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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 this PumpUp member surprised herself with her progress

How this PumpUp member surprised herself with her progress

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At PumpUp, we celebrate scale-related and non-scale related victories. Longtime PumpUp member @chocolatefitness experienced both. She was browsing through her profile and noticed a palpable difference between her current photos and photos that she shared with the community in the past. "I saw a big change in my stomach photos," she enthused. "I'm really proud of my self. It's just something I wanted to share as I was looking through my old posts." Image-1 (2)

Since @chocolatefitness joined PumpUp in March 2014, she's made definite progress with her strength, endurance, and confidence. This member regularly finds time to incorporate all kinds of activity throughout her week, varying from runs, walks, weightlifting sessions, and even workouts using the PumpUp app. "I see some good change," she commented. "It might not seem much, but if anything, it's amazing to me because I see myself everyday and don't see progress. [With] this picture, I see lots." Over the course of her journey, she's lost over 40 lbs and made peace with her body. "Yes, I have a tummy and I have thighs, but I will work my hardest to get them strong," she affirmed. "It was all about being skinny at first [and] to want a body that I saw on TV. Throughout this journey I realized that it was about my health, and that's what it is. I love that I still have thighs. I've gained a lot of confidence to appreciate my own body."

PumpUp Progress

Thanks to the help of PumpUp, @chocolatefitness is getting closer and closer to her goal. She inspires thousands of members with her posts. "I love PumpUp for its awesome positivity, for pointers, and much more," she enthused.

Keep her pumped on the app and cheer her on @chocolatefitness! Have an inspiring story to share with us? Let us know in the comments below or email alessandra[@]pumpup.co!

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:

not the fat girl kaycee pumpup

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:

know yourself kaycee pumpup voluptuousmisadventures

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

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?