Stephanie was always 'the bullied kid' when she was growing up. "I dealt with bullying for every reason possible," she lamented. "I had acne, kids made fun of me, and I wasn't as outgoing as everybody. I was always sick, so I was called 'the virus'. I was overweight and didn't take care of myself, so I was humiliated for that." Stephanie's confidence was startlingly low. At the age of 15, she was diagnosed with minor depressive disorder. "I thought I had nobody [to turn to], I didn't know what to do, and I prayed that everybody would stop bullying me," she revealed. "I never thought I was pretty. I only started saying that I was 'okay' after I was 18 years old." There were several odds stacked against Stephanie before she embarked on a quest to reclaim her life. "It all went south when I moved into my new apartment," she explained. "I didn't watch what I ate, I didn't have a gym membership, and I wasn't working out at all." In January 2015, Stephanie stepped on the scale and realized that she was at her heaviest weight ever. "I really hit rock bottom when I [acknowledged] that I was at 187 lbs," she recalled. "I hated myself for getting that heavy. I hated [looking at] myself in the mirror. On most nights, I even cried myself to sleep."
After that crucial moment, Stephanie set out to change her lifestyle. She joined PumpUp in February 2015, just a few weeks after the official 'start' of her fitness journey. "I thought that I could maybe find more motivation, and honestly, I did find a whole bunch of it on PumpUp," she added. "It [has become] my go-to motivator whenever I feel a bit 'down'". Stephanie drastically changed her diet by cutting out several refined carbs, eating more veggies, drinking more water, and incorporating green tea into the mix. "I've never been a big water drinker, but now I force myself to drink some every day." Rather than being sedentary for most of her hours, Stephanie makes it a point to exercise at least three to four times a week, for about one hour to an hour and a half.
Since Stephanie joined the PumpUp community, she lost 22 lbs. "I think it's one of my biggest accomplishments ever," she gushed. "I still have a long way to go, and with PumpUp, I really want to lose more weight. I also want to inspire people who once thought that they couldn't do it." Building up her sense of self-worth was extremely difficult. There still are days when Stephanie feels like she isn't worth it, but her healthy habits enhance her emotional state of well-being. "Working out is the best thing I've ever done," she shared. "It boosts me and I feel more confident now than I've ever been."
Stephanie's Best Advice
Do it for you and not for anyone else. If you start working out for someone, you will most likely give up at some point. Doing it for you, you do it because you want to. It's not going to be easy, in fact it's going to be the hardest journey of your life, but it's going to be so worth it.
I try to change it up so I don't get bored of it. I usually drink a glass of water before breakfast, then I have my coffee, and breakfast varies everyday. I head to work if I have to, but if I don't, I like to relax a little bit before getting started with my day. I let myself fully wake up before heading to the gym. At night, I like to laze around a little. I think it's important to not do anything sometimes. I like to write down my thoughts or whatever is going on in my mind. It's a great way for me to just let everything go.
I work out in the gym 3-4x a week. My favorite day at the gym is leg day because it really pushes my limits. I do walks on my lunch breaks at work. When I have a bit of a free time I do small runs, even if i don't like to run that much. It still feels good. I also like to play and run around in the park with my nieces!
Stephanie's Biggest Motivation
When I first started, my motivation was a music group. I told myself that when I lost 20 lbs, I'd buy front row tickets and a VIP pass with a meet and greet after the show. And I did it. I bought the tickets, the show is in December, and I'm beyond excited. Now, my motivation is myself. I've seen how far I came, and I want to see how far I still can go.
Fun Fact about Stephanie
I'm quite a normal woman with a crazy good side when you get to know me! But I have to say that I'm a very manual person which means that I like everything that can be done with my hands: baking, cooking, painting, and makeup (I LOVE makeup). If I were to have a superpower, I guess it would be to fly. I could travel the world and visit places I have never been to, and learn about new cultures around the globe.
Keep Stephanie pumped and cheer her on as she reaches new goals! Connect with her on PumpUp @steph_ps and leave positive words of encouragement for her in the comments below. Find Stephanie's advice in our PumpUp eBook.