I have struggled with my weight my whole life. I remember trying to lose weight in high school because I wanted to fit into a pretty dress for school dances or because I felt the pressure of society telling me I should want to lose weight. Even during my internship after high school I tried to get into running or eating “healthier” because I thought it was what I “should” do. Until Pizza or Oreo night. Let’s be real – sharing a dorm room with 5 other girls it was basically a hormonal food binge all year.
The truth is I have always had a great level of confidence. I have always been surrounded by people who love me the way I am and make me feel beautiful and special regardless of my size. Have I had my fair share of dressing room frustrations? Sure. I may not have been super proud of my body, but I never was made to feel ashamed of it. I was happy with who I was.
I have been blessed to have found an amazing man who has loved me from the beginning- not just “despite my size” but really even because of my size. What?! He likes women with curves! HA. Like I said, I’ve always had confidence and that was a big selling point for him. It was a whirlwind courtship, engagement, and marriage. We were both blissfully happy to have found each other. I felt loved and accepted for who I am. Then it came time to start talking about starting a family. We were young and relatively healthy so we figured it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong. We went through 8 months of “trying” – Which, I know is nothing compared to what some people go through. But every month we didn’t get pregnant I felt more and more guilty. Was my weight the problem? This is all my fault was the thought that took residence in my mind. If I didn’t eat so much, I wouldn’t be this big. If I wasn’t this big we could get pregnant easier. So, I jumped back on the weight loss bandwagon. I joined weight watchers and lost about 5lbs. 195 was the lowest I got. But then it stopped working, or I stopped working it. I found out I had Hashimoto’s and thought finally, a reason! I was put on medication and expected the pounds to just melt away on their own. Instead – I got pregnant. When I found out I was pregnant I weighed in at 207 and could barely fit in my Size 18 jeans.
I was so excited to find out we were pregnant. Those 10 blissful months went by in waves of boneless buffalo wings, gallons of ice cream, and boxes upon boxes of mac and cheese. Delivery day came and I weighed in at 250lbs.
While that was a lot of baby, there was a lot that wasn’t baby.
When she was born I was in another state of bliss. The tired, hormonal, eat when I can and try to survive bliss. I ignored the fact that I gained nearly 50lbs when I was pregnant with this little 7lb bundle of joy. those extra 40+lbs weren’t going away on their own. Around her 2 month check up I was somewhere around 24olbs. Then came Easter. The day I would find my why.
If you have read the story of my health journey you know it was this family picture that would become the springboard my a-ha moment:
I was unhappy and unhealthy. I was learning to manage my thyroid disease and a newborn. I knew that I needed to get healthy. My family has a horrible history of heart health (both grandmothers dying in their 50s-60s due to heart disease, my dad getting a pacemaker when he was 36…) and suddenly seeing this picture made it all click. I found my why. Because I wanted to be healthy for my family. I couldn’t imagine my daughter losing her mom because I didn’t want to eat healthy and exercise. For the longest time I said I was happy with myself, and I was, but I was also selfish for not wanting to make the changes I needed to be the healthiest me for my family. I may have been happy now, but my family wouldn’t be happy if I got sick… or worse… because of my poor life choices.
So I began my journey. That was 3 years ago. Since then my why has changed many times. I’ve been able to get to the healthiest I’ve ever been, but I’ve also found my passion. I enjoy working out. I eat healthy because I respect my body and want to fuel it properly. Now I’m looking more to performance and competition as my “why” when it comes to CrossFit. Since I started CrossFit majorly overweight I’ve had to overcome a lot of stereotypes of “the big girl” – and while I’ve had plenty of people support and encourage me there have been a few that have made light of my desire to compete. And you know what? It makes me even better. Even if I have 100 people telling me I can, all it takes for me to do it is for 1 person to tell me I can’t.
No, I may not be the smallest… strongest… fastest… or the best… but I leave it all out there. Today I hit a goal I set at the beginning of the year… a 500lb CrossFit Total (Made up of your Back Squat, Shoulder Press, and Deadlift). I set a 20lb Personal record on the Deadlift, something I’ve been working hard for.
This weekend I’ll be competing in my first CrossFit competition. I don’t know how I’ll do. But I do know I’ll give it my all regardless. I’ve found my Why and that is what keeps me going day after day. I want to be a healthy mom and wife first – but I want to be a competitor second.
What’s your Why?