Monday, November 29, 2010
For most of my life I have been a prisoner in my own body, jailed by my own limitations which I depressingly tried to hide. Although I had a happy childhood, I was a sickly kid who often sat on the sidelines. My chronic ear infections led to multiple surgeries then permanent damage, and my poor eating habits and inactivity led to early obesity. By the time I was in middle school, I was watching my diet and struggling with the roller coaster of weigh loss that would haunt me till this last year.
I remember so many occasions where my poor health and fitness kept me from feeling part of a group. I couldn’t climb a tree like my playmates, the yearly Presidential Fitness Test was a source of shame, and the dresses I wanted to wear to the dance didn’t fit me. I labeled myself anything and everything but athletic. I was a musician, a writer, the academic, and everyone’s helper.
My family suffered as I did and we did what we could to not be victims of our own health. Whether it was group focused weigh loss programs, shakes, books, and everything conventional or not, we tried it. We would temporarily succeed and the scale would move back and forth till I left home. The one thing I never tried was to give myself the label of being ‘fit’. I went off the college and got married. Went through some life struggles and did what I could to make the most of what I thought I could do.
Then a little over a year ago, everything changed. My beloved father, who I am almost exactly like in work ethic and humor, got mysteriously ill. We knew and dealt with his heart problems since I was little, but this was different. And then the story gets hard to talk about. After being referred to the Mayo Clinic and having this incredible fear of the unknown, I made the decision to take advantage of my potential. I no longer wanted to waste my life. If I was lucky enough to be able walk, why not run? If I could lift my arms, why not get strong?
My dad’s kidney’s failed after he came back from the clinic in Jacksonville. And he stopped responding to my voice in ICU several days later. The family was called from out of town and his best friend was planning for his services. However, we are fighters in my family. And he did. And after several close calls and over three months in the hospital he finally came home. During this time, I started running and counting calories like I done before, desperate to be tough enough to handle the stress his diagnosis, a rare auto-immune disorder. Luckily, I had the support of my office and husband who wanted the same for me.
Right before that summer, I got on a scale for the first time in years. 209lb. I was a size 18. At my heaviest I was a size 22W and I had never been below a size 12. I was always tired, had a hard time waking up and going to sleep. Health wise, I was a mess. I was always sick, colds would turn into monsters that would take me out for weeks. My family doctor confirmed my high risk for heart disease and diabetes. My hormones were off, and I feared never being able to have children. It was my prison, my body.
After I made the decision to take control of my health, all I needed were the tools. I was struggling with running, the shin splits and hip aches didn’t stop me, but I was clearly doing something wrong. Luckily, I had a dear friend, Eva, who I worked with and had recently had her own transformation. She said ‘Heather, Crossfit is made for you, just sign up’. And for months I dragged my feet, a bit intimated and thinking I had to get fit for the program. She was persistent, and I am thankful for that! I finally emailed Shanna at Crossfit Asheville and signed up for Feburary 2010 OnRamp. It was the best decision I ever made.
So excited, and unnecessarily nervous, I started to do what I do best, research. Eva was eating Paleo diet which was explained on the Crossfit Asheville’s website. I followed their links to Cordain’s website, where the testimonials mirrored my own gut, allergy and weight problems. I read books like ‘The Primal Blueprint’ by Mark Sisson and ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ by Gary Taubes, and I knew I found the answer. I cut out grains and sugar. I immediately felt better. My energy skyrocketed and my constant stomach problems subsided. By the time I came in for my evaluation with Coach Corey, I had lost 15 pounds.
During that first visit to the gym I was inspired by the other members working out. Every age group and fitness level was represented and what they were doing was flat out impressive. Each doing the same workout, but scaled to their individual fitness levels. They were cheering each other on and there was a sense of community, representing Asheville as it should.
I should tell you, my first day of OnRamp was a real eye-opener to how unfit I was, even with all my ‘training’ for crossfit. I was trying hard and at my lowest moment, right when I needed the support, Shanna got down on the floor while I was trying to do pushups and said ‘remember this moment, there is no better starting point’. And she was right, and my mantra was born: Nowhere to go but up. I vowed to myself to keep coming back.
Inspired and excited that I could only get better, I decided to go strict with my clean eating (Meat, Veggies, Nuts, Seeds, some Fruit), including no drinking for 90 days to really test the lifestyle. I cannot stress enough how easy it was and how much the benefits made the switch worth it. I went from a size 16 to a 10 by the summer. My skin cleared up, my eyes brighten, and for the first time in my life I had no allergies. The strength I gained was not just physical. I was far from confident before I started working out at CFA. I gained poise that I didn’t know I had. With that, I was able to overcome obstacles at work, and I earned a major promotion putting me at the top of my field at a young age. That self-assurance led me to travel oversees by myself for the first time. That adventure showed me that being fit meant living a better quality of life. I could lug around my bags across Spain, climb fortresses, hike for miles and miles and enjoy every moment without being winded or exhausted.
A year ago this month, I contacted Crossfit Asheville and my life has changed completely because of it. I am now in the 130s for the first time in my adult life and I fit into a size 4/6. While most people comment on how different I look, what I am most grateful for is how I feel. I am not a prisoner anymore. I am strong enough emotionally to be there for my family, I am capable of tackling and succeeding at a high stress job, and I am fit enough to experience the world the way I always dreamt I would.
The coaches at Crossfit Asheville are truly salt of the earth. , and my fellow crossfitters are my family. They have cheered me on, held me accountable for my actions and been the foundation for all my successes this last year. I am forever grateful.
Forever grateful CFA!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
So, what is with all this excitement!? New job, new adventures planned, new body and face, new friends, everything is brand spanking new. Every day is an overload of 'to dos' and 'to plans' and 'to buys' Nothing feels constant, just yet! A full life. Yep. Remember that. Thats what I wanted.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Today has been fun for me. The office was closed to celebrate the day after the 4th of July and the only 'must' I had to do was head into Crossfit Asheville for 'Fight Gone Bad'. A workout of box jumps, sumo deadlift high pulls, rowing, wall balls, and push presses. Justin came too, and it was the first time he has seen me workout, or as he says 'really workout' since he has seen me in a regular ol gym before, going nowhere on an treadmill.
For you guys that know my husband, you know him as the polite, sweet, supportive man that will gladly leave the table at a dinner party to fix a broken car door or to help man the kitchen because everyone else is sloshed. And a lucky few know him as the wise, humble man who has a lifetime of tragedies and victories in a few short years. To me, he is my life witness. He has watched me grow from a teenager without a clue, to a lazy military wife, a 3 job holding caretaker, to a stressed unhealthy real estate agent, to now... it was nice to see him cheering me on today. My ultimate witness.
So here is my cheers to him. Just a little one because he doesnt like alot of hooplah. Thanks for cooking Paleo for me without complaint, listening to me ramble on about weightlifting, telling me i look amazing when I stand in front of the mirror wondering why my belly is really the last to go, and for calming me down when the day has killed my spirit. You will make a great father (one day, mom!) as well as be a champ in the delivery room, and for the 9 months before. You are the most helpful person I know, which is what has bonded us from the beginning. You are a hero to my family and me. Thanks for looking up medical questions in the middle of the night, thanks for driving, thanks for feeding us, thanks for making us sane. And for changing my oil in the heat while I type this away in front of a fan. I adore you.
So that was on my mind. Which is nice.
I have been very fortunate lately with my work, earned a promotion, and with that I am researching methods to properly handle the stress which is inevitable with the position. Coach Corey has been mentioning different breathing techniques he is going to review with us, and I have been religious about my exercise, diet and sleep patterns. So it will only get better with practice. Exhale.
But I suppose stress always comes with change of position. I just want to be damn good at my job.
In Paleo lifestyle news, my face is finally clearing up. After suffering from acne since being a pre-teen and trying every system, lotions, natural or not. The solution? Nothing but water.
A month or so ago I came across an article on http://www.marksdailyapple.com/ about acne. Here is the link for you. At this point, when I came across the read, I was damn frustrated with my skin. The Paleo diet was suppose to clear my face.. but I still had teenage like breakouts. My skin glowed, and my eyes were clear, but those spots... a friend even bought me proactive several months back, which would work for about a month then it relapsed. So I thought, what the hell do I have to lose??
I stopped using any products to clean my face. I use mineral power to hide what is holding on but my skin is about 90% better than a month ago. I just bought fish oil and b12 to tweak my nutrients, and I feel hopeful for the first time about my skin. My pale, creamy skin that shows my life from birth to death... it hides nothing, all my decisions, what I eat, when I get bites, when I fall, when I gain and lose weight.
So, the plan? To continue! Although it is weird to wash everything in the shower but my face... Should I stop washing my hair too?! People have, and swear by it. But as Justin says, you cant be a dirty hippie and a Broker In Charge (apparently it takes a month for your hair's natural oils to regulate themselves).
I agree. I have stop using conditioner and my hair is soft and full of life. Alot of personal information here people!
Well, this was a pretty 'chick' blog post... next post: music! My ideal mix tape for crossfit and how I must make it for my coaches, as a thank you.
Keep keeping on, people.