period back. Did you stop exercising or change your diet?”

Answer: Hi there! I feel like I have talked about this particular issue so much over the years. But I also know that I do get new readers to the blog, and because I’m so happy to have you here, I would also be happy to go through this story again.

Yes, I changed my diet, but no, I didn’t stop exercising. Let me give you a very brief synopsis, then I will direct you to posts on my site that have way more detail. 

Part of the reason I am so balanced and healthy today, is because of what I went through in my past, when I was very much out of balance. I suffered from hypothalamic amenorrhea from doing too much exercise, having too much stress and not eating enough calories. My body went into panic mode and shut off the reproductive function for many years, meaning no periods. I don’t know how many years that went on — because I was on the pill for so long, I was getting a “fake” period through synthetic hormones. Once I stopped the pill and my period didn’t return, I started to look for answers. My medical doctor was no help at all, and told me the only way I’d get pregnant was through IVF, never even acknowledging that not having a period was an issue of concern. I was determined to fix myself, so I sought the help of an acupuncturist. Through the guidance of an acupuncturist and through a ton of lifestyle changes, I did get my period back naturally. And I have a natural and regular period today too, which is something I’m proud of.

When I found out I had hypothalamic amenorrhea, I was doing maybe 15 hours of exercise as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer who walked everywhere in San Francisco, uphill and downhill, carrying a heavy backpack. I cut that exercise routine down by half, then ended up cutting it down by half again. I was able to continue to exercise and teach two classes a week, while getting my period back. But I totally cut out intense exercise (no HIIT at all, and I stopped teaching BODYATTACK). On top of that, I cut out running, and I added in yoga, barre and walking as gentle options. I also took two or three rest days a week. This worked for me, because I had started out at such an extreme level with so much movement. But it may not work for you, as our bodies and systems are totally different.

Along with this, I increased my calories significantly. I started eating a lot of warm and cooked foods instead of raw or cold foods (this is an Eastern medicine principle I got from my acupuncturist, which I think fully worked for me), I added in a weekly grass-fed steak, I added a bunch of avocado to my day for healthy fats, and overall, I increased my consumption of food. I also began taking supplements, taking more time to rest, reducing my work schedule, and trying to eliminate as much stress as I could in my life. And I probably gained about 15 to 20 pounds too.

With all of this combined, after about maybe a little over a year, I was able to get my period back and eventually get pregnant. There are many more details on what I went through during this process and exactly how I did it in my ebook, which you can find here. And the code BLOGFRIEND gives you a discount on it. I know people still care about this topic, because even though I wrote the ebook three years ago, I still sell a few copies a week, every week, and I still get questions about the recovery story often.

Overall, it was a very tough process, and I had to make a lot of changes that I didn’t want to make. But I did them, and I’m forever better and healthier because of it. If you know you’re in the same place as I was, I would highly recommend putting in the work to let your body heal. And of course, seek medical assistance, but remember that you can also seek the help of more holistic practitioners as needed too.

Here are the posts you should read on this topic:

Stay patient, stay consistent, stay the course, and be kind to your body! 🙂 

Bottom line: If you don’t have a regular menstrual cycle and you’re a woman who should have one, you need to do whatever you can to fix the issue. Getting on hormonal birth control to start your cycle is not the answer, as it just masks the problem. If your regular/general/Western doctor is not able to help, I would search for a functional or holistic doctor to help you find other ways to heal your system. It’s so worth it!

Advice column number three by A Lady Goes West

MOVING

Question: “What helped you navigate your move from California to North Carolina? Any advice on dealing with the stress of moving to a new state?”

Answer: Well, I think this is a topic that I am actually well-versed in, having moved across the country two times in the last eight (almost nine) years. Let’s just get this straight: It’s hard and stressful, but it’s doable. I am so incredibly happy my life has included both of these big moves, so that I could learn from them, grow from them and have a chance to experience life in different places in this way. 

When you think about moving, you have to think about the long-term benefit. Is there something better for you in the new place? For me and this move from California to North Carolina, it was proximity to family on the East Coast. For you, perhaps it’s a better job, or a better cost of living, or a better quality of life. Whatever it is, keep that benefit in your mind, because you’ll have to call upon it when times get tough. But you must also remember that the grass is always greener, and there is not a perfect place to live. As long as you are sure you aren’t running from a problem and are pretty positive something will be better in the new place, go for it. We visited Charlotte for a short weekend, talked to a couple of people who lived here, and then wrote out our pros and cons. From there, we went with our guts, and they said to go for it!

Once you make your decision, you’ll need to stand strong in it. That’s when you can begin to work out the details. I would recommend doing plenty of research on housing to begin, because where you live matters so much. Once you decide whether to rent or buy, you should find an agent. Because there are rental agents in most places, as well as buyer’s agents. And your agent can tell you a bunch of stuff about the area, in addition to the housing situation. We actually found our real estate agent, because our California agent (and great friend, Christina, who is coming to visit us soon, by the way) referred us. People love giving referrals, so take them up on their offer. 

We decided to stay in an AirBnB for about five weeks while we looked for a house, and that was a little risky. But we knew we didn’t want to move all of our stuff into a long-term rental, only to move again in a few months when we found something to buy. And I’m glad we did it this way, because we just so happened to find the perfect house after only five days of being in Charlotte, so it was good we didn’t have a longer-term housing situation paid for and we could pick up and move into the new place. Also, our stuff was moved across the country directly into a storage unit, and less time in storage, means less of storage bill.

Then, we move on to the lists. This was a big tool for us. I would suggest making a list of all the things you need to accomplish on both ends. (1) Everything that needs to be done before the move. (2) And everything that needs to be done once you’ve moved. If you take a look at the list, you should put things in the order they need to happen, and this is an important point.

Then, if you have anyone (perhaps a partner) to share the duties, ask he/she to take a few items off the list in the right order and begin chipping away. Dave and I broke up the duties pretty well this time (after, admittedly, I did 95 percent of the items when we moved from Orlando to San Francisco, and we didn’t want to repeat that). I find lists to be incredibly helpful, and it feels good when you can check them off. And while it looked like the list was endless, little by little, we got it all done. Fun fact: You can chip away at any size list, if you cut off one piece at a time. From securing the AirBnB, buying the airline tickets, getting quotes from moving companies, having our house staged for showings, etc., it somehow got done.

Now the next part I will say is going to sound rough, but I mean it. Even if I tell you that you need to mentally prepare for hard times during the move, those times will still feel hard when you are in them. We knew it would be stressful, and when the stress came, we just had to go with it and feel it. We ate a lot of take-out meals, we drank a lot of Starbucks, we looked a hot mess, but we got through it — trying to laugh as much as possible, which was fueled a lot by Brady. I kept reminding myself why we were moving and painting a rosy picture in my mind at the end. And actually, now, almost five months later, we really are in that rosy picture, in a better situation for us overall. And it’s so been worth it. But no, starting over in a new place isn’t all that easy either.

We sold a lot of stuff before we moved, we had our cars shipped, we flew to our new destination, we had our movers do the packing, and we did a lot of research and looking up real estate before we actually arrived to help with the process, so we were as informed as possible. We also gave ourselves grace on skipping other things. I skipped a few posts on the blog, I took a week off of teaching my virtual classes, and we fell behind on some stuff — but we kept ourselves alive and we kept the process moving forward. Also, Dave took about a two-week break between jobs to have free time to assist as well, which I think was a big help, because he didn’t do that when we moved from Florida to California, and that put a big burden on me. Time off work to make the move is ESSENTIAL.

A few logistics that I’ve been asked: We used Ace Relocation and Allied Movers, and they did a great job. It took about a week for our stuff to make it across the country in one truck. We used All American Trucking for our cars, and they met our expectations, and it took about two weeks for our cars to make it across. We flew Southwest. And I have an amazing Bay Area realtor and Charlotte realtor, if you need those recommendations: Christina Blixt in the Bay Area and Katie Harrison in Charlotte.

I don’t even know if this is the answer you are looking for. But I will tell you that moving will be stressful no matter what. But if the new destination is a better place for you to live, you owe it to yourself to take the leap. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always move again. You’ll be a pro the next time around. 🙂

Here are two other posts you may like: 

Bottom line: Moving is super stressful, but it can also bring about major positive life changes. If you know you want and need to move, I would recommend doing a bunch of research, making detailed lists, delegating tasks and knowing that you can totally get through it, and there’s hopefully a rosy picture on the other end.

Ask me anything A Lady Goes West advice column number three by A Lady Goes West

FITNESS AND WORKOUTS

Question: “Can you get enough strength training doing nothing but BODYPUMP three days a week or should I do a different program?”

Answer: First of all, so many props to you for caring about the actual make-up of your fitness routine and props to you for caring about resistance training. You are already so far ahead of many people, and you should be proud to have even thought to ask this question.

As you know, I’m a BODYPUMP lover through and through, and it’s the first program I ever became certified to teach. And BODYPUMP was what helped me to start lifting weights, and it gave me great results. But what you may start to notice is a bit of a plateau, if you are doing nothing but BODYPUMP for your resistance work over time, after those initial results. That’s because BODYPUMP is focused on muscular endurance, not as much on muscular strength or power, technically. Yes, there are strength and power moves in BODYPUMP, but you are mostly just going for muscle fatigue with lighter weights for a longer time. This is beneficial training, but it’s only one type of training.

You will be totally healthy and strong doing BODYPUMP three times a week (although that’s a lot of repetition per week, so make sure you have a day off in between, and you stretch and foam roll to protect your body from overuse injuries). However, I would recommend dropping one of those three BODYPUMP sessions and incorporating a different kind of strength workout. Because you are clearly a Les Mills lover, I would recommend adding in one Les Mills GRIT Strength per week, or one Les Mills Core per week. You could also hit the gym and lift weights and do heavier weights for less repetitions. The point is to vary the training focus away from muscular endurance (quick note, most barre workouts are also muscular endurance, so I wouldn’t choose barre as your way to vary your strength). Does that make sense?

In order to make progress, you have to change the training stimulus, and that would mean constantly adding more weight to your bar in BODYPUMP. Yes, you can do that, but you should also try some power and strength workouts to really give your body a challenge. BODYPUMP has made a lot of changes over the year, and the workouts are harder with more functional moves, which is amazing, but I still think your body would be served better with one less BODYPUMP per week and one other resistance workout with a different focus.

And if you’re not yet on Les Mills On Demand, in order to try the workouts mentioned above, my special referral link gets you 30 days for free here.

Once again, props to you for picking up weights and caring about how you do it too. I’m with you on this!

Here are some other posts you may like:

Bottom line: Strength training is so important, and we all need to try to incorporate it two or three times a week. While BODYPUMP is amazing, it’s better to have more than one type of strength workout each week to get better results and protect your body from overuse injuries.

Advice by A Lady Goes West

That’ll do it for the advice for today. Thank you so much for visiting!

How to get your question answered in the next advice corner

If you want some help with something in or our next advice corner, please submit your question here. I’m not collecting your email or name, so you will be totally anonymous. Thank you so much for contributing! 

Other posts you may like …

Questions of the day

How are you feeling right now?

Who do you go to when you need advice?

What’s one thing you are excited about in your life right now?

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