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CrossFit Games Athletes Talk about Eating Disorders, Body Image and Self Esteem

Two-time CrossFit Games athlete Carleen Mathews (formerly Lessard) has demonstrated consistent and measurable improvement since her first regional appearance in 2012, when she took 18th at the North West Regional. She rose to ninth and fourth the next two years, making her CrossFit Games debut in 2015 after a second-place West Regional performance and taking 36th at the Games. In 2016, she won the West Regional and finished the Games with a 13-place improvement, taking 23rd. In 2017 she again won the West Regional, however suffered an injury at the Games, having to withdrawal after the first day of competition. (CrossFit.com)

Text from Carleen Mathews:

“For me as someone in continued recovery of an eating disorder I’d love to say, CrossFit has “Healed me” and now I just love my body all the time, but that’s bull sh*t… anyone who tells you that or portrays that on social media is being unauthentic, PERIOD! The truth is I struggle, just like everyone else, no day is perfect for me, there are peaks and valleys for me.

Currently I’m struggling, and desperately trying to turn a valley into a peak, but sometimes when we try so hard to be “normal, or OK” it’s that much harder.

So for today my goal is to start small, something in an succeed at. I will celebrate and acknowledge one thing about my body that l LOVE, because as much as I want to pick apart my body, there ARE things I like. Today I will celebrate and out my focus into that.”



“Who am I? 

I’ve been a competitive CrossFit athlete for the past 8 years. I’ve gotten to a place where I don’t have that deep desire to compete. But what do I do now? Who am I without it?

Maybe it’s fear of failure because I don’t believe I’m as good as the other girls out there. But that’s OK. The reality is that I am not as good as some of these 21 year olds. I’ve peaked. I’m not peaking anymore. My numbers are not growing. I love this sport. I love CrossFit. I walked into a box and it helped me stay sober. I made it my outlet. But it became my only outlet.

I’m in a transition phase in my life now where competitive CrossFit is not as important to me, starting a family and focusing on my health is. At least, that’s what I tell myself. This change is hard.  It’s uncomfortable. All I’ve known for the past five years is to train hard. Destroy your body every day to be the best you can be in competition. For so long, I’ve been praised and looked up to for podiums, medals, and achievements. 

Without that, who am I?

I’m still Carleen. I’m a leader, a survivor, someone who can get through anything. This is what people look up to me for. I am not my medals or podium finishes. I am so much more.

It can be hard to convince myself of that.”


Carleen Mathews CrossFit Games athleteSource: Carleen Mathews
Carleen Mathews on The CrossFit Games

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