I joined and quit Crossfit (for the second time in my life) last month. My previous stint was two plus years, this one: 3.5 weeks. Now, before I get hate mail from Crossfit lovers, please know this, I appreciate Crossfit, I understand its premise, and I do believe it can work for many, just not for me. I suppose the bigger issue is why I joined; because I thought somehow, if I just pushed harder, I could conquer my body once and for all.
I grew up chubby, I solved that problem by finding anorexia in my teens, not surprisingly adding a few more problems along the way like loss of cycle and malnutrition. Over time, I trended away from the restrictive eating of my teens, into more logical patterns like veganism (not done well) and vegetarianism back to omnivorous consumption and around again. I vacillated between being obsessive and totally lax. As per the custom of American women, I somehow effortlessly lost about 40 pounds before getting married, marveling at how the seamstress had to keep taking in my wedding dress up to the day of the ceremony. Of course, I got pregnant with my first child about 1 month later and started gaining.
I have had 3 children, and after each, the “battle” to lose weight became more and more and more. I have through the years continued to have the same conversation with myself: If I eat so clean why do I struggle so much? Followed by maybe it is time to stop struggling and let what will be, be, followed by screw that, I want to be one of those really hot mom’s at the pool, I just need the perfect exercise, more supplements/herbs/vitamins and a really strict diet and it will be all right.
When I went back to Crossfit this time, it was for a boot camp: less weights, few complicated movements and lots of cardio. I got drawn back in, into calorie counting, diet evaluation: “maybe zone would be better for me, perhaps I should try paleo again”never mind the two years I didn’t eat carbs and never slept, was up all night peeing, was angry often and also didn’t lose weight. I was drawn back into a headspace of just work harder, push harder, forget the fatigue, muscle soreness, the way running in the dark around an industrial building makes you feel unsafe and as if you were going to trip any moment. Forget the swelling in your knees, ankles, the fact your Chiropractor can’t even adjust you because your spine is so locked down, forget that you are seeking massage not for pleasure but for pain management, forget that for the first time in years, you just took a Tylenol.
Then, my back went out, and I was stuck on the couch in pain, not moving, and feeling the familiar sensations of injury creeping back once again. It was like a rewind of all the times I had pushed myself to move not because movement was medicine, but because the little voice in the background was saying: you just aren’t dedicated enough, you just haven’t tried hard enough, you are too focused on the pain.
I started to ask myself: Why did I really go back? The real answer wasn’t weight loss, it wasn’t fitting into skinny jeans, it was feeling young in movement, body and muscle, it was feeling physically responsive and agile and nourished. Nothing I had been doing in the previous 3 weeks had made me feel this way, if anything, I felt rigid, off balance, and stuck. So, I stopped, and then I began to heal.
It took a month to unwind what had been wound up again: a month where I still cajoled myself to move because if I didn’t I was going to be fat forever, a month where I wondered if not that, then what? But I noticed a few weeks ago, an urging to move because with movement by body felt free flowing and open, an urge to move because movement spurred clean energy, an urge to move out of love for my physical self, my cells, my muscle and my organs.
This story has been playing so long in my life, when I started with my first DNA Activation, one of the things on my priority list of what it would mean to heal was restoration to my metabolism such that maintaining a good weight would be an effortless process. I think back to the me that wrote that and I hug her, for despite needing to heal from anger, and sadness, from a sense of fear, from needing to heal my relationships, to be more present as a mother, I was looking at my outside and telling my beautiful miracle of a body it was not enough.
Healing often isn’t what we thought it was going to be, I am reminded of that daily in the people I sit with, in the stories I hear, in the life I live. That place where we change our perspective from an outside-in model to an inside-out one is precious and profound. Funny thing is, we won’t just do it once, we will do it repeatedly, tiny shifts in perception, barely noticeable to the outside world at first, a subtle return of compassion and joy, tolerance, flexibility, ease, movement, acceptance and truth.
I am grateful for the me that walked into the Crossfit gym in October, and for the one who listened to my body when it said ENOUGH! Perhaps this is the year, when more of us find our inside voices, and traverse the chasms separating us from the truth speaking always, and find inside a resilient resonance unlike any we have heard before, and allow that to propel us to a more beautiful life than we ever believed possible.
Happy New Year!