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body image

How Sarah Lost 4 Dress Sizes With the Help of PumpUp

How Sarah Lost 4 Dress Sizes With the Help of PumpUp

"I decided that I had enough of being overweight and I decided to do something about it. I joined my local gym and used PumpUp to gain motivation from other members' progress." Sarah's goal was to eventually share an inspiring transformation of her own, and she's done just that. "With the help of PumpUp, I have lost 52 lbs, 4 dress sizes, 10 inches off my stomach, 9 inches off my waist, and 6 inches off my thighs," she shared. "I am healthier and happier. I want to continue my journey by getting leaner."

4 Things They Didn't Tell You About Waist Training

4 Things They Didn't Tell You About Waist Training

It’s in the media, celebrities are using it, and it is advertised in magazines. Waist training is the ‘new trend’ and it has gained popularity amongst the female community by showing off the quick effects that one can achieve by using it. Females idolize a 'perfect' hour-glass figure with a cinched in waist. What some women fail to realize is that each person has a unique body type and this image of  what some perceive to be ‘the perfect body’ can be unrealistic. Waist training has made its way throughout history and is now making a major comeback in the 21st century. Waist trainers can appeal to many women: from new Moms who want to lose their baby weight such as Jessica Alba and Snooki, to women trying to lose weight faster. They may even find consumers in younger generations, who think that this practice is the new ‘normal’. Waist trainers claim to cinch your core, hips, and back.

How Christine finally developed a positive relationship with food

How Christine finally developed a positive relationship with food

It was tough for Christine to come home after an entire year abroad in England—her whole diet was off track. "I think it was the worst lifestyle that I ever had," she recalled. "I wanted to enjoy myself. I was eating a lot of cake, chocolate, ice cream, burgers, and drinking soda, hot chocolate, and alcohol. Even if I was really happy at the time, I regretted my choices in the end." 

How I finally became happy with my body with the help of PumpUp - Holly's PumpUp Success Story

How I finally became happy with my body with the help of PumpUp - Holly's PumpUp Success Story

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You can't develop a positive body image from exercise alone. Holly was no stranger to an active lifestyle before she joined PumpUp, but her confidence was at an all-time low. Though Holly trained in classical ballet for over 20 years, something went amiss once she entered the workforce. "I joined PumpUp because I wasn't happy with my body," she confessed. "I was uncomfortable, and I had more body fat than I wanted. I had trouble finding ways of exercise that I felt comfortable with." More ballet classes seemed like the logical answer, but when Holly took a look at herself in the mirrors of her dance studio, she became quickly discouraged. "It depressed me to see how out of shape I became," she lamented. "It seems backwards, because taking ballet class would have only benefitted me. PumpUp was a great way to exercise in the comfort of my own home." How I finally became happy with my body with the help of PumpUp // Veganballerina's success story

Before Holly began her journey with PumpUp, she ate copious amounts of junk food and fast food. "I didn't exercise regularly and I didn't drink enough water," she shared. "My average day consisted of waking up and going to work without eating breakfast. I would drink coffee at work and not eat anything until lunch." Holly used to skip breakfast and opted for high fat meals during lunch and dinner. She was sedentary during her evenings and went straight to bed after work, often watching movies right before she went to sleep.

Once Holly joined the PumpUp community, her lifestyle made a drastic change. She began her journey on PumpUp a few months after her father died of a heart attack in early 2014. "He had type 2 diabetes and I missed him terribly," she said solemnly. "His death made me really aware of the effect that our diet has on our health. It made me more motivated to live as healthy as possible." With the help of PumpUp, Holly eased into the rhythm of an exercise routine that she loves. "I'm now proud to dance in front of a mirror in a leotard," she said proudly. "I maintain a plant-based diet and I drink water frequently. I do yoga, take ballet class, jog, climb stairs, cycle, and I really do enjoy PumpUp workouts — especially those that involve core strength and weightlifting.

How I finally became happy with my body with the help of PumpUp // Veganballerina's success story

Other PumpUp members motivated Holly to find peace with her body. "I want to help motivate people the way others on PumpUp have motivated me," she insisted. "Reading peoples' posts and looking at their progress has been inspiring and informative and has helped me reach my goal of achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I hope to give back in the way that others have given to me."

She advises other PumpUp members to believe in themselves, regardless of where they are along their health and fitness journey. "Confidence grows," she counselled. "Remember that our bodies are all that we really have. No matter how hard reaching our goals seems, sometimes it is worth it. Without our health, we have nothing." The PumpUp community helped Holly find confidence in herself and she encourages others to find a positive forum where they can share about their victories and struggles. "PumpUp is a great, supportive place full of likeminded people - people looking to become a better version of themselves just like you are," she professed.

How I finally became happy with my body with the help of PumpUp // Veganballerina's success story

Holly's Daily Routine

I wake up and get ready for work while my amazing husband makes us smoothies. I drink my smoothie and have coffee at work. For lunch, I eat bananas and oranges, and I drink water all day. I come home, have a healthy snack and do one or a few of my favorite forms of exercise. Finally, my husband and I make a healthy dinner together and eat earlier in the evening than we used to.

 

Holly's biggest motivation

My biggest motivation is my husband as well as myself.  I love my husband and I love life. I want to lead as healthy of a life as I can for as long as I can. This way, I can have as much time with my husband as possible.

 

Holly's workout routine

I love PumpUp workouts but I don’t have one favourite. I like to do a different PumpUp workout, focusing on different areas of the body for a short amount of time - about 30 minutes. I like to combine this workout with stretching or jogging or yoga. Aside from that, I love taking ballet class. I go one or two times a week.

How I finally became happy with my body with the help of PumpUp // Veganballerina's success story

More about Holly

I am a professional performer! I am a classically trained ballet dancer and for the past several years I’ve had the joy of doing what I love, which is performing. The productions I dance in are burlesque shows but with the unique twist of featuring highly trained ballet dancers. It’s a dream come true!

Keep Holly Pumped! Find her on the app @veganballerina and let her know if you have any questions in the comments below.

 

How PumpUp helped me to become a better personal trainer - Eleanor's PumpUp Success Story

How PumpUp helped me to become a better personal trainer - Eleanor's PumpUp Success Story

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Not only is PumpUp member @eleanorjane_k a mother of 3 and a personal trainer, she also overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This self-professed gym junkie joined PumpUp in 2014 after one of her good friends @mariabellhouse suggested that she'd enjoy it more than other social media platforms. "She was right," said Eleanor. "I post a lot of fitness-related things on social media. Once I joined PumpUp, I knew it would be a better, more suitable, and more positive place to share my posts."
Eleanor nurtured a strong passion for health and wellness ever since she was 15 years old. "I would train at home in my lounge every morning because I was a size 16 (US 12) and miserable with how I looked," she recounted. Three pregnancies later, Eleanor managed to maintain her shape at a size 6-8 (US 2-4) because she's fuelled by her enthusiasm for living a healthy lifestyle. "Training for me goes far beyond aesthetics," she insisted. "It taught me about discipline and commitment. Most importantly, especially because of the help of the PumpUp community, fitness has taught me to love myself for who I am." 
Eleanor's PumpUp Success Story
She was thrilled that the PumpUp community was so compatible with her interests. "I still train hard and eat well every day," she explained. "The main difference is that since I joined PumpUp, I have a more positive self-image. I also feel like I have a lot more support and encouragement for my fitness lifestyle. Most of my friends aren't too enthusiastic about fitness." In turn, the PumpUp community's positivity helped Eleanor become a better personal trainer. "I've learned a lot about other people's perspectives from their posts," she continued. "I feel like this has helped me to empathize better as a personal trainer. More importantly, I value my health and my body much more than I did before I joined PumpUp." 
It hasn't always been easy for Eleanor to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Developing a positive body image with PumpUp ended up being a particularly important accomplishment for Eleanor. She had to overcome immense hurdles in order to get to where she is today. "Mentally, I've had to overcome low self-esteem, depression, anorexia, and self harm," she confessed. "Physically, I've dealt with endometriosis and SPD during pregnancy. Currently, I'm on and off crutches while I wait for knee surgery. I never let it stop me or use it as an excuse. I train hard now because I love my body, not because I hate it." 
 Eleanor's PumpUp Success Story
After receiving so much support from the PumpUp community while she was on and off crutches, Eleanor created the #ReasonsToSmile hashtag challenge as her way of giving back. "I wanted everybody on PumpUp to share a picture of what made them smile, and to give 5 reasons why they do it," Eleanor enthused. Since then, over 100 PumpUp members followed in Eleanor's example by sharing about the reasons why they smile. The success of her hashtag is a testament to the inspirational and supportive nature of the PumpUp community.
Eleanor's best advice
Start small. Small, positive changes are easier to maintain and lead to bigger changes.  Most importantly, be kind to yourself always: No one is perfect.
 Eleanor's PumpUp Success Story
Eleanor's biggest source of motivation
 My biggest  motivation is my job and my children. I feel I need to be a  good role model as a personal trainer and as a mother. 
Eleanor's Favourite Workout
I love Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible. Jim Stoppani's Bulk and Shred programmes are great as well! Currently, I'm doing a 5 day split in the gym, on top of teaching 5 classes a week!
Fun fact about Eleanor
I have an honours degree in English literature.
Keep Eleanor pumped and join her on the PumpUp community @eleanorjane_k! Have questions for Eleanor? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet @PumpUp!

Non-scale victories: clothes never fit better for this PumpUp member

Non-scale victories: clothes never fit better for this PumpUp member

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"I can't wait to see how my clothes fit after they're all taken in," said PumpUp member @2choosehealth, a Brooklyn resident who lost over 80 lbs over the course of her health and fitness journey. She has been experiencing all kinds of non-scale victories as far as clothes are concerned. "I went from having no waist to having a waist like this," she gushed. "Most days I can't believe how far I've come. One of the perks of losing weight is being able to shop wherever I want. I could never shop at American Apparel at 280+ lbs." A primary goal for this PumpUp member was to fit into an American Apparel dress. "I now fit into two [dresses]," she said gleefully. "It's the little things that make this journey worth it." Non-scale victories : fitting into clothes has never felt better for this PumpUp member

Hard work, meal preparation, and smart cheat meals became the keys to her success. She eats protein-rich food: a total of 4 small meals a day with 2 snacks in between. "I'm eating all day so that I can feel comfortable enough to know that I'm not being deprived of anything!" she insisted. "I also love to eat beautiful food. Put effort into your meals and make them look appetizing!"  @2choosehealth stayed on track with lots of mental preparation. "I'd remember what my body looked like every time I wanted something that was bad for me," she explained. "It's mostly a mental [process]."

Non-scale victories : fitting into clothes has never felt better for this PumpUp member

Keep her pumped on Transformation Tuesday by sharing some of your own non-scale victories! Let us know in the comments below, or share a photo with the PumpUp community with the #TransformationTuesday hashtag.

5 reasons why that Protein World ad caused unnecessary controversy

5 reasons why that Protein World ad caused unnecessary controversy

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Sporadic vandalism, a formal ASA complaint and a protest in Hyde Park have marked the outrage against Protein World’s ‘Are you beach body ready’ ad. Are you beach body ready - Know your meme

Image via Know Your Meme

First things first: I do not support dieting and swift weight loss. Not in the slightest. I have changed my ways and know better. I eat seven times a day (c. 2200 kcals should you be interested, and I only occasionally keep track, for I would like to gain muscle which means I need food), I train six times a week and am the happiest I have ever been. I grunt every time I hear a woman (yes, a woman…) talk about ‘losing two kgs in a week’. It doesn’t work and it’s a total waste of time; not to mention damaging to your body. Simple.

With that said, I do not think for a second that Protein World was promoting the reckless undernourishment and obsessive calorie restriction I was into during my adolescence and early 20s. What it was, in fact, promoting was enhanced weight / fat loss for people who, presumably, needed it to then comfortably progress to toning up and muscle gain. A quick glance at their website reveals they are not an exclusively weight loss product company: they sell flaxseed powder, Omega 3, bedtime shakes, Whey Protein isolate, etc. The recipes they feature do not have the word ‘starvation’ plastered all over them.

However, someone out there – whilst blissfully travelling on the London tube - decided that an ad endorsing Protein World’s ‘Weight Loss Collection’, by means of a model in a bikini with the words ‘Are you beach body ready’, was offensive. Illegal even. And so the fiasco started…

How dare a business use a slender female to advertise a product that will, supposedly, help others lose weight?! Terms, such as ‘body shaming’, were thrown around like there was no tomorrow. Weight – a personal not public matter, if you ask me – was branded a ‘political and social issue’ once more. In a typical First World fashion, a Twitter war was declared and a few new hash tags were dutifully born. People vandalised the billboards, organised a protest and, get this, sent a bomb threat to the company’s headquarters. But, hey, it’s all in the name of social justice!

Without further ado and in my humble opinion, here are a few reasons as to why people blew the protein world ad way out of proportion in a predictably childish manner:

  1. Capitalism: I am not the best at Economics, but the demands of the market and competition drive Capitalism. Like it or not, we live in a Capitalist country whereby companies will strive to make profit. Marketing and Advertising were not invented by Protein World. Thousands of tricks are adopted daily to encourage you to spend your money on stuff you do not even need half the time. *shrugs* Why that protein world ad caused unnecessary scandal Image via giphy
  2. Democracy: Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, unless you anger the wrong crowd. Yes, democracy has a few founding principles and, would you believe it, freedom of speech and freedom of expression are among them?! What we increasingly see, nonetheless, is a perpetuating self-censorship with people unable to voice their opinion on anything without it insulting and triggering someone else. And causing a whirlwind of controversy by, say, creating a promo billboard. This article, too, will probably be frowned upon, since it does not follow the narrative currently imposed by the mainstream media. Why that protein world ad caused unnecessary scandal Image via giphy
  3. Self – esteem: Confidence and self-esteem come from within. People’s words do not affect me and ads certainly do not make me curl up in a ball and cry, because I do not care. But, you see, the people who do will never grow a thicker skin, if we teach them that the smallest, most insignificant problem can be solved by stamping their feet and kicking up a fuss.  And it is not overloading Twitter with comments re how Protein World is promoting an ‘unattainable body type and shape’ (hint: there is a real person behind this ad who eats properly and trains regularly; so, yes, this is an attainable body type and shape). If you are not willing to put in the hard work and have the will power and dedication to go on this journey, excuses will get you nowhere.

    Why that protein world ad is causing unnecessary controversy Image via giphy

  4. Women Magazines: It is hilarious how thousands and thousands of women are boycotting a company for their seemingly harmful ad, one that plays on women’s insecurities, yet are deafeningly silent on the subject of women’s magazines. The pages of the latter are littered with ‘tips’, ‘DOs and DONTs’ on fashion, style, beauty, diets, sex, etc. They are full of ‘you are not good enough’ statements that have conveniently escaped all of those rejecting Protein World. As if having eyebrows similar to those of Keira Knightley was less of a problem than taking weight loss supplements? As if learning how to attain J Lo’s style was not telling you how to dress to fit the present trend? What if I took offence in Cosmopolitan’s advice on how to ‘achieve the best complexion’ and the mere suggestion that suffering from acne during adolescence was a crime that had to be ‘concealed’ under a ton of foundation?

    Why that protein world ad caused unnecessary controversy Image via giphy

  5. Men’s quietness: Last but not least, I have never heard a large group of men protest against the six-packs they are expected to flaunt a la David Beckham in that Calvin Klein underwear ad. It might be because they are better at handling this sort of stuff, or equally, their complaints will not be tolerated because they come from..men. Weirdly, I am not aware of many women speaking of ‘body shaming’ when and where this and other images of ‘unrealistic’ male bodies are concerned. I wonder why… Why that protein world ad caused unnecessary controversy Image via giphy

Why the protein world ad caused unnecessary controversy

About the Author

Siya is a blogger with a passion for living a healthy lifestyle. She shares simple recipes, exercises, and writes about the importance of having a positive body image on her blog. Have feedback for Siya? Do you agree that the protein world ad caused unnecessary controversy? Let us know in the comments below!

5 ways to boost your self-esteem

5 ways to boost your self-esteem

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I doubt that anyone feels good about themselves all the time. We all have those moments when we just do not feel good enough. Maybe your teacher gave you a bad grade. Maybe you let yourself down by not following through with your New Year resolutions – again. Whatever it is that caused you to doubt yourself, it's certainly not a good feeling. Here's what you can do to boost your self-esteem and make you feel like you.

1) Exercise!

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It might not be the funnest (at first), but exercise makes your brain produce endorphins that will make you feel awesome. When your body reacts to certain stimuli, like exercising, your hypothalamus signals for endorphins, and the cells that contain them heed the call. When endorphins lock into special receptor cells, they produce a euphoric feeling. And just like that, exercising got a little better than it already was!

 

2) “I look good today”

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Talking to yourself can actually make you feel better about yourself. Try telling yourself something nice every time you look at yourself in a mirror. Whether it is about how amazing you look, or how great of a person you are, eventually you'll start believing it. It might feel a little weird the first couple of times you do it, but who ever said that weird was a bad thing? (It isn't)

 

3) “You look good today”

You look good - Boost your self esteem

While giving yourself compliments can make you more secure about yourself, giving them to others is quite effective too. Giving the small gesture of a smile to a stranger will make you feel great when they return your smile. Challenge yourself by smiling at everyone on your way to work. Or see if you can give at least three compliments a day. It'll be beneficial for you and everybody else!

4) Doing it Ally-McBeal-Style!

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If you know the show “Ally McBeal”, you probably know what I mean when I say this: designate a theme song for yourself. It is absolutely silly, and absolutely worth trying. It’s very simple: pick out a song that gets you in a good mood, and when you walk down the street, you listen to the song on your iPod or simply play the song in your own head. You will feel like you're starring in lead role of the movie about your life!

 

5) I love me because…

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Find your pencil case! It’s time to make a list! Write down all the things you love about yourself! It doesn’t matter how long the list gets, just make sure that it’s full of positive things about you! It could be anything. Do you have nice eyes? Are you a great host? Are you good with animals? Write it down! You can put your list up somewhere, so you get reminded about all the fantastic things you are! Or you can put it away and read it, whenever you’re having a bad day.

These 5 tips to boost your self-esteem were written by PumpUp member @jessicanielsen. Have more tips to share about ways to boost your self-esteem? Let us know in the comments below! 

 

You are absolutely enough. Here are all the reasons why.

You are absolutely enough. Here are all the reasons why.

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I am trying to remember when I first became self-conscious of my body.   When did I go from being a happy-go-lucky girl to being ashamed of my body? I can’t pinpoint when that happened exactly. I remember when I was in fifth grade, wanting to look like other girls in my class because I was bigger. I remember boys in middle school making fun of my c-cup sized boobs. I remember when the insult “fat” was hurled at me like a torpedo when I’d get into an argument with my friend’s sister. In 6th grade, I remember crying myself to sleep a lot of nights because I thought that I was just so hideous and not good enough. This all breaks my heart. I’ve always thought that those experiences have made me into the strong confident woman that I am today. But looking back, I was a pretty strong person all along.  One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” I had this written on a sheet of paper that I carried around in my purse when I was in high school. Another quote from that same sheet of paper said, “Sticks and Stones can only break bones, but words can shatter the soul.” I’ve seen this quote attributed to Adam Savage. I think I came across it in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I read a lot of those back then. And my, how true those words are.

Words can wound pretty deeply and cause a lot of emotional damage. People can be so cruel, especially when they are hiding behind a computer screen. It is so shocking to me, some of the savage things I have read on the Internet – complete strangers hurling insults and unsolicited advice at anyone who is different than they are. I shudder to think about how my life would have been if I grew up in the age of social media. Being different or uncool was hard enough without the pressures of living life in such a public way - Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and probably a ton of other social media platforms that I am too old and out of touch to even know about. I don’t understand the desire to tear someone down to build you up. You are enough. Although I guess I can understand it a little since I tore myself down on a daily basis in the past because I didn’t realize that I was enough.

Sometimes, you just have to be your own superhero

 

I don’t pretend to know the answers. How do we stop bullying? I know that education is important - education about bullying, education about positive body image, education about self-worth, education about love. I also think that some bullying is learned behavior. It’s up to all of us to be positive role models for our youth. Let me say that again: It’s up to ALL of us.

I try not to preach about things because I definitely don’t have the answers. People get bullied for all kinds of reasons, not just about weight or body image. All I knew to do was to cry and let it out and tap into that inner strength to get through it, because it did get better. It took me a while to get to the place in my life where I knew that I was enough, but I got there. So for all those that are out there struggling, please know that you are not alone. You are never alone. Also know that you are enough. No matter what, you are enough. All of our strengths and weaknesses and quirks make up this wonderful tapestry of life. I know that sounds so cheesy, but I realize it more and more every day. If any of you ever feel that it’s a little overwhelming or you're struggling with the “enough” part, please reach out to me. And for everyone else that gets it - all of you who realize your self-worth and know that you are enough in life, don’t you want to lend a helping hand to others on that journey from time-to-time?

You are enough. Here are all the reasons why - PumpUp Blog

This is a post by PumpUp member @k_c, a vivacious blogger based in Central Arkansas. Learn more about her through her blog: voluptuousmisadventures.com

How I learned to shift focus away from the 'ideal' body image

How I learned to shift focus away from the 'ideal' body image

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It starts when we are children. We look around at the world and begin to see ourselves as individuals, separate from everyone else. As a teacher, I see this in the classroom every day when children call on each other about how different they are. Sometimes they are saying it as a positive experience, other times they are trying to get a rise out of their target by tinting it with judgement or disdain. We are constantly trying to find comfort for ourselves by putting judgements out towards others, to see what they think or how they view us. How do we grow up and stand within ourselves, accepting who we are, where we come from, and where we are going?

 

There has always been an image out there in society for people to grasp at as an ideal. This image has changed a bit throughout evolution but now for a long time it has moved around the physical quality of "skinny". Today, to be "skinny" as well as "fit" are popular ideals. Human beings pressure each other and themselves beneath the weight of this. Unfortunately, just like when corsets were the fashion and women wore them even to sleep just so they could achieve the "ideal" shape despite its affect on their organs, this new idea of how people "should be" is also found to be harmful to some people. Almost all of us hold some insecurities about how our physical bodies look, no matter how they look. Some people take this to extreme measures and become ill because of their insecurities.

 

It is up to us to remember that our body is our instrument. We create with itIt does not define who we are, but it is shaped by who we are wanting to become. If we can remember that our happiness is most important; that a balance in life is always healthy; eating enough for whatever it is you do; sleeping and resting your body and mind; doing things to nourish your own personal spiritual life; our body will begin to reflect all of this. And not only that, but when you look in the mirror or stand before another person you will have a bearing that is most beautiful of all: confident and happy.

 

Ideally, which I think many people know, eating healthy and getting fit should be a happy aspect of ones life, supporting your work and dreams. Back in the days when farming was a bigger part of our culture, we had fitness in the form of physical labor. Today with many of us holding office jobs and the like, we have to fight to create a space for physical activity, and especially in the digital age. If we could emphasize the activity, and lower the stress of the image, would things be different at all? I like to think about that, and wonder.

 

Meanwhile, I meet my students each day with as much love and patience as I can muster, and do my best to help them discover how to be together socially in the most healthful and non judgmental ways possible. If we can give each other enough space and encouragement to grow and live our dreams, endless wonders will be possible.

 

This is a post by PumpUp member @bodysoulspiritfitness, a teacher and movement artist with a passion for healthy living and adventure. Follow her blog here.

Gaining muscle is a great thing. Just ask Samantha - PumpUp Success Stories

Gaining muscle is a great thing. Just ask Samantha - PumpUp Success Stories

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If Netflix's deadly auto-play feature ever spawned far too many television-marathons for your liking, you're not alone. Samantha has been down that road before and emerged triumphant in the best possible way after joining the PumpUp community. "I was super lazy, always watching Netflix right after work," she recounted. "I would eat whatever I felt like eating and paid no attention to how much I was eating. I was extremely unhealthy and I wasn't confident with my body." Samantha has come a very long way from the "old" her. In fact, she constantly reflects upon her past as extra motivation to maintain an active lifestyle. "I don't want to be the old me or feel like the old me," she insisted. "I felt insecure all the time and I don't ever want to go back to that." There was also a time when Samantha abided by a diet that was far too restrictive. "I only allowed myself 900 calories a day and performed intense cardio," she recalled. "I was just under 120 lbs: that's very tiny for a 5'11" girl." Others began to comment on her weight— even strangers took notice. "It got to the point where my body became fragile and if somebody even so much as touched my shoulder, it would hurt because I had no meat on me," Samantha lamented. "I still wanted to lose weight because I felt like it was the only thing that I could control." It's important for Samantha to focus on non-scale victories and she keeps tabs on how she's gaining muscle in particular. "I'm at 164 lbs now and I could never imagine saying that I'd be happy with how little I weighed back then," she affirmed. "I'm so much thicker but in a positive and healthy way." 

gaining muscle transformation

Since Samantha made the transition to a healthy lifestyle with the help of PumpUp, she's been maintaining a rigorous schedule of regular workouts and balanced eating habits. She began to weight train and gained more muscle mass than she's ever had before.  "After day one of using PumpUp I was hooked," she insisted. "To me, PumpUp is a way to share my passion for fitness with others who share the same interests. It's really motivating." Now, you'll be hard-pressed to find a moment when Samantha isn't active. In addition to the fair amount of physical activity that she performs at her warehouse job, Samantha exercises 5-6 days a week, alternating between weightlifting, blogilates videos, or HIIT workouts. She also gleans PumpUp for healthy eating ideas.   "I love to look at other peoples' posts about healthy meals and I get excited to share mine as well," she enthused.  Beyond the digital sphere, Samantha benefits from the support of her friend Patty, who also strives to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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Best advice

Take it one day at a time, and don't beat yourself up over one bad day or one bad meal. Just remember your goals and start over the next day.  Focus on how you feel/look rather than the number on the scale!! I cannot exaggerate this enough.

Samantha's Meals

"My food usually consists of eggs and avocado on toast for breakfast, chicken and veggies for lunch, and a standard dinner. When I want a snack I'll have a protein bar, smoothie, fruit, etc. On weekends I tend to be more lenient and treat myself!"

Motivational Mantra

"Laziness fuels more laziness. Activity fuels more activity' and 'A year ago you will wish you had started today."

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Cheer Samantha on as she strives to reach her goals with the help of the PumpUp community @samanthagonsalves3.

How I learned (and am still learning) to know myself beyond my weight

How I learned (and am still learning) to know myself beyond my weight

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I think one of my biggest problems in the past was that I did not truly know myself. It's still a learning process. When you don't really know yourself, it is so much easier to fall into the trap of what works for others but may not work for you. Trust me, I have fallen into that trap time-after-time (cue Cyndi Lauper music). Now listen, I am certainly not saying that you should stop experimenting with things in life or trying new things. I think it is important to branch out from time to time and learn new things. But, don't get mad at yourself if what works so well for someone else doesn't really work for you. We are all different people and are at different stages in our journeys. Most of us are on different journeys all together. I have come to realize that I have to figure out what works for me. I've been on so many different diets. It would make your head spin: Weight Watchers, Sugar Busters, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Grapefruit Diet (to this day, I can't even look a grapefruit in the eye), the Atkins Diet, the Dukan Diet, the Good Life Diet, whatever that Susan Powter one was, Nutrisystem, Slimfast, the Xyngular diet, the South Beach Diet, herbal supplements, Adipex, and praying that I had a thyroid problem so I could just get medication to fix this diet. And you know what? None of those diets really worked.

Sure, they may have worked for a short time, but I always ended up gaining some or most of the weight back. I now know that I need to work on the mental component and really embrace a lifestyle change that works for me. I also have finally come to terms with the fact that it should be less about the pounds lost and more about my health. Sure (for me) it is important to my health to shed some of this fat. However, losing weight is only one aspect of my overall health journey. It took me a long time to realize that, and I constantly have to remind myself.

I am not 'the fat girl'

Now here's some real talk; something that I don't really admit to people, least of all myself: I am very frightened that I am no longer going to know who I am if I'm not "the fat girl." All my life, pretty much since puberty if not before, I have been overweight. I have come to identify myself as the fat one. That's just who I am. So much of my personality has been about saying, "Eff you world, I'm fat AND fabulous."

I guess that I am scared of what I will become without that badge; like I should be admired because I maintained an awesome existence in spite of being the fat lady at the circus. It's been a little horrifying to start peeling back the layers and realizing that this is what I am scared of and this is how I feel. How do you counteract yourself when deep down, your soul feels like it is fighting for its very existence? Realizing this explains so much about why I would self-sabotage anytime I was on a healthy streak.

My psyche or subconscious or whatever the psychological words are (even my very soul) was fighting for its life because I felt like I was killing the very essence of me if I lost the weight. This is quite a powerful thing to work against. At least, I am finally aware of this fact now. I imagine that it is very hard to fight demons that you can't see. At least now, my biggest demon is out in the light where I can begin to slay it.

What I wish I could say to my younger self

The mind is a very powerful thing, and it is funny how memories work. I always remembered myself as this horrifically obese child. It seemed that way in my mind. I started looking back on old photos from my childhood and guess what? I look like a normal, healthy, and happy child. Why did I have it in my head that I was ALWAYS fat? Was I a 30-lb newborn? No. I'm pretty sure I was weight 7 lbs and 2 oz at birth. Here's a picture of me from my youth:

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I'm cramming cereal in my mouth (looks like Lucky Charms from the picture), but nowhere is the fat little chubby monster that I thought I was. So much of my life involves the mingling of shame and food and I'm still trying to figure out why that is. However, I have to realize that "fat girl" is not my identity. I am so much more than that. Here is a picture of 8th grade Kaycee:

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I remember being so cognizant of my weight and so self-conscious of my c-cup boobs. I hated my body. So many of my diary entries from middle school and high school were filled with self-loathing and shame. I wish so much to cradle that Kaycee and let her know that everything will be okay. I want to tell her that she is kind, smart, funny, and strong. I want to tell her that it doesn't matter what others think; she is beautiful! I want to tell her that she is so much more than the numbers. That she will grow up to be a class valedictorian, that she will graduate from college and law school with honors and will make a fine lawyer. Even more so, I want to tell her that she will forgive herself and her body one day.

All the days filled with anguish and disgust aren't worth it. She will fall in love. She will break hearts and get her heart broken. I want to tell her that she lives and will continue to live an amazing life and have abounding adventures. Most of all, I want to tell her that I love her unconditionally because I finally do. I'm so sorry to the past Kaycee who never got my unconditional love. Please know that I will never let you feel that way again. I was not the fat girl. I am not the fat girl. You are not the fat girl.

This is a post by PumpUp member @k_c, a vivacious blogger based in Central Arkansas. Learn more about her through her blog: voluptuousmisadventures.com

How I taught myself to have a positive body image

How I taught myself to have a positive body image

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Beauty is truly a state of mind, not a state of body—you can’t measure your worth by the size on your clothing or a number on the scale. Your worth is determined by what you do in life. The most beautiful people that I know are the most kind, selfless people. Their beauty comes from within and that is absolutely a result of a positive body image. When you are content with yourself, your beauty will radiate from within. Your beauty should be defined by your glowing health and happiness that will result from finding what works for your unique body and mind. Throughout my life, I have found that body image is one of the most sensitive topics brought up amongst young people—especially girls. We all know that social media is largely to blame—but that doesn’t mean you have to literally feel weighed down by those unrealistic expectations set by society. Society’s expectations of what we should look like do not have to reflect our expectations for ourselves.

Live by your own standards! Life is not perfect, but it can be perfect for you if you decide what your top priorities are and how you can achieve them in the most positive and effective way for your lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I know that life gets in the way—between getting stuck in the airport last week because of the Northeast blizzard and college midterms, I haven’t been able to write an article or go to the gym in over a week now. Things happen, and that’s okay! You don’t have to beat yourself up about it; you just have to keep moving forward! I am not claiming to have the key to perfect self-love and body image, but here are some of the things that work for me…

  • Don’t change yourself to match society’s expectations—be in control of your own definition of beauty! Find confidence in yourself by being proud of everything you have accomplished in life!
  • Do the best you can with what you have! Strive to make the most of each day and don’t let little bumps in the road get you down. If you are having one of those days, just remember, you are never alone.
  • Don’t let magazines fool you! I remember watching a special on TV a few years ago and a famous model said, “I don’t even recognize that girl in the magazine, and it’s me!” This just goes to show that with the advanced technology today, the images depicted on billboards and in magazines are not what we should be striving for.

Strive to be the best version of YOU!

This is a post by Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege), a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

6 body positive cards that are as beautiful as you

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6 body positive cards that are as beautiful as you are

If Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the people you love, why shouldn’t Valentine’s Day celebrate you? Be your own cupid and send a relevant, hilarious love letter to yourself from the bottom of your heart. These pumpupapp cards are an amazing way to start.

You deserve all of the cute doodles and positive affirmations in the world. You’re hot stuff, flaws and all (think Sriracha hot, and multiply that by 100). You’re absolutely amazing, at any and every size. Love your imperfections before you love your perfections. Love yourself.

Rethinking the rules of weightloss

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This is a post by PumpUp member @k_c, a vivacious blogger based in Central Arkansas. Learn more about her through her blog: voluptuousmisadventures.com

I read an article today that really hit me. It really encapsulated the changing mental focus that I am working on.

"The deprivation diet - characterized by ‘just-until-I-lose-this-weight’ thinking - is another enemy of weight loss. It causes us to alternate between extremes of ‘on diet’ and ‘off diet’ behaviour."

Um, hello! I am so guilty of this. I put so much faith in being thin. Everything would work out, if I was thin. My credit card debt would disappear, if I was thin. I’d meet the love of my life, once I got thin. I just had to eat this cardboard, until I got thin. It was a VERY dangerous mental cycle for me. No wonder it never worked. When I had this mentality, I would constantly put up roadblocks to getting fit because I loathed my body and didn’t truly love who I am. Once I forgave myself and stopped trying to find fault in who I was, I began to start the true journey of being my best self.

I’ve always had a decent support system around me. For the most part, my friends and family are very encouraging and express the utmost faith in me. What I’ve come to realize is the most critical element was missing from my support system: self-support. Looking back on all my past attempts at weight loss or getting healthy, I don’t think that I ever truly believed in myself. How could I do anything but fail when I set myself up for failure every time?

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Love for ourselves and others is so essential in this healthy journey. I recently read a line that said, “You can’t hate yourself healthy.” I took this to mean that you can’t bully yourself into getting healthy. I was so guilty of saying,” Geez Kaycee, you are such a fat lose. Why can’t you just stick to this diet?” I would never talk to someone that way, so why would I speak to myself that way? 

It has become so important to nurture and cherish my body for the marvel that it is. Because I love myself, I am going to do fun, physical activities to stay fit and feel young. Because I love myself, I am going to nourish my body with clean, healthy foods (most of the time). Being healthy is not just in the physical. It is so important to work on mental health and having a positive self-image. Me and my body are not enemies and the sooner I stop thinking that, the sooner we can work together to become one lean, mean, healthy-awesome machine.

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become." - Buddha.

Think something positive about yourself today. For me, life is just better when you love yourself. We fight so many battles every day. Why make yourself one of those battles?

Lorrin's incredible journey towards self-love - PumpUp Success Stories

If you’re ever in need of a friend to pick you up on days when you just can’t even bear the thought of sticking to your health and fitness goals, @Lorrin is your girl. She’s been an active PumpUp member since June 2014 and has truly been inspiring the community with her journey towards self-love. “My most favourite thing is when people comment on my pictures saying, ‘Because of you, I worked out today,” she gushed. “It gives me an extra push to work out even if I’m not feeling up to it. It’s rare, but it does happen. I’m only human.”It took quite some time for Lorrin to attain the self-confidence that she has now. “Battling with the girl in the mirror was a huge one at first: taking ‘before’ pictures almost sent me into a sobbing fit every time I tried to take them. I hadn’t realized that I let myself go,” she bravely shared. “I stopped loving myself and that’s what hurt the most.” The day that she stopped feeling bad about herself was the day that she decided to do something about it. “I still have moments when I don’t feel 100% confident, but every day it gets easier and easier to see my body changing,” she added. “When I say that I love myself, it’s 100% true. It’s something that I never could have honestly said before. Loving my body, realizing my worth, and seeing positivity in every situation are the best obstacles I’ve overcome. They have changed my life for the better and being happy isn’t something I have to work for anymore.”

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Before Lorrin joined PumpUp, healthy eating was something that she truly grappled with.  “I love sweets and junk food a little bit too much, but PumpUp definitely pushed me to get my eating and exercise habits on the right track,” she explained. Now, she’s more determined than ever to stick to her goals and regularly turns to PumpUp for her daily dose of inspiration.  “The community provides me with endless motivation,” she mentioned. “PumpUp has kept me on a pretty constant routine of working out 5-6 days a week and eating healthy meals throughout the day. I really got into smoothies last summer from seeing the posts on PumpUp, and I love them!”

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Before 2015 is over, Lorrin aspires to be able to squat 200 lbs: the equivalent of one large red kangaroo! She reaches for the stars, and there isn’t anything that’s stopping her. “I’m at 105 lbs on the squat rack right now and I know with perseverance and the support from my PumpUp family that I can get there before the year is over,” she explained. Morning workouts have particularly helped Lorrin to stay committed to her goal in the midst of her hectic school schedule. “Working out in the morning really makes my days better,” she professed. “I’m more focused and determined to be productive.” Her best advice for those looking to achieve their ultimate resolutions for the year is to take small steps each week. “Progress is progress no matter how small,” she counselled. “Any movement toward your goals is amazing.”

Lorrin is first and foremost a motivator in every sense of the word. Having struggled with weight and self-confidence issues her entire life, she strives to remind every single person on PumpUp that they are incredible, even if they don’t see it themselves. “I love hearing that I motivate people because that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” she confessed. “The first time I lost weight was in high school and I had no motivation: it sucked. I felt so alone and it was hard to keep it up. PumpUp has completely changed that for me and I hope everyone knows that I am always available for support. I love this app more than anything and can never explain how it has changed my life.”

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Although several people have been crucial motivators for Lorrin herself, PumpUp members @limitlesstyle and @jordanbutters have both been exceptionally supportive of her. “They offer comments on almost everything that I post,” she elaborated. “I have so many amazing people I’d like to mention but I’d hate to leave anybody out, so I just hope that everyone knows that if they have offered me support in any way, it has helped me. It has helped me more than I could ever explain. I truly love everyone on this app.”

Lorrin’s favourite eats

“My favorite snack is probably apples with peanut butter, it fills me up and it’s delicious! My favorite meal is Lasagna, I eat it very rarely now but it’s still my favorite. And my favorite drink is water, I’m like a camel, I drink all day everyday, you’ll never find me without my lime green water bottle.

Motivational Mantra

“Let your pain push you to greatness.” It’s in my bio on PumpUp and I couldn’t agree with it more. Every time I feel like giving up, those words pop into my mind and remind me that it’ll all be worth it in the end.

 

Favourite exercise moves

“Squats, straight leg deadlifts and chest flys. I try to train legs 2 times a week along with arms, and do cardio twice a week as well.”

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Fun Fact About Lorrin

“My birthday is leap day (Feb, 29th)! I’ve never met anyone else with the same birthday as me.”

Lorrin is the queen of hair buns (and puns!). You can’t miss her on the pumpupapp! Keep Lorrin pumped @lorrin, she’ll be there to support you every step of the way!

How to love yourself enough

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This is a post by Abigail B. (@shaudae on PumpUp). Follow her on Tumblr and on her Wordpress blog at Inspiration Served Daily.

So you’re working out. There are all of these hashtags to accompany this (#FitFam, #FlexFriday, #SquatNation, to name a few). But we work out…to what end? To look good, right? 

Work out to let your outside match the beautiful person you are on the inside. Be mindful about what you eat because it has long term effects on your health, and not solely because you want to look good this summer.

Do this for you because you deserve tolook AMAZING. Do this because you deserve a happy and healthy life. The fact is that when you were fat or extremely slender your whole life and you start to achieve your ideal body weight; you begin to love the attention you receive and the hype gets to you; that’s human nature. Do not do this for the hype – itain’t worth it!

We often work out for all the wrong reasons and in turn we achieve short-term goals; or maybe we initially worked out for the right reasons but along the way - somewhere between the compliments, the lingering glances and the followers we gained on the pumpupapp  - we lost sight of the true vision – to be healthy and happy. That’s fine. That’s why I’m here, to help you to change your thought process! 

Now don’t get me wrong….

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” - Rick Warren

Let’s not be obsessed with ourselves but love ourselves enough…

  1. Love yourself enough to know that you should do this for you and no one else. #TheHypeFades
  2. Love yourself enough to know when to stop – we all know that you want results and we know that you want to share those results with the PumpUp community. But remember: your health is of utmost importance to us – take care of yourself.
  3. Love yourself enough to block out the negative energy from those who doubt that you are capable of achieving your goals – the fact is, some people just love to sip on that Haterade!
  4. Love yourself enough to be happy with who you are, work towards your fitness goal and be happy for others.
  5. Love yourself enough to not lie to yourself and allow people in your life who don’t mean you well – even your so called ‘friends’ – never allow anyone to make you feel less of yourself – you are enough.

I’ve been there - fat, sad and alone.  It took me awhile to live up to my own advice. It took me awhile to remove the veil from my eyes so that I could see that I was not being healthy but I was destroying myself physically and mentally and allowing others to destroy me mentally as well. When I realized that I was enough, I came to the conclusion that I should love myself enough to know that I can workout at my own pace and achieve my goals just for me – because I am enough.

Achieve Self-Love then Spread Love…

-        Abigail Brady

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PumpUp's best advice, from PumpUp's own members

Confidence

  • Step back, look in the mirror, and tell yourself that you’re good enough. You can get through anything. You can: no matter what anyone has told you, no matter who has left you, no matter how weak you feel, you are strong enough to change.
  • Accept the fact that everything you need to change is already inside of you. You don’t need anything from anyone and if you want something, go get it. No goal is too big. Get up, tell yourself you’re strong, and go for what you want. Regret is by far the worst feeling ever.
  • Accept yourself unconditionally, right now. Everyday, at least once, look in the mirror and say this. That person is all you’ve got. If you want to be better you have to earn it, but accepting yourself comes first.
  • Your limits aren’t the same as mine or anybody else. Push YOUR limits and you’ll only get better. Better than you were yesterday, or even a month ago.
  • Be yourself. The best version of you is not trying to be someone else. Don’t discourage others because a workout didn’t work out for you, or a certain diet didn’t go the way it was supposed to. We all struggle and we all want support. If you want to advise someone, there are ways to do it without hurting anyone’s feelings.
  • 7 billion humans. Not 1 of us has it all together. Your struggles, your pain: there are 7 billion others going through the same thing in different ways. What if we told you that the rich and famous dread the struggles of their lives. What if we told you that the gorgeous girls with glamorous lifestyles on Instagram are beyond insecure and need confirmation from others. They HAD setbacks. They HAD troubles with their health. They HAD problems looking in the mirror and accepting themselves. Don’t you see? You have a world full of people just like YOU. Realize that people show you their life in “movie mode” with loads of edits instead of presenting their behind the scenes. There are 7 billion of us. Not one of them is perfect. Not one of us has it all together.

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Motivation

  • Nothing is impossible in this world. If you’re willing to try seriously, it might take time but it’s never impossible. Don’t set an unrealistic time limit to your goals.
  • Be positive. Even if you don’t feel like getting up, GET UP! Even when you feel discouraged, KEEP GOING! As long as you try, that’s all that matters. Surround yourself with people who are going to motivate you and push you t o be better than you were the day before
  • Write down your feelings. It will really work wonders if you keep a record of how you feel. It’ll be easier to remember the struggles you’ve been through. You can look back to see how much you fought for your dreams.
  • Learn the art of saying no Don’t make excuses, don’t over explain yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try. Do your best and you’ll never fail: as long as you believe in yourself and you know you gave your best, that’s an automatic win.
  • Turn “I Wish” into “I Will”. You can do this! It is the law of attraction: things we passionately think about and believe will come true.

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Exercise

  • Work out daily! It boosts your mood, relieves stress, and fights disease!
  • "If running is difficult, run more" (This lesson applies to anything)
  • Fad diets can change your weight, but working out can change your body
  • Change up your workouts. Otherwise, your body will adapt to them and won’t progress further.

Eating and drinking

  • Aim for 5-6 meals per day: 3 strong ones (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and 2-3 small ones (snacks)
  • Try a new fruit or veggie every week
  • Eat healthy things that makes you happy. Make it fun and interesting and don’t restrict yourself
  • Drink at least 2-2.5 L of water daily. It’s critical to keep your body hydrated

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Rest

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per day. Sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and it can benefit your heart, weight, and mind.
  • Avoid overtraining. You body needs a chance to rest. If you hit the gym hard everyday you increase your risk of injury and slow down your progress! Take your rest days. They are as important as your gym days. If you are desperate for exercise, limit it to a walk or a light jog. your body needs to rest in order to heal and build muscle.

Other

  • The best things in life aren’t “things”. Love the warmth of the sun on your face, a good firm hug, saying hello to a stranger, synergy, solitude, and the outdoors.

Love yourself: my thoughts on body image

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This is a guest post by Abigail, of Oh You Pretty Things (a style, health, and beauty blog)

This past week I’ve seen a lot of little quotes that I thought were very inspirational. Here are just a few I liked and my thoughts on them.

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“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it.  It just blooms”

Jealousy consumes society.  Instead of just doing our own thing, girls compete with each other over everything.  I completely understand having icons, inspirations, and fashion idols, but one of the most relieving days is the day when you learn to love yourself.   You were born with pale skin? Well, pale is beautiful! You were born with olive skin? Well, tan is gorgeous!  When you stop trying to change yourself to look like someone else, you will realize that there is no one like you.  And how awesome is that?!

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(Image c/o Tumblr)

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

I always heard this saying when I was younger, but I never really  knew what it meant.  Even just a year ago I never really understood the actual meaning.   Being in high school and around my friends makes me realize how true this statement is.  For example, I can over hear my guy friends talk about how pretty girls are, yet they all have different opinions and think different girls are pretty in different ways.  Key word, DIFFERENT.  Everyone is different, and one day you will find someone who loves you exactly how you are (because beauty is in the eye of the beholder) Get it? ( and yes I believe everyone has a soul mate!)

“If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideals of beauty would be”

Society has changed body image for every girl. The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females. Meaning that very, very, very few girls are going to look like models (and most are the models) Not that they aren’t gorgeous, because everyone can appreciate their bodies, but it’s good to know that that is not the “average” body type. I think it is very important to take care of your body and to stay fit and healthy, yet you can never look exactly like someone else,  so learn to love yourself!

Don’t try too hard to get a guy’s attention or compete with other girls, but work on changing your mindset, rather than your appearance.  Confidence comes from being happy with yourself, and is often the most attractive aspect of a girl.  Sometimes the guru in me comes out! The weekend is right around the corner, and you can make it. Have a great day!

Follow Abigail’s blog and follow PumpUp on Tumblr for more articles and quotes about positivity and motivation. 

A letter to my younger self

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This is a post by PumpUp member sandrafitness. Follow her on Instagram @langencita and follow her blog here

Today’s blog is a bit different. I will not be talking about my workouts or food, but about something more personal. I wish somebody would have said all these things to me when I was younger, or that I would have had the courage to speak out loud to my parents or friends and share my worries. If by any chance you feel the same way, please go ahead and read this, and then trust me when I say things will get better.

Loads of love <3
Sandra.

A letter to my younger self

I just wanted to let you know that everything is going to be great. I know you are hurt. I know you have suffered. I know you think you are not good enough. That boy who hasn’t checked you out at school? He is not the one, so do not suffer for someone who does not care about you. The girl who made that nasty comment louder than she should have just to make you feel bad? You will not remember her in a couple of years because you will be surrounded by extraordinary people.

I know that you look at yourself in the mirror and feel really bad about what you see. I know you use a stationary bike inside your room because you are too ashamed to do it outside. I know how you stare at the magazines and how you daydream about being taller, thinner and that you want lighter hair. I know the reason why you get drunk, I know you do it because that boy broke your heart, and that you think it was because of your looks. But I also know that it all will get better.

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(Image c/o kushandwizdom)

You will learn to be happy for no reason. You will learn that good things outweigh the bad most of the time. You will learn that you need nobody’s approval to wear that skirt, and you will not regret a bit about eating a little piece of chocolate one day.

As you get older, you will really develop that self love that was so necessary in your teenage years. And that will help you to- one day - find the love of your life. You will understand that the person who will truly love you will do it because of your soul, not your looks, and so will you (even if your boyfriend is a stunning piece of art).

But do not worry, I didn’t learn any of this until a couple winters ago. My true commitment to love myself started last November when I began to have a healthier lifestyle. At that moment, I found joy, a break from the stressful world we live in.

Your commitment to your health may sound unnecessary or ‘temporary’ for many of the people who surround you, but you will not care. You will be learning to love who you are. You will love your stomach and your tights, and won’t be ashamed of doing what you do. You will be embracing yourself at its finest, and it will be because of all the confidence you will gain by engaging in this new amazing lifestyle. Remember this:

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

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(Image c/o The Things We Say)

So do not worry. You are just fine the way you are. Be strong enough to do whatever makes you happy. And be brave enough to start living a life out of your comfort zone - in all senses. Practice sports and enjoy all their benefits, prepare healthy meals rather than just a sandwich. Be proud of what you have become and all the progress you will make.

Remember all those times you went to a store and bought something smaller just to feel motivated to work out? Well, it could have happened if you were the director of your life. But you are not, and instead you let others to choose for you and comfort you in your pain. That will change, and you will find the courage to do what it takes. And you will learn to apply it in all aspects of your life.

This new lifestyle you chose will make you stronger. You will become mentally stronger, and I just wanted to say : Congratulations!

This is a post by PumpUp member sandrafitness. Follow her on Instagram @langencita and follow her blog here