On May 2, 2012 I weighed over 300 pounds. That was the day I started Paleo, one month before I started a bootcamp CrossFit Waxahachie did that summer. I can’t pin point a moment I decided I wanted to change, nothing specific happened, I just didn’t want to live that way anymore. A facebook friend of mine and CrossFit coach, Brittney Harper, was constantly posting about CrossFit. She began mentioning this bootcamp she was coaching and I was intrigued. I’ve been overweight most of my life and dieted off and on forever. Diets are easy to start, they just aren’t easy to stick with, especially when life throws you a curve ball, which happens all the time. I never did any form of group exercise because I was too embarrassed and ashamed. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up and I didn’t want to be singled out or feel like a failure. Britt made it look like so much fun!! So, I started researching what CrossFit and what Paleo were.
Paleo I understood, but CrossFit?!?! It was so far out of my league, however, I was intrigued. It seemed like so much more fun than just running or lifting weights, there seemed to be an atmosphere to it, everyone seemed to be friends! After looking at the workouts I knewthere was no way I could do them, pull ups, pushups, running, hand stands, and don’t even get me started on all the abbreviations! It was like reading another language. I was still curious though because it seemed like the type of program I would like. So I googled things like “obese and crossfit”, “lose 100 pounds and crossfit” and “crossfit and weight loss”. I found a wide range of results. I remember finding a video of a girl that had lost 100 pounds CrossFitting and I was amazed, but I thought she was an anomaly and I was really impressed that her coach let her join. Let’s be honest, CrossFit has a tag line of “Forging Elite Fitness” and there is nothing elite about someone over 100 pounds overweight. A lot of what I found were suggestions of starting a diet and walking to build up stamina and lose weight before staring, so that’s what I did, and I hoped that by January 2013 I would have lost enough weight to be allowed to join CrossFit. In my heart I knew I needed more. I knew it wouldn’t last until January, diets never do for me. I finally worked up the courage to email Brittney and ask her if she thought there was any way I would be able to do the CFW bootcamp or was I too overweight and out of shape. I didn’t want to be the laughing stock or hold up everyone else. In a response that brought tears to my eyes she assured me that everyone could do it. That every exercise could be modified to any level of fitness, so I bit the bullet and signed up.
On June 4, 2012 I showed up in Waxahachie, parked my car and sat there. I was scared to death to get out of the car and seriously thought about leaving, but I really did want to change and I didn’t know how else to do it. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. So, I got out and walked up to the group. I’m quiet and introverted, at least until I’m comfortable with a group, so I was silent and I was sizing everyone up and yes, I was the fattest person there. The coaches were so friendly and welcoming and, well FUN! The first workout did me in; I thought I was going to throw up! On that day I couldn’t even run a tenth of a mile. I had to hold onto something to get up from a burpee, I couldn’t do a push up on my knees, I couldn’t do a sit up, I couldn’t lunge, but no one made me feel inadequate. They showed each move at the start of the workout as well as modifications, no one was singled out, it was just information, so I never felt like I was holding everyone up. The coaches pushed me, but in a positive way that suited my personality, encouraging me to do better and telling me I was strong, proving it to me. After two 6 week bootcamps everyone from the camp was invited to join CrossFit. I felt certain they didn’t mean me, but I was assured that EVERYONE should join, so I did.
September 4, 2012 was my first CFW 6am class and I was as afraid to walk into the gym that day as I had been 3 months earlier to go to the bootcamp. I was much more confident, I knew I could do more than I could do 3 months before and my coaches had built me up to know I was strong, but I didn’t know a soul and I was still so overweight. CrossFit is known for its community and CFW didn’t disappoint. I was immediately drawn in and made to feel a part. In the last 8 months I have learned that I’m strong, but I’ve found so many weaknesses. Sometimes they get the better of me, but most days they push me to push harder. It has now come to the point where I can’t imagine my life without CrossFit. It is the best hour of every day!
Now, about a year after starting Paleo I’ve lost 100 pounds! I still have a long way to go, but in some ways I feel the hardest part is over, and yet I know losing the rest of the weight will take more dedication and focus than the first part, but with CFW I know I can and will do it. I feel like I am finally becoming the person I always wanted to be, and I can’t wait to see who I will become as I grow more confident and stronger.
You know those annoying people on TV claiming, “If I can do it, anyone can do it”, yeah, I hate those too; however, I am one now! My mother and I own a bakery together. I truly cannot imagine a career less conducive to Paleo. It is actually my job to create new products and come up with new cupcake flavors, all day, six days a week. It has taken time to be able to completely give up sugar. Some people can jump right in, do a Whole 30 with no problem and change their lives. Not me. It has been very gradual for me, lots of slip ups, but each time I learn more and get better. The longer I stick with it the easier it gets, the better I get at living this life.
There are days I want to eat everything bad for me, days I would swear the bar was glued to the floor, days I want to just walk away and throw in the towel. However, my CFW family is always there for me. Sometimes to tell me it’s okay to step away for a day and just breathe. Other times to rein me in when I’m not focused or my head is keeping me from meeting my potential. I’ve learned to live with grace instead of a sense of failure. I have screwed up LOTS of times, but instead of thinking I’ve failed and have to start back at the beginning I give myself grace and start right back where I left off, without guilt or shame.
My perceptions of what CrossFit was were very wrong. It is much more inclusive than I ever thought it could be. You see all the videos and photos of the top athletes, overall or even just at CFW, and from the outside it seems like they wouldn’t want someone out of shape in their box. Those athletes though, have been the most encouraging and uplifting of everyone I’ve met. “Forging Elite Fitness” to me now means something different. It isn’t taking the elite and molding them, but creating athletes out of anyone who walks in the door and is willing to put in the work.