All of a Sudden I got it
“If I can control it through lifestyle changes, I will certainly do that, so that is where this journey started.”
Carrie Jane Williamson never had self-esteem issues. She wasn’t lazy either. At 333 pounds, she liked to think of herself as “healthiest fat person ever.” “When friends invited me to do things, like play tennis randomly or be outside, I never hesitated,” Carrie Jane tells us. “I never really had health issues or anything like that. Nobody in my family is skinny, so I felt like I was pretty normal up until my doctor told me I had high blood pressure” In the two years following her diagnosis, Carrie Jane lost 95 pounds, took up Crossfit, and completely changed her life. “It was never about the number,” she says. “The goal was just to be healthy, to live my life, do what I want to do, and enjoy it.” “I mean, if the diet works for you that’s great, but for me it really was about discovering what you can do once you’ve made that commitment. What are you motivated to do that you wouldn’t have done before? What are you better at that you weren’t before?”
For Carrie Jane, that means Crossfit training, to which she is absolutely devoted. “Our Crossfit community is amazing. It’s such a family atmosphere. I may never do a handstand pushup, but that’s okay,” she says. “My story is a progress story. I never wanted to be an Olympic weight lifter. I just see how much progress I have made and I don’t care if anybody else knows it or not."
“I have never been thin,” Carrie Jane says. “I wasn’t thin as a child, so it’s not like I grew up and gained a bunch of weight.” Back in high school, she participated in a study at Dr. Paul S. Bradley’s office. “It’s surprising that I even remember his name,” she laughs, “because we just called him the Fat Doctor – ‘Yeah, I gotta go to the Fat Doctor’ – other than that, you know, I did Weight Watchers a couple times, maybe for six months, but none of that ever worked for me.”
Carrie Jane grew up in the South, with very Southern eating habits and she is the cook in her generation. “I never jumped on the bandwagon. I was never a big dieter. Because of the way we had grown up, we didn’t really know right from wrong in some cases, but if you had given me a test about healthy lifestyles, I totally would have passed.” “I just wasn’t putting it into practice in my own life.”
“I was always pretty comfortable with who I was, and I felt fine and didn’t have health issues. so it never was something where I was looking for a solution. Something needed to trigger it...”
GETTING THE SKINNY
Once she was diagnosed with high blood pressure, Carrie Jane resolved to make a change. Her doctor indicated that the spike in her blood pressure was likely due to a combination of factors: age, weight, heredity. Whatever the cause, Carrie Jane did not want to take medication. “I do not like to take medication,” she says firmly. “We will not have that!” “If I can control it through lifestyle changes, I will certainly do that, so that is where this journey started.”
Carrie Jane had been running since February of 2012, when she signed up for the Susan G. Komen 5K. Following her diagnosis, she started running more frequently and when a friend recommended OurSkinny, she decided to give it a shot. “I knew I needed something super regimented,” she recalls. “I couldn’t rely on myself, because what I knew wasn’t working.”
Looking back, she praises the ease—of course—but also the convenience, the portability, and the structure of the OurSkinny program. “I don’t have to think about it. The only thing I had to think about was the formula for that one meal a day. Even though, okay, you still have to think about it, but it is much less complicated to do it once or twice a day as opposed to three or four times.”
A CREATIVE APPROACH
“I am not going to lie,” Carrie Jane says, “Eating healthy can be boring sometimes if all you do is stick one section of the grocery store. You really have to be creative.”
Carrie Jane maintains an entire library of cookbooks, and she’s the cook for her generation of the family. She has had to make adjustments, however. “I have a bunch of cookbooks I absolutely love, all full of fattening food of course. I had an entire three-ring binder of recipes that I collected over the years. Now I have a completely different three-ring binder.”
So what’s in that binder? One is dying to know. “Oh, just things I collected from different places, websites like Eating Clean and Living Fit and the OurSkinny website. I subscribed to Skinny Taste. Cooking Light has some good stuff, too, lighter versions of the foods you are used to, but you have to be careful. Some of these quote healthy recipes are full of carbs.” “They aren’t necessarily committed to memory the way that some of the old-fashioned recipes were, but that’s a challenge for me to or a goal for me, too. It comes with time.”
THE REWARDS OF FITNESS
Carrie Jane started running back in 2012 when she and a group of friends trained for a 5K together. At the time, it was a struggle to run for just thirty seconds without stopping. After her blood pressure became an issue, she started running more frequently, started lifting weights, tried yoga, and eventually discovered Crossfit. It has since become a way of life. “I drink the Kool-Aid for sure,” she says with a laugh.
“I never really had fitness goals, before,” she says, looking back. “I played softball for two years when I was younger and I hated every minute of that. You know, when you are bigger you always feel like the weakest link. Now, sometimes I will go to Crossfit and then run a 5K in the same day.” The challenge has become a reward in itself.
“At one time maybe I thought I would set a goal and then let myself buy something expensive – I love handbags – but at some point, I had to realize that I can’t make that connection,” she says. “I can’t be doing it for that thing. I really just had to really want to do it. “ “Of course, the further I got, the more I realized how lucky I am to have found something that I really enjoy. I mean, I could probably buy an expensive handbag for what I pay for Crossfit every two or three months, you know what I mean?” “Here I am three years short of forty and all of a sudden I got it!”