As I approach my 1 year CrossFit anniversary I finally had the time to gather my thoughts enough to write about how CrossFit has changed my life. Dramatic sounding, I know, but it’s really true. This is going to be long and wordy, so sit back and get comfy or skip this post if you’re not interested.
For years I heard friends who did CrossFit and followed a Paleo diet talk about how awesome they felt, how much weight they lost and how strong they were feeling. All I remember thinking about when they would talk about it was “They are crazy! I could never_____” insert any of the following misconceptions about both here – lift heavy weights, do a burpee, give up bread (!!!) and pasta (!!!). I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about because a majority of the people I talk to now say the same thing.
Right before I got pregnant with Harper I was at my lowest, most healthy weight, which was still technically about 20 pounds over a healthy weight for someone who is 5’3″.
January 29, 2011 – Fastest 5k at Race for the Cure
Over the course of my pregnancy I gained 50 pounds. Yes, 50 pounds. Yes, I said it out loud. Chalk it up to all day sickness for the first 16 weeks of my pregnancy where I could only hold down one meal, typically lunch, and the greasier the better. Carl would fix an amazing, healthy dinner and I’d walk in the door and go straight to the bathroom. It was really that bad. The years I spent changing my eating habits to include veggies, home cooked, healthy meals went out the window. Once I started feeling better it was hard to break the habit of picking up fast food and indulging in sweet treats.
December 13, 2011 – 38 weeks pregnant and two days before Harper was born
After Harper was born I dropped about 25 pounds right away, but the last 25 pounds stayed. Not that I felt like doing much about it in the exhausted state of first year parenting, but deep down I knew it was an excuse. 2011 and 2012 were rough years for our family, add to it the constant feeling of inadequacy and insecurity in nearly every aspect of my life, from parenting to teaching. Say hello to emotional eating, more weight gain, and the cycle continues.
Late December 2012 – right after Harper’s 1st birthday
Last summer, though, something in me changed. I was finally so unhappy with the way I looked and felt that I was ready to make a change. Actually, it wasn’t something, it was shame and embarrassment. With the end of the school year approaching it meant SUMMER TIME (where livin’ is easy…) was coming! Time for fun, family and play dates with friends.
Our first play date was all set for the the beach (!!!) the first Wednesday after school got out. Yep, I made a play date to take Harper to the beach, by myself (!!!), with some ladies from work who are exercise queens! They ran faster than I could even imagine and did P90X after school. For fun! What was I getting myself into? I was terrified and embarrassed and contemplated not going. My bathing suit didn’t even FIT me! I had to squeeze myself into bottoms and a flowy workout top. Holy hell! What was I getting myself into? So, after shedding a
lot few tears, a pep talk from Carl and WAY too much stuff packed into my beach bag, we went off to the beach. I knew that no matter what I wasn’t going to let my insecurities interfere with taking Harper to the beach and having fun. If there is anything that I DON’T want to pass on to Harper is MY body issues.
You know what? We had a great time! Okay, I did spend the entire time feeling nervous about my body, chasing Harper around the beach, trying to tell myself that she wouldn’t drown in the giant ocean. It was stressful but I’m am so proud of myself because I did it! I was so proud of myself that I scheduled another play date to the splash park the following Saturday.
June 12, 2013 – Beach Play Date
Like I said, that play date to the beach was my turning point because while Carl and I were on a breakfast date on a Friday just a few days later, we decided to check out the CrossFit Box that was down the street and see what it was all about. We walked over, which was a lot farther than we anticipated, and unfortunately we were in between classes so no one was there. We found out later that the owner was at the same place we ate breakfast. Small world.When he arrived back at the box, he talked to us a little while and we made an appointment to go in for our baseline on Tuesday. We started Paleo that weekend.
Carl and I were both nervous as hell when we got to the box because we didn’t really know what to expect. We were at the box a little over two hours talking about CrossFit foundations, nutrition, basic movements. Then we did our baseline. Holy Hell! 500m row, 40 air squats, 30 ab mat sit ups, 20 push ups, and 10 pull ups. I had to modify the push ups (on my knees) and the pull ups (jumping) and finished in 10:09. It was the hardest 10 minutes of my life! I’d never been so exhausted after a workout and I’ve never been more proud of myself either. We joined that day and I never looked back.
June 18, 2014 – Our first day of CrossFit for our baseline
Saturday I went to the splash park with Hilary and our girls had a blast! Well, Harper spent a majority of the day in my arms, but for her first trip she did great! While we were there Hilary snapped this picture of me.
June 22, 2013 – Splash park play date
Holy Hell! This picture proved to me that we’d made the right decision to embark on the journey to lead healthier lives through CrossFit and Paleo.
July 2013 – Two weeks in
I traveled a lot those first 30 days but still stuck to eating Paleo and doing travel CrossFit workouts in the hotel gym. That first month I lost about 10 pounds and four inches from my hips! As excited as I was, it wasn’t about losing weight or inches, it was about starting to feel strong and comfortable in my skin again.
August 14, 2013 – First time upside down attempting a handstand push up
September 2, 2014 – Committed! I bought my first pair of CrossFit shoes.
At the six month mark I felt like I could barely recognize the person I’d been and was wearing all of my pre-pregnancy clothes.
December 2013 – Wearing my favorite pair of jeans
On February 26, 2014 I re-did my baseline and went from a 10:09 to a 5:37 doing the same modifications. I’d say that’s progress! In March, with encouragement from my coaches, husband and CrossFit friends I participated in the CrossFit Open and was able to submit a score for ALL of the workouts, which was my goal. There was definitely blood, sweat, and tears but I did it!
March 8, 2014 – With my CrossFit girls after 14.2 and NINE overhead squats at 65 pounds (PR!)
March 28, 2014 – Totally dazed after the hell that was 14.5
On April 1, 2014 I went for my six month Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and received glowing remarks from the doctor. Since June my total cholesterol dropped 29 points and my LDL (bad) cholesterol dropped 31 points! That’s a HUGE improvement and is a direct result from a change in my diet (read: what I eat, not that I’m on a diet) and increase in exercise. My levels have never looked this good.
Monday Carl and I started our second 30 Day Paleo Challenge with my mom, who after hearing me sing the praises of Paleo for almost the past year, has decided to do it with us. I am so proud of her!
April 29, 2014 – Wearing shorts for the first time during a WOD
At the end of May I’m particpating in my first CrossFit competition, Rep Your Box, which is a team event made up of three men and three women. I’m nervous as hell about the scaled workouts, but I’m also excited about growing as an athlete. That’s right. I said I’m an athlete. The first day we walked into CrossFit to do our baseline one of the coaches said we are all athletes, just to varying degrees. This past year I’ve learned that he’s right.
Being an athlete isn’t about how fast you are, how much you can lift, or how many reps you can do unbroken. Being an athlete comes from your heart. Being an athlete is when you keep going when that little voice in your head tells you to stop. Being an athlete is perservering when it gets hard. Being an athlete is about learning to embrace the suck. Being an athlete is about cheering other athletes on. Being an athlete is about getting it done through all of the blood, sweat, and tears because you don’t want to quit.
CrossFit is nothing like I thought it would be and now I can’t imagine my life without it. From the people I’ve met who are now some of my closest friends to what I’ve learned about myself as I’ve grown emotionally, physically and even spiritually. I am a better person because of CrossFit.
My story is about CrossFit and Paleo but maybe those aren’t for you. Fine. But you deserve to be healthy, happy and confident in your skin. Find something and then push aside those thoughts of “I can’t” and “It’s too hard”. Do it. You are worth it.
My mom always told me that the two words “I am” are two of the most powerful words we can say to ourselves. I am a CrossFitter and an athlete. What are you? What do you want to be?