Changing Physique and My Relationship with Food
By: Sierra Ray
When I first moved here in September of 2016, I was a burnt out college athlete looking to find another sport to focus all of my time and energy on. I came to Oregon CrossFit because I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could from the coaches and athletes here at OC. One of the very first aspects of training that was stressed to me was the importance of nutrition and the ways that I should be fueling my body.
Having just come from my first year of college, I was definitely carrying around extra weight and was not feeling very good about myself. I have never considered myself an unhealthy eater, but all of the travelling for softball made it hard to eat right on the road. I would go through periods of time where I was extremely restrictive about the foods that I was eating, but would then “cheat” and obsess over it. Softball practices weren’t providing a ton of conditioning, so I was trying to get extra exercise on my own time but it was limited. Not to mention the stress of schoolwork and being unhappy in my current situation, looking back I realize that both mentally and physically I was not healthy.
When I started at OC, I was just learning CrossFit in general and was not used to the volume of training. The coaches gave me Macros to follow – a specific number of carbs, fat and protein that I needed to hit each day – in order to sustain my training and make improvements. Surprisingly to me, it was way more food than I was used to eating and I was hesitant that I would see results. I tracked all of the food that I ate with an app on my phone. I noticed that I had more energy and didn’t feel as wrecked from long training sessions. At that time, I was just guessing the serving sizes of the foods that I was eating. It wasn’t until I started to weigh and measure my foods that I saw real results. This allowed me to be more precise in how much I was eating and give my body exactly what it needed to train every day.
As my training has increased, so has the amount of food I eat on a daily basis. My body needs it in order to train and recover how I want to. After being here for a little over a year, I have now lost almost 25 pounds and just feel better. I trusted my coaches and did my best to be consistent/disciplined. It doesn’t really matter how much or how hard you train; without proper nutrition, you won’t get as far as you are hoping for.
The point of all of this is that small changes really do lead to big results. I came here wanting to improve and learn, and that is what I did. It took me implementing everything that I was taught and all of the advice I was given. Your coaches are one of your biggest resources – I communicated with mine whether it was in person, over email or by text and that allowed them to recognize things I needed to fix or altercations that needed to be made. My coaches have changed the amount of food I eat as they notice physical differences or my training changes.
Because of all of this, I now feel like I understand my body so much more. Yes, noticing changes in the mirror is a nice reward and it gives you reassurance that you are making progress. But, eating to perform well and feel good is the ultimate goal. The best thing that I have gotten from this change in lifestyle is the new relationship that I have with food. I no longer see it as the enemy but simply as a way to fuel my body. I don’t feel guilty when I choose to eat a treat because I’m able to work it into my Macros and enjoy the food I eat. If I slip up, I can always get back on track. I sleep better, I am happier, and I can do a lot of things that I didn’t think I was able to do (like be on the OC Regionals team) all because of dialing in the intricate stuff like nutrition. The changes won’t come right away, and you don’t have to make them all at once. Start out slow, but be diligent in your work and you will be surprised by what you can accomplish.
Great article Sierra. Do you have any apps you’d recommend for tracking macros etc?
Sierra you are an incredible human being! You absolutely know what it takes to be an athlete. You will go far! Im so very proud of you!
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