So many women (and men) spend their free time running from GUILT - chasing PERFECTION - but never finding satisfaction. This is a great story of finding STRENGTH (internal and external) and POWER and escaping the prison walls created by our minds!
As you read Erin's story, take a minute to ask yourself WHY you spend your time/day the way you do?
Erin's journey in pictures:
LEFT: 1997 - swam 4-5x week for fun and ate donuts every morning, 135 lbs. No worries!
TOP MIDDLE: 2001 - ran 70-100 miles/week, felt guilty eating anything, 126 lbs. Sacred of food.
BOTTOM MIDDLE: 2004 - ran 20-25 miles/week, better with food, still a little leery (my face says it all), 135 lbs.
RIGHT: 2014 - Crossfit 2-3x week, swim/bike/row/run 2-3x week, I eat to keep up with myself and see food as a helpful tool in the way I feel, 146 lbs.
Erin's journey in words:
I spent my childhood unaware of my body and other people’s perceptions of said bodies. It was never a topic in my circle, or in my thoughts. Until the College Dorm room became my place of residence. Damn you college dorm full of girly girls with nothing better to talk about other than soap operas and fat they were – as they sat eating rice cakes with ketchup in their size 2 pants. I wore a 6-8 freshman year of college which HAD to mean I was fat. In walked what I now call a false awareness created by my environment (which is often inevitable) in part and by ME in part. Deadly – or not ideal – combo. Unpreparedness swims like a shark circling prey in my head since those dorm days, waiting to attack what was at one time unabashed confidence. Vocabulary and misconceptions shadowed that strength somehow.
I remember getting REALLY mad at a beautiful and teeny tiny friend of mine for talking about how fat she was. She seriously wore a 0 (ZERO). I got so angry at her as my size 4-6 hips and thighs cowered in shame of obviously being fat. I screamed at her just as loud as I screamed to myself to STOP talking to herself like that and it was so stupid and annoying. I digress…my attempt to quite the voice of fatness in my head – I have since run thousands of miles. To get where? To still feeling fat or not quite there...yes.
Today I seek a true awareness – which comes to me in my heart and mind, as I sit, lie, or stand in a space with no mirrors asking myself if I did my best.
I think about the days when I ‘dieted’ – avoiding fatty foods, the basket of beloved chips at the beloved Mexican joint and logging endless miles.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE RUNNING. But not running out of guilt. And don’t get me wrong. I LOVE FOOD. And I love NOT eating certain foods that I believe are not good for me. But not denying myself foods out of guilt that are OK for me, just need to be moderated. I love food, just like I love running.
Balancing those things, partaking in them with the right frame of mind is the nirvana. Running and dieting controlled my waistline and thigh gap from 1998 – 2010ish. Constantly working to get skinny. Guess what – I never felt skinny. I was failing myself for 12 years. Ha – but not ha! Oh wait – I think I felt skinny for a stint in college when I was running 70-100 miles a week with awful nutrition habits.
I am pretty sure I was no happier then than at 5 pounds heavier. I weighed between 128-131lbs. size 4 then, always working towards 125lbs. It was work that never ended. Now I sit at 144-148lb, and am still a size 4.
Crossfit happened. Timid towards the idea at first – knowing my thighs would explode and my broad shoulders would just…get broader. However, I fell in love with the support of the community and coaches and never looked back in regard to my thighs and shoulders.
2015 I’m driving home from a good ole hour of work at Crossfit Central, feeling accomplished, strong, and just plain great. Then I had a thought that made me laugh, exhale the past, appreciate and enjoy a just being. I thought to myself, “Geez, being STRONG is way easier than being SKINNY.” The work I put into being skinny was exhausting offering little reward. The work I put into Crossfit (or being strong) is empowering with great reward. When I say work here, I am referring to the mental aspect of work – encompassing the rewards and efforts the brain encounters. Plain and simple; pick it up, put it down; and viola – I have accomplished something that makes all those things in your brain release into your body that just make you feel good. And all that “good” swimming around in your body makes everything else that much better. And running is now a bonus, with no guilt in my stride. And I think this is a good thing.