For a while I had an eating disorder and got down to a dangerously unhealthy weight (88 lbs at 5'3") and developed amenorrhea (didn't have a period at all in 2011). I started eating more (non-Paleo at first, then began Paleo around September) and gained a good amount of weight. I was told that it will take a couple months to get my period back even at a normal BMI. Well surprise surprise, I woke up this morning and found that Mother Nature left me a gift.
However, I wonder did my period come back because I'm at an "ideal weight"? I actually feel as though I need to gain a bit more weight. I'm around 105 right now.
Is it because I decided to stop taking omega-3 supplements (from Nordic Naturals) because I decided to just increase my fish intake? And lately, I've been eating a lot more grain-fed beef due to financial issues and I've heard omega-6 is estrogenic?
Congratulations, April. This is a really good sign. It means your body is finally healthy enough to do what it was evolutionarily meant to do - nourish a new life. Not that you need to go out and make a babby right away, or anything, but...
"Ideal weight" is a construct. Your body is just telling you it's okay and you're on the right track. My advice? Keep up the good work and just be relaxed. Don't sweat the details too much.
As you put on weight at the same time that you stopped taking the Omega 3 supplements I honestly don't think you can identify the exact reason as to why your period returned.
I know that through severe dieting I messed up my cycles for a good 6 months in 2010. And that a Paleo diet didn't resolve all my problems.
I have been reading a lot of Paleo Pepper's blogposts recently and think she has a good summary of a lot of variables that can effect your menstrual cycle http://paleopepper.com/ She seems to have had issues with disordered eating also.
Another blogpost which has been incredibly helpful to me is this one: http://huntgatherlove.com/content/womens-set-points. It reminds me that women are not meant to be stick thin. That if you want to be fertile, you need to have a bit of fat on your body.
From a midwife's perspective, the return of your period is a pretty good indicator that you're now not (from an evolutionary perspective) too dangerously underweight to safely have a child.
I've not encountered a particular issue with menstruation and fish-oil supplementation among the women I've provided well-woman care to. Most of them use fish oil supplements without it affecting their period, so I would tend to lean towards the idea that you're no longer so dangerously underweight that you body actually ceased its reproductive processes.
To answer your question about whether this means that you're now at your "ideal weight", I'd say that the return of your period DOESN'T mean that you're not still underweight -- it just means that you're not so far underweight that your body started shutting down any non-vital processes... I hope that makes sense.
Great news. I had a break through yesterday too. My first period since late 2010. Big relief and big shock. I have been doing acupuncture twice a month for most of last year. Plus on-off paleo last year. I am not underweight by any stretch but I am working through some sugar binge issues. All in all it's hard to pinpoint why but overall I am glad. The doctor was keen for me to take birth control but that would have been a bitter pill indeed. Glad hormones seem to be playing ball. Long may it continue for both of us!