My life before I embarked on this crazy journey of healthy eating, CrossFit, and lifting all the weights was A LOT different than it is now… that’s for sure.
Flash back to the girl on the left in 2011 who was about 60lbs heavier than the girl on the right, the person I am today. I was a junior in high school, eating anything and everything, and had no clue what a balanced meal or the workout Fran was. I ate tons of processed food. I can remember going to McDonalds for 20 piece nuggets with my friends or crushing two sleeves of oreos at a time. I worked at Wawa and my daily lunch was a classic buffalo chicken cheesesteak with mac & cheese and a chocolate chip cookie. Always. Fast forward to 2012 and prom season was approaching. I remember trying on dresses with my mom and crying in the dressing room because nothing fit me and I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I was so unhappy with my body. I found this beautiful dress that had a completely open back but I knew I wouldn’t have the confidence to wear it. My mom told me that I had three months until prom… three months to start making healthier food choices and work out.
I felt determined. I set a goal to lose some of the unwanted weight so that my back would look better in my dress. So that I would feel better in my own skin. I started making better food choices and cutting out some of the processed things in my diet. I would go up into the workout area above my garage after a long day of school and work and would do an hour long zumba dvd or some type of other workout dvd. The first 30lbs melted off. After that, it was a slower process. I experiment with different types of classes at the Y, ran on the treadmill, and did some light lifting from then on.
After senior year, I went off to WCU as a freshman in college. I thought I was on the right track but picture this: typical freshman at college going out on the weekends (and some week days), eating all the food at the dining hall, crushing pints of Ben & Jerrys or eating spoonfuls of peanut butter with my roommates. I was gaining some of the weight I worked hard to get rid of back. I worked out here and there but nothing that intense. I started feeling unhappy with myself again.
Flash forward to junior year in college when I finally discovered CrossFit. The sport that changed my entire life. Once I am into something, I am 100% into it. I don’t half ass anything. I would say I have an addictive personality to an extent. If I find something I love, I let it consume me. And what better thing to let consume you than a healthy lifestyle?
My older sister started doing CrossFit while she was away at college at Temple. She told my family about it and then my dad started at a gym up by his work. He loved it so much within the first week that he decided he wanted to open his own gym in my home town since we didn’t have one local. I figured I might as well start doing it too if we were going to open our own gym so I started CrossFit in December of 2014 at CrossFit Explode. My family opened CrossFit Q in February of 2014 and I have been obsessed ever since.
Through CrossFit, I learned all about the paleo diet and became more interested in my nutrition choices. I’ve experimented with so many different eating styles/diets since then. I was probably in the 140+ lbs area when I started CrossFit. Making the decision to eat cleaner and work out 5+ days a week started working it’s magic on me. I felt better than ever and loved how much I was learning about fitness and nutrition. I went from having basically no muscle to finally seeing serious changes in my body for the first time in my life.
Senior year of college, I started the RP diet using the cut templates on my own. I became a little bit too obsessed with “clean eating” and was restricting myself from foods that I enjoyed because I thought they were “bad” for me. They weren’t “clean” or “paleo” so I should avoid them at all costs. I had already lost over 45ish (give or take) pounds at this point. I was working out more than ever. I was spending any free time I could at Explode. But I felt that my body didn’t necessarily show all the hard work I was putting in every day. With RP, I started cutting too quickly and was following the templates EXACTLY. If I was hungry, I wouldn’t eat until my template told me I could. I was sitting at probably 133lbs when I started the templates. I cut down to the lowest weight I’ve ever been, 119lbs, when I decided that I needed to rethink my goals.
I was so obsessed with getting abs and being lean. Aesthetics were becoming my only goal. I forgot why I loved CrossFit… that I loved being strong and having huge quads and lifting all the weights. My weight numbers were dropping and I was feeling weak. I could my body fat percentage tested with the BodPod and realized I was at a body fat % of 12.4. WOAH. The guy asked me what I thought my percentage was and I told him probably around 25%. Boy, was I wrong. I had already stopped getting my period at this point. I was feeling weak and I was letting food control my every thought. I was constantly thinking about macros, waiting exactly 3 hours to eat again, and avoiding enjoying a night out to eat with my roommates at all costs. I let food control my life and I wasn’t happy about it. Sure, I had abs and veins appearing in my shoulders but mentally, I wasn’t in a good place. I wasn’t able to lift heavier weights and be as competitive in CrossFit.
So, I started bulking. I was eating more than I ever thought I could and wasn’t gaining much weight. I steadily gained about 7 lbs over the next few months but still had abs. I switched to flexible dieting and that’s where I really started getting to the point where I am at now. I was enjoying foods that I loved without punishing myself. I was lifting heavier weights. I was crushing my training at the gym. I was starting to feel happy with myself again and not worrying about the scale or if I had shredded abs or when I could eat next.
I now enjoy my meals without restriction. I still count my macros and monitor my intake but in a healthier way. I am embracing the fact that I have extra skin from weight loss & I'll probably never have a six pack & be as competitive in CrossFit at the same time but am okay with that. I am focusing on bettering myself & not comparing myself to others. But I am loving myself & my body for what it's capable of and not just what it looks like! I allow myself the freedom to eat tons of broccoli, sweet potatoes, and chicken for lunch or a bagel after a work out if I feel like it. I eat for performance now, not aesthetics. My body composition has changed dramatically since I started CrossFit. I’ve gained the knowledge and experience to help others reach their goals in the health and fitness world. I wouldn’t trade any part of my journey. I’m now over 60lbs down from the sophomore in high school or the party girl freshman in college. I have never felt better about myself. I am eating more than ever and training harder than ever. I have huge dreams and goals of becoming the best athlete I can be, the strongest I can be, the healthiest I can be. I love this lifestyle and am proud of where I am today considering where I’ve been. It’s a constant journey and I’m not stopping anytime soon. We all start somewhere. We all are on our own journey. The hardest part is the decision to make that change. But it’s worth it. So, so worth it. I promise you that.
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I am passionate about creating a healthy lifestyle for myself & helping those around me.