I used to define my success with weight loss. Then measurements and jean size, then body fat percentage. I was sometimes skinny, sometimes not – but mostly just obsessive.
All this changed when I came to crossfit – in an effort to manage my struggle to maintain a major weight loss I found myself shifting from weight and size to performance and results. I wanted to train as an expression of self-love – not as an expression of self-dissatisfaction. This shift kept me healthy mentally, but it was also a leap of faith: I had to hope the weight would follow.
I’ve been crossfitting on and off for over a year now… with major breaks due to injury or work travel or those times when life just gets in the way. First a breakup that left me crying for months watching episode of ‘How I Met your Mother’. From January to March last year I was struggling unbeknownst to me with an asymptomatic tropical infection which meant months of low immune system functioning, stalled progress, a frustrating mental game. When this was finally sorted I was sent off to Ethiopia, then my father died, and though I trained throughout his illness to keep me sane, I had to be gentle and acknowledge the strain I was already under. After this I struggled with a nagging back injury that seemed determined to keep me down (pain, incidentally is very common in those experiencing grief).
And then suddenly, in September, it all got better.
All of these ups and downs, back and forth have meant that seeing how far I’ve come in the past year and a bit of training has been really difficult. I hit some highs during my first few months at crossfit I couldn’t match when I was struggling with illness or injury. All I could see where the things I still couldn’t do: I can’t do an unassisted pull up or ring dip. I can’t deadlift 100kgs. I can’t I can’t I can’t.
But I have come far. So so far, and I think I should celebrate that. Every WOD I’ve done lately has given me a reason to be proud of myself, and I wanted to record a few of the milestones I’ve reached this year.
A few things to be proud of that I couldn’t do when I started:
1. I can now support my body weight and get my feet off the ground on the olympic rings, and can do negative ring dips.
2. I never put my knees down when doing burpees and I am 3s faster per burpee than 1 year ago.
3. I can now jump on ‘the blue box’ (Rx women’s height for box jumps) and I can use 16kg kettlebells in workouts
4. A year ago I did the workout ‘Elizabeth’ with 20.5 kgs and a blue band to support the ring dips. A month ago I did it in almost the same time with 35kgs and 2 skinny pink bands for support.
5. I can consistently do backbends (full wheel in yoga terms) and can *almost* get into handstands unassisted against the wall. I can hold handstands for 30000% percent longer than before.
So no, I can’t do a pull up. I still can’t do most WODs as Rx’d. I rarely finish first. But I am above all stronger, (slightly) faster and definitely more powerful than when I began this journey, despite all the bumps in the road along the way…and I am really proud of myself.