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The Power of Resilience: Coach Amber's Journey

I have been an athlete my whole life: basketball, softball, ultimate frisbee. After college I joined a popular fitness gym and this is where everything took a turn...

I fell into the social media/societal views of what women's bodies should look like, and asked a Registered Dietitian how to lose weight and body fat; and really asked for more help when a ‘transformation challenge’ was announced that year. I was also recently engaged and wanted to 'sweat for the wedding' and obsessed over being at a certain weight come wedding day.

I was told to eat less calories, do keto diet, and intermittent fasting. This lead me to eating around 1200 calories or less a day, tracking macros/food intake and ensuring I had a perfect graph, I was lifting weight and working out for hours beore or after a group class, and never took a rest day. At the beginning I saw results fast, so I dove in even more. I bought into a company's scam of supplements that would help me burn body fat and feel less hungry. Keto eventually started to give me severe stomach pains after eating anything. I even ended up in the ER one night because of it. Doctors just gave me antiacid and over the counter medicine to help with the cramping and pain. Even after all that, I still put myself through sticking with keto to reach this goal I had made for myself.

All this went on for years. I got the small body I thought I wanted, but I was not happy at all. I was very anxious in social settings, especially if they involved food. Or I just didn't put myself in social settings at all. I was fueled by people giving me compliments on my body and how much weight | had lost, I stopped listening to hunger cues and eventually I didn't even feel the cues anymore. I labeled food and if I “overindulged” or my macro graph wasn't perfect I made up for it by eating less the next day or working out harder/longer. I was never happy with my body or myself, and I pushed through everything (pain, soreness, fatigue, sickness).

A few years later I was introduced to CrossFit. I was still so deep in the world of keto and intermittent fasting, and now I was starting to experience being super fatigued, like almost falling asleep while driving. The owner of the CrossFit gym is a doctor, so l talked with him about the fatigue I was having and he ordered blood tests for me.

My iron and b12 levels were so low. I started on supplements and finally began to feel the energy come back. Eventually I met with a therapist and slowly started to unpack everything. I discovered I was so deep in the eating disorder ways, I had no idea what all I had been doing to my body all these years. So we worked together to help me find food freedom and work on the body dysmorphia I was having.

I fell in love with CrossFit and the competitiveness in me was ignited again. I decided to pursue getting my L1 so I could coach and help others along their fitness journey. This was just the start.

I experienced a chemical pregnancy which sent me back into old dieting ways some. A year later, I found out l was pregnant again, but based on the early ultrasounds doctors thought it would be another miscarriage. I was devastated and started retreating into isolation and old ways again; but in my follow up ultrasound a week or so later, they discovered a heartbeat and at that moment I told myself I would do anything and everything so that my baby would be healthy and that I would set a healthy example for the baby so that he/she would never go through what I did. I was, and still am, really focused on breaking the cycle for my daughter.

I still have my hard days, but talking to those I trust, remembering what all my body does for me on a daily basis, and looking at my daughter helps me get through. I am so much happier now than I was years ago.

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