It’s Spotlight time on the PumpUp Blog and this week we have a treat for you all! We got to know Elmo! We have it all! How she turned her life around from spending her days on the couch and weighing 204 pounds, to exercising, eating clean, limiting her love for pizza, and trying new things. Elmo shares with us what it was like to be bullied when she was younger due to her weight, and how it shaped her into the person she is today. She is an amazing woman and motivator on PumpUp, and if you want to learn more about her story keep on reading!

Elmo joined the PumpUp Community near the end of February. She had never previously been interested in social networks but tells us that this particular one was different. Elmo tells us, “my intention when I first joined was to stay on track with my workouts, but that turned into something totally different. I feel like PumpUp is so supportive, and I definitely consider it my family.” 

Before PumpUp, Elmo tells us that she lived a different lifestyle. “Those 3 a.m. cravings were a real struggle, and let me be honest there was nothing coming in between me and the pizza. It was such a strong bond, and such a great weakness at the same time.” Since starting PumpUp Elmo got her love for pizza under control and she says her diet is now 70% clean!  Elmo now indulges in moderation, which is a key feature of eating clean. She tells us, “It’s almost like a reward. I look forward to my cheat days like a child looking forward to Christmas for a present.”

As for exercise, before PumpUp Elmo says she would have been proud of herself if she took 30 minutes a week to exercise, as that would be a huge accomplishment for her. “Now I do a minimum of four days 30+ intense minutes of exercise, and I mean INTENSE.”

Elmo’s days used to heavily consist of TV. “I would go 1, 2, up to 5 hours a day of TV. I’ve accepted that it was a huge contribution to the weight I used to be (204 pounds). Imagine sitting on the couch for countless hours with 20 bags of chips, and sadly I still wouldn’t be full.” Now though, Elmo is pursuing a ton of different projects just to stay active. And guess what? The TV and Elmo no have almost a non-existent relationship! Now that’s a big change!

Elmo’s advice for everyone looking to make changes to their life just as she did is, “‘If you work hard, everything else will come at play’. Whether your actively pursuing a career, a more fit body, or any other personal accomplishment, you can’t expect to achieve it if you don’t work for it. When you truly work hard for something, you’ll feel the greatest pleasure when you have finally accomplished what you pursued.”

With PumpUp Elmo was hoping to look and feel better about her body. We definitely think she’s reached that goal but what does Elmo think? “At this point I am grateful and proud of where I now stand. If it wasn’t for the acceptance and support of PumpUp, I don’t know if I would feel the same way about my body.” 

We asked PumpUp who her biggest motivation was. She tells us, “It is not a who, but a what. I know it might be funny to many, but I would love to be as fit as the people who train for the American Ninja Warrior.”

This is a photo that Elmo posted on PumpUp with the caption: “Learning to love myself is just as hard as working out everyday and molding my body to what I want it to be. I’m the type of person that hides behind makeup because I have scars due to acne. I finally faced my fear to put up a pic with no makeup so don’t judge me. Thank you for your love, you’re all my fam. Just like I can do this, we can all push forward to what we want to achieve.”

Any journey to something new comes with its struggles. We asked Elmo any struggles she had while on her journey. She shares with us, “I’ve had to overcome many things, but a major one was bullying. I was clinically overweight and I remember an experience being on the school bus. I was sitting down on the right side of the bus facing outside the window. I heard a lot of the girls behind me chuckling, and calling me a cow. I chose to ignore them because they were the popular mean girls, and honestly what was I supposed to do? The girl beside me was almost appalled to be sitting next to me. This same girl who was sitting next to me took out a bag of chips out of her book bag and started getting close to my face eating them right in front of me. All the girls were laughing at me. Many people fail to understand that comments really do hurt. That is one the thing I have learned to overcome. I have learned that even though we all have negative experiences, they are the ones that shaped me into becoming the person I am today. If someone went through bullying I can almost guarantee to you that they wont become the bully.”

Elmo’s Favourites:

#1 Meal: “Chicken Salad.”

“The way I prepare it varies, but here is an overall look at the ingredients:

  • Chicken. Either baked or sautéed with natural herbs and coconut oil.
  • Add cherry tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and Parmesan cheese.
  • The best part: Add in one toasted tortilla in bits.
  • Dressing: I make a salsa with tomatillos, garlic, serrano peppers, and avocado. Not only is this dressing healthier than a Caesar dressing, but also tastes really good.

Favourite Workout: “Has to be between dancing and boxing. They are great intense workouts that incorporate the whole body.”

Best Part About PumpUp: “I love, is the POSITIVITY. There is not another app like this. Hands down the best app I have ever downloaded on my phone.”

More Awesomeness About Elmo:

“I tend to get involved in a lot of activities. If I set my heart and mind to accomplish something, you better believe I won’t quit until I achieve it. Whether its learning a new language, instrument, or learning about the mechanics of a car, I’m down to grip any knowledge I can.”

How genuine and positive is Elmo? Extremely right! We love Elmo’s spirit, her activity on PumpUp, and for sharing her story with PumpUp. So follow this incredibly strong 21 year-old who was born and raised in Chicago, and tells everyone that it is possible for you to get to you ideal weight. Her PumpUp username is: @_elmocastle.