I was 16 years old when I had my last menstrual cycle.
It was May 2013, and I’d just signed up for a hike up Mt. Kinabalu. At 4,095m above sea level, it’s the highest mountain on the Borneo Island, and it takes 2 days to reach Low’s Peak. I’d been looking forward to it for months, but there was just one tiny problem…
My cycle was due on the day on the first day of the hike.
Period pains. Low Energy. Irritability… I already wasn’t a fan of my monthly menstrual cycle. But if it was going to happen on the hike – now that’s just going to be a bloody mess (pun intended). Finding a decent toilet is already hard enough in the mountains. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to ‘doing my business’ in the bushes.
I could only secretly wish that my cycle would be late by 2 days.
Little did I know that it would be late by 4 years.
There are many reasons for losing your period:
- Weight loss
- Excessive exercise
- Hormonal imbalance
I met the first 5.
Back then, I was a competitive long-distance runner, and I was running 10k every other day as part of my training for a big race in December that year. On top of that, I was severely undereating to lose weight – a small bowl of oats in the morning, and salads for lunch and dinner with a few croutons and Caesar dressing tossed in there. I’d say probably 700 calories a day.
In my head:
Eat less = Weigh less
Run more = Improve speed
Weigh less + Improve speed = Win the race
It made sense. In my head, that is. And I wanted to win.
At the same time, I had my IGCSE O levels examinations in June that year. I was cramming Additional Maths and Art (which are both 2-year subjects) into 1 year, as well as studying for Physics, Chemistry and Biology on my own. Running was the only way I could clear my head from all the stress, so I ran even more.
After completing my O levels, I moved out of home to study Cambridge A levels interstate. Living alone for the first time, without the shelter and support from my parents, I felt scared, alone, insufficient and unworthy. I was just ‘never good enough’.
I projected all my insecurities onto my body. Growing up, I’d always been plump, and I wanted to change that. So I decreased my food intake even further and ran like a lunatic. I ran on trails, hills, and cross-country events as part of my preparation for the race at the end of the year. (which I didn’t get to compete in because I was admitted to intense physiotherapy for injuring both knees from too much running 🙄)
I was 38 kg at my lowest. To put that into perspective, I’m 169cm.
(I wouldn’t have admitted it, but looking back, I was definitely anorexic)
Having destroyed my knees, I had to stop running. Losing my primary source of “stress-reliever”, I turned to food (cause duh, that’s what you do when you’re so severely underweight and all your cells are screaming for food).
I struggled with episodes of binge-eating followed by periods of fasting and over-exercising, only to repeat it all over again. It was a viscous cycle. I gained back all the weight I had previously lost, and more.
In December 2015, I graduated from A levels and went to the University of Melbourne for my undergraduate degree. For the first time ever, I learned about personal training in Australia, and from my previous history of over-exercising and under-eating, to binge-eating and yo-yo dieting, I knew I needed someone to:
- Teach me how to move and eat
- Tell me when to stop when I should and
- Keep me accountable.
So I googled ‘best personal trainers melbourne’ and stumbled upon the Enterprise Fitness website. Looking at the transformation photos of numerous competitors, the competitive side of me took over, and I set a goal to compete on stage.
Now this isn’t your I-set-a-goal-to-compete-and-got-on-stage story. Quite the opposite in fact.
Since coming to Enterprise, my mindset has changed drastically.
I used to think that no one could understand what I’d gone through. But Mark has shown me that there are people who’ve been through tougher times than me. And there are certainly more people who are facing challenges of their own at this very moment.
I used to think that I was insignificant. But James, Liam and Kaz has shown me that my “Hello” is very powerful – it’s the highlight of their day 😎
I used to think that I had to eat less and lose weight to become physically non-existent. But Carla has shown me that you can be small but strong, and Reece has shown me that you can get lean – even with carbs!
I used to think that my intellectual ability was determined by my test scores. But Liz has shown me that being a student is so much more than just being in uni.
I used to think that I was never good enough. But now, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because ‘good enough’ is just a projected fantasy – I’ll never be good enough, and that’s great, because I get to improve each day. As Jared would say, “it’s all about perspective”!
I used to think I was alone, but now I’m part of a family.
I used to think a lot of things, but Enterprise turned it right on it’s head.
Oh, and I used to suffer from amenorrhea (lack of menstrual cycle) but now I have my cycle back. I am officially a woman. 💃
- I’ll Have A Drive Like No Other Competitor As I Have Fought So Hard To Be In The Position I Am Now
- It’s Not Just A Phase – It’s Her Passion
- “A Whole New Level – Personally and Professionally”