If you've ever struggled with repeated cycles of weight losses and gains, Eileen knows how you feel. Her addiction to salty and sweet snacks failed her time and time again. "When I was younger, I treated myself with sweets and junk food," she revealed. "On weekends, my parents always went hiking with my sister and I. On holidays, we went cycling in France. Exercise was never a problem, but I failed with junk food." In 2014, Eileen vowed to make a lifestyle change. She started out by exercising with Blogilates videos on YouTube. "I was motivated to live a healthier life," she insisted. "My eating habits changed, I didn't eat any snacks and sweets between meals, and I started to drink only water. I exercised more often, and with greater intensity." Between January and August 2014, Eileen lost 10 kg (22 lbs). However, when Eileen studied for a semester abroad in England, her eating fell off track. She continued to struggle with healthy eating when she returned home from her exchange program. By the end of December, Eileen realized that she gained back over half of the weight she initially lost.
Deciding that enough was enough, in January 2015, Eileen downloaded PumpUp to stay on track for good."From the first moment [I logged on], I was amazed at how positive the whole community is," she shared. "I love looking at people’s pictures and seeing them struggling with the same problems and challenges. My motivation came back after I saw real people like me reaching their fitness goals. I love that the community is really honest. There are people who fail and succeed."
Now that Eileen uses PumpUp, she eats a variety of healthy meals and she even made the decision to become a vegetarian. A big part of Eileen's journey has been about restoring confidence in herself. "Before, I was ashamed to wear swimsuits and clothing that showed too much skin," she added. "Now that I've changed my lifestyle, [I'm comfortable wearing] almost everything. I gained a lot of self-confidence and I have more fun working out." With PumpUp, Eileen lost 12 kilograms and she also ran a half marathon in under two hours. "I got in touch with so many amazing people on PumpUp and even though I don’t know them in reality, they’re like friends to me," she expressed. "I really hope that I'll get the opportunity to meet some of them one day."
Eileen is most inspired by other members on PumpUp. "For food inspiration, I always look through PumpUp and I take screenshots of amazing meals," she mentioned. "[I go on] Pinterest and Instagram for more inspiration. Follow amazing people on PumpUp and Instagram—trust me, they will always give you motivation to eat healthy and exercise regularly."
Eileen's Best Advice
Never give up and always believe in your dreams! Even if nobody supports you at first, you have to be your best friend. It was helpful for me to write motivational quotes in a diary. I also wrote everything I ate in that dairy. It helps to be aware of what you eat during the day. Don’t forget to take a water bottle with you wherever you go. If you don’t like water, try drinking cold and unsweetened tea!
It’s really important that you find a sport you really like doing. It will be a lot easier to do it regularly. If you hate running, go hiking! If you hate the gym, try doing bodyweight workouts at home. If you want to run further, make enjoyable by singing to yourself throughout the run. It helps me a lot when I have a fitness goal. It doesn't have to be a marathon, but something you can achieve.
Eileen's sources of motivation
My favourite motivation quote is: “You never know how close you are. Never give up on your dreams.” And don’t forget to always listen to your body because you only have one!
The best motivation is when your friends, family and almost strangers see how much you have changed and give you positive feedback. That always keeps me going.
My biggest motivation is my father. He ran 12 mountain marathons and at the moment, he focuses on running 80 kilometres in the mountains. He is in such a good shape and I hope that I can achieve the same level of fitness. A huge inspiration for me as well is the Swiss trail runner Jasmin Nunige. She participates in races, despite having been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Since childhood, I've admired two Swiss athletes: Dario Cologna and Viktor Röthlin. I think it’s really important to have famous idols because they show you what you can achieve when you follow your dreams. And last but not least, I'm inspired by all the people I follow and my followers on PumpUp. They are a huge source of motivation for me and they always keep me going.
Eileen's Exercise Routine
My favourite exercises are running, hiking and cross country skiing. Usually I go running three to four times a week and in a week I run between 15 to 40 kilometres. In winter, I usually go cross country skiing once a week. When I don’t have to work during the weekend, I go usually for a long hike. I want to increase my weekly running as soon as I've handed in my final paper. Sometimes, I can push myself to do some home workouts but I prefer being outside and doing endurance than working on my full body. I want to do more home workouts and I hope I get the motivation to do yoga and stretching more regularly. My goal next year is to run a full marathon.
For breakfast: oatmeal with fruits or a smoothie. For lunch, it's usually what my mother cooks. For dinner, I eat cottage cheese with vegetables or a slice of bread with lots of veggies. I don’t forbid myself sweets and I eat a little treat after lunch - this stops me from craving cheat meals.
More about Eileen
I still go to school and I work on weekends, so I don't have much time to workout. Running is a high priority of mine and I get up earlier on the weekends to get my exercises in. I play trumpet in a orchestra in our village and in my free time, I love to teach cross country skiing.
The topic on for my final paper in school is Orthorexia. When I graduate, I want to study something related to health and medicine (perhaps dietetics or animal medicine). I love animals and I’m the kind of person who stops to help an worm or frog cross the street.
Keep Eileen pumped! Show your support for her on PumpUp @eileenu. Are you struggling with a junk food addiction? Check out our free eBook full of tips from other PumpUp members.