Standing in the grocery store recently, I couldn’t help but notice the magazines and tabloids on display in the checkout line. With springtime and summer finally approaching, the latest claims on the covers read: ‘Build Your Hottest Body Ever’, ‘Steal Her Bod & Beauty Tips,’ ‘The Top 5 Workouts to Burn Crazy Amounts of Calories’ and ‘Age Proof Your Body’.
For some reason I feel like I’ve heard this all before.
Reflecting on this got me thinking…Rather than reading about the best snacks under 150 calories or how to trim the cellulite on my legs, I want to read about how to get stronger, tips for whipping up delicious Paleo grub that takes no time to prepare, or the story of the woman who took a risk and found new strength in doing so. Real stories about real things that matter—not just the pursuit of an ‘ideal’.
During the month of March, we are celebrating “Women’s Month” and, this month, we will be releasing stories highlighting amazing women within the CrossFit community and articles that address the everyday concerns of the female CrossFitter. We’ve also added a Women Only section to our website where you’ll find articles dedicated to women along with stories of strong female athletes. The CrossFit woman is a different kind of woman—and you deserve to read about more than just how to trim your thighs or how to consume 1,200 calories per day.
Do you have a story idea or suggestion? Would you like to contribute your story? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: Women Only: YOUR TITLE/SUBJECT). We would love to hear from you!
My story. My inspiration.
I was inspired to partner with BoxLife on a women’s-only section because, being a woman, the pressures I faced to be that highly coveted “ideal” was something I struggled with for years.
I have told my story once before, but for those of you who are new to BoxLife, I will share a bit—as well as an update on where I am at today. Back when I was 10-years-old, I went on a diet. It was a simple diet that I thought would be the answer to all my longings for acceptance, as well as the beauty and thinness that I saw in the magazines, TV and amongst my peer group. As a 4th grader, I was by no means an overweight child, but this diet I created for myself entailed ‘getting healthier’—cutting out all junk food and increasing my callisthenic exercises to lose about 10 pounds.
Before I knew it, that simple diet took on a life of its own, and anorexia became the identity by which I defined myself. In efforts to achieve my goal weight of 69-pounds, I went to bed nightly with my stomach growling. I tossed lunches that my mother prepared for me each day in the trashcan at school. I threw tantrums over eating the mashed potatoes or spaghetti and meat sauce on my dinner plate during family dinners. I ran endless laps around my neighborhood at 8 p.m. at night—just before my bedtime, so I could burn off any extra calories I consumed that day. I counted fat-grams obsessively aiming to eat 0-grams of fat each day.
Craziness. Pure craziness.
This cycle continued for 14 years—and took various forms. Eating nothing. Eating only grains, fruits and vegetables. Eating only Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice frozen meal products. Exercising 6-7 hours every day, chained to a Stairmaster. Sizing myself up and down in the mirror, and verbally telling myself, ‘You are ugly, fat and stupid.’ Hospitalized and sent to inpatient treatment centers more than a dozen times for ‘malnutrition’, on the brink of cardiac arrest, and in dire need of weight restoration and ultimately, freedom.
Something aside from myself took my mind, body and soul captive. I became a slave to the sole mission and purpose of being thin and “beautiful.”
I was stuck and broken.
How did I get out of it?
Nearly three years ago, during the fall of 2011, I had eight angels intervene in my life. The day before the start of my second year of graduate school, I stepped on the scale like I did every morning, only to see the number ‘79’ flash on the screen. Seventy-nine pounds at age 23—I hadn’t been that since I was in middle school, and quite honestly, it scared me.
I desired to be healthier than I was at 79-pounds, and the labored chest pains I had been experiencing lately left me to believe that something was not quite right. I remember driving to the local YMCA for my usual 4:45 a.m. arrival in order to claim my Stairmaster, and praying, “God, I pray for strength to make a change today. I don’t want to keep living like this.”
Low and behold, as I stepped out of my car upon arriving to the gym—eight ‘angels’—eight fellow acquaintances I had known in passing at the YMCA, surrounded me. They told me, ‘Lauryn, we are worried about you. We can’t keep watching you wither away and we are scared. You need help and we want to help you.’”
And just like that, prayers were answered. While it was not at all the answer I was necessarily looking for—it was the answer I needed.
The ‘angels’ drove me to a hospital where I spent nearly 4-weeks in a hospital bed and on tube feedings, before I left for a treatment center in Miami, Florida where I stayed for a little over 9-months. Although treatment was not the ‘end all, be all’ for my life-long struggle, it was a much needed time to strip me away from the day-in and day-out routine of my eating disorder.
Come nine-months later, I emerged a brand new me with a bright new future ahead…and just so happened to stumble into CrossFit when I met a local box owner and his wife at my church in Miami who were looking for help in the back office on the administration side of things.
The rest is history.
Through CrossFit I found community. I found support. I found a fitness program that was about being healthy, strong, confident and doing the ‘impossible.’ I realized the power and difference that solid nutrition and eating real foods makes in how you feel and perform.
I found freedom.
I write this today on the better side of things—no longer enslaved to those monsters in my head nor striving to be an ideal that all women are ‘supposed to be’ according to the alluring articles on the covers of those glossy magazines.
Freedom is possible, and true healthy living is so much better than any glossy magazine cover may claim is the secret to true happiness and health.