“The beauty of recovery is that everyone’s journey is their own”
My story started out as an innocent desire to lose the weight I had gained from living off of beer and taco bell throughout college. A simple diet turned into an intense, self-loathing, mental battle that would consume my life for the next two years.
In the depths of my eating disorder I was a mere 93 pounds, jumping from one cardio machine to another and lifting eight pound dumbbells. Assuring myself I was eating an adequate amount to fuel my body, it is clear to me now that inside I was starving.
For a while I was in denial. I convinced myself I was living a healthy lifestyle and others were simply jealous of my discipline. I made sure to consume what little calories I did eat in front of family and friends to assure them I was not sick. However, behind closed doors I would expend all those calories and more in order to assure I was in a caloric deficit each and every day.
Life with an eating disorder, if you can call it life, was miserable. I distanced myself from others in fear that spending time with them would lead to gaining weight. I spent hours upon hours at the gym and the rest of my time counting calories and meticulously watching my every bite. As a health-care professional I knew what I was doing was not healthy but I felt powerless, the eating disorder had become a part of me, I felt as though I couldn’t help but live that way. Friends and family confronted me with worry but I was fine, or at least that’s what I told them. My heart rate was constantly in the low 40’s, my hair became brittle and started to fall out, I was sluggish and depressed. My family watched in horror and disbelief as I slowly slipped deeper and deeper into a state of depression. The endless begging from my loved ones eventually lead me to accept that I was suffering from a severe mental illness and forced me to seek help. My dad, who was (and still is) my main support system constantly reminded me that in order to get into this eating disorder I had to utilize so much willpower and self discipline that I had to use that same strength and power in order to get out of it. Countless night I wanted to throw in the towel and give up, feeling as if there was no way I would ever come out of this, my only choices were to recover or die. I chose to recover.
I bounced between different treatment approaches but each attempt seemed futile. Cutting out exercise completely was not something I was willing to do despite recommendations. Changing the type and amount of exercise I was doing however was something I would try. I heard CrossFit Caldwell had opened up earlier in the year but was so set in my exercise routine that it wasn’t until I was truly desperate to recover that I convinced a friend to join me and tried my first class. The class was 20 minutes of Death by Kettle Bell Swings with 3 burpees on the top of every minute. The name was only fitting when I woke up the following day with soreness I had never experienced before. Running 20 + miles in a day did not prepare me for this type of workout and it was clear that I was doing something wrong.
I instantly fell in love and found myself pushing harder than I ever had before but not to be skinny, in fact, I wanted to be strong. I watched all the members persevere through every grueling work out, everyday getting stronger and faster. With time I accepted the fact that I had to eat more if I wanted to perform better. CrossFit Caldwell had a paleo potluck soon after I joined where I learned about the paleo diet and how to properly fuel my body. To say it was hard would be an understatement. The fear of gaining weight overwhelmed me but my will to perform better as a CrossFit athlete triumphed. CrossFit was the push that I needed to begin recovering. Slowly, I became stronger not only physically but mentally and emotionally.
More than the workouts or the nutrition the best part about CrossFit Caldwell has been the community. CrossFit brought me out of isolation, it opened me up to a community, a support system, a positive environment full of motivation and words of encouragement. All of the coaches at CrossFit Caldwell inspire me in different ways. Martha has showed me that I am not alone; our struggles only make us stronger in the end. Craig proved to me there is value in rest days. Through Drew I’ve learned that everyday is a gift and should be treated as such. Troy teaches me balance; ice cream once and awhile can actually be a good thing. Tierney, Matt & Frank give me the motivation I need to complete the strenuous, taxing workouts we have all come to love. It is without a doubt in my mind CrossFit Caldwell helped save my life.
My road to recovery has been far from smooth. I still struggle from time to time but it no longer consumes my every thought. I am happier, healthier and stronger than I have ever been before thanks to my wonderful family, friends and especially CrossFit Caldwell who continues to inspire me each and every day.