I started CrossFit in May of 2013. At the time, I was a single mom to a 3-year-old. When I wasn’t with my son, I was out having “fun”. I put fun in quotes, because I have very different criteria for fun now
My “fun” in 2013 included large amounts of drinking and smoking cigarettes. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I didn’t consider the effects of drinking, smoking, and eating garbage. So many nights I was in the drive through of Taco Bell, McDonald’s, or the like. And a lot of the time, I was in the drive through with a road beer. Many a night, when I didn’t have money for fast food, my dinner was popcorn and beer (yes seriously). As a divorced and single mom, I was feeling sorry for myself. Sorry for the choices I’d made that led me to the life I was living. For the choices I continued to make that only made me feel worse. I smiled when I felt like crying and I didn’t know how I’d ever get to the life I desired. What life did I want? Who was I? I think many people struggle with these feelings. I would be lying if I said I never felt like that, even now.
Searching for some kind of escape,
I decided to give it a try.
What did I have to lose?
After my divorce in January of 2013, I lived with my sister and her husband (Jill and Graem) for a few months. At that time, Graem was really getting into CrossFit. I wasn’t interested in exercise AT ALL. I was only interested in when I’d be getting my next beer. When the WOD Garage opened in Jill and Graem’s garage, he kept asking me to come try a class. “It’s free!”, he said. Searching for some kind of escape, I decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose?
Until you start removing toxicity from your body, you won’t understand how important the choice to change is
I was immediately hooked. I liked the exhausted, sweaty Julie. I liked the Julie who tried new things and worked hard. I wanted more of her. I quickly realized that if I wanted to live through more workouts, I’d need to give up the cigarettes. That was the first choice I made to better my life. And it was a great! When we live in a constant state of survival, we don’t realize how terribly we feel. Until you start removing toxicity from your body, you won’t understand how important the choice to change is.
One small change can go a long way
You all have heard the term, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And the same is true for yourself. Start your journey with small choices to change. Changing everything in your life at once is a sure set up for failure. I’ve been on this journey for 5 years and I’m still working at it! I decided later in 2013 that I was going to stop drinking diet soda. I loved me some Diet Coke! For breakfast, lunch and dinner. All day long. Once I started going to CrossFit more regularly, I realized that Diet Coke didn’t make me feel good. I also used artificial sweeteners in my coffee and iced tea. Bob Harper writes in “The Skinny Rules” that if you don’t like your coffee black, then you don’t actually like coffee at all. This was a big pill for me to swallow. So, when the diet coke went bye-bye, so did the Sweet-N-Low…so long little pink packets (tear). I switched to regular sugar in my coffee. What a difference (gag) and it took me a long time to get used to it. But I did. One small change can go a long way. If you’re drinking several sodas a day, trying limiting it to one a day a first. After you get there for several weeks consistently, try cutting it back to once every other day. Notice the changes you feel in your body, your energy, your workouts and your mood.
Think about how to balance your overall health
Nutrition has by FAR been my biggest and most constant struggle. Do I eat 100% clean every meal? Nope. Do I ever plan to? Nope. That’s my choice and you have to find your happy medium too. My small choice changes have morphed into this: am I eating veggies with every meal? What whole foods have I consumed today? Is what I’m eating right now something processed? What are the ingredients and how much sugar is there? Internal dialogue is super important. When I’m eating a donut, I ask myself, “how is this going to help you reach your goals?” and I know the answer. It’s not. Do I dwell on one donut a week and chide myself over it? No. I accept my sugary snack as a fail and move on with my life. Balance. Think about how to balance your overall health. Eat more veggies than donuts. Drink more water. Limit your alcohol and fast food or eliminate it altogether. When you want a snack, grab an apple instead of a bag of chips. One choice at a time.
Meal prep is a huge part of keeping nutrition on track. If you have good, whole foods ready to eat in the fridge/cupboard/countertop, you are so much more likely to eat them as opposed to that bag of chips or package of cookies (throw those cookies away). When you’re checking out at the grocery store, review your basket. How much of what you’re buying is fresh, real food as opposed to packaged processed food? Can you do better? Then do better. The prep may feel laborious and tedious but trust me…it’s WORTH IT. This is the key my friends. It is not a chore.