Megan Claydon, CrossFit trainer and Lululemon educator
“For as long as I can remember I have considered myself an athlete. I come from a family of athletes, my dad was a solid hard-hitting football and basketball player, mom played volleyball, basketball, and ran track at Texas A&M, and then my two younger brothers both played college football. It’s the family hobby, if you will. My childhood memories largely consist of weekend road trips all over the state of Texas to tournaments for ASA softball, club soccer and club volleyball. Needless to say, I was a very active kid.
At some point during junior high, my coaches and trainers began to describe me as a “bigger girl”. It didn’t really start to bother me until high school, when every one becomes overly body-conscious and awkward. I couldn’t understand why I was always just a few jean sizes bigger than all my friends. Every now and then my mom would comment on my ability to slam half a sleeve of chips ahoy cookies as an after school snack, but that was pretty much the extent of anyone ever bringing what I ate to my attention.
With such an active family, food for us was whatever was convenient and sounded good. Sonic burger with tots and Dr. Pepper…yes please! Couple that with two brothers always trying to gain weight for football and our pantry was always loaded with boxes of mac-n-cheese, little Debbie snacks, and at least seven different kinds of cereal. It never crossed my mind that as an athlete it was even more important for me to fuel my body with whole foods. Instead I justified everything I ate by saying “I was an athlete, therefore I could eat whatever I want” (just like the athletes I saw in commercials for subway and McDonalds).
Over time I just accepted that this was just the way I was…a “bigger girl”. I was still a good athlete and after high school I was recruited to play collegiate volleyball at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. I spent most of that first year riding the bench and like every other college freshmen everywhere, I slowly began to add on more and more weight as the semester rolled on. Then at the end of the spring semester, it was the last day of spring practice for volleyball and the team was having one-on-one meetings with the head coach to discuss our individual goals for over the summer. I will never forget the feeling I had walking out of her office that day after being told that I had to lose weight or I would not be on the team next year. It was like a knife to the heart. I cried the whole way back to my dorm room. It was the first time anyone ever told me I wasn’t good enough the way I was and that it was no longer acceptable for me to accept how I was. I was 19 years old, 5’8 and weighed 180 lbs. Something had to change…
That summer I made a commitment to myself work harder than I have ever worked, to lose all the weight and some, and to never again accept mediocrity. This was the summer I found Crossfit and Robb Wolf. I started reading everything I could find online about macro-nutrients and the evils of processed carbs. That summer I dropped 20lbs and walked back on campus in the fall as a completely different athlete. Once I realized I didn’t have to be “bigger” and that making health-conscious decisions about my food was the missing link for me, I have never looked back. By my senior year, I was a toned 140lbs with a 30-inch vertical and named Conference MVP.
I was officially hooked on nutrition and had developed a passion for sharing the good food word to anyone who would listen to my story. Through following blogs like Robb Wolf, Mark’s Daily Apple, and Urban Gets Diesel I eventually made the transition to eating paleo-ish diet (just couldn’t seem to give up cheese and peanut butter). Then in May 2010, I had the opportunity to attend a Whole9 seminar on their first big road trip through the country sharing their theories on health and nutrition. This was another memorable day for me because I can still remember sitting in that gym scribbling down notes as fast as I could and trying to wrap my head around the simplicity and difficulty of their Whole30 program. In my first Whole30, after finally giving up dairy, my acne completely cleared up, this is after years of dermatologist appointments, topical medications, and two rounds of Accutane.
It’s been 2 years now and I’m truly in the best shape of my life. My health and performance are off the charts from anything I could have ever expected of myself. I still try to catch Dallas and Melissa anytime they come passing through the great state of Texas and I continue to mix in a couple of Whole30’s every year to help clean up those sneaky cheats. With every seminar I attend or round of Whole30, I learn continue to learn and broaden my education on food and health. I truly believe eating this way will work for everyone, no matter the circumstance or situation.”
Megan authors the blog Feed the Dud (http://feedthedud.blogspot.