I ran. Literally and figuratively. I was no longer a collegiate athlete. What the hell was I going to do to stay fit?

Fear propelled me forward. Each stride representing the revolution of my weekly pattern. Start off strong, continue upward, begin the descent, then hit the ground…hard. The pounding on the pavement was fueled by the voice in my head: “being thin will make you happy, accepted amongst your peers, and validate you as a person. Don’t you dare stop!”

I was terrified, and this terror kept me on the longest ride of my life. A pendulum swinging back and forth from what I thought was healthy choices to what I knew was not.

Up until my late twenties, the only successful weight loss I had achieved came from a strict diet of rice cakes, fat free cottage cheese, egg whites, and cabbage. I counted the calories in every morsel of food that went into my mouth. Of course I lost a ton of weight eating less than a thousand calories a day and running my ass off. But all the success of the weight loss was overshadowed by my misery. I was depleted, moody, exhausted, and the control that I once sought was now controlling me.

This went on for years until the pendulum was too far away from center and gravity had it’s way. And as it does, swung me right on over to the other end. Food became my friend, what I turned to on a lonely night, and man did bingeing feel so good. Until the binge was over. And then man, did it feel like shit.

I was still running. Hoping I could regain that control of my diet I once had. The weekdays were “good” because I held onto the control a little easier, but when the weekend came it was all over. I never told anyone what was going on in my head and my weight never got to the point that people would wonder if I was on a deplete-to-binge cycle every week.

This also went on for years.

Then I walked into CrossFit Pacific Coast. And I met the owners. And I met a bunch of really cool people who didn’t seem to care what I looked like, but just loved working out beside me, and the feeling was mutual. The first goal-setting conversation I had with my coach went something like…“I want to lose 25 pounds.” He had no idea what my history with food and body-image had been but I could tell by his response that he knew what I needed. “Just keep showing up. Listen to your coaches correct your form. Lift some heavy shit. Do the programmed workout. And then do it again the next day.”

So I did. Just that. I picked up barbells off the floor and it felt good. Each pound I added was a victory and a step away from the fear that kept me running. I began to notice a change in my body and in my mentality. I worried less and less about the number on the scale, and more about what my body was capable of doing. Pull-ups, proper squat mechanics, learning how to pace myself for each workout that was different every day. I learned how to eat to fuel my body well and feel good.

I joined CrossFit because I was desperately seeking a way to get the ‘constantly depleted, starving and miserable’ body that I once had. I kept coming because I became confident, strong, and I was FINALLY HAPPY. And as a bonus my body also changed when I stopped being obsessed with manipulating it.

I now own the CrossFit gym where I began this journey to being happy. Now my passion is for others to experience their own journey to happiness here.

Why do you exercise? Why do you eat what you do? Are you still running?