I grew up in Louisiana in a loving, happy home with a focus on food at every occasion. I didn’t exercise or play sports — in fact, I dreaded being active and/or outside for any reason. I developed an unhealthy emotional attachment to food early on, and often hid food and/or binged as a mechanism for dealing with stress.
As I got older, my love/hate relationship with food got worse and my weight continued to fluctuate. I didn’t like what I looked like and experimented with lots of short-term and fad dieting. I did Weight Watchers, fasts, Atkins, Slim Fast, pre-op, post-op, and protein bar-based diets. Again, fitness was not in the picture — my weight loss plans were always focused around food.
By 2007, I was 22 years old, 5’4, and almost 200 pounds. I wore a size 18. That spring, my friend Fran came to visit. About a week later, she sent me a care package. In the box was a mixed CD and a pair of Nike running shorts. The CD insert was a picture of me from her visit, but when I took it out of the box, I literally did not recognize myself. The enclosed note suggested I try running. I was mortified. I cried for about 3 days.
On the 4th day, I Googled “running.”
I started running using the Couch to 5K program I found online that day, cut my calories back, and stuck with it. I slept better, I looked better, and for the first time in my entire adult life, I felt like I was strong. I became more driven, more focused, and more competitive. I was starting to feel like a different person.
As often happens when people take ownership of their lives, the change in my fitness was a catalyst for a lot of other changes in my life — I asked for a divorce, I moved back to the city I loved, and I made a career change. Eventually I could run a few miles without stopping and was surprised to find out that I was actually fast!
In 2011, I joined my first bootcamp and ran my first 10K. When I joined my first CrossFit Central class in June 2011, I experienced yet another transformation — accepting that I am an athlete! Today, I’m almost 80 pounds lighter and so much stronger than I ever thought I could be. At least 3x/week, I’m up at 5:30am training with some of the fittest and most inspiring women in the country. Every WOD is a mental and physical challenge for me — I’m hooked!
I believe that one of my true purposes is to be a supporter and motivator for those who do not see fitness as an attainable goal. I still struggle with binges, but at the end of the day, I am a happier and more fulfilled person because I am pursuing fitness. CrossFit specifically has been such an empowering and uplifting experience for me that I feel obligated to share my story. If I can transition from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one, anyone can!