How Anna overcame bulimia and learned to love herself

At the beginning of 2015, Anna's self-esteem was at an all-time low. "I was tired of looking at myself and always feeling self-conscious about my weight, especially in my stomach area,"she admitted. "I was also extremely depressed after losing a friend to a car accident. I was struggling to pass my college classes."

Anne combed through resources on the Internet in an attempt to find the motivation that she so desperately sought. That's when she found PumpUp. "I hoped that the PumpUp community would motivate me, and it definitely did," she insisted. "My lifestyle before PumpUp was very up and down. I tried to be healthy and I tried to exercise, but I didn't know how to go about doing it." Without the critical knowledge and support system necessary to maintain healthier habits, Anna accepted defeat so easily. "I kept going back to junk food because it was easier," she lamented. "I wasn't happy and I was stressed out all the time I thought food would help with that."

After Anna joined PumpUp, she began to make subtle changes to her eating and exercise habits. "I still eat junk food, but very little and in moderation," she explained. "I eat more fruit than chips. When I study for class, I'll grab carrots before I grab a candy bar." Anna strives to exercise at least 5-6 days a week. Thanks to the help of other PumpUp members, she became much more creative with her workouts as well. "The best part of my day is when I can go running or weightlifting," she said happily. These gradual changes impacted Anna's self-confidence in so many ways."I've accomplished so much with PumpUp and there's so much more to come!" she replied gleefully.  "I've not only lost weight and fit into clothes I NEVER thought I'd wear, but I have started to feel okay with myself. I can look at myself and love myself. This isn't because I'm thin, but because I finally learned to block [negativity] out and live my life. I'm not trying to live somebody else's life." What's more, Anna is now focusing on fitness goals that aren't related to the scale at all. "I'm working on things I never thought I would, such as doing the splits, lifting, and balancing on my elbows and hands," she exclaimed. "My shoutout goes to PumpUp in general and everybody on it. [The community] has been such an inspiration to me and it has helped me through a journey that definitely had its ups and downs." 

Self-love and non-scale victories are particularly important for Anna, who overcame bulimia 3 years ago. When she weighed 195 lbs in middle school, she vomited out meals in an attempt to lose weight and find happiness. "I was bulimic for most of high school," she shared. "I would go to the gym everyday until I would cry. I never felt better about myself, but I kept going [to the gym] thinking that I would." Anna lost a drastic amount of weight. "My parents cut my gym membership and I threw up even more to make up for [the lack of] exercise," she elaborated. When Anna was in the 11th grade, her bulimia backfired on her. "I ended up lying in the bathroom with a cut-up throat and a loss of muscle mass," she remembered. "I took a break from fitness and exercise while I recovered. [That December], I consulted my doctor to see if I could exercise again. Slowly, I went back." Over the past 3 years, Anna gained her muscle mass back, her throat healed, and because of PumpUp, she learned how to view exercise with a much more positive perspective. "It was hard to [resist] throwing up, but I stayed away from starving myself and overdoing any exercise," she shared. "I haven't been bulimic in 3 years and I have never felt more proud of myself. I made a full recovery from the ED but I still wasn't healthy. Now, I'm at a healthy 132 lbs."

Anna's best advice: Fitness is selfish, but a good kind of selfish. You can block everyone and everything out for a moment and focus on yourself and being happy and proud with yourself; and that's so important. When you let go of criticism and judgement, it's absolutely amazing how far you can go!

Anna's biggest motivation Cassey Ho from blogilates. She promotes a healthy lifestyle, but also being happy with imperfections. She points out that no one has the perfect body. She's helped me though a lot.

Anna's favorite exercise: I used to hate running, mostly because I was so bad at it. But I loved being outside, so I worked on strength training and when summer came I started running. I have to say that it makes me feel so good! I love the wind hitting me and the feeling of my feet hitting pavement. I get such an adrenaline rush! I also love all ab workouts!

Keep Anna pumped! Were you inspired by how she overcame bulimia? Share your thoughts and positive comments down below! Connect with her on PumpUp @annagrace250.