I’ve been active the majority of my life. I started competitively swimming at the age of 4 and kept on until high school. I’d always been pretty self-conscious of my weight and tried several attempts at weight loss – always struggling with those 10-15 pesky pounds. I was successful once at ‘healthy’ weight loss after seeing a dietician in high school. However, I felt calorie counting was too hard and took too much time. So, in college I went back to attempting the low-fat diet and usually was able to maintain my 10-15lbs ‘overweight’ and just accepted that that’s just the way my body was (big-boned, thick, etc….) I majored in health and prided myself for my ‘knowledge’ about nutrition and exercise. I did my 3-5 days a week – 45 minutes of cardio and 3 sets of 10-15 weights. I continued this for years, was even certified as a personal trainer and spin instructor and worked in the fitness industry for several years after college.
In June of 2008, the dreaded year I turned 30 (gasp!), I decided it was time for my husband and me to think about starting a family. I’d been on birth control for many years and having heard many stories from friends about infertility issues, I was unsure if I, too, could have infertility problems…I also wanted to see if getting off of the hormones would help me lose those last few pounds that I’d been dying to shed for oh…20 years?! (Geez, us women, we’re so hard on ourselves…). So, I stopped taking birth control. The first month after getting off, everything was normal…but then crazy things started happening to my body. My cycles were taking longer to show up, I was gaining weight by the week and was starting to have crazy cystic acne (I’d never had acne my whole life). I’d known about CrossFit by both Google and CrossFit Houston owner, Carlos Ibarra. In early December of 2008, after 72 days of not having a cycle and putting on an extra 12 pounds (since June!!), I decided to take the plunge and call CrossFit Austin. Wes and I can thankfully laugh about our conversation now but I was probably the biggest pain in his butt since opening their doors. I basically grilled Wes about techniques, programming, etc for 45 minutes on the phone. In order for Wes to finally end the conversation (poor guy), he said, “Kristin, we can talk about this all day until we’re blue in the face or you can just come in and try it out….” Cue, “SHUT UP.” So, I meekly said ok and went in two days later for my assessment. I’ve never looked back since joining. (It’s been 3 years now…sniff, sniff.)
Three weeks after joining, I had a doctor’s appointment to figure out what was going on with my body. Just as I’d suspected, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is the leading cause of infertility. It is also a precursor to many health problems including diabetes and heart disease. This scared the crap out of me. I asked my doctor what the options were – his response “Well, if you don’t want to gain 20lbs you should just get back on birth control…oh and you’re probably going to have a hard time getting pregnant.” As a woman, hearing your body isn’t going to do what it’s supposed to is pretty upsetting and I left the office in tears. I went to the gym and spoke with Boone and Wes about the diagnosis (they graciously listened to TMI). Both of them encouraged me to try Paleo. The pride of my education wanted to take over but another part of me said “what the hell do you have to lose in trying this?” So, I embarked on the Paleo diet, making small changes over time (I can’t eat a low-carb tortilla??). My body slowly started responding; my cycles weren’t perfect but weren’t all over the place anymore. Robb Wolf and I sent several emails back and forth, and he referred me to a naturopath in Arizona, Garrett Smith, who helped me with a few more supplements to help get my hormones back on track. Things weren’t perfect but I was losing weight and at the same time getting stronger.
By August of 2009, I’d lost 18 pounds, without birth control. And in December of 2009, after feeling ridiculously car sick on the way home from Houston, I took a pregnancy test and it was POSITIVE. Wait, what happened to it being hard for me to get pregnant? We weren’t even ‘trying’! 🙂 I crossfitted through my entire pregnancy (I did Karen with a 6lb ball at 32 weeks!!). Anna Rose Shananan was welcomed into the world on August 11, 2010.
I will NEVER be able to truly convey my gratitude for CrossFit Austin. It has become a staple of who I am. I love walking in the doors of the gym to talk a little crap to the coaches, sweat next to amazing athletes who never stop encouraging me and laugh with what has become my second family. CrossFit has taught me so many things but above all it’s taught me humility, confidence and to never, ever stop trying.
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