Restoring my hormones - connecting the pieces of puzzle [Mind map]

If you have a mission, you need a strategy. And then you execute, monitor and adjust.

Your mission is unique to you. It could be to build muscle, lose body fat, stabilise your blood sugar, manage your hunger and cravings, perform in elite sport, become stronger, step on stage in a glittering bikini, or rise each morning feeling energetic and ready to tackle the day. No one mission is better than another. And your mission at a point in time should shift and develop as you do.

In 2014, my mission was to leap into the arena of fitness modelling, compete in my first contest and learn as much as possible. I competed in four contests (probably a little too eager, if I look back on it), made lots of mistakes and absorbed all that I could about bodybuilding.

In 2015, my mission was to be competitive. I applied all of the lessons from the year before to focus on the little things, adjust my competition prep and refine my peaking strategies. I placed Top 5 in the State qualifier, and then placed first at the National championships.

In 2018, my mission was to better understand, track and promote my body's natural cycles and rhythms to restore my hormone production. This became my most frustrating and illuminating mission yet. After decades of manipulating my hormones from both exogenous and endogenous sources - I'm talking about the OC Pill and chronic systemic stress on my body - I'd lost my period for more than 2 years. For the first year, I ignored it. For the second year, I made it my number one priority. I returned to the basics and set my foundation again. My period returned, my hormonal panel on my labs completely changed, and I feel noticeably different - more energised, happier, resilient and mentally and physically stronger. Hormonal balance isn't just about having a baby (although that seems to be the thing that doctors like to talk about). There's broader health implications here.

What did I do to prioritise my health and turn things around? There are many factors and tools that I used to rebuild my foundation: from repeat lab testing, to seeking multiple medical opinions and consulting leaders in the field, altering work habits, recalibrating my self image, sun and light, and the big one - tracking and interpreting my body's bio cues.

It's been a big, chaotic jumble of things. I'm a visual person, so I've mind mapped all of this long ago to clarify it in my head. There's many hundreds of pages of notes to accompany this, but this is the bigger picture. And in the spirit of authenticity, I hope that sharing it can generate ideas among others that guide you to formulate the strategies for your mission.

I've done my best to research things, find the latest information and apply it. But I'm certainly no scientist. I tend to have far more questions that I do 'answers', and the more I learn, the more I realise that there's so much more to learn. My aim is to use my n = 1 experiments and experiences to see if I can make some useful conclusions and pose some interesting questions. I'm grateful because my personal journey has fuelled my passion to help others become informed and confident leaders of their health. If my story hadn't been so full of complexities and challenges, I'd have missed out on the lessons and experiences that ignited my passion to help others on their unique mission to feel, look and perform at their best.