Kersten Kimura: Figuring Out Female Hormones
July 27, 2017
Posted In: Community
This week we are featuring Kersten Kimura from Urban Jane. Kersten is NASM Certified personal trainer and a hypothalamic amenorrhea warrior. She helps women overcome hypothalamic amenorrhea (missing periods caused by excess exercise and food restrictions). Read about Kersten’s story to finding balance and figuring out female hormones.
Can you talk a little about your journey to finding balance:
It’s been a long and winding one! When I was in my early twenties, I thought I was too fat and decided I had to lose weight. I’ve always been an all-or-nothing type, so I took my weight loss project to the extreme. I started running every single day, eating much less that my body needed, and I wanted to lose more and more weight.
I continued this cycle for years. My health started to get worse, but I didn’t pay attention to it. I lost my menstrual cycle, my brain was foggy all the time, and my sleep started suffering a lot. About 6-7 years later I stopped running so much and started weight training. I slowly became less obsessed, and I no longer spent hours on working out and I also stopped weighing myself. But I was still training 6x / week and felt guilty when I took a rest day.
In the beginning of 2017, I mentioned my acupuncturist that I had no period… I hadn’t had it for ten years! He advised me to slow down, eat more and take rest from working out.
And so I did. Of course, that meant gaining weight and at first, it was terrifying. But as months went by, I started to feel better. I was sleeping again, my digestion got better and my mood improved as well.
Five months later I felt like my battery was charged again, so to speak. And my period came back! After another month, I started training again, but this time very differently. I now workout only 1-2 days a week, walk a lot and take rest when I need it, without any guilt or shame. Because I now believe that my body knows what’s best for me – fighting against it and pushing when it’s out of fuel will sooner or later lead to injury or illness, just like happened to me.
How would you describe your happy pace?
My happy place is somewhere in nature and walking or doing something else physically active – but in a moderate way! I grew up in a little town in Estonia. The town was so small that we never really needed a car, we walked or rode our bikes everywhere. I think we only had a car for a year or two, and then we got rid of it, because we didn’t use it all that much at all! There are also a lot of forests and small lakes in the area where I grew up, so I grew up being in nature a lot. I enjoy it very much to this day.Of course, I really love spending time with my husband. I feel like we’re really best friends and we have a lot of silly jokes and we laugh a lot. I’m very happy with my family as well, but unfortunately I now live thousands of miles away from them, so I don’t have the change to see them too often.
If you could talk to the tween version (ages 8 to 12) of yourself, what would you tell her?
I was a very cautious child. Almost too much! I would tell myself to be more confident. I would tell me to do crazy things sometimes, to experience, try different things and not try to play so safe all the time. You can experience more fun stuff that way!
When do you feel most proud of who you are?
I feel proud when I can inspire and help people to feel better. One way I do it is through personal training, which is my part-time job.
Secondly, I’ve been talking a lot about my experience with over training and extreme dieting, and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from women who are struggling with same things. When I can help them to let go of their obsessive behaviours and start to accept themselves without any conditions (not 10 lbs lighter or when they have visible ab muscles!), then I can be proud of myself.
What are your favorite ways to move my body?
As I mentioned, I really like just walking. I used to run a lot, at least 10K almost every day, but it was too much for my body. Later I lifted weights every single day. I liked it, but again, I didn’t take enough time to recover. Now l like to lift heavy barbells on my training days, and I do yoga once or twice a week.
When we’re traveling and have a chance, I really love stand up paddle boarding. I have a way more balanced approach to moving than before – I don’t force myself to do it if I feel like I need a rest instead, and I trust my body much more. My mind and body are so much more balanced now!
Connect with Kersten!