If you’ve done your research on RED-S, you’ll know that it’s a complex problem. No two athletes present an identical set of symptoms or share the same exact lifestyle factors that led to their issues. So, it might not surprise you to hear that there is no one-size-fits-all guide or guaranteed quick-fix when it comes to recovery. As someone who once wasted an unfathomable amount of time and money trying to find one, I can tell you this for certain.
There are plenty of health coaches, lifestyle advisors and nutritionists out there who may try to convince you otherwise. You may find diet plans, exercise guides, or even affordable online courses that are guaranteed to 'fix your health issues for life!' or ‘bring back your period in 5 easy steps!’...This may well be exactly what you want to hear. Just as you might also be enticed by a information that suggests: "intermittent fasting is the key to restoring your immune health", "a gluten-free diet could solve all your issues", or "low-carb, high fat cycling will restore your health and vitality"!
I know how tempting it is to try anything that seems this straight forward. You’re an athlete on a mission and would do anything to turn things around quickly. You most likely like to measure progress, so might embrace the structure of a ‘tried and tested’ programme. You're probably not willing to spend hundreds on solving your issue, so the help of a nutritionist who appears qualified enough may seem like a great solution. But please, trust me when I say that seeking help from anyone besides a medical professional with prior knowledge and experience of RED-S is only going to prolong your recovery process. There are very few clinically trained physicians who are knowledgeable in this field and while, of course, I hope that one day, things will catch up, I urge you to seek those people out if you are serious about your recovery.
The support you need is out there, it’s just a question of knowing where to look. And, while you are unique and your situation may be complicated, you should never feel alone in this process. I’ve compiled a list of other resources to help you here and I am here to help steer you towards the right support if you need to talk about it first.
I must also say that no amount of medical help, independent research or mentoring support from myself is going to fix this problem for you. I wish it could, I really do, but the changes will ultimately have to come from you. Luckily, the same confidence and drive you use to succeed in your sport are the same confidence and drive you’re going to need for your recovery. Whilst no one else’s methods or motivations are going to bring about the changes you need in order to reverse your situation for good, YOU have everything you need to do it yourself. In my experience, the only thing that stands in your way of recovery now is your fear of taking action.