This is the amazing, and ongoing, story of the transformation of CrossFit Modig member Nicole Dow. We love hearing how CrossFit, and not just the exercise part of it, but the community, the support, the nutrition, can impact people in such significant ways. Keep at it Nicole, we’ll keep cheering you on every step of the way.
I have struggled with weight and body issues since I was a young girl. I never felt comfortable in my body and as a result I have tried many different diets and weight loss regimens. This anxiety eventually turned into an eating disorder and was very mentally taxing for me. I always saw my body as something different then what it really was. I would have a number I would want the scale to show but even when I got there, it was never enough.
By the time I turned 28, I had three kids in three years and was super sick. I had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and later with Crohn’s Disease. I was tired all the time and ended up weighing 222 lbs. My body wasn’t just affecting me physically, but mentally as well. I was depressed and, on top of that, had tremendous guilt for feeling this way.
It was around that time that our youngest son was diagnosed with Autism. My world was rocked. Among other things, we began to scrutinize our finances. We needed to see what changes needed to be made in order to make sure we were able to provide Hobbes the best of care. Therapies are not cheap and he needs several a week. One thing that kept coming up was CrossFit Modig and whether my husband, Alex, should continue his membership. Alex couldn’t quite articulate how much Modig meant to him, and how he wanted so badly to continue going, but with tears in his eyes (which Alex later explained was just sweat 😉 ) he let me know if it came down to canceling with Modig, or additional help for Hobbes, he would absolutely leave.
I was surprised at how strong he felt about going; I had never felt this way about working out. I knew he was experiencing something at his gym that I wasn’t. He had such a passion for something that I was simply glad I now had an excuse to no longer do! During this time of trying to make so many decisions, Hobbes was getting bigger and stronger. I have to carry him a lot and occasionally restrain him. He was quickly becoming stronger than me at only three years old! I knew I needed to do something to improve my strength and fitness and my stamina. I desperately needed something to give me the energy needed to take care of him. I knew if I continued down my current path physically and mentally, I wouldn’t be able to take care of Hobbes in the way that he would need.
Between the needs of our son and my constant battle with my body, my mind kept coming back to Alex and his journey at CrossFit Modig. I had seen huge changes in Alex, both mentally and physically, since he had started several years prior. Through the Paleo diet, I had lost some weight and felt I had nothing to lose if I also tried Modig. I was sick of the cycle of losing and gaining weight and knew I needed something to make it stop, so I decided to give Crossfit a shot.
I still remember the first day I stepped into Modig…it was snatch day and it looked crazy. I had never seen people work out like this before! But after my first workout, I was hooked and more sore than I have ever been! I loved everything about it. I love that you set these goals and work hard to accomplish them. I never thought I would be able to do a box jump, but now I can and I’m even eyeing up an un-banded pull-up. I love that everyone is in it together. I love getting my butt kicked, but leaving with a smile because I completed the workout. I have found a strength in myself I didn’t know existed. Its like I become a different person! I now mentally encourage myself “Only one more round. You got this,” instead of the negative self talk I used to tell myself.
About two months after I started coming to Modig, I began working with Corey Townsend. She first began by asking me what my goal was and I said, “weight loss.” She asked if there was anything else and I thought, “what else could there possibly be?’” Little did I know that weight loss would truly become a back seat to what she has helped me accomplish mentally. Very slowly my self talk started to change. My relationship with food began to change too. Rather than continue to look at each bite as something that would make me lose or gain weight, I began to think along the lines of fueling my body to help give me the energy that I need.
I am losing weight but I couldn’t tell you how much, because I haven’t stepped on a scale. A number on the scale is no longer a full blown fixation of mine. I no longer stress about if I will lose weight or not. I trust in the process and I’m having a blast on the journey! I still have weight to lose and I know that will come, but for now I am focusing my goals in the gym, getting that pull-up, getting lower in my squats, getting some toes to bar. (see update below!) I know if I keep working and doing what has got me to where I am today, it will all come together and there is an amazing freedom in that.
I am enjoying the process of losing weight and getting stronger instead of being so focused on where I’m not or what I have left to accomplish. My last blood work showed that I had no longer had any markers of Rheumatoid Arthritis in my system! I am confident that I will also be able to heal my Crohn’s through proper nutrition. I know that the rest of my journey will have its ups and downs, but I am confident that I have a huge support team to reach out to when those down times come. Modig has changed me in ways I never thought possible.
I now understand why Alex didn’t want to leave and I’m thrilled that my kids are part of the Modig experience. I am proud to go to this gym and be a part of the community. Thanks to all the coaches for pushing me to do one more rep, or for helping me when my form is rough. And a big thank you to Corey for telling me that I am not too far gone and that I am normal! Thanks to you Modiggers for cheering me on when I am struggling to get that last rep. Above all, though, thanks for loving and being patient with my kids, especially our amazing Hobbes. You don’t know how rare that is.
*Update – Nicole originally wrote this testimonial prior to the start of the 2016 CrossFit Open. Since then, she has completed her first Open and had this to say about the experience:
I just completed my first CrossFit Open and, honestly, it was such a great experience. Before starting, I think I asked each and every Modig Coach who would listen “can I scale the scaled version of the workouts?!” I was so nervous that I would not be able to do any of the workouts! I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was able to get my first Toe-to-Bar and even do a few of the workouts Rx! The biggest piece of all is that I finished all of them. I honestly didn’t think I would be able to. I made great friends in the process as well. To have someone cheer you on after you fall jumping over a six inch bar because you are so tired and talk you through a WOD when you want to stop and cry, those are friends you keep for life!