I wrote this about 4 years ago for my own blog but never posted it as it was extremely personal and I kept my blog to light-hearted food related topics.
But I re-read it, and it still holds true, so I thought I would share it here.
As long as I can remember my New Year’s resolutions were always about changing the way I looked, mainly losing weight. Sometimes they’d be fitness related resolutions but the end goal was to lose weight. Run a marathon (because that would help me lose weight), run a half marathon every month (because that would help me lose weight), run 2010 miles in 2010 (because that would help me lose weight)...you follow?
My mind was never clear of negative thoughts about my body. I’d try to not think about it but my head would always go there. No one ever made fun of me or made negative comments to me about my body or the way I looked. In fact, it was opposite of that but you don’t believe nice things people say about you when you don’t believe them yourself. It was purely something internal. Something made up in my head. Some kind of perfectionist mentality that I applied to all aspects of my life including my body. It was all-consuming. And miserable.
So I tried those resolutions and they never worked. My body didn’t change. I was still unhappy. I was even gaining weight. So then my resolutions started to include some kind of extreme dieting “goal”... follow such-and-such meal plan, eat 1200-1500 calories daily. My resolutions were really restrictions. My resolutions to “health” only made me unhealthy.
I never got to the point of a diagnosed eating disorder but I did certainly have disordered eating habits. I had an obsessive relationship with food. I counted EVERY SINGLE calorie I put in my body for years. I recorded it, in multiple places. I have years of spreadsheets that list every single piece of food that ever went in my body with the calorie count next to it. It was exhausting.
I knew it couldn’t be normal as it didn’t feel like a happy way to live life but it seemed like a “healthy” thing for me to do at the time. So did 3 hours at the gym running on a treadmill or buying every new fitness device and dvd on the market. One year, when I realized I owned four different 90-day dvd workout programs, my resolution was to do each one back to back for the year. That’s 360 out of 365 days of the year covered with a workout. I was set, or at least I thought so then. But in reality I was in a very unhealthy place in my life by repeating obsessive patterns that led to much depression and let down.
I had heard about CrossFit. It was probably one of the only forms of fitness I hadn’t tried. My number one reason for not trying it was the cost. I had heard it was expensive, but after about 1 minute of number crunching I realized I couldn’t use that as an excuse. Let me break it down for you: I was paying $80 a month for a gym membership. Plus $50 for 30-minute personal training sessions a few times a week. Plus $75-100 per running race I entered. Plus $100 for every at-home 90-day dvd fitness program I bought. We’re easily at $5000 a year without adding in all the calorie counter devices, heart rate monitors, VO2 max masks, etc. $5000 a year...with no results. So…
I started CrossFit. (At the time, I paid about $1920 a year. Worth every penny.) I didn’t know what to expect and maybe that was good for me. I had spent so long crossing off completed days of a printed-off, repetitive training plan that wasn’t working that maybe I just needed to go into something blind. I was clueless and I went for it.
I’ll spare you the grueling workout stories. That’s not what this is about. What’s important here is that I skeptically went in, did the workout as best I could at that moment in time and then I did it again the next day. And the next day. And then it started to happen...somehow, with every plate I added to that barbell I lost a little more of my negative self image. I went every day I could. It felt so good to sweat out the negative and build on the positive.
It wasn’t about losing weight anymore. It was about lifting weight. It was a TOTAL mental refocus for me. I was all in. I trusted the process, my coaches and the programming. It was something I had never experienced: working out without a focus on the scale. No one talked about bodyweight. They talked about barbell weight. It didn’t matter your size. I loved it. The progress I’ve made makes me proud and eager for more. I couldn’t do a single pull-up when I started. Now I’ve got several unbroken and look forward to them in workouts. I stopped the obsessive calorie counting. I eat what I want when I want it. I focus now on the quality of my food, not the quantity.
CrossFit has given me health. I won’t say it gave me back my health because I’m not sure I ever really had it. I do now. And it feels damn good. I talk with my husband often about how liberating it is to have a healthy relationship with food, how liberating it is to workout for less than an hour a day and enjoy the rest of my life, how liberating it is to actually be completely comfortable in my skin. (Update: I’ve even created a business from my passion of helping others get to this point!)
I have selfishly surrounded myself with people of similar interests and goals. It’s necessary. The support structure at PR Star is incredible. It’s a pretty amazing place, and if you’ve spent any time with me at all you’ve come to know these people. My closest friends. The ones that text you when you’re not there to make sure you’re ok. The ones who check-in when you seem a little off. The ones that tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. The people who know me better than I know myself at times.
This isn’t really like me to write something this personal but it’s been itching at me. I’ve had pieces of this in the “notes” section of my phone written for days and I know exactly why. All this talk of New Year’s resolutions and I was lost. I didn’t need to make a list of things to do to lose weight or a list of ridiculous nutritional restrictions. I thought about setting some CrossFit performance related resolutions but that didn’t make sense to me as I’ve learned CrossFit is a process with no timeline. All of these short, quick workouts are really just individual pieces of a long, slow journey to a better me. So that’s it. That’s my resolution. Be more patient. Slow down. Show gratitude and enjoy this journey.
Hoping in this new year you find something as empowering and liberating and go for it! Happy New Year!