Every morning I would get out of bed, head straight to the scale lying in the corner of my room and weigh myself. This had been my morning routine ever since I was a little girl. I would always fearfully peer askance through my glasses, hoping dearly for any sign of weight loss while dreading whatsoever weight gain. Then the number that would show on it would have so much control over me, that it would just entirely decide my mood for that day; the smaller the number appeared on the scale, the happier and fulfilled I felt while even the slightest weight gain would greatly disconcert me. I was always ashamed of how much I weighed and felt it was incumbent upon myself to keep on reducing that number on the scale.
Such obsession over weight continuously haunted me, leading me to undergo myriad pernicious, unhealthy weight loss attempts and failures. Food was always something to abstain and restrict, exercise was a punishment for what I ate, the number on the scale was the sole reflection of my value, and petite girls on TV were my forever unachievable homework and aspiration. And such a way of life, of relentlessly hankering after quick fixes, changes, and unrealistic beauty standards bombarded and perpetuated by the media, trapped me in an inextricable state of restriction, giving up, binge-eating, body dysmorphia, and self-hate.
Even after becoming of age and matriculating to university, this condition continued to stay with me; I even developed a food eating disorder from the harsh food restrictions I repeatedly imposed on myself. However, after happening on CrossFit in the late summer of 2020, much has changed. Not long after the pandemic broke out and everyone was sequestered in their homes, I, a freshman deprived of her forever dreamt campus life, naturally came to itch for some offline activities; so I started CrossFit, a high-intensity fitness program incorporating elements from several sports such as weightlifting and gymnastics.
When I first started, it was just mainly to lose weight as much as possible. Until then, all I had known was endless cardio exercises to burn my daily calorie intakes and I thought CrossFit could not be any different from them. At CrossFit, after every workout, I was down on the ground, breathless, and drenched in sweat; and I loved the feeling since it was such an apparent indication of fat being burnt in my body. However, as time went by and as I engaged in and struggled to learn diverse athletic movements, I strongly came to feel that there was something completely different and new to this. Movements such as handstand pushup, clean and jerk, snatch, rowing, and so many others were all unprecedented to me, which were, at first, greatly frightening but at the same time intriguing.
Although my obsession over weight was fervent, it wasn’t all that I was; I was also a zealous learner. And learning to perform the movements one by one with time and effort, I came to play my heart out in every workout, grew resilience, and fostered consistency. And as days passed by, not only my work capacity but my mindset started to change. Exercise was no longer a punishment but a celebration for what my body could do; focusing on improving my cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy started to take precedence. The number on the scale, small or big, could no longer be the sole worth to define me or my value, and how I perceived myself. I have never felt more alive, comfortable, powerful, happy, and grateful in my own skin. I am grateful that I ran into CrossFit and can’t wait for the new changes that my CrossFit journey will bring upon me in both the near and far future.