Hey guys! My name is Cammy and I am thrilled to be a part of Strong Figure! I’ve known Stephanie and Erik for a couple of years now (surprise, surprise that we met at the gym!) and I am so excited about what they are doing with the website and am honored to have been asked to represent what I believe it is to be a Strong Figure.
I currently work for a mortgage company but hope to pursue full-time graduate school in the near future (OT school, med school, PhD in Health Psychology…not sure yet!). I’ve been active my entire life – I played several sports growing up and have maintained a healthy lifestyle and exercise regimen since college. I think having the ability to exercise is a blessing and a gift that all too many people take for granted. Many people do not have the opportunity or even the ability to run, jump, lift, or simply MOVE…and I am thankful that I do. I am not the strongest, the fastest, or the best….but I am dedicated, consistent, and absolutely GRATEFUL for what my body allows me to do.
My favorite activities include Kettlebell workouts, Crossfit workouts, and carrying/pushing heavy things, especially push-press, farmer’s carries, sled pushing, and power cleans. I also love the simple exercises like lunges, pushups, pull ups, and army crawls. Sometimes back to the basics is where I like to go! I also enjoy walking my dog, hiking, and running 10ks and obstacle course races. I try to mix it up every now and again. I used to be the Cardio Queen – I’d run 2 miles before an hour-long cycle class and then run a 1 mile “cool-down.” Now, I honestly prefer a 20 minute high intensity interval/strength-training workout over a long workout. Overall though, I just think it’s important to move! Admittedly, on some not-so-great days, I’ve been known to justify a few laps around Target (affectionately deemed “cardio shopping”) as my workout. Hey, whatever gets you off the couch, right?
While I’ve always been passionate about being active, I haven’t always been HEALTHY. When I started college, I was normal, if not healthier than most college students. I didn’t gain the “Freshman 15” and I continued to exercise. I didn’t drink alcohol and I didn’t party late into the night. I was a healthy (albeit curvy), athletic size 8, weighing in at about 140 pounds. Then, something changed, some wire got crossed, something clicked on or something clicked off, but whatever it was…I began OBSESSING over my weight and my food. I started to eat less and less and work out more and more. I started wearing ONLY gym clothes at all times so that I could make it to the gym on time…one minute less meant fewer calories burned! Yes, I was THAT crazy. I worked out before class, after class, and sometimes I would even skip class to workout throughout the afternoon. I ate maybe 300 calories a day, AT MOST, and worked out until I would almost pass out. By the time I went home for spring break my junior year, I was down to a bony 105 pounds and I had to wear a belt with my size 0 jeans. If I thought that I had eaten too much of my sparse salad, I would punish myself with having to run 1 mile for every “excessive” bite. It hurt to sit down in class because my butt was so bony. It hurt to lie in bed because either my bony knees would poke each other or my back bone pressed into the mattress. I starved, I ran, I binged, I ran some more. It was a horrific cycle of unhealthy behaviors. Feelings of control, anxiety, guilt, worry, and hunger consumed my life. I lost bone mass, screwed up my hormonal cycles, and ruined my metabolism. I lost friendships and lost out on a lot of normal college experiences because all I could think about was food and exercise. Over time, my family intervened and I started to get a bit better. I graduated and moved, by myself, to Washington D.C. to focus on a new chapter of my life. Little by little, I got healthier, put some weight back on, and filled my days with exploring my new city. Life was good. And guess what? Life still IS good!
I would be absolutely lying to you if I said that I no longer scrutinize my body, suffer feelings of guilt from eating something “bad,” or still occasionally am hard on myself for missing a workout (or two…or three). The difference is that now I have more good days than bad and that I also no longer use exercise as a form of punishment. I used to work out because I felt like I had to or because I felt guilty for eating too much, or because I was simply crazy, but now I do it because I want to, because I love it, because it’s one of the best feelings in the world. I LOVE the feeling of lifting something heavy, of being able to do a pull-up, of feeling STRONGER after a workout rather than feeling like I might pass out. And most importantly, I no longer work out because I hate my body and want to change it but rather because I love it enough to continue to strengthen it, nourish it, and embrace it.
I also work hard every day to maintain PERSPECTIVE. If my biggest worry is whether or not I ate too many carbs that day, then I can consider myself pretty damn lucky. We all have good days and we all have bad days. We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses. Different strokes for different folks, you know? Another viewpoint that helps me keep perspective comes from a quote that reads “If you talked to your friends the way you talked to your body, you’d have no friends.” Think about it! If you walked around telling your friends they were fat, or they eat too much, or they are lazy…they wouldn’t be your friends for very long, now would they? All in all, I’m just trying to live a life well lived. A life of balance. A life of friends, family, food, laughter, exercise, and love.
In conclusion (finally!), I suppose my contribution to Strong Figure is going to be one of authenticity. I’ve been there. I’ve gained, I’ve lost, I’ve succeeded, and I’ve failed. I’ve tried, I’ve quit, I’ve cried, and I’ve prevailed. I think anyone who works hard to be healthy, in all aspects of their life, is beautiful. I think strength is beautiful. I think all forms of exercise are beautiful. A person who keeps going when all he or she wants to do in that moment is roll over and quit, is beautiful. You are beautiful. Not because of the number on the scale, the number on the barbell, or the number on the tag of your clothes…you’re beautiful because you’re here, because you embody what it is to be a Strong Figure. You’re beautiful because you love yourself enough to try.