I never looked like the other girls in my ballet class growing up.
I was always bigger—bigger legs, bigger arms: bigger everything.
I never looked like the girls in my Seventeen Magazine. I was an overweight child who went right from being overweight into sports. From overweight to “athletic,” which I always thought was people’s nice way of saying I was fat.
Back then, I equated looking different with not belonging.
Looking different was the reason I wasn’t as popular, and also the reason I didn’t have a boyfriend. I needed to look like the other girls in order to be okay: in order to be happy and to belong. This lead to diet after diet, and an addiction to the elliptical machine all with the goal to be skinny and to look like everyone else (or what I thought everyone else looked like, or wanted to look like.)
The diets never changed my body.
The constant cardio never changed my body.
In fact, no matter how hard I tried—no matter how hard I dieted or how many calories I burned on the Stairmaster—my body never really changed.
It wasn’t until I found Crossfit and heavy weightlifting that my body started to change.
Not only my body, but, more importantly, how I felt about my body and what goals motivated me. After starting Crossfit, I was more interested in how much I could squat than how many calories I burned or what pant size I wore. I began to eat to fuel my body instead of not eating to punish myself for not looking a certain way.
Here are 5 ways that Crossfit will help you embrace your shape and start to love your body:
1. Your focus will change from your weight to your strength. I can pretty much guarantee that once you pick up that barbell, you’ll fall in love with lifting heavy things. You’ll have a fever and the only RX is heavy lifting. Striving to life heavier, and eating to support strength gains, will supplant your weight loss goals.
2. You’ll be surrounded by other women with similar goals. Community support is one of my favorite things about joining a Crossfit box. Making friends with women with similar goals to get strong and be healthy will only help you embrace your shape and start loving your body for what it allows you to do instead of focusing 100% on what you look like.
3. Your body will continually surprise you. Crossfit is constantly challenging your body. With constant challenges come constant surprises: you will find your body doing things that you never thought possible.
4. You’ll start to look at your body differently. Your body will become a valued tool that allows you to move the way you love: a tool that supports you and surprises you. You’ll be proud of your accomplishments and you’ll nurture and nourish your body as the vessel that got you to where you are.
5. The weight on the scale won’t matter as much. What does the weight on the scale mean anyway? It’s not an accurate measure of your health or your worth. Once you start lifting heavy weights and loving the shape of your body, the weight on the scale won’t matter. Muscle weighs more than fat, and it is possible to gain weight while losing size. But who cares if you’re gaining healthy muscle that helps you do the things that you love?
Now, this isn’t to say that Crossfit will cure all of your body issues,
but for me, it opened the door to thinking about my body differently.
As a holistic health counselor, my passion is working with women to create a carefree relationship with food and to change the way they view their body. Movement in any form– from running to walking to heavy lifting– can help cultivate more positive feelings toward your body.
Crossfit helped me embrace my shape: I finally see the value to being “athletic.”
I no longer think of my body as something that needs to be changed to fit my old, imaginary idea of beautiful. I think of my body as a strong, constantly amazing vessel to be nurtured and nourished: as a tool that allows me to live my life the way I want and to be happy and content.