I am Autymn Stafford, owner and coach at CrossFit Bloomington.
I used to weigh over 200 pounds and I am 5’3” tall. Although that was many years ago, it still hurts to look back and see myself when I was obese. The pain wasn’t from being over weight, it was from the circumstances in my life. I was in a bad place in life. I was a recovering drug addict, a single mom and I took care of my ill mother. I hid in the house and over ate to make up for my low self-esteem and to deal with stress. I had high cholesterol and was often sick. I was constantly tired. I was extremely unhappy.
When I decided to take control of my health it was difficult because I was unsure what to eat and what the ideal exercises were. I was scared of the gym and I was embarrassed to walk/run outside because I had been laughed at and called names because of my weight. However, I continued trying to make the right food choices by doing research online and reading books about nutrition. I decided to keep exercising regardless of what other people thought or said to me. Eventually, I began to lose weight. I began to have more energy. My walking turned into running. Running turned into 5k races, then 10ks and eventually marathons. I taught bootcamp classes and lifted weights. Without even realizing it, I had become a completely different person. I was happy and I felt great. I had an outlet for my stress. There was a boost in my confidence. I realized that I had control over many things in my life and I didn’t have to accept things for the way they were. I could lose weight if I wanted, I could get stronger if I wanted. That confidence spilled over into my everyday life; I was a better mom, I got a better job and then became an entrepreneur. My quality of life increased exponentially.
On my fitness journey, I became a different person. Eating well and taking care of myself helps me think clearly, my body to function properly, it lowered my cholesterol. I am rarely sick, and I have endless energy. Since my struggle, I have followed my dream to provide a safe place for people of all fitness levels to go and get the tools that they need to change their lives. Five years ago I opened a CrossFit gym. Now, I am inspired everyday by the people I train. I am glad that I decided to change my life and I love that I have the opportunity to help other people change theirs too.