"Recently I posted this video on my Facebook page about finding beauty in strength with a little background on my personal struggles with finding a healthy opinion of myself and my body. The journey to get to this healthy place has been quite the long and winding road. Before getting to the place I am now, all I cared about was being thin.
I didn't care how I got there, or what I had to do to get there, I just wanted to be THIN. I gave up so much of myself, I truly lost myself on this impossible quest.
It is funny because I have always considered myself to be a pretty intelligent person, but when it came to how I perceived how I looked, I wasn't smart at all. As a distance runner being thin was expected. In high school I would go to some pretty elite meets and see the how the top runners looked, and I didn't look like them.
When I got to college, my cross country coach asked me a simple question, "Michelle, is it easier to walk with a backpack full of books or without", when I answered "without" he said, "imagine how it would feel if you ran without that 'backpack' around your waist". Come on! I was like 118/120 pounds. That was pretty lean for me!
In that sport during that time in my life, deprivation was the norm. I would be so proud of the fact that I was sustaining off of 600 calories per day. But, apparently it wasn't enough because I was carrying a 'backpack around my waist'. It's ridiculous. I would workout just to burn calories, never for enjoyment. I had to get 10 miles in a day minimum, and I hated every step!
Here's the reality as it pertains to exercise and Fitness, when your motivation to workout is fueled by unrealistic goals, it is not sustainable. I burned out. I stopped running, I stopped working out, I stopped paying attention to what I was eating and I gained weight. I gained a pretty significant amount of weight. At my most unhealthy thin weight my sister saw me without a shirt on she said she could see every rib...I was proud of that.
When I began CrossFit in late 2011, I was at my heaviest. Initially, I was motivated to CrossFit strictly to lose weight. Fortunately, over the past 4.5 years, my motivation has changed, which is why I'm still here!
I no longer look to the scale for validation. I no longer workout to burn calories. I no longer count calories. I have the most healthy opinion of myself that I ever have. Yes, there are still times that I feel insecure about how I look, but for the most part I really like what I see. When I have an insecure moment, I remind myself that I work hard to have the body that I do, and I should be proud. When I focus on how hard I work and how much I love what I do, my attitude changes. I go to the box because I WANT to be there. I WANT to push myself. I WANT to see what my body can do. Working out is entirely different for me now. I ask my body to do a lot, and I know that if I want to keep getting better at Fitness, I HAVE to intake fuel/food! I make jokes about how I feel like I am constantly eating, but it's kind of true! And I'm more than ok with that. I make mostly healthy decisions when it comes to nutrition, but I have allowances for things like my (almost) weekly frozen yogurt.
I realize now that it truly is all about balance. CrossFit has allowed me to look at my body in an entirely different way. I love what my body can do, and I love what I see.
I LOVE that I have found my own Beauty in Strength and can only hope that I am able to help others do the same!"