I married into the most amazing family. No, really. It’s true. They saw me at my heaviest and I know they were concerned about my health. Some of them told me and some of them didn’t say anything at all but I could see their concern for me on their faces.

One person in particular, our Titi Becky (Titi is Aunt in Spanish) was one of those folks who was very concerned about my health and, occasionally, told me about her concern. She was kind but direct. She was loving about it but didn’t mince words, either. When I began this CrossFit journey she was my 2nd cheerleader. Obviously, my wife was my first. She was so proud of me for recognizing that I needed to do something about my weight, for taking the biggest leap and joining a gym that was going to challenge me every time I worked out, and for putting aside my pride and my fear to do something I have never done before.

Shortly after I joined I received a card from her.  Titi Becky LOVES to send cards. Each year for Christmas we make sure to get her a card set because we know, eventually, we’ll get one of them with her love written in her beautiful handwriting inside. Anyway…  shortly after I joined 13 Stripes I received a beautiful card from Titi Becky congratulating me on my new journey to healthy. She was cheering me on and praying for me to keep going and do well. She knew how hard it was going to be for me because she knows my love of food. We’ve been to family BBQs, Thanksgivings and Christmases together for 4 years. She’s seen me eat.

Since August of 2018 I’ve received several cards from Titi. I’ve gotten phone calls and text messages asking how I’m doing, making sure I’m sticking with CrossFit. She and Bec talk almost every day and Titi always asks her how I’m doing. She marvels in what I can do and, when we send her the before and current pictures I take each month to mark my physical progress, she always says “Wow! Elena!  You’re doing so well!  I’m so proud of you! This is amazing!” and it makes me feel like a million bucks.

We were recently at our nephews 1st birthday party. I wore an outfit that was 4 sizes smaller than I have worn in the past. All day, Titi kept telling me how wonderful I looked, that she couldn’t believe how much my body has changed.  She and my mother-in-law sat together and mentioned over and over again how much weight I have lost. They praised my will power. After Bec and I left on Sunday she told me that Titi kept saying over and over again that she just cannot believe how good I look.

We ALL need a Titi Becky in our lives, don’t we? Doesn’t praise for hard work feel really, really good? I’m so thankful to Bec’s family, OUR family for supporting me, for loving me enough to not only recognize I needed to change but cheering me on as I do it. I won’t be able to tell them how much it means to me to have them on my side. Mostly because I would try to get the first few words out and start to cry. That’s when my brother-in-law would crack some silly joke to lighten the mood a bit.  For some of us, hearing compliments or getting praise is hard. We get embarrassed or we feel like we’re being selfish or too proud when in reality, we’re just simply being recognized for being awesome.

My advice to you is take it in. Take it all in.  Praise and admiration feed our souls like nothing else could. We don’t ask for it, we don’t beg for it but we do require it to keep us going. That’s why sports teams have cheerleaders. They’re not just there to hype up the crowd, they help the players, too. We need people on our sidelines making sure we’re doing our best and cheering us on, win or lose.

To Titi Becky and to the rest of my wonderful married into family….  you will never know how much your cheering means to me. I will never be able to put into words how thankful I am for your love and support. I can promise that I will keep going, that I will keep working on being the healthiest version of me I can be.  Thank you.

#fromcouchtocrossfit #mystandardsmyway #aintnofamilyliketheonei’vegot #supportmeanseverything #cheerleaders #healthyisashealthydoes