|Guest post by Autumn Christmas
The other day I was reading through an old journal I used when I was going through treatment for my eating disorder. On a page I read, “Try to find a CrossFit gym?” listed as an option to pick from the next time I felt like binging or purging.
Now, four years later, I smile when I read that. I smile because CrossFit saved my life.
I know, I know I am not alone when I say this, but it truly saved my mental and physical health. Here are six things I’ve learned since that day in 2015 when, scared and desperate, I tried CrossFit.
- Food is fuel. I quickly realized that fitness was not compatible with my ridiculously restrictive diet habits. I educated myself more about healthy eating and began to see the healthy relationship between food and fitness. I taught myself how to see food as fuel. This was very difficult.
- My body is strong and capable. Instead of glorifying stick-thin, I was now looking at women that were big, strong and most of all, capable. My mindset shifted from what my body looks like to what my body can actually do, and I learned that it can do so, so much.
- Exercise is not punishment. As my mindset shifted from what my body looks like to what my body can do, many changes followed. I no longer worked out as a punishment for what I had previously eaten. It was no longer a transactional relationship, but instead a directly correlated one. I wasn’t dragging myself to the gym anymore. Instead, I was optimistic and eager to improve, determined to stay accountable to my new friends.
- I found a community. In CrossFit, I found a family I knew I could count on and talk to about anything, many of the females going through a similar mental battle with body image. I found people I could talk to about my addictions, depression and anxiety without judgment. These people supported me and lifted me up, wanting better for me and believing in me even when I was overflowing with self-doubt.
- It’s not all about me. Throughout the years I have seen this community do unbelievable things, whether it’s coming together to do an annual memorial WOD, or raising hundreds of dollars to show support for a member’s family that was affected by cancer.
- It is not all about the expensive shoes, knee sleeves, excessive amounts of workout clothes and protein. CrossFit is about pushing yourself to become the best version of yourself or at least a better person than you were the day before. It teaches you patience through lifts and technique as well as grit through grueling hour-long workouts. It proves to you that you are capable of anything you put your mind to. In the end it saved my life because CrossFit taught me to never give up on myself.