I am not a natural athlete. Athletics have never come easy to me, and although I played sports as a child, nothing really stuck and I was always “the fat kid”. My mum is a chef so our meals were always homemade and healthy, and our screen time was limited. But cakes and other treats made regular appearances. My sister and three brothers never had a weight issue, and that never escaped my attention.
I can still remember the day my mum sat me down for a chat around age 9 or 10. It was my first memory of weight being an issue, and although I know without a doubt my mum care about my health, I still remember being ashamed and embarrassed by it. We had a few of these talks over the years, but nothing ever changed. I was big, I had always been big, and I didn’t know anything different.
I don’t remember being put on diets, but I do recall sneaking food when no one was around so I wouldn’t be judged. This went on until I was nearly 20. At that time, I took great pride in the 1-2 hours I spent in the gym most days, and I did make an effort to eat healthily. I was the healthiest and fittest I had ever been, but the scale wasn’t budging. I was learning to accept who I was, and I realized it was possible to be healthy without necessarily being at my “ideal weight”.
In mid-2010, my life took a sharp turn. In the midst of some family stress that was finally beginning to settle down, my youngest brother tragically passed away. Things changed for me, and I was not the same healthy person I had been just a few months earlier. In early 2011 I tore my ACL during a ski trip, resulting in surgery and a long recovery. By the fall, I was 21, weighed 96.6 kg (213 lb), and was listening to a doctor tell me, “there’s a reason you’re as big as you are.” I knew I needed to get my act together for the sake of my health.
I changed my diet, primarily by eating smaller portions, and found Crossfit. I started training with a friend who is a personal trainer and L1 certified coach. At the beginning, my skills and strength were pretty limited. I did burpees on a step or bench because I couldn’t get down to the floor and back up fast enough for them to be effective. I was embarrassed about how much I couldn’t do, and I worked harder to prove I could do the movements (no matter what the scale or my dress size said). I gradually worked up to 4 sessions a week, and had found something I enjoyed and was good at. The combination of this increased activity with paying closer attention to my diet got the scale moving. This motivated me to stay on track, building the foundation for a new, more balanced lifestyle.
#FlashbackFriday (because it’s Friday in Australia 😉) to the time coach @jordymmils got her first ring muscle ups!! Hard…
We all have those moments in life when we say, “that’s when things changed for me”, whether they’re good changes or not-so-good changes. For me, that happened in 2011 and life is very different for me now. I’m 27, I weigh 67 kg (148 lb) and I’m in complete control of my health. I do Crossfit 6 days a week, usually for 2-3 hours per day, and I have never felt healthier, fitter, or stronger. I’ve learned how to balance a healthy diet and still eat the foods I love. In the beginning, losing weight was my goal. But it quickly became just a side effect to my new-found love of living a healthier life.
I still find it funny, at times, to think of myself as an “athlete”. It takes time to really change the way you saw yourself for the first two decades of life! About 18 months ago, I had a moment where I fully realised how much my life had changed for the better. I was in Minneapolis to compete at the Granite Games in the RX team division. I posted a picture of our team online, and my dad commented, “I never thought one of my kids would grow up to be an athlete!” His comment touched me and made me incredibly proud of how far I’ve come.