Athena Perez grew up in an abusive home in which her stepmother used food “as a weapon.”
Perez was regularly made to go without food, she was often fed only bread and water, and she was even forced to eat until she vomited, creating an unhealthy relationship with food. Eventually, food became her “best friend in the world.” Perez weighed over 400 lb. by 18 and eventually reached a max weight of about 450 lb.
“I was awake and breathing, but I was half dead,” Perez says.
So large that she couldn’t make it upstairs, Perez started sleeping in the living room. She knew she needed to do something to avoid early death or bariatric surgery and its many side effects.
Perez started CrossFit slowly at CrossFit Lakeville, where the coaches helped her reclaim her life. Since starting CrossFit, Perez has lost over 175 lb., gotten off painkillers and joined a powerlifting team at CrossFit White Bear in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. She attributes her success to “having a place that felt safe.”
She admits: “I let the word ‘CrossFit’ scare me from walking into a place like this sooner.”
She hopes to share her journey with others who might ask themselves a question: “Is (CrossFit) for me?”
Perez’s response: “Hell, yeah!”