I have had a blast over the past four weekends having people in town or traveling, but it felt so good to have a wide open weekend with no for sure plans. Who else loves an empty slate weekend?
1. New Book
I had a summer reading list that included these three books. I finished Anne’s Voskamp’s book a couple weeks ago and loved it so much. It’s more of a hearty read, than a light pleasure read, but it was so good for my soul. It’s completely shifted the lens in which I view my days and the moments within those days. Gratitude and giving thanks = game changer for me. I then started the Alchemist while in Maine last weekend, but then changed my mind and switched to Hillbilly Elegy and now I can’t put it down. All I want to do is lay on the beach or curl up on the couch and read this book! So far it’s been totally eye opening – not a lighthearted or “feel good” read, but deeply touching and heartfelt.
2. The idea of “overshooting” your set point in hypothalamic amenorrhea recovery
Being okay with the uncertainty of weight gain and your set point in eating disorder recovery is a really hard place to get to. The uncertainty of the weight gain and knowing when the weight gain will “stop” and when you’ll reach your set point is what, understandably so, keeps many stuck in a pseudo-recovery phase. I think that can be a common place to be in eating disorder recovery so if you feel that way, you’re not alone. The same sort of uncertainty can arise when healing from hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) because usually but not always, women who have HA have a history of an eating disorder, disordered eating, dieting, weight loss, over exercise, or some way of controlling their food and body size. I’ve been there too. When you release control and start working towards healing your body and coming to peace with food, exercise and your natural body size…there is a level of uncertainty around where your body will end up weight wise.
Some women begin menstruating at a weight under their natural set point weight. Some women menstruate when they’ve reached their set point weight. And some women need to “overshoot” their set point weight in order to resume menses. Your body needs to have enough fat storage and sense that the internal environment is not “too stressful” in order to flip the switch of your reproductive system back on. Everybody has different genetics that determine what those thresholds are. I think what’s important to realize is that while regaining a menstrual cycle means you are getting healthier and on the right path, it’s not the hallmark of being completely weight restored, at your set point, or fully recovered. Keep in mind that the weight you menstruated at when you were a teenager or in your early 20s could be too low of a weight for you as you get older. Our bodies change and therefore our body’s fat storage needs, exercise thresholds and other things will also change. So it might seem like you’re “over shooting” your set point, but remember your set point is a weight range, not a single number. Your body should change as you get older and life changes.
With that said, for some women they will experience menstruating at __ body weight and then as they continue to normalize eating patterns, come to a healthy place with movement and continue caring for themselves, their body may settle into a body weight/pant size that is lower than when they first menstruated. Regardless of what happens to your body, what’s most important is coming to peace with food, developing a healthy relationship with movement and accepting your natural body size wherever your body needs to be at any given time…the focal point is not the numbers. If you find yourself thinking about the numbers often or hoping you’ll be a smaller body size than you are right now, those can be normal thoughts throughout this process. But continuing to engage in those thoughts and hoping you will be smaller one day will only hold you back from reaching full mental and emotional healing. Healing from hypothalamic amenorrhea is about so much more than getting a healthy menstrual cycle, it’s about healing your relationship with food, exercise, your body and therefore your whole self. If this resonates with you and you need more support, here are lots of blog posts, you can sign up for my free mini email course or I have an e-course that might be just the support you need.
3. Weekend Picnic at the Beach
While my mom and I were laying at the beach last Friday, I thought to myself….we should totally have a beach picnic out here with friends! It’s easy to get into the routine of life, even while living in cities that have so much to offer, and settle into the same weekend stuff. That still is fun and great and wonderful, but for me a big part of caring for my mental health is being more intentional about what I do in my free time since it’s easy for me to end up scrolling through Instagram on a weekday night or eating at the same restaurants every weekend. Those aren’t bad things, but for me, I find life feels more full and joyful when I’m more intentional. Sometimes intentional means ordering takeout on a Friday night and watching Netflix.
But summers in New England are short and winters are long as I’ve learned so I want to soak up as much of summer as I possibly can – especially since the summer weather for the most part is so awesome. Breezy and not too hot…and cool enough sometimes to have on pants and a sweater at night. So instead of going to a restaurant or eating dinner at a friend’s house, a beach picnic sounded cool and fun so that’s what we did. We also live a few miles from a beach in Southie and need to take advantage more! We swung by Whole Foods for sandwiches and other snacks + wine + kombucha and met some friends out there. It was so restful and the moon was gorgeous!!
4. Meal Plan for this Week
My version of meal planning isn’t very structured. I wrote a post on intuitive eating and meal planning a few months ago that you can read here if that sounds helpful to you. Summer is even looser since there’s usually more travel and I want to spend my time outside instead of in the kitchen. Simple recipes and throw together meal ideas are key!
This week for lunches we’re eating these loaded sandwiches (subbing tomato for the sprouts, and adding pesto…because pesto is awesome) and then I threw together this mexican chicken casserole that we’ll top with sour cream + guac and eat with rice. Share any great summer recipes you have in the comments!
5. A Reminder
I came across this image last week and loved the simplicity and the message. Often times we are kinder, more loving, more patient and more gentle with others than we are with ourselves. So of course, this is a good reminder to be these things to others…but what would that mean if we were more kind, loving, patient and gentle with ourselves?
Emily Swanson says
I love seeing you get to soak up the summer time, and I so agree that being intentional about spending time with people is the BEST. <3
hope you had a lovely weekend too Emily!
I have found that I have to be intentional about most things in life to make sure I’m making choices that that bring real happiness overall instead of doing things that are easy in the moment but make me less happy in the long run 😊. You always have good reminders of a better way to live!!
I have to be intentional too – it’s so easy to just go into autopilot. Glad the content resonated with you Jen! Have a great week!
Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite says
Always a good reminder to be more intentional…this is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over this past year: to be present.
I made a delicious side dish using fresh green beans from our garden, roasted cherry tomatoes (also from our garden!), crisp bacon (roasted in the oven with tomatoes…so easy as it’s hands-off!), garlic, and parmesan cheese! It was so good and I’ll definitely be making it again.
Ahhh yes. BE PRESENT. So simple yet so hard 🙂
That side dish sounds incredible!!
I love the idea of being more intentional, thanks for sharing! I am definitely learning this lesson these days.
FYI, I just returned from NYC (you gave me some great tips on your live insta story a while back) and had a blast! Those Levain cookies are what dreams are made of 😀
LEVAIN – omg I dream of those cookies. hope you had a total blast!!
Thank you for this reminder about our set point. This really resonated with me because I’m in that place right now. I got my period last year for the first time and it was around the weight I was at when I lost it as a young teenager but since then I’ve gained several pounds and I feel like I shouldn’t have gained weight if my body already started to menstruate. But something I’ve noticed is that I’m now getting a period regularly (every 25 days) when last year it was still irregular. My weight is on the higher end of the BMI scale and to be honest that bothers me but I care more about caring for my mental, physical and spiritual health than I do about how much I weigh. I’m definitely in the best place I’ve ever been with food but I want to continue to work on improving my intuitive eating skill and truly listening to my body.
“My weight is on the higher end of the BMI scale and to be honest that bothers me but I care more about caring for my mental, physical and spiritual health than I do about how much I weigh.” –> yes yes yes!!!
Just because you menstruated at a certain weight that doesn’t mean that’s your body’s healthy set point. I know that’s hard to keep in mind sometimes but I am so encouraged by what you are sharing and learning and what you’ve been through! Rooting for you!