Over the next weeks, I am going to share with you insights from some of the most inspiring women I know that are heavily into health and fitness. These women have all figured out what works for them, their bodies, and have overcome mental and physical challenges. My hope is that you find someone you identify with, pick up on a helpful nugget of information and are overall inspired to be a healthier individual through their trials, failures, and successes.
Week 3: Bethany the former Skinny Girl
Growing up, I was always the skinny girl. I never worried about what I ate because I couldn’t gain weight if I wanted to. I was active and involved in sports through high school and was lucky enough to play D2 volleyball in
college, where I was very successful and had a great time.
The college lifestyle made me more familiar with junk food and alcohol than I would like to admit, and with that (though I never noticed until a few years ago) my body composition changed quite a bit…especially when my collegiate athletic run was up. I gained weight and was not as lean as I used to be. For some reason, I didn’t process the fact that drinking 3 days a week (sugary mixers and cheap vodka) and indulging in fast food at 2 a.m. on weekends was extremely unhealthy and that even the “skinny girl” could fluff up.
I knew I was not in the shape I once was and wanted to do something about it, but I made some mistakes when I tried to lose weight and followed some STUPID fad diets. One in particular, I boiled a bunch of vegetables to make a “magic” cabbage stew that was supposed to replace my lunches and dinners for 7 days…. a quick fix to lose 10 pounds or something ridiculous like that. What did that leave me with? No weight loss, an active appetite, a bloated belly, and a bad attitude. Another one I will never forget trying was the Special K diet – I was to eat Special K for breakfast and supplement meals and snacks with their snack bars and protein shakes. I had no energy and could barely get through any workouts without wanting to pass out. I did lose weight very quickly then but only because I was starving myself, then gained it all back when I couldn’t sustain that any longer.
I used the Rec facility on campus to get my workouts in. I did the same thing every time I went and it was so boring to me. Not to mention, I did not see many results. My attitude about working out was that I had to because of the food that I ate that day. I felt so guilty and I had to work out. A vivid memory from my past which reminds me how self-conscious I really was: when I would eat food, I thought I could literally feel cellulite collecting all over my body. I would stare at my flaws in the mirror regularly and picked myself apart on the daily.
The months leading up to my move to the Twin Cities, I was going through a horribly unhealthy relationship. This guy made me extremely self-conscious and uncomfortable in my own skin. He wanted to “fatten me up” because he was into bigger girls. As naive as I was then, I was willing to do whatever for this relationship. If he wanted my
body a certain way, I started to eat more and gain weight. WHAT?!?!?! Worst life decision I have made. I knew something had to change. I thank God every day that things did not work out with him because that was what lead me to Minneapolis and two of the most important things in my life – my fiancé and CrossFit.
I had done some research because some friends on my social media pages were doing this crazy CrossFit stuff and I randomly found Timberwolf CrossFit online. A week after I had made the move, I tried it out and fell in love. I loved the competitive atmosphere from the get-go; being a college athlete and having a love for athletics in general, it came easy to me to compete and to be better and better. Not against anyone else, but against the old me.
Never did I think I could clean 200 lbs or complete insane “Hero Workouts” or do muscle ups or strict handstand push-ups, but every year I continue to conquer fears and improve. I met my fiancé at the gym and all 3 years that we have been dating, the gym has been a hobby and priority for the both of us. He holds me accountable and we make each other better every day.
CrossFit has made me SO much more confident in myself and has changed my lifestyle in the greatest way possible. I used to care about what I ate and I would workout because I felt like I had to because of what went in my mouth. Now I workout because it is FUN and IMPORTANT to me. I do it because I WANT to. Not because I “have to”. I eat what I want because of my metabolism and because my body is constantly burning calories due to the intensity of my workouts. I enjoy the burger and the pizza and the ice cream every now and then and eat the chicken and beef and veggies, and rice, etc. every week because I know the benefits.
When I left college, I was 160 lbs and probably 22% body fat. Today, I am 145 lbs (consistently for the last year) and roughly 8-10% body fat. I am not doing anything crazy with my diet, but I workout 5-6 times a week. It is my favorite thing to do in my spare time and it is something I plan to do for as long as I can. The best thing that CF has brought to me (besides the man of my dreams) is the confidence, self-esteem, and greatly improved mental health!
Check out Bethany on Instagram!
Did you miss Week 2? Check out Anne the Ex-Collegiate Athlete’s take on health!