Five years ago no one could have convinced me that I was going to transform my life. I would have thought that they were smoking something funny. To tell me that at 52 years old, severely overweight, fighting ever worsening diabetes for over 15 years, unable to go up a flight of stairs without practically passing out that I would go from a size 18 to a size 10 and lose 40 pounds and be able to do that crazy exercise called Crossfit would mean that that person was obviously crazy.
It was five years ago sitting in my doctor’s office listening to her tell me that none of my medications were working for both my diabetes or my high cholesterol and that I would need to wear a pump to inject insulin throughout the day that I decided I had had ENOUGH. I don’t even have the words to describe how hopeless and how helpless I felt sitting there. I was also angry. I was angry and frustrated because I wasn’t this person who sat on the couch eating junk food all day. I ate what I had been taught was a healthy diet. I restricted my calorie intake to less than 1000 per day; I ate very low fat, careful to make sure I trimmed all fat from lean meat. I used low fat salad dressings; I used low fat butter substitute. I minimally used a tiny bit of spray oil for cooking. And most importantly the only grains I ate were WHOLE GRAINS. I did everything that was recommended by the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the American Medical Association. I also followed their advice on exercise. I either walked or rode an elliptical machine for 30 to 40 minutes at least 4 days a week. And still at 5 foot 1 inch I weighed a whopping 215 pounds and I was SICK. What more could I do? Should I resign myself to deteriorating health for the rest of my remaining life as I had seen my mother who was also a diabetes sufferer go through until her death?
There was something that I could do to save myself that I had actually learned about over a year ago from my son. However I wasn’t listening; I didn’t want to listen because I thought he was crazy. His love for me and his concern about my declining health made him harass me for a year. Now get this; he wanted me to try this crazy intense exercise called CrossFit AND he wanted me to start eating more calories, more fat, more meat and vegetables and something even more crazy, he wanted me to give up eating grains; all grains. What??? No fresh baked artisanal bread, no pasta, no rice, no corn and no to my favorite “Heart Healthy” oatmeal for breakfast? I said NO WAY to all of that for a year. But sitting there in my doctor’s office listening to her and realizing that the direction of my life was already so far down a path to a really bad end I made up my mind that I needed to do a radical about face and change my entire life. I decided to listen to my son. First my husband and I joined a CrossFit gym. Let’s just say that it was not a pretty experience as both of us were extremely out of shape. But somehow we managed to survive. The keyword here is that we survived. We didn’t initially adopt the change in nutrition to Paleo until after 4 months. I figured I could only tackle one major change at a time. When we finally did make the nutrition change our fitness level exploded.
I won’t go into the grueling details of the last 5 years of my health and fitness journey other than to say that it has been the hardest thing that I have ever done and it has also been the most exhilarating and rewarding thing that I have ever done. I got my life back; I got hope back! The outward results of the weight loss, the decrease in dress size is nothing compared to how I feel inside. At this writing at 57 years old I feel ageless. I’m someone who can deadlift 200 pounds, back squat 200 pounds. I can not only just run but I can sprint. And oh yeah I can bound up a flight of stairs 2 at a time without missing a breath. The reason I can do all these things is not because I do CrossFit. The reason I can do CrossFit is because I am no longer fighting my body with bad nutrition. This has allowed my body to thrive and therefore tackle whatever physical challenges I want. If I can do this anyone can.