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Why I refuse to give up on myself: my journey at six months

Why I refuse to give up on myself: my journey at six months

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I have a confession: I feel like I have fallen off the wagon a little bit. My life has been so busy the past month, and I haven’t devoted the time that I deserve to focus on healthy choices. I have missed days at the gym, and I have made poor food choices. Part of me panics that I have regressed to my old ways. Even though I’m worried, I know that I’ll be okay. I won't give up on myself. Luckily, I have a great accountability group and newfound confidence in myself. I made a lot of progress in the first half of 2015. I lost 25 pounds and 19 inches across my entire body. What’s more, I developed a lot of healthy habits. However, I’m kind of stuck right now. In the past, when I hit a bump like this, I’d totally revert back to my old ways. Although I made some bad choices, I still devote at least three nights to the gym on weeks that I miss some time. I still continue to lift weights. This week, I started lifting heavier weights. I know that I’m continuing to make progress, but it is definitely slow.

I would not be prepared for this bump in the road if I had not decided to tackle the mental component of my journey from the beginning. I will not give up on myself this time. I refuse to. I know what I am capable of, and it’s pretty awesome.

Here is my promise to myself: I will take the next week to truly reflect on what is going on with me. I want to determine if I am just busy, or if I’m starting to self-sabotage like I have done so many times in the past. If it is really because I am busy, I will renew my priorities and start scheduling in some time for me and meal prepping.

The fact that I am admitting out loud (and to the world wide web, no less) that I am struggling is a new move for me. Usually, when I start to self-sabotage, I will keep it bottled up deep inside to try and fool even myself. Not this time. I’m on to you, mind games. We’ve been working too hard to turn back around now.

Giving up is always an option, but never my choice // The PumpUp Blog

That is why having a good support system is so important. I love the PumpUp community for this very reason. People notice when someone is struggling, and there are so many people willing to offer kind words and uplifting support. So take the time to reach out to a friend today. It takes hardly any time at all, and believe me: it could make all the difference in the world.

Just this morning, while I was writing this post, @operationskinnythighs tagged me in a post about setting goals for the rest of 2015. I want to thank her, because I needed this push toward mental focus. And that support is exactly what I’m talking about. The helpful and healthful community surrounding me keeps me strong. Whether it be friends I’ve made through the app, or the awesome people who continue to read my blog and share tips and encouragement, you guy’s don’t know how much you’ve changed my life. I know I’ll be okay. I won't give up on myself because of all the support. How can I not believe in myself when so many people also believe in me?

So, without further ado, here are my goals for the remainder of 2015:

My fitness goals for the last 1/2 of 2015 -Kaycee // the PumpUp blog

  1. Squat at least 120 lbs
  2. Complete a 10K
  3. Fit into size 12 jeans for the first time in my adult life
  4. Run a 13 minute mile.

I’m pretty sure I can do it, and I’d love to hear your goals for the rest of the year!

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

Embracing confidence

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This is a guest post from Celine Urrang Gjersvik (@urrang on PumpUp and Instagram). She has her own blog about her personal health and fitness journey, written in both Norwegian and English. 

If there is something many of us need to improve upon, it’s self confidence. It’s difficult to be comfortable in our own skin, but let me say this:  You are beautiful. It is sometimes difficult to see it for yourself (believe me, I’m struggling too), but try to tell yourself this every day: stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself that you are sexy, you’re smart, you’re beautiful! At first, it may feel strange, but later I promise you that you start to believe it.

The phrase fake it ‘til you make it gets tossed around sometimes, but this can be very true. Feel that you have confidence, and you’ll start to believe it. Ask yourself what makes you feel good! Perhaps it’s going for walks, listening to music, exercising, being with friends, standing in the kitchen, eating, reading, watching a movie, etc. The list is long, but find out what makes you feel special and do these things every week. 

For my part, I get confidence by making others happy, by motivating others and by achieving goals. I become proud of myself for being able to do an extra pull up, or for being able to lift a heavier weight than I was aware that I could. I get happy by testing my limits, both physically and mentally. I become confident to wear clothes that accentuate the parts of my body I take pride in. The list goes on: using a little makeup and a little extra eyeliner to accentuate those gorgeous eyes I think I have, and listening to music I like and that makes me feel good. There are so many avenues to boost your confidence if you just learn to look for it. Highlight what you like about yourself and confidence will follow. Find the little things that lift you up and take advantage of it.

Go in front of the mirror and find three things you like about yourself. Disregard everything you do not like, find the three things you like about yourself, the reason for why you are unique!

I can start: I like my eyes (because they can change color and varies almost from day to day, which I find incredibly fascinating). I like my butt and I like my freckles. There is so much in store for my future.

What gives you confidence and what are your three things?

Celine Urrang Gjersvik runs her own blog (written in Norwegian and English) about her personal journey through training, health, and fitness. Follow her on PumpUp and Instagram @urrang

Tech-Fitness Collaborations Worth Checking Out

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(photo credit: iamaserver)

Guest post by Sara Upton, online freelance journalist 

In case you haven’t noticed, smartphones are becoming increasingly more useful for every day activities that go beyond what you may expect. Sure, they can serve as pretty great time-wasters, especially if you commute to work or happen to be sitting idly in a doctor’s office. But they can also be a fitness trainer (of sorts) for those of you seeking more motivation, stability, or organization when it comes to fitness. And right now (and in the near future), it’s clear that there is a lot to dive into in the world where technology and fitness intersect. 

Getting started, let’s first take a look at how we can use those smartphone to better our health and improve our workout routines. PumpUp’s own app (available through iTunes and GooglePlay) that puts an emphasis on building a workout community. You’ve probably heard many times that it’s far easier to maintain a routine when you’re not going it alone—and that sentiment rings true in the success of PumpUp. Basically, it works to positively reinforce everything you’re doing, whether it’s hitting (or trying to hit) a weight-loss goal, running a certain distance, etc… The entire time you’re exercising, you’ll have someone on your side pushing you to reach your full potential. It’s also completely free to download. 

However, it all depends on who you ask, of course. For many, it might not be all about smartphones in bridging the gap between tech and fitness. CNN argues that smartphones are fading and wearable devices are “next.” The writer does have a point. Google recently announced launched its new operating system, Android Wear, strictly for “smart watches,” another term for wearable devices. That development alone shows that there is substantial interest in this realm of tech. But depending on who you ask, these wearables are meant to act in coordination with your smartphone—rather than against them. In other words, you’ll want to use one with the other, and not one as opposed to the other. 

Elsewhere, a highly anticipated product called the Moov is set to be the first wearable that actually “motivates” the user. According to Tech News World, it aims to accomplish this by offering “personalized performance advice” based on your fitness activity. It also aims to provide a virtual coach that’s not quite as monotonous as those offered by similar products, including the aforementioned RunKeeper app. But will it be a success? Well, the folks behind the product seem to think so. As CNET reports in this post, Moov planned to deliver $1 million of wearables and they’re apparently getting ready for an another batch.

Beyond those examples, it’s clear that the wearable technology industry is absolutely on the rise. According to this research on Verizon Wireless, it was found that the market “will grow to 485 million annual device shipments in 2018" and that, as of February 2013, 61 percent of the current market was made up of fitness tech. Expect that number to climb right alongside the shipments, especially as some smartphone are being made with wearable tech in mind. Take Samsung’s Galaxy S5, for example, and how it came pre-loaded with a ton of health software and apps in addition to a built-in heart-rate monitor. Clearly, the mobile tech industry is paying attention to how we are all exercising.

But here’s a sentiment that must be repeated whenever discussing tech/fitness collaborations: Like any product, these will only work (or, in other words, be successful) if they’re purchased and, you know, put to use. If you, the reader, have used a device like the ones described or track your activity with an app on your smartphone, feel free to share your thoughts on these developments in the comments below. As someone who’s used several of the apps and none of the wearables (yet!), any suggestions on this front would be greatly recommended.

This is a guest post by Sara Upton, an online freelance journalist who loves writing about tech and fitness. When she’s not researching the latest way to improve your workout through tech, you can find Sara hanging out with her friends and two dogs.

"You Are So Pretty For Someone Your Size."

Today on the blog we have guest blogger, The Fitness Blondie who has heard this one to many times, “You are so pretty for someone your size.” She recounts her own personal story and struggles with weight and image issues, and wants to bring awareness to the size of health. Keep reading for more on how she is breaking the fitness mold!
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Hello everyone, my name is Liz Taylor. I write a blog called “Fitness Blondie”. Today I am thrilled to be able to guest post for PumpUp. I thought an appropriate post would be to acknowledge the different sizes and shapes of health and fitness. 

Typically I try to shy around from writing posts that eulogize one female body type over the other. I am a curvy, muscular woman; and I love my curves, however, they do not make me more of a woman than someone who has a thin body type with small assets. I loathe the popular quote “real women have curves”. It is discriminatory and dividing. If you have a vagina, you are a real woman. Real women are not determined by their body type or shape. 
 
What I do want, is to bring awareness to the size of health. The world sometimes has a misconstrued standard on what a “fit and healthy” person— specifically women should look like. 
 
I have received some pretty heartbreaking comments about my looks over the course of my lifetime; which at 25 years old may not seem like a lot, but it has been a chaotic journey. I grew up as an ugly duckling that no one ever gave a second thought or glance. I finally started to change when I was 16 years old. I was still not thin or small by any standards, but I was healthy. I was in the weight room at school lifting weights with the guys, I ran track, and was a cheerleader. 
 
When I graduated high school, and began college while still working part-time, my weight ballooned to it’s highest. Below are some of the comments I received from my family, friends, and complete strangers. I can recite a few of them verbatim. One never forgets something like this: 

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"If I had a face like yours, I would wire my mouth shut to prevent me to from eating."
 
A family member of mine was showing some of my photography pictures [like the one above; I like to pose and take “artistic” like pictures sometimes for fun] to her friends. One of her friends made the comment:
"Who cares if she has the face of a model? She is fat so none of it matters".
 
"You are so pretty… for someone who is your size."

"Can you imagine what you would look like if you did not have all of your weight holding you back?"
 
"She is actually really pretty to be a big girl"
 
It was never fun to hear comments like that. Some of the comments I knew were malicious; but sometimes it would be hard to decipher the intent: to be kind or passive aggressive? Nonetheless, I did not dwell on them. 
 
It was not until I received similar comments this year, that they effected to me.
 
The first was in February: 
 

It was a Saturday afternoon, it was warm, and Kelly and I were on the way to the “Spring Home and Garden Show”. I felt confident; I was 3 months into my weight loss journey, had lost over 20 pounds, and was wearing a pair of white capris that had not fit in a long time. I was so happy that they fit, that I remember dancing around to Kelleigh Bannen’s new single “Famous” in my living room before I left. 

 
On the way to show, we stopped at a gas station so I could get gas and Kelly a coffee. I walked into the gas station once I finished pumping gas to find Kelly. As we were waiting in line to pay, a woman walks up to me and says “You know how to dress your body well. You’re bigger, but you have good style.”.

I said nothing. I was so taken back that I just stood there. She continued; “I mean you are really pretty and I like the fact that even though you aren’t skinny, you dress yourself well”. 


I finally muttered a “thank you” then ran out of the gas station. Kelly was behind me; her face almost as red as mine. Being the best friend she is, she assured me that it was a compliment and that the woman just did not know how to properly deliver what she was trying to say.


I understood that, but it still hurt. It had been a long time since someone had made a comment like that; at least to my face. It just caught me so off guard. The first thing this woman noticed was my size. I had felt so confident and been working so hard; whether the comment was meant in a positive way or not, it hurt. 

The second instance was in May: 
 

It was not a good weekend. My plans had fallen through that I paid a lot of money for, and I felt like nothing was going right. My girlfriend Alexis stepped in and saved the weekend though. She and I decided to spend the day together. I had gotten new clothes the night before and was excited to wear them out. 

For the first time in years, I was going to wear shorts. I wore black shorts with a really pretty white blouse, black and white wedge heels, and a black and white necklace. I am no fashionista, but this outfit made me confident. I thought I did a good job (for someone like me).


Alexis and I went to the movies then out for dinner and drinks. Once we finished, I realized I needed to go by the grocery store for something. As I was walking through an aisle, two women approached me. One of the women put her hand in front of me and moved it up and down. She smiled and said “Honey this works”. I laughed and asked what she meant. She said “You have curves and you dress them well. You look great. Your looks really suits you”. 


I smiled and told her thank you. This did not hurt like the other one did. I felt more confident in myself. The only thing that really “irritated” me, is that once again, my body was brought into it. Why is it not enough to say “I think you’re pretty”, “I think you dress well”,  or “I like your outfit today”.

The most recent comments were written over features I have had online about my blog and/or my weight loss journey.


They were from women thanking the author or company for featuring a woman that was not small or skinny. For featuring a woman that gave them hope… that showed it’s plausible to be healthy, but not have to be thin. 


Then I understood the comments; everything came together. 


Like I said, I have received comments similar to this most of my adult life. I did not understand the stigma that had to come along with them: why could someone not just say they liked my hair, makeup, outfit, that I am pretty, etc…. why did people sound so shocked to see that because a woman was not thin, she could still dress her body nicely and look attractive?


Years ago and even earlier this year, I would get so upset and talk to my mom about these comments. Her reply was always “maybe you need to break the mold and boundaries. Maybe you are meant to inspire and break stereotypes. Embrace your body’s makeup; do not let this defeat you”. I shrugged her attempts at consoling me off since she was not telling me how awful people were and how sorry she felt for me. I would pretend to agree and think to myself, “I will be thin one day, I’ll show them”. 
Now I understand what my mom was trying to say. Now I understand what other people were trying to say. 

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Health and fitness have many different shapes and sizes. A person does not have to look like who you see in magazines, TV shows, and/or fitness competitions to be healthy. I may not look like some of the fitness bloggers out there, but I am now in great shape.


Since I have lost a significant amount of weight thus far, I have closely monitored my health. In November of 2013, per my doctor at my annual physical, I was rapidly approaching ”morbid obesity”. I had put on so much weight; and at the rate I was gaining, I was only a few months away from 300 pounds. The triglycerides in my blood were abnormally high, but I was fortunate enough to not be at risk for diabetes, however I had to make an immediate change. 


Since that checkup, I changed my life drastically. I dropped a ton of body fat, added a lot of lean muscle, strengthened my cardiovascular system, corrected my view of food… and in a sense, made over my life; not just my body. I had my blood drawn again last month at an RLS checkup appointment, and I have corrected my health 100%. All levels are not just normal, they are great, and I’m in nearly perfect health, even though I still have about 25 more pounds that I personally want to lose. 


I do not know who developed this standard that one must feel they have to follow; but I would like to break it. I may not be thin and small, but I am solid, curvy, muscular, and in great health. I can hike mountains, do single armed bicep curls with 17.5 pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 15 repetitions all the while ensuring my form is perfect. I can leg press 270 pounds comfortably and for just as many repetitions, but I do not fit the mold whatsoever as skinny or thin. The truth be told, no matter how much weight I lose, those words will never be accurate adjectives to describe my looks. Well,I suppose I could be if I wanted to stop lifting weights, boxing, and force myself to follow a strict nutrition plan; but I know what that would lead me to mentally; and it would not in anyway be beneficial. 


I am more than happy to show the world that you can be curvy, thick, muscular, and most of all healthy. (
I would also like to add that the opposite could be true. A person could be genetically just very small and be mistaken for anorexic or bulimic; yet they’re perfectly healthy. I just did not write on the subject because I do not have direct experience. That is part of the reason why I was hesitant to write this post; because I know it must be just as disconcerting for people to think you are sick and need help, when you don’t). To me, healthy living is all about balance. I enjoy “bad” foods at times, and enjoy clean foods most of the time. I stay active, get plenty of rest, and most of all I have found a happy median when it comes to fitness and maintaining great health.

I overcame binging on foods, stuffing myself with junk until I was sick— an all out addiction to food, and depression to this point. I may not fit a typical mold that one may expect, but I am healthy and fit. I do not hold myself to unrealistic standards either— and if you are, and that is what is preventing you from even starting a weight loss journey, let it go. I know that feeling all too well. I would see the women on the fitness magazines and think “My God, look at me. I will never get to where they are”. Those thoughts would prevent me from even trying. 
You have to specifically learn your body and know yourself before you can find what will work for you. That is precisely what I had to do and 63 pounds lighter, it worked. For me personally, it is important for me to keep this median that I have, because if my diet were to become too strict, it would undoubtedly pull me back into those awful eating habits.

Throughout my recent journey and now understanding those comments, I can for once in my life say I love who I am. My imperfections, my genetic build, the strength that I have had to exude. My only hope for whomever is reading this is that you can find it within to love yourself, too. Please love who you are. Love yourself for your strength, for your work ethic, for your drive, for your family values, for your artistic ability. Your body and looks should never define your worth. I hated myself for so long, and it is such a miserable way to live. I hated every single atom of my physical makeup. I chastised every imperfection I had and let it tear me apart. 

Now I embrace them: I have a gap in my teeth, the upper part of stomach holds no fat and because of that, my lower stomach carries it all. It would make me cringe the way my lower stomach would stick out.  It looked especially awful in bathing suits. My butt is abnormally large for my body ratio— and before school in the mornings, when I was young, I would stare at my body in the mirror in the living room tugging, pulling, ensuring my shirt was big and baggy enough to cover it so it would not stick out as much. Now I love it. I have lines on my forehead, and deep smile lines around my eyes. My face is very red without makeup. I have imperfections and now I embrace and accept them, because they make me who I am. This is who I am supposed to be. 

 
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I may not be the standard picture for fitness. I may not be what someone ever aspires to be, but one by one, I am going to keep “surprising” people until this standard of health and beauty is finally broken. I am finally content with that. 


My blog and my story is about being healthy and happy; they are the same thing. A healthy mind brings a healthy body. And if there is one thing I have learned, it is that a weight loss journey is more about a person’s mind than their body. The first step to change your life is to love who you are. I wish I had learned this a lot sooner. 

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Check out Liz and her blog at http://fitnessblondie.blogspot.ca/ and be sure to give her a follow on IG at FitnessBlondieL! Liz is an amazing motivation and inspiration to us at PumpUp, keep up the amazing work! :)