How I Learned to Love Myself

February 6, 2017 by
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My name is Laura Ryan. I’m a 46 year old mother of 3 beautiful children and married to this amazing human who always supports me in everything I do.

I used to believe that I was too old to change my ways and my life would always be the same. Many of us believe we are too old, too overweight, underweight, or have no time — the excuses we tell ourselves are endless and we believe them. But there is hope. Mine came from a CrossFit box that cares more about their members than anything else.

I suffered from depression, anorexia and bulimia from the age of 16. I would take a package of laxatives at night, binge, purge and starve myself. My diet consisted of crackers and gummy bears. I never exercised or broke a sweat.

Seven years ago, I lost my best friend and mother to cancer and my life spiraled out of control. Prescribed multiple anti-depressants and sleeping meds, I didn’t want to live anymore and would think about ending it all. I would lay around and cry. I was eating only junk food, purging and gaining weight.

My husband is a police officer. While working a detail in July 2014, he came across a box called Freakin CrossFit. He said, “why don’t you try it.” I told him no way, CrossFit is going to make me bulky and big and I need to find a way to stay thin. But I called one of the owners, Shane Kaufman and peppered him with questions about gaining weight. I must have called him ten times before agreeing to come.

“2016 was one of the best years of my life. It was the year I learned to truly love myself and learn that I AM ENOUGH.” — Laura Ryan

Walking into Freakin CrossFit was one of the scariest and bravest thing I’ve ever done. This community has changed or rather saved my life. The owner’s mother, Maryln works the front desk, and her constant support is overwhelming. She’s 61 and made regionals in 2016! She’s become my inspiration. She’s always is there for me when I have a rough day to simply smile and give me a hug. She’s always telling me how beautiful I am and how strong I am.

When I started CrossFit, I could not for the life of me do a push-up or pull-up; within 3 months they had me doing both. The owners Shane, Logan and Storm Kaufman and their coaches took time with me and really helped me change my mindset. I was a negative nelly about my weight and how I looked. Storm has been there for me since day one. He has helped me to learn that food is good and the scale does not define me.

It may have taken me 45 years to get here but for the first time in my life I have hope and joy in my heart. And even though I weigh 15 pounds more then that first day at Freakin CrossFit, I’ve never looked or felt better. I LOVE MY LIFE! I am SO proud to say that I haven’t binged or purged in over 2 years!

2016 was one of the best years of my life. It was the year I learned to truly love myself and learn that I AM ENOUGH. I have since competed in so many competitions and was able to stand on the podium a few times. I can’t describe the feeling of doing a competition and looking out in the crowd at my support team, coaches and Storm. Knowing that these people want NOTHING from me except for me to try my hardest.

Even when life throws me curve balls, I no longer feel out of control like I had in the past. I never feel alone or unworthy. I now have a whole Box of people and the Golden Girls who were there for me day after day. The box is now my antidepressant. And with the support of so many I don’t take pills anymore.

Even though they don’t believe it, I try to explain to everyone at Freakin CrossFit, that they saved my life. Their confidence in me is contagious. Their faith in me overwhelms me with emotion and gratitude.

Find your tribe. Find your place to call home.

Laura Ryan works in hospice and lives in Pembroke Pines, FL with her husband James and 2 dogs Minnie and Anthony. She has 3 children, Kori, 25, Kodi, 23 and Amanda, 20. She has been training at Freakin CrossFit in Pembroke Pines for the last 2 1/2 years. Follow her on Instagram @lauragerlandoryan

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