I swore I’d never, that there’s no way, that I couldn’t, because this reason or that, and here I am, embarking on a journey called Crossfit.
I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m already hurting. I can already feel the bile rising in my throat. And yet I’m doing this thing.
I danced and did gymnastics when I was young and in high school I became a competitive dancer. If you don’t think dancing is athletics, I dare you to visit a top 5 UDA National award winning high school and practice with them just once. You’ll change your mind really quickly.
I was super fit back in high school. We practiced tirelessly 3-7 days a week for 3-5 hours a day depending on whether or not we were preparing for a competition. We did strength training, we stretched, and we danced.
I stayed fit until I got pregnant at the tender age of 19. I gained 60lb and couldn’t seem to get it off after the baby was born. When I quit nursing, I hit it hard doing Tae*bo (‘sup, Billy Blanks) and pounding Slim Fast. I lost the weight but fluctuated up and down a good 25lb every few months.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with a metabolic disorder which I’ve written about here before. I don’t process sugar well and my body floods with insulin which then turns into fat. Because of this, the standard American diet doesn’t work for me. I’m supposed to keep my carb consumption low and I’m not supposed to consume sugar.
I started a low carb diet at that time and lost the pesky 30lb I had gained since starting my office job. I added to it 60-90 minutes per day of cardio, 5 days a week, and 1 hour of weight lifting 3 days a week. I felt amazing, I looked great, and I felt like I was on top of the world. I was a single mom going to college full time, working two full time jobs, one part time job, and still managing to keep my body in tip-top shape.
And then it happened. I met a tall, much younger drink of water with a taste for good food. That 30lbs came back. I had moved to Orlando, secured a new job, and because of my new schedule, didn’t have time to hit the gym anymore. But hey, we were in love and apparently my now-husband is a chubby-older-woman-chaser and he was unphased by my weight gain.
Then the craziest thing that we were told wouldn’t happen happened. We got pregnant. I had only gained 12lb by 26 weeks gestation when I was suddently put on bed rest because my precious baby was already trying to make her grande entrance. The good news is that I went full term after nearly 3 months of bed rest. The bad news is that I gained over 80lb while on bed rest, for a grande total of 100lbs gained during that pregnancy.
I lost 7lb 1oz when our daughter was born, and probably a few pounds more of fluid and other things. I was a giant blob of exhaustion, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and fat. I had never been SO overweight before, I had never been without muscle, and I didn’t know how to find the motivation to start losing fat and re-gaining muscle, so I just did what many fat people do and I ate.
10 months later, we found out we were pregnant with Grady. By some miracle called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I only gained a total of 16lbs during that pregnancy. Once he was born, I continued gaining weight despite the fact that I was eating a nutritious diet under the watch of a nutritionist. The skeptic in you wants you to believe that I was sneaking McDonald’s or candy bars or eating too much food, but you’d be wrong. I was doing it by the book and still gaining. At this point in my life I had conveniently forgotten about my metabolic disorder and was trying to do what we’ve all been taught is the right way to eat, and it was working against me.
Six months later, a chiropractor suggested I stop eating grains due to some severe joint pain I was having. I adopted the Paleo diet and within two weeks the pain was gone. Within nine months I had lost 50lbs. Things were looking up!
Then we moved to North Carolina and things got crazy. I started eating sugar in all its Paleo-approved forms. I was moonlighting as a Paleo gal, but living on frozen, honey-sweetened custard and paleo-approved treats. Needless to say, I gained some weight back. Fortunately, I had found fitness again and had joined the YMCA where I was working out 3-4 days a week doing cardio and yoga. There wasn’t much weight lifting going on, but I felt good, I felt strong, and my stamina was great. The lowest weight I could hit at that time was 212. I couldn’t get past it, but it was the lowest weight I had been in years, so I was excited.
Aaaaaand then we moved back to Florida, but this time to the panhandle where we currently live. I gained 30lbs in the first two months that we lived here. I couldn’t find the motivation to work out on my own, and affordable gyms with child care were hard to find. It didn’t help that I wasn’t eating right, really ever.
You’d think that by now I’d know better, or that perhaps I had found some semblance of consistency or sticktoitwithness, but here I was fat and getting fatter, and UNfit.
In 2015, I went back to my old endocrinologist, he kicked my ass, and in February of that year I went back to eating Low Carb. I lost 60lb in 6 months without working out – dietary changes only. I didn’t think I’d ever get back over 200lbs. I really thought I had seen the end of my obesity, and perhaps I would have had I not needed an emergency hysterectomy in October of that year.
Three weeks after my hysterectomy, we found out my Pop had a terminal brain tumor. Three weeks after his diagnosis, he died. Three weeks after that, Kyle and I suffered severe relationship trauma that almost claimed our marriage.
I learned last year that I’m not strong enough a person to cope with the trauma and the pain and the stress that several months of loss had caused me, and I turned back to my old friend, sugar. Sugar and I spent most of 2015 sitting on the sofa completely sedentary. It was almost as though I was on bed rest again. I guess I was on a bit of a self imposed bed rest from life. A life I didn’t want or know what to do with. It was an uncomfortable year. When a 3 month battle with pneumonia set in in June, sugar and I teamed up with steroids and BAM! Just like that all 60lbs I lost in 2015 found me again.
I struggled to make good decisions with food the past year, but more than anything, I struggled with the pain – physical and emotional. My legs hurt just going up stairs, my back is constantly aching, my arms hurt when I blow dry my hair, I have migraines a couple times a month, and there was this constant emotional pain I couldn’t seem to shake. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want my picture taken, I can’t look in a window’s reflection or mirror without literally wanting to cry, and I don’t even want to be around people because I can feel their eyes on me. I am, without fail, the fat girl in the room everywhere I go, and I’m not OK with that, but I have literally nobody to blame but myself.
January 1, 2017 I started eating right again and I haven’t stopped, but it’s not enough this time. I miss being fit and strong and I miss having a community of athletes around me, cheering me on, encouraging me, and helping me get through difficult times in my life. I realize now that that’s what I’ve been missing the most, community. I hope that through this community, I’m able to find a more permanently fit and healthy Summer, because I’m really tired of looking like Jabba the Hut.
And that’s why I’ve joined the team at Momentum Fitness in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Follow them on Facebook and check out their blog so you can keep up with my progress. And please, for the love of all things healthy, send me some energy because something tells me it’s about to go down.