By Mirella Flores
For years I struggled with an eating disorder. It started with me restricting food and evolved into a cycle of restricting, binging on food (like anything I could get a hold of), and doing cardio for hours. My journey to recovery has been long and hard. Even when I was at a point where I no longer was engaging in disordered eating, I still struggled with my body.
As a cisgender woman, I have been socialized to base myself worth on the appearance of my body and being sexually desirable to others. While I was working towards recovery, I was with a partner who was very affirming of my body. This helped me start to believe that my body is great and beautiful just how it is. However, I was still relying on someone else’s opinion of my body to feel good. I still can not say that I do not care what others think of my body, but I can surely say I have learned to value my body in a different way.
When I moved to Kansas City in 2014 for graduate school, someone asked me what I liked to do for self-care (if you’re a counseling psychologist or trainee, you are probably used to being asked that question). I told her I liked working out and she suggested I try CrossFit. I had grown bored of my gym routine (running and doing some weight lifting), so I told myself, “Why not?” I joined CrossFit Matters, and during my first day heard about the holistic approach they take to fitness. Being aware of my eating disorder history, I knew this would be a good change.
CrossFit showed me that I am competing against myself and nobody else. It also showed me that this too, like recovering from an eating disorder, was a journey into learning about my body. As CrossFit pushed me physically and mentally, I came to notice and appreciate my body for what it does. Yes, I have noticed my body change, but that is not what I have come to value. I have come to value my body because of what it is capable of doing. Every time I break a personal record, I am even more amazed with the functionality of my body and my own dedication. I rejoice, not because of how my body looks like, but because of what it does. I have not been alone in this journey. I have had other athletes and coaches be as excited as I am. CrossFit has given me a supportive community that encourages each other to keep discovering our strengths and improving our skills. Without my body being properly fueled, I wouldn’t be able to continue amazing myself by breaking a personal record!
CrossFit helped me love my body and improve my self-image. What has helped you appreciate your body?