I wasn't going to write this post. I didn't want to share these photos. I felt too embarrassed. But it was for that reason that I felt compelled to. You see, when I started my CrossFit journey to getting completely ripped, I was convinced that after six months, I'd have amazing transformation photos to share. But as you can see, I don't.
I could have chosen to not share them, to wait a year, or however long it took to get the six-pack abs I'm working so hard toward, but I feel like these transformation photos are even more important to share than ones that are jaw-droppingly impressive. Because they show that losing weight and getting toned takes time, and probably more time than you want it to.
Losing weight and getting toned takes time, and probably more time than you want it to.
When progress doesn't go as quickly as expected, it can be so damn frustrating. I actually quit CrossFit for a few days after three months. I was pissed that I was getting up at 4:50 a.m. five days a week to go to class, eating clean, and my body wasn't getting close to where I wanted it to be. I still had my baby belly, and I actually gained weight and my muscles grew. I was thicker all around, and even my sports bras were feeling tighter. WTH!
But my husband talked me down off my "I hate CrossFit" ledge and said, "First of all, you look amazing. And I can totally tell you're getting stronger. But CrossFit isn't just about what it's doing to your body, it's how you feel." And that's true. I loved how badass I felt snatching bars over my head and slamming medicine balls to the floor, and how my heart thumped in my chest and sweat dripped off my nose while doing a bazillion burpees. I loved how energetic and confident I felt when I came home from class, and how that set the tone for my entire day. I'm happier when I work out regularly, and that spreads out into my life, my work, and my relationships.
I also talked to a ton of women about how I was feeling. I told them, "I've gained weight, everything has gotten bigger, including my bum, and my jeans are tighter." They felt the same way, that they didn't love their huge muscles at first, but now they do because it means they're strong. Some of the women even said they wished their muscles were bigger, and now they just care about what their bodies can do, and what their goals are like to squat more weight, or do higher box jumps.
Doing CrossFit for six months has taught me one unexpected lesson that I feel like I've been trying to learn my entire life. To love my body. To genuinely feel proud of what it can do, and to not poke and prod at it for what society tells me it's supposed to look like.
I just turned 40 years old, and it's taken me a lifetime and two pregnancies to get my body to this point, so how could I expect everything to change in just six months? Even though I don't see the physical progress I thought I would in half a year of intense workouts, five days a week, the progress I see in what my body can do is what's become my focus.
I've hit some pretty monumental goals like climbing a 15-foot rope, doing my first strict pull-up, and a handstand push-up, and that feeling of pride has overcome my feelings of insecurity about my flabby, wrinkly baby belly. It's given me this newfound confidence and inspiration to become even stronger. It feels like for most of my life, I've been in a constant battle with myself, to do everything possible to shrink down and take up less space, but I actually like the feeling of taking up more.
So what if I'm not where I want to be? I'm getting there, right? And I'll continue to take progress photos each month so that one day I'll look back on these six-month pictures and see how this was just one step in my journey to becoming the strongest, best version of me.
And even though sharing these photos of me not quite reaching my goals is a little mortifying, the one thing that makes it easy is to think that someone on their own weight-loss or fitness journey relates to my story, and finds inspiration to keep pushing themselves and celebrate every moment of progress, no matter how small they think it is.