Ari Z. from Mesa, AZ - 09/29/2016
At 23 years old, I had been overweight my entire life. Although my parents had always tried to help me choose a healthier lifestyle, I still felt like I knew nothing about healthy eating. The idea of change felt impossible, and every time I would try to begin, I would give up almost before I’d started.
My “ah hah” moment came when I, for the first time, took a hard look at myself, at my life. I was 23 years old and I was afraid to socialize because I felt like everyone was judging me, like I wasn’t worthy of being included because I was overweight, because I wasn’t good enough.
In that moment, I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t ready to change my eating habits. I didn’t know why, I just knew that I wasn’t mentally there yet. And that was okay because I knew I was ready to take the first step - to begin an exercise program.
I started working out for 30 minutes 4-5 x per week and OMG I was out of shape. But it got easier. And eventually, I was ready to make another small change. I cut out fast food. Then, after that, I cut out deep fried food. And I kept making small, achievable changes to my diet until I had lost 60 lbs.
Seems like that would be the happy ending, right? Well, unfortunately, I became obsessed with my weight / weight loss. I was the girl that would live or die by the scale and I counted every calorie that went into my mouth. I had gone from one extreme to the other, and I was shocked to discover I was more unhappy than when I started.
I can’t pinpoint the day I discovered I needed a change, but I know everything changed when I started running. Rather than punishing myself for eating at the gym doing workouts I hated, I found something I was passionate about, and I began to appreciate my body for what it could do rather than how much I weighed.
This discovery was amplified when I found CrossFit. Every day, I was doing things that never seemed possible. I had run a marathon, I could squat more than I weighed, I even placed in a few small 5ks. My body, I discovered, is actually freaking awesome.
To my surprise, once I let go of my control over food and just focused on doing what I love, I very slowly dropped another 15 lbs before breaking up with the scale for good. Now, I don’t weigh myself. Ever. Not at the doctor’s office, not for any reason. My clothes fit (minus the quads vs. jeans struggle) and I’ve never felt better.
These days, I keep myself healthy and active by eating 80% healthy foods and the other 20% is probably cookies and ice cream, and I workout either doing CrossFit or running 6 x per week. I’ve kept my weight off for 6 years, and I’ve become happier and more confident than I ever imagined. Fitness truly changed my life, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.