One year ago, Birta was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It was overwhelmingly difficult for her to develop a positive sense of self-esteem. Most of her days were spent in isolation, without much exercise or movement. "I was always alone inside watching movies and television," she remembered. "I ate junk food constantly and [my mental health worsened] because I was lying in bed all day. I felt so bad about myself and how I looked." Birta became so self-conscious about how other people perceived her. "I couldn't even look at photos of myself," she lamented.

At the start of 2015, Birta discovered that exercise relieved her symptoms of depression and anxiety. After she became an active member of the PumpUp community in March 2015, Birta lost 8 kilograms. She's more confident than ever.  "I have never been more happy and proud of my body as I am now," she insisted. "PumpUp helped me to accomplish many of my goals! When I exercise, I become happier. When I become happier, I do things that I couldn't have done when I was severely depressed." Birta's grades are higher, she's able to focus on her future as an actress and musician, and she has the time and energy to play the harp once more. "There were so many little things that I couldn't do because I was depressed and too tired to even get out of bed," she recalled. "There is so much more that I want to accomplish in the future. In the meantime, I'll take small and simple steps each day to attain my goals."

The PumpUp community constantly motivates Birta to live an enriching, happy, and healthy lifestyle. PumpUp has become a routine part of Birta's day. "There is so much light and positivity in the PumpUp community," she expressed. "After a long day, I log my activities for the day on PumpUp. Then I go to sleep." Gone are the days when Birta would cling to her couch as a source of comfort. She spends a lot more time exercising and she makes an effort to eat healthier meals. "I start my mornings with oatmeal for breakfast, then I go to the gym right after," she explained. "I always carry fruit or some kind of snack in my bag. It helps me to resist purchasing junk food." Over the course of Birta's health and fitness journey, she still struggled with depression and anxiety. "I've had fewer breakdowns— almost none, but I still have them," she said. "I've learned to deal with these problems with exercise. I've learned to push myself to my limits."

Birta's greatest source of motivation

I see people asking where they can get motivation to exercise.  Motivation is not given, you can't buy it. You build it up with hard work and time! Once you start, you don't give up! Don't look at other people who are doing well. Don't drag yourself down. Everyone is on their own fitness journey! 

More about Birta

I love acting and playing on my harp! I'm a harpist and love playing! I've been learning the harp for 8 years now and I'm not quitting! :) I'm planning to go to Julliard or a Creative Arts-focused school in the future! 

Cheer Birta on! Find her on PumpUp @ice_fitnessjourney and share positive words of encouragement with her in the comments below!