Kerri lived many years trapped in a body she didn’t like nor recognize. When she felt her body failed her, she decided to do something about it. Read her story to find out how she learned to love and take care of her precious body.
Meet Kerri Jenkins:
Why do I love my body? At first, this was a tough question for me to answer because there was such a long span of time that I truly hated my body. I resented it and was angry with it, I felt it had let me down. Now… I love it, cherish it, thank it and take care of it. Here’s my story…
I have always been an athlete since a very small child. I never had to worry about what “shape” I was in because I was constantly playing team sports and was always competitive about the next game. I grew up in a household where positive reinforcement about body image was constantly used. It didn’t matter if I was in sweatpants and a tee shirt to go to school, my mom would always tell me I looked pretty and give me a huge hug and would tell me to have a great day. This remained the case throughout my college years, even when my body gained the famous “freshman 15” and my body wasn’t as lean as it once was. I was still confident and never felt pressure or felt insecure about how I looked.
Soon after college I married the love of my life, and soon after we married we decided to start a family. After two years of struggling, I went to a doctor to find out why I wasn’t ovulating, which led to medication. Which led to finding out I had endometriosis, stage four, which lead to surgeries, which lead to medication, which lead to weight gain, anxiety and major depression. I hated myself. I hated my body, my female body, because it could not do the one job it was supposed to do…Produce a child. I was ashamed, and felt like a failure, not only to myself but also to my husband.
This medicated depression-filled self lasted for three years. I would look in the mirror and not even recognize the person staring back. I just know I hated her. I hated her “broken” body, and therefore I didn’t take care of it. I ate terribly, I drank frequently, my sleep patterns were all crazy. I was in a very dark place. About to give up on trying to conceive, we decided to give IVF one more shot… this is six surgeries and nine IUI attempts. Maybe because I was at my lowest, maybe because I was ready to give up, who knows, but it worked and I was blessed with twins… healthy babies…one boy and one girl!
However, after giving birth all of my previous health issues returned and I was back to trying to figure out how to deal with the medication, surgeries and pain. After three years of more surgeries, I sat down with my doctor and decided to tell him how the medication was affecting my moods and together we came to the conclusion it was time to resolve things and get off meds all together. We decide that it was best for me to have a hysterectomy. At the time it scared me and excited me. I just wanted to live a happy life again. I wanted to feel normal. So at the age of 32 I had my hysterectomy and never felt pain again. That was also the day I became free of medication and my brain was clear. I was my happy self again.
The day my kids started kindergarten was also the day I decided it was time to take care of me. For so long I hated my body and I was so ashamed of how I abused it. I was out of shape, over weight, weak and 100% embarrassed of how I looked. I called a lifelong friend who was also a neighbor and asked if she wanted to start CrossFit with me. I didn’t really know much about it but I did know it’s time I start doing something for me. She said yes and we started the next day.
I was terrified to walk through the doors at CrossFit Bel Air. I still joke today that I can’t believe I didn’t turn around and walk out. Thank God I didn’t; it has changed my life. The CrossFit members didn’t judge me for what I looked like or what I couldn’t do at the time. They just welcomed me with open arms and supported me every step of the way. Nine months later I was stronger than I had ever been and loved my body for it’s full potential. I lost 40 lbs… 40lbs of baggage. 40lbs of memories of failure and depression. 40 lbs that I will never let happen again.
I love my body. I love how strong it can be. I love that no matter what society says the new “skinny” is, I don’t really care because my daughter (and son) look at me and my amazing CrossFit family and know that no matter what we look like on the outside, we are STRONG on the inside because we take care of our bodies.
I have scars on my belly to remind me of the hard times, which is good, it’s a constant reminder to remain strong. I promise I will never abuse my body ever again. I only have one. I need to love it and take care of it.