Onya battled with depression and negative body image issues for several years. "At one point in my life, I was so depressed about my weight that I considered committing suicide," she revealed. "It wasn't just my weight that got me to this point. There were more factors involved." Onya resorted to destructive behaviour and starved herself in order to lose weight. "I lost a lot," she added. "I was the smallest I had ever been at 125 lbs, but I was sick. Nobody knew I was doing this and I didn't even know that it was a disorder. But I did know that I couldn't keep up with it." Though Onya's weight eventually made its way back up, she stopped worrying about the scale and started to focus on her health. "I got to a point where I [knew that I needed] to just love myself if I was going to get better," she explained. "I started to enjoy life. In that moment, [I was] so comfortable in my skin that I could truly walk nude through the streets of America. I starting wondering, 'If I feel so good about myself fat, how happy and confident could I feel at a healthier me?'".
Prior to finding the PumpUp community, Onya confessed that she ate whatever she wanted- often bingeing on processed food. Though she exercised every now and then, nothing 'stuck'. She got off to a rocky start and had trouble sticking to a routine. Onya decided to get serious about her fitness goals and she downloaded PumpUp to accelerate her journey. "I started PumpUp in May 2015 because I wanted to have a place to track my progress," she shared. "My eating habits have changed for the better now. I drink water everyday, and eat more fruits and vegetables. But I never deprive myself of BBQ at family gatherings! I'm not afraid to eat a piece of my grandma's pie because I like to be realistic about this lifestyle. I have a set workout schedule that I follow and try my hardest to be consistent".
Despite the challenges that Onya faces as a busy college student on a tight budget, she has been very successful at sustaining her healthy lifestyle change. In a few short months, Onya lost 18 lbs with the help and encouragement of other PumpUp members. "I don't have the money to afford a gym or buy [fitness] gear or a FitBit," she elaborated. "I have to rely on the weather for my runs and I rely on the weights that are available at my boyfriend's job. I also don't have the money to buy [expensive] health food ingredients." Owing to the fact that Onya runs between class and rehersals from 10am until 11pm, Onya makes sure that she prepares her meals and snacks.
Her ultimate goal is to lose 60 pounds before March 2016. "Once I lose those 60 lbs, I will feel like there isn't anything that I can't do," she added. "Past that goal, I will continue to get even stronger and healthier. [I now know] that loving yourself isn't about how good you look, it's about how good you feel. It's about knowing that you love yourself enough to change."
Onya's best advice
Never give up if you don't see change. Track your progress on PumpUp. You will be so amazed at how far you've come. Give yourself realistic goals! Find the motivation within yourself to keep going when times get hard. YOU are responsible for missing a workout, not the gym, not the rain. Your home is the BEST place to workout.
Onya's favorite way to stay active
My favorite form of exercise of all time is running. There is nothing that gives me the satisfying feeling of a run. It gives me this sense of power and endurance and I love how much it makes me sweat! I remember not being able to run 1 block without passing out. Now I can run forever!
More about Onya
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but moved to Atlanta, Georgia when I was in the 8th grade. I moved back to Philadelphia and I attend the University of the Arts as an Acting Major. I am a YouTuber. My videos range from hair tutorials, make-up tutorials, story time videos, and just being me!
Encourage Onya and cheer her on as she reaches her goal! Follow her journey on PumpUp and Instagram @naturallyonya.