I’m going to go WAY back to 1988 for this story…
In this photo I was 11 going on 12. It was the first time I remember seeing an image of myself and “feeling” fat.
From that moment on, my relationship with my body and food were never the same.
For the next 15 or so years I would go through cycles of deprivation and overeating. My weight would fluctuate as much as 50 pounds a year by the time I was in college. I tried every diet available, regardless of how silly, unhealthy or unrealistic it was.
I truly believed that if I was skinnier, life would be easier. I would be happier. Everything would just fall into place.
During this time I didn’t play sports. I wasn’t active. Every attempt at joining a gym or starting a workout routine lasted mere weeks, if not days.
I self-identified as an inactive, unlucky, chubby girl and, honestly, made fun of people who ran, worked out or went to the gym.
It was a defense mechanism for sure.
The first major and positive turn in my story comes with the birth of my first son, Ryan.
I had an epiphany.
Even though I was, again, at my heaviest, I realized my life and my relationship with my son were dependent on me — how shall I put this? — getting over myself. I couldn’t let my weight, bad body image or lack of confidence affect my child and I wouldn’t.
I joined Weight Watchers when he was exactly 2 weeks old and I never, EVER looked back.
For the first time in my life dieting wasn’t “dieting.” I was overhauling my lifestyle. I was learning how to eat and find balance. I stopped worrying about how much weight I wanted to lose and what I may or may not look like if I ever actually lost it. Instead, I focused on small changes, blogged to get out of my head, and took things pretty slowly.
So slow, in fact, I didn’t even join a gym! I hated the gym. I had zero interest in working out. If I was to lose the weight it had to be on my terms and my terms did NOT include spending hours in a gym.
Eight months later I lost 70 pounds and I was, honestly, shocked. I weighed less than I did in high school!
For the first time in my life I didn’t feel like I was fighting with myself. It’s hard to explain, really, but I was dealing with the internal struggles that kept me in a yo-yo dieting cycle for years, and this was working. No longer was I my own worst enemy. The changes I made were coming from a place of self-acceptance and love instead of hate, guilt and unhappiness.
During this time I was more active than ever but I still didn’t work out in the traditional sense. I walked a lot, played with my son and started to do the typical things like parking far away and taking the stairs (HELLO #wycwyc!!).
A funny thing happened though…. after about a year at my goal weight I actually WANTED to join a gym.
It was a weird feeling for me.
I started with step classes and kickboxing at a local Y. I found I really enjoyed group fitness classes. There was a social aspect to them and I was having so much fun I didn’t even realize I was moving for an hour.
The Y also had Nautilus machines and I would follow the instructions listed on them, always with my eye on the free-weight room. Something seemed appealing about free weights but I was too scared to give them a try. I didn’t know what to do or how they worked.
That’s when I decided to invest in some personal training and ended up befriending a female trainer. She and I started working out together. The free weights didn’t seem as scary with a friend, especially a friend who knew what she was doing.
After a few weeks my trainer friend asked if I wanted to run a 5k. I nearly laughed in her face.
Me? Run? She must be confusing me with a crazy person. I don’t run, I make fun of runners!
I, however, reluctantly accepted her challenge and in 2008 ran my first-ever 5k.
After crossing that finish line with tears steaming down my face I saw my 2-year-old on the sideline cheering me on.
I was hooked.
Running really became an outlet for me. I loved it so much I challenged myself to run an event a month and I did for 2 years even while pregnant with my second son!
I was loving my new active life and I simply couldn’t believe I was doing all this amazing stuff. I felt like a completely different person!
Then in 2011 a friend challenged me to run a Tough Mudder. We trained together by running and doing crazy stuff like sled pulling and tire flipping.
I was also still taking classes at the gym. A few people mentioned CrossFit to me but I wasn’t interested. I didn’t know what it was and there were no gyms in my area anyway.
In 2012 I ran my first Tough Mudder.
It was by far the craziest, wildest thing I’ve ever did! But you know what? I loved it. I loved it so much I did 6 more over the next year and half. I even did 2 in one weekend!
During this time a CrossFit gym opened up in my area. I noticed a billboard while driving. Not knowing what to expect, I went in for a free trial class.
I fell in love.
Free weights, kettlebells, Olympic lifting, all this stuff scared the crap out of me! But it was fun and challenging and different. The atmosphere was competitive and supportive in the best possible ways.
In 2013 I quit my regular gym membership, joined CrossFit and never looked back.
Within a year I started competing in local competitions.
Me? In a COMPETITION?
An ATHLETIC competition?
It still blows my mind.
I still wake up some days in disbelief of how far I’ve come.
I don’t think CrossFit is for everyone, it’s just something I really enjoy — click here for all the reasons I fell in love with it and that’s the key in my opinion. You have to keep trying things until you discover your passion.
Nudge yourself out of your comfort zone! Life isn’t about what my body looks like anymore, it’s about what it can do and I’ve never been happier.