Ana Bennett’s Weight Loss and Health Journey
I have started and stopped my weight loss and health journey dozens of times…I have truly lost count. The pictures on the left are from the summer of 2010 (approx 6-8 months after Ryan and I were married). The pictures were taken well before I started cross fitting, but up until then, I was still riding the weight/diet roller coaster.
Until I hit my mid to late twenties, I never had to exercise, or watch what I ate…I was active as a child and through my teen years with cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics. When my clothes sizes started getting larger, I hit a wall, and had no idea where to start with diet or exercise. I’d never had to worry, so the most logical explanation to me was to stop eating so much, and try some exercise. The only problem with that: I don’t like to run, I’d never lifted a weight in my life, and I had no actual concept of what being “healthy” was all about.
In August of 2012 I started CrossFit; and boy, did I get a shock! I had no clue what I was in for! I had done spin classes, tried a Couch to 5k program, and everything in between…at that point, spinning was the only thing that had yielded results, and interested me in the least. My first few months at CrossFit were rough. In case you didn’t know, it’s extra super hot here in SWFl in August and September, and I’d never done any type of workout with that type of intensity…in or out of the heat and humidity in Naples.
Well, soon, nothing mattered, not even the heat! I became intent on getting better, faster, and stronger. And when I say all of that, I mean better than what I was the day before. If I squatted 85 pounds one week, the next week I wanted to hit 95 pounds! I didn’t really care about beating the other people in the gym, only myself.
After about a year, I still hadn’t gotten my diet under control, and I ended up hurting my neck and shoulder. It could have been a combination of things: I was tired that day, under nourished for that type of workout, too many people were there that day, etc etc etc. I also am a hairstylist, and I could have done something at work too. Whatever the reason, I ended up taking a year off to work, get healed, and try some other forms of exercise.
It didn’t do any good. I’d fallen in love with CrossFit, and knew I needed to get back into a box! I’d gained weight again, and couldn’t get back on track. In October of 2013, I walked into CrossFit Blaze for the first time. Someone had recommended that I try a new box, the box they went to, and so I decided to check out Blaze. I’d found at the previous gym that I really loved the Olympic Lifting aspect of CrossFit, and Blaze puts a very strong emphasis on the lifts. With the correct coaching, and in a smaller, family type atmosphere, I thrived. My form for the movements and lifts got better, I got stronger, and I got faster! I also started losing weight, and I could see that my body was changing.
In January of 2014, Blaze held a Paleo Challenge. In those four weeks, I strived to eat strict Paleo….and afterwards, with my weight and body fat measurements, I won the challenge! I worked really hard, and found new recipes and ways of eating that worked for me within the Paleo Diet. It was then that something clicked. I was eating! Good, filling, whole foods that made me feel good. I’ve been eating Paleo about 80% of the time for 6 months. It works! I’m not starving myself, and hoping for weight loss.
I truthfully and honestly haven’t weighed myself since the weight loss challenge was over in January. For me, standing on the scale started to affect the way I was feeling about my entire being, not just my body. I was getting anxious and stressed about the number that I saw, and I made the decision to give up the scale.
So, no I can’t tell you how much weight I’ve lost. What I can tell you is that I was wearing between a 10-12 in pants, dresses, skirts, etc. I am now wearing a size 4. I can also tell you that I feel healthier, stronger, and happier than I ever have in my adult life. The final and last piece to this amazing journey so far (of course it’s not over, I’m just getting started), was competing in my very first CrossFit competition in June of 2014. I can not even begin to describe the amount of pride and accomplishment I felt within myself after Thunderdome was over. I did that! I was part of the team! I lifted the heavy weights, I crushed my times, and I didn’t give up or back out!
Becoming a member at CrossFit Blaze has benefitted me in so many ways. I have grown to be a person I love, inside and out! The people who work out there are like a family. We support each other, cheer each other on, and I’m so proud to say that I’m part of the group. Do yourselves a favor, and come check them out. You won’t regret it!