How Cara overcame adversity during her 75-lb. transformation

Be who you want to be - not what others want to see. "I stubbornly believe in being happy with myself, and not for other people," said Cara, a PumpUp member whose awe-inspiring transformation captivated our attention. She lost an astounding 75 lbs over the last four years. Much to her dismay, Cara's family neglected to support her journey and her health and fitness goals.  "I was moderately overweight throughout my life, [but] sadly, I was on the thinner side of my family," she added. "They treat every day like a cheat day - [which is] typical in the Midwest. Once I got into a lower and healthy BMI range, [my family] bombarded me with comments such as, 'My god: just eat a chip' when I'd have a plate of veggies at a party . They'd tell me that I looked better before when I was overweight! I had to develop a thick skin [because of this]. I have an amazing fit family and a great support system on PumpUp." At the very start of her weight loss journey, Cara tracked her meals with calorie counting apps in an effort to be more mindful about her eating habits. "I wasn't focused on what I was eating - just caloric values," she mentioned. As time passed, Cara began to plateau. To transcend these minor setbacks, Cara educated herself about fitness and nutrition and found other useful tools to assist her progress. "I've been using PumpUp for a few months," she added. "I had lost some weight and wanted to start documenting my progress with other people who were also interested in living a healthier lifestyle. I always found that 'before' and 'after' pictures were so motivating. I wanted to be a part of a community full of support, education, and inspiration!"

After joining PumpUp, Cara made the decision to adopt a plant-based diet filled with lean protein. "I feel best when I stick with these items and most restaurants can always tailor a dish to incorporate a lot of veggies and protein," she explained. "I always stick to a clean diet, but being a home-brewer and beer aficionado is the 20% to my 80%." Cara also makes sure to focus on the quality of her workouts instead of the quantity and duration. "An end-of-day run 3-4 times a week is a mental requirement," she insisted. "I only do body-weight exercises so I can always squeeze a work out in, no matter where I am. I like to plank for about 3-5 minutes a workout."

Cara likes to maintain a posting schedule on PumpUp to maintain a steady level of motivation. "I like to do a Friday selfie check-in no matter what- it keeps me accountable," she offered. "During the rest of the week, I'll share whatever else I think my fitfam would enjoy - a great smoothie, good ab day, or a healthy meal! I like to keep it positive and I follow people who seem to share that mindset. If I can provide any support and tips/tricks for people in my situation, I'd be happy to know I have made a difference."

Cara's biggest motivation

I dare you to not watch the Victoria's Secret fashion show while planking and not be motivated!

Cara's exercise routine

I feel best after 3-5 minutes of plank, some push ups, sit ups, and twists, then about 30-40 min cardio. I love a good end-of-day run! I do that about 3 times a week and try to get in some cardio on Saturday morning/have an active weekend with friends.

More about Cara

I'm petrified of marionette puppets! Bring on the clowns and spiders, but get those puppets out of here!

Keep Cara pumped! Support her along her journey on PumpUp @run_cara_run.