Achieving A Balanced Attitude Towards Your Weight



After sharing the Finding Balance series of posts last month, I started receiving emails which asked the same two questions:

“How do you keep such a balanced attitude towards your weight?”

“How did you handle the need to gain weight and/or eat more in order to get your period back?”

I decided these questions were worth answering here on the blog but it has taken me weeks to get this post together! I kept stumbling on the best way to answer these questions mainly because neither question has a one sentence here’s how it’s done answer.

acheiving balanced attiturde towards weight

After MUCH thought, I came up with a few things that I always think about which I believe help answer the above questions:

If I eat less than I know I need, I may get thinner for a few months but then my metabolism will slow down and I will gain weight.

And even worse, it takes time to recover my metabolism after eating too little so it’s not worth trying to eat less than what I need!

Eating too little will eventually slow your metabolism.

Not eating enough is detrimental to our health and to our ability to use our food as fuel. Even before I actively worked to get my period back, the scale was creeping up and I wasn’t even eating more at that point!

I recall a doctor saying to me, “Okay, so your period hasn’t returned. Even though you eat and your weight falls within range for your height, you need to just keep eating more and if that means gaining more weight then that’s what you need to do until it comes back.”

I did this metabolism damage to myself. My weight was in range probably because my body was holding on to everything I ate in fear of not getting enough food for what it felt it needed. However, since my body was in fear mode, it was still not going to give me a cycle because it did not trust me that I would give it enough energy (calories) to support the chance of a pregnancy. So, I needed to still eat more for a while to prove to my body that it would not starve.

The thing is, while I do not know what I weigh now since I don’t even own a scale, I am currently the same size only in a healthier way. Even though I am running more, I eat more, my metabolism works (I think) and get my period.

We all have days where we feel like a sausage stuffed in our skinny jeans – accept it and move on.

This is a big one. I think it’s important to realize that there’s no quick fix to feeling perfect and thrilled every single moment of every day.

We all have bloated days and days where our jeans just don’t feel right – no matter what size we wear. No one else can see what you feel unless you project negativity in your appearance.

Put on your makeup, best pair of leggings, grab a jug of water (to banish bloat) and go. Skip the mirror if you have to but DO NOT skip your meals. Skimping on food, restricting your calories, contrary to what you think, will not help you.  In fact, eating less will cause you to get over-hungry later in the day which will lead to out-of-control eating.

If I don’t eat enough, I cannot run well because I won’t have the energy.

After being sick recently and not eating normally, getting back to running was tough. My energy was lower which made me wonder how the heck people run without eating enough!

Is it really worth being any thinner or restricting your calories if it means not only are you low on energy and unhealthy on the inside but you can’t run as fast or as long as you could if you ate more?

Sometimes you think you have energy, you think you are running fast when the truth is, if you actually ate more, you would have so much more energy and stamina for your workouts — and your recovery would be much more comfortable and quicker.

Laura just wrote a terrific post last week which discusses the prevalence of undereating in runners. She really goes into great detail which really backs all of this up with documented information so it’s worth checking out her post for further understanding on the seriousness of this topic.

Reproductive health

If you are looking to have kids one day, screwing with your weight and your cycles may affect that. I got lucky but not everyone does.

When I was 22, I didn’t care much about hearing that I may affect my ability to have a baby. Of course I wanted kids and was already engaged but the thought of children seemed so far away! Please don’t make this mistake. You may not want kids right now but one day you will! And you don’t want a dumb decision from your past to negatively affect you.


That little boy kept me so busy and on my toes (and still does) that it was a marathon just to keep up with him!

Even if you don’t want children or think you are past the aging of having children, it’s still important to get a regular cycle.

I think the biggest thing to realize is that as active females, you just need a lot more to eat than you think.

Hunger does not always kick in when it should. Weight is not always the appropriate indicator of health.

As I said earlier, as you enter starvation mode, your weight may stall or creep up because your body slows down your metabolism as protection.

If you aren’t getting your period, if it’s irregular, if blood work is showing odd things like high liver enzymes, elevated sugar levels, high cholesterol levels etc, these things can often be (as they were for me) signs and side effects of an energy imbalance.

I was fooling everyone (including myself) back in the day because my weight was considered normal. Because I wasn’t anorexic or bulimic, because I still ate chocolate cake and frozen yogurt, because I could go out to eat without issue.

The only one who wasn’t fooled was my body. Overall I did not take in enough calories on a daily basis and the damage I was doing was really scary, even though I could not see it.

Keeping these sorts of scary things in mind are what help me to keep a balanced attitude towards knowing I must eat enough to support my lifestyle, even if that means weighing more.

Throw out the scale and go by how you feel!

Other posts of Interest:

Finding Balance Part One – How many calories do you really need?

Finding Balance Part Two – How what and why should we eat for our workouts?

Finding Balance/NEDA Week – Female Athlete Triad chat

Do you Really Need To Lose 5 Pounds? – Probably not!

How Pregnancy & Motherhood Affect Your Running Routine

[bctt tweet=”Achieving a Balanced Attitude Towards Your Weight #weight #realtalk #running #healthy #fitfluential”]

Do you own a scale?

How do you handle those days when you feel like a sausage stuffed in your skinny jeans?


I can’t let this week pass without addressing the fact that it’s National Eating Disorders Awareness week.

NEDA week

Bringing awareness to eating disorders and disordered eating is so important. Even though I feel like we address certain aspects often (hello amenorrhea and female athlete triad), the questions I keep receiving via email on this subject combined with continuing to read about runners who are literally running their bodies into the ground, drive me to further rehash the importance of eating enough and taking care of ourselves.

The theme for NEDA week this year is 3 Minutes Can Save A Life. The focus is on the importance of early intervention so maybe, in the time it takes for someone to read today’s post, I will be able to help someone.

While putting together the series of recent posts about finding balance between our diets and our workouts, Laura and I of course discussed the female athlete triad.

What is the female athlete triad?

  • Energy Deficiency with or without disordered eating
  • Menstrual Disturbances/Amenorrhea
  • Bone Loss/Osteoporosis

Without enough food (energy), your body shuts down your menstrual cycle because it just doesn’t have enough to work with to keep all systems going — Almost as a way to say, no way can you grow a baby, not enough energy here. Over time, amenorrhea can lead to bone loss (since no period can mean low estrogen), osteoporosis, stress fractures, injuries, infertility, slowed metabolism, and so many other problems.  Even if you are on the birth control pill to regulate your estrogen levels, you are still at risk for the female athlete triad if you are restricting your calories. The pill does not solve things – it is masking the problem.

I don’t really know how else to continue to point out that not getting your period, 9 times out of 10, is likely due to the imbalance between calories in and energy out.   Each month that passes without your period is another month closer to the negative health effects listed above as well as random symptoms like insomnia. Did you know that?

I don’t know how to continue to say that even if you think you are eating enough that it may not be enough for you.

That’s the thing that is really worth pointing out this week – You don’t have to fall into the framework of the traditional eating disorders of anorexia or bulimia to suffer the ill effects of both.

You may eat and eat often but not enough for your body. Not eating enough can still cause damage.

It’s true. When I dealt with amenorrhea, I weighed enough for my height but it was not enough for ME.

The doctor said I am eating right because my weight is within range. No, it’s very possible that it is not enough for you if you are not getting your period.

And you know it! Only you know what you are eating and how much you are running. The doctor only knows what you share, only knows the height to weight chart and very often, does not know to look for signs and symptoms of female athlete triad.

So many females remain in denial, which I do understand since I was there once too but gosh, it’s so frustrating to watch. Not just for me but for your family and loved ones.

In fact, so many female bloggers fall into this category that I am struggling to watch and to read. I am unfollowing Instagram accounts quite often lately and I am ready to unfollow blogs too, not because I don’t care about these people but because I just can’t watch. It’s not healthy for me to see. Sometimes if you are reading and seeing things over and over, you can start to think something is normal (when it isn’t) and question your own sanity.

I did catch a terrific quote on Instagram over the weekend though; my thoughts EXACTLY.

healthy weight quote

I need to follow more accounts that say things like this rather than see images of women with scary bones showing in their pictures.

So anyway, I am not a doctor but from my experiences, I have written a ton of posts on the topics of disordered eating, amenorrhea and finding balance which are here for you to read, reread and hopefully feel inspired by, if needed, to make the changes you need to live the healthiest and happiest life possible.

A Life Without The Scale – One of the very first posts I wrote about giving up the scale and my experience with amenorrhea.

Finding Balance Between Clean Eating & LivingI forgot I wrote this post last year! I was just thinking to write something similar until I saw it pop up in my stats last week! It says everything I still feel about eating a healthy diet yet not so ridiculously healthy and restrictive that you can’t go out with friends to restaurants and enjoy yourself. There’s very little point to being so crazy healthy, organic, sugar-free, paleo, meatless, vegan or clean if all you do is sit in your house making your own meals for the rest of your life. It limits your being and that, well at least in my opinion, is not living. And not healthy.

Do you really need to lose 5 Pounds? – So many times we struggle with those 5 pounds when really, we don’t actually need to lose them.

Amenorrhea talk – A no-nonsense approach to the subject.

Jeans Can Lie – Last year’s NEDA week post, love this one.

Let’s Talk About My Black Pants – I hate pants

Finding Balance Between Our Diets & Workouts Part One

Finding Balance Between Our Diets & Workouts Part Two

Laura is also talking about the Female Athlete Triad so click here to see her informative post.

For more information on NEDA week and eating disorder help, click here.

[bctt tweet=”NEDA Awareness Week #NEDA #NEDAwareness #eatingdisorders #amenorrhea #runner #fitfluential”]

No direct questions today but feel free to share your thoughts 🙂


Thinking Out Loud- NEDA, Finding Balance And Amenorrhea


Amanda suggested we Think Out Loud today regarding National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA). This year’s NEDAwareness Week theme is “I Had No Idea” to raise awareness towards the significant impact eating disorders have on individuals, families, and communities across the nation.

You see “eating disorder” and immediately think anorexia and bulimia. You automatically think of someone who hasn’t eaten in days or someone who binges on cookies and then purges.

What many don’t realize is that there is gray area to the definitions as well as other forms of disorders.


Yesterday’s workout: 10 minutes on the elliptical followed by 4. 25 miles on the treadmill. I felt great and could have continued but I ran out of time. Don’t feel bad for me, I run out of time just about every morning….on purpose.

I am a true morning person and a lover of starting my day with a run. I could very easily run a bit later than I normally do which would allow me a lot more time and a lot more miles.

On purpose though, I only give myself a MAXIMUM of 50-60 minutes (except for Saturday’s long run, of course). This window keeps me from doing too much. Most days I probably average about 45 minutes.

Monica over at Run Eat Repeat recently shared a link regarding running addiction. Any runner (or frequent exerciser) knows that the endorphin high can be addicting.

It seems as though the benefits of exercise far outweigh the negatives…Endorphins, reduced risk of disease, a method for weight loss and weight management as well as boosting confidence and overall self-esteem…

But at what point does it become too much?

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I don’t have a direct answer for this question, I just know that for me, limiting my running time most days of the week keeps me from finding out.

You like my little plan, don’t you. It’s clever isn’t it? Self-inflicted time constraints. Genius, I know.

If you recall from my post about why I gave up the scale years ago, I dealt with amenorrhea as a direct result of not eating enough for what I was burning off.

It is a slippery slope friends, especially for me. My body is super sensitive. One extra mile and one less calorie and my systems will shut down and go into self-protection mode.

I know I am not the only person who has struggled with this. Many female athletes go without their periods for months, if not years on end. Click here to learn more about the Female Athlete Triad.

You may enjoy not experiencing your monthly visitor, feeling all PMS-and-tampon free… but unfortunately, the torture it brings every 28 days is actually a sign of a healthy body.

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On the outside, you don’t realize the damage you are causing to your insides when you miss a cycle. It didn’t matter what the doctors told me; I heard it, I sort of understood it but I didn’t actually SEE IT.

Not getting your period affects all of your other organs and bodily processes. My blood tests at the time indicated that my liver enzymes were through the roof along with my cholesterol – the bad cholesterol.

Not only was I not a drinker of alcoholic beverages, I certainly wasn’t eating fatty foods to spike my cholesterol levels. My liver enzymes were high because my liver was basically eating itself as a form of fuel. The high cholesterol was being produced by my body to make up for the lack of fat in my diet.

Sounds scary right? The good news is that it was all reversible. Once I ate more to make up for what I was burning off, everything went back to normal and I was able to have a baby when I wanted a few years later.

The funny thing is, and what I am trying to point out here today, is that I never missed a meal back then, I just didn’t eat ENOUGH at each meal.

I also never over-exercised. Avid exerciser yes, over-exerciser, no. In fact, I run much more now than I ever did back then.

I really wish I could offer you the magical meal plan for your pre and post workouts, how many calories to add to your diet to make up for the miles you are running.

Finding the balance of calories in/calories out is a million dollar question. The media blasts us with meal plans and calorie slashing techniques and recipes that promise to make us run faster and farther while allowing us to drop the pounds.

If you want my opinion, take the pressure off and just, well, eat…


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…Balanced of course with plenty of complex carbs, nutrient dense foods, loads of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins and healthy fats….but allowing yourself to enjoy your favorite foods and cravings, such as dessert, as I did last night, is mandatory.

I know they say a “minute on the lips forever on the hips” but I don’t buy it.

One brownie sundae will not do you in. But it will make you happy.

There is so much more to say on all of this and I should probably continue to cover it in future posts. I struggled a bit to write this post because there are so many topics (especially fueling your body and workouts) that deserve undivided attention. Please let me know if there is anything specific you want to me to further discuss and I will be happy to do so!

Links of interest:

Running On Empty – A runner’s story of how easy it is to cross line from eating smart to barely eating

Compulsive Exercisers – signs and symptoms

Orthorexia – when trying to eat healthy is taken too far

No specific questions today although I am interested in hearing your thoughts…..








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