Viewing entries tagged
recovery

How Chanelle Overcame Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

How Chanelle Overcame Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Chanelle struggled with Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) to the point where it became destructive. She constantly dealt with a combination of disordered behaviours. "My typical week [consisted] of 4 days eating super clean (vegan, no sugar, only drinking water etc..) and 2 days binging on chips, cakes, pizza, coke, etc.," she explained. "Every time I ate "bad foods", I hated myself and went straight into fasting for the next 3-4 days to purge or 'detox'." On top of that, Chanelle exercised obsessively to counteract whatever she ate. Guilt about food consumed her. "I'd wake up at 5am in the morning to run and come back home after work to burn even more calories at the gym," she recalled. "My life was ruled around what I ate and burning calories. This was extremely stressful." 

How Henna recovered from orthorexia and gained confidence

How Henna recovered from orthorexia and gained confidence

 Things changed when Henna joined PumpUp in March 2015. "After getting to know the PumpUp community more, I realized what healthy food is really like," she explained. "You don't need to eat small portions or cut back on everything that you like. Eating a lot of vegetables and unprocessed food is the base of healthy living. PumpUp's atmosphere is something unique. Everyone is so nice to each other and each member spreads cheerful compliments and [messages of] positivity."

Transform a devastating injury into an amazing victory with these 5 tips

Transform a devastating injury into an amazing victory with these 5 tips

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When life throws us a curveball, bouncing back is a lot easier said than done. Especially after experiencing a devastating injury, getting back on track may seem like an uphill task. However, as esteemed author Henry Cloud puts it, take everything one grain at a time. A severe injury is certainly something people don’t expect, but when the unfortunate happens, you'll be able to transform a devastating injury into an amazing victory by taking small steps to assist you in your journey to recovery.

Transform a devastating injury into a victory with these simple steps // PumpUp Blog

1. Make a decision

Devastating injuries that rob you of your ability to function can be very distressing. You'll be naturally inclined to feel sad. The thought of getting better may seem too arduous a task to accomplish.

Emerging victorious from any injury first requires a decision from you. Once you decide that you would like to change an upsetting situation into one that you triumph over, it alters the way you see things. What may be a terrible situation to others now becomes an opportunity for you to showcase your inner strength.

As with many instances in life, it’s always an issue of mind over matter. While this ‘matter’ is a serious one, the moment you decide to turn things around in your favour will set you on a course of positivity and success.

2. Surround yourself with positivity

The truth is, while most injuries may be physical, the state of your emotions and mental health will greatly affect your recovery. As you focus on getting better, it is vital that you remain positive. Research has shown that surrounding yourself with positivity immensely helps with the recovery process. Positive people, pieces of writing, music, or even items can evoke optimistic thoughts.

Look around. What are some things that encourage you?

3. Go back to nature

During the recovery process, the stress of progress and external pressure may feel like a deeply entrenched anchor that’s holding you back.

However, nature has a way of working things out. Be it the sense of freedom you feel when grass tickles your feet, or the serenity that washes over you as you listen to gentle waves, elements of nature seem to take us to a place of peace.

Some hospitals have moved into creating garden spaces where patients can find tranquillity amidst the hustle and bustle of life. Research has also proven that even photos of nature aid in lowering anxiety, thus assisting in recovery.

Whether it’s  a potted plant or a mini aquarium, anything with a touch of nature can give your recovery a slight steer towards victory.

4. Practice mindfulness

Going back to the root of it all, the state of your mind determines the outcome of your situation. In this fast-paced world, it’s so easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of responsibilities and expectations. As a result, you may find yourself increasingly dissatisfied with things – your injury, the negligible speed of your recovery and lost opportunities.

However, when the unfortunate happens, the age old (albeit cliché) saying of “When life throws you lemons, make lemonade” speaks insurmountable truth. Positivity and mindfulness – or being in control of your thoughts– requires practice.

Introspection may be the pivotal act that changes your gloomy outlook into one that shines hope. Be it through reading, writing, music, or meditation, consider what helps you calm your mind.

5. Be an inspiration

One way to turn a bad situation into a positive one is to help others.  It naturally puts you on a path of thinking that guides you towards successful recovery in both the mind and the body. Helping others to see that they can emerge victorious can, in turn, help you as well.

At the end of the day, your biggest hurdle is yourself. The strength of one’s thoughts is frequently overlooked and underestimated. However, once you acknowledge that you can do just about anything, no matter how tough it is, a natural push sets in.

Be the inspiration, because you are an inspiration!

About the Author

Marco Bendinelli is an attorney and the founding shareholder at Bendinelli Law Firm. He is devoted to representing individuals who suffered injury or death caused by the negligence or wrongful conducts of others. He also finds time to motivate and inspire through his writings.

This is what eating disorders feel like

This is what eating disorders feel like

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There's a misconception that those who suffer from eating disorders just 'decide' that they 'don't want to eat'. Often, others make the generalization that an eating disorder is a cry for attention. This is wrong, and I speak from experience. What do eating disorders feel like? Some eating disorders begin with tiny realizations or goals. "I can't fit into my jeans. I should lose a little weight." I started to run at first, then cut out sweets from my diet. When I started to see results and received compliments from my friends and family members, I felt a rush. The rush became an addiction.

Eventually, I started to eliminate more types of food from my diet and exercised more. Little by little, it spiralled out of control. I felt like I couldn't control the way my thought process was working. I became consumed by food, sizes, and numbers. The inner voice inside my head told me that I was never good enough.

I’ve suffered from anorexia for nearly 10 years. I’m not really sick anymore, but I know that it will take a lot of time for my body and mind to rebuild. One year ago, my weight was down to 82.6 lbs. I couldn’t really do anything because my body was so weak. I still forced myself to exercise constantly. I hardly ate anything: 10-15 bites of whatever my boyfriend had cooked for dinner. Most poignantly, I remember the feeling of guilt: not only because I ate, but because my boyfriend spent time cooking for me, and then I wouldn’t, couldn't eat it.

This past year has been the toughest, but I decided to find a way out of the eating disorder. I had to. It destroyed my life, my boyfriend broke up with me, I got kicked out of school, I lost my friends, and my mother was miserable. Finally, I contacted my doctor, and he wrote a reference to a treatment center that took me in for three months.

what eating disorders feel like

At the treatment center, I was placed in a group with five other girls, a dietitian and two therapists. Though the therapists were sympathetic and knowledgable, one thing that helped me the most was talking to others who were in the same situation as myself. We did self-esteem exercises, made timelines about our lives, and talked about how we were thinking and feeling. I never imagined how great talking to others about the problem would be or feel.

My weight is now 110 lbs, and I feel much better. Now, I'm striving to find a balance. I exercise three times a week for 1 hour, and I eat six times a day. It’s a struggle not to add some extra hours on the workout schedule, and I don’t eat all six meals everyday – but I’m trying! Old habits are hard to get rid off, but I know I can do it.

Getting out of (what I call) “Anorexia-Hell”, is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I’m finishing school this summer, my boyfriend and I are back together and happier than ever, and my mother, my dear mother, is no longer looking at me with a broken, worried and scared look on her face.

If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, I highly recommend treatment and that you find a supportive community like PumpUp to help you. I know it seems like an impossible thing to do, but try to talk to someone about it and talk to your doctor. You will thank yourself later in life, I can assure you that. And remember that you’re not alone.

'What eating disorders feel like' was written by PumpUp member @jessicanielsen. Have more tips to share about ways to boost your self-esteem? Let us know in the comments below! 

 

I survived cancer when I was 24. Here's how it changed my life

I survived cancer when I was 24. Here's how it changed my life

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My diagnosis

I never imagined that I would be where I am today. In early 2014, I noticed a mole where I had accidentally smacked my head at work. This one, stubborn mole would change my life forever.  The mole continued to irritate me for weeks on end. It didn't worry me much, but my mom urged me to have it checked. I went to a dermatologist and neither she nor I thought it was of major concern, but, following protocol, it was sent off to the lab for a biopsy. A week later, and to all of our shock, it came back as borderline melanoma.

Melanoma is the most fatal of skin cancers and extremely rare at my young age of 24. I met with my surgeon and it was decided that the site on my scalp needed to be cleared for fear that the melanoma would spread into my lymph nodes. My first surgery went smoothly. It was relieving. On the other hand, the results of the surgery’s biopsy made my stomach drop. The cancer had spread into one of my lymph nodes and a second surgery would be required to see how much further it had spread. Less than a month later, I was back in the hospital being preparing to undergo another surgery. I remember thinking, “Why me? I’m only 24. I have my whole life ahead of me.” But I kept my chin up. I was taught that the grass will always look greener on the other side. I was taught to be thankful for what I have because I am, in some way, more fortunate than somebody else. I knew that there will forever be a greener-looking pasture. These lessons calmed me down as the anesthesia overcame me.

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The physical repercussions from my surgery were obvious. Nerve damage rendered the left side of my face paralyzed. I could not close my left eye or even blink. I could neither form a smile, nor fully open my mouth to eat. Yet, the worst part of the surgery was my inability to do any physical activities! I had become passionate about the gym and hated being kept from it. It took time to recover, but once I was cleared to return, I went as much as I could. I did not care that half of my face was still “dead", I just wanted to regain my bulk! I was discouraged to see I had lost much of my strength. I wanted it back immediately.

My journey to recovery

At the time, I was studying to become a personal trainer, so I applied what I was learning to my own workout routine. I spent hours at home reading books, perusing articles on the Internet, and scrolling through comment threads to discover what had and had not worked for others and why. Circumstances had left me downtrodden, but I was determined not to quit! Cancer changed me. It sounds cliché, but when your life is in question you fight harder than ever to keep it. I am trying to apply this lesson to all areas of my life.Why wait? Why wait for something to change you? Why not dig deep down and change it yourself? It is easier said than done, and I certainly still fail. I am not perfect, but I will never stop trying to better myself. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said “Winners never quit and quitters never win!”

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Today, I feel better about who I am because of what I have accomplished. I am mentally stronger. I am striving to better myself in other areas the same way I attacked my fitness. I’m still not 100% back to where I was in terms of strength but I’m significantly happier. I know I’ll get there and I’m learning to be patient. Everything takes time and happens for a reason. I know I can turn the bad into good and I want people to know that they can do the same. No matter where they are on their journey, they can always move forward. I have learned that the grass is truly greener where you water it!

This is a post by PumpUp member Zach P. Encourage him along his journey on the PumpUp app @zpoisson, and find him on Instagram at @poisson_fitness. Do you have a recovery story to share? Any thoughts for Zach? Comment below! We'd love to hear from you! (Top image c/o flickr)

cancer changed my life pumpup

 

 

My life after a traumatic brain injury

My life after a traumatic brain injury

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March is Brain Injury Awareness month. I’d like to wave the green ribbon (the brain injury awareness symbol) high because I am a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor. Although, walking, eating and smiling are elementary to most people, it wasn’t for me. Today I look, sound and move like everyone else, but I fought hard to look and lead a normal life. When I was ten, I ended up in a coma from a vehicle accident. I was sleeping in the backseat of a car when I woke a week later in the hospital with no memory of who I was, my past or what happened. I was paralyzed from head to toe on the right side of my body. I just suffered a left side TBI. From that day on, I started my life over. I learned everything from how to sit, to how to walk, to how to hold a pen again. I still remember it took me exactly a month to be able to draw a big circle on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. I felt like a kid learning how to tie her shoelaces for the first time. I had a temporary feeding tube until doctors thought it was safe for me to eat soft foods. I fell in love with hospital apple sauce and chicken noodle soup. However, as my body learned to function, half of my face remained paralyzed. Only the left side of my mouth moved when I talked or smiled. My right eye only shut halfway when I slept. Nurses used ointment to fill the gap. Doctors had no solution for this.

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After leaving the hospital for outpatient care, my parents searched the country to find the right doctors to treat me. It took more than one doctor and they were in multiple states. Instead of camping and sleepovers, I spent most of my childhood missing school travelling from state to state to see my doctors. However, I don’t regret one moment of it, not even the accident. It has made become a stronger person and the woman I am today.

Believe it or not, it is this nearly fatal accident that brought me into the world of fitness. Going to the gym was not an option for me. Six months after the accident, I practiced my walking skills on the treadmill. I started at a 2.0 speed where I could barely keep up, but six months later I was running at a 5.5 speed with ease. As trainers at the gym taught me correct form for the weight machines, my curiosity and passion for fitness began. It fascinated me how just the smallest twitch can completely change how the machine works for the body from bad to good or vice versa. Pretty soon I was training my friends and family with my guest passes. Today I am a yoga instructor. I successfully completed several 30 day fitness challenges. I’m proud to say I’m a P90X, Asylum, Chalean Extreme and Rushfit grad. I’m an official food junkie and I’m told my smile lights up my face. I’m here to prove that miracles really do happen through God if you work for it. I proved the impossible possible. Never give up on your dreams if anyone tells you it’s not possible. Only you can stop you.

my life after a traumatic brain injury

This is a post written by PumpUp member countrygirl4ever. Follow her on PumpUp to let her know your thoughts about this article! Ever suffered from a traumatic brain injury? We want to hear from you! 

How Amanda beat bulimia for good - PumpUp Success Stories

How Amanda beat bulimia for good - PumpUp Success Stories

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“I was climbing a very small mountain…maybe we should call it a big hill…and I thought I was dying,” said Amanda C (@curvygirl), an extraordinary PumpUp member who turned to the app’s community for help when she realized that her health was spiralling in the wrong direction. This gripping realization came to her in the summer of 2014, when Amanda felt out of breath and exhausted after just 20 minutes of elevated walking. She staved off exercise after she beat bulimia during her adolescent years, fearful that exercise would make her relapse. “[My climb] got me thinking, is this the person I want to be? My answer to that was no,” she affirmed. “I thought that PumpUp was a perfect community to start my journey over again. Every member was so nice to one another and I became confident that I could document my journey on the app without feeling ashamed for being a beginner.” Before Amanda began to chronicle her progress with PumpUp, her history with bulimia distorted her relationship with food and nutrition. “I was afraid to think about food as fuel,” she confessed. “I was letting myself eat how much I wanted and whatever I wanted. As a former bulimic, that was a very big step in the right direction because I first began to learn not to obsess about food.”

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Amanda's Transformation

With the help and encouragement of the PumpUp community, Amanda began to eat more nutritious food without obsessing over what it would do to her body. “I learned that healthy food can taste ten times better than junk food,” she explained. “I’m not on a diet: I just don’t eat things that aren’t the best for my body, such as white carbs and processed food.” Amanda’s current lifestyle is a drastic departure from her sedentary ways. Thanks to the constant encouragement of the PumpUp community, Amanda learned to love exercise and does small workouts whenever lacks the motivation to do so.

Though Amanda wasn’t always avid about exercise, she took achievable, gradual steps to change her habits and realized the importance of setting realistic goals. “After I joined PumpUp, I realized that my body couldn’t accomplish my ultimate goal (defined abs) in a short amount of time,” she elaborated. “I break my goals down into smaller steps. This summer, my stomach will be toned. Maybe I’ll have defined abs by next summer. I also set small goals for every workout—a common one would be running a certain distance without stopping.”

curvygirl beat bulimia

None of this came easily for Amanda. She attributes a lot of her success to the PumpUp community. “I now actually have a big PumpUp family—everyone is so nice to me and it’s definitely keeping me motivated!” she gushed. “I don’t think I would have come this far without PumpUp. It’s the perfect community to help anybody stay focused.” Amanda’s support system on PumpUp has grown so prolifically and helped her in ways that she could never have imagine. “My biggest motivation is actually everybody who follows me,” she insisted. “They must think that I’m doing something right and that is motivational as heck! I don’t think I would be where I am today if they weren’t this supportive!” Though Amanda periodically combats very low self esteem long after she beat bulimia, she no longer compares her progress to that of others. “I’m not less worthy than anybody else, regardless of the voice inside my head telling me otherwise,” she affirmed. “Whether you have the ‘perfect’ body or not, I think everybody battles with self doubt. Don’t be consumed by it. Tell yourself that you are the best person in the world, because you are!”

curvygirl beat bulimia

Amanda’s Favourite Recipe

“Healthy ice cream! Blend 2 frozen bananas, 2 dates, 1 spoonful of peanut butter, and 1 spoonful of cocoa together!”

 

Motivational Mantra

“I love to say that I’m a mortal with the potential of superman. I heard that saying from a song by a Swedish Glamrock Band (The Ark – The Worrying Kind). Everybody should look them up. I can’t describe how much I love them. They are awesome and have motivational lyrics.”

 

Exercise routine

In the summer Sweden is so beautiful and I love to do things outside: walking, running, cycling etc. I can enjoy the nature at the same time! I'm not that person that would be able to walk or run on the treadmill for hours, I get bored after 15 minutes! I need to see things, smell nature and feel the wind blowing through my hair! Then I feel alive! The winter is a little bit too cold for me so I do workouts at home. Basic things that you don't really need any equipment for”

curvygirl beat bulimia Fun fact about Amanda

“I’m still afraid of the dark and sometimes I tend to sleep with lights on. I listen to audiobooks every night to help me focus! My biggest love in the whole world is my puppy PimPim, she's half Chihuahua and half Pomeranian which makes her a Pomchi! I would do anything for her!”

Keep Amanda pumped! Follow her along her journey @curvygirl on PumpUp and @itscurvygirl on Instagram!

 

How this PumpUp member defied the odds of her hip injury

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This PumpUp member defied the odds of her hip injury

If there’s anybody who’s been able to demonstrate a tremendous amount of self-love throughout the course of her lifetime, it would have to be PumpUp member surgicallyrepaired. She’s recovering from major hip surgery & 7 years of hip problems and has been making progress with incorporating running into her routine. “Even a year ago, much less seven years, I would not have been able to believe that I would be able to run again. I was 14 when I was diagnosed with my hip condition, now I’m 22 and defying all expectations. And I’m damn proud.” Keep her pumped! 

How Cory Breann Recovered from EDNOS with the help of PumpUp

How PumpUp helped Cory Breann with recovery

Recovery from EDNOS is tenuous and specific to each individual. The wonderful and enigmatic Cory Breann shared about the steps she took to recover in a way that made the most sense for her. In this video, she divulges the strategies that gradually enabled her to increase her calorie intake and food consumption in a healthy way. She’s also a beauty vlogger who has been using PumpUp as a way to incorporate exercise into her routine while also healing from her eating disorder. 

Connect with Cory on PumpUp @coryxxbreann and on Instagram and Twitter!

How Francesca transformed pain to power in 2014 - PumpUp Success Stories

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a PumpUp member who creates wittier captions than Francesca P (@limitlesstyle). She’s much more than just a funny scribe: Francesca shines radiantly in the PumpUp spotlight for her truly remarkable and inspiring journey from pain to power, combatting deep depression through the help of exercise and the support of PumpUp’s community. 2015 is her year of enlightenment: the year that she strives to be there for others as fellow members of humanity in the finest, and truest sense of the word.

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February 2014 marked the very beginning of Francesca’s fitness journey, though she admitted that she was not as committed to achieve her goals until she found PumpUp in June 2014. “I was able to feel accountable through PumpUp,” she affirmed. “I stumbled upon PumpUp on Instagram and I fell in love with the idea of the app. I never looked back. I found a group of people whom I’ve come to love and respect. They are now my second family and they motivate me daily.”  The community embraced her with open arms when she sought support, and she has done nothing but shower other members with words of positive encouragement in return.

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Francesca had a tremendous obstacle to overcome when she first began to embrace a healthy lifestyle. “My baby sister was a cross-country runner and fitness enthusiast who lived in Africa, and she was murdered,” told Francesca. “This sent me into a deep depression for 3 years. I rarely left my house and I gained 35 lbs. Now I’m beginning to heal. She’s my biggest motivation.”

Francesca runs to keep her sister’s memory alive, and does so frequently. I still suffer from depression, and even now and again it tends to creep back up,” she explained. “I know it’ll pass if I just go for a run, no matter how short.” Take a look at Francesca’s schedule: 5km jogs 3-5 times a week, and weightlifting 2-3 times a week. Impressive is an understatement: Francesca went from 187 lbs to 158 lbs since last February. She’s stronger and more determined than ever to spread positivity and to achieve her health and fitness goals.  

As she continues along her journey with the PumpUp community, Francesca hopes to inspire and motivate as many people as she possibly can. Anybody on PumpUp can always rely on her posts to brighten up their day. “I want all of my followers, especially those who are 40 and/or are dealing with any kind of loss to see my page and know that they aren’t alone,” she confided. “Believe in yourselves, take this journey day by day, and you will accomplish great things in no time at all.”

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Favourite Meal

Yorgurt with granola and fruit

Motivational Mantra

"The most authentic thing about us is our ability to endure, to transform, and to be greater than our suffering"

Favourite PumpUp Workout

The total body pump!”

Fun Fact about Francesca

“I love to travel, and have seen almost all of Europe! I am a big jokester!”

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Keep Francesca pumped on the app @limitlesstyle!

How MaShunda Combatted Depression with the help of PumpUp - Spotlight Series

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Tired short-term, ‘quick-fix’ solutions, MaShunda (@shundyg) decided to join the PumpUp community in September 2014 in search of consistent motivation to lead a more healthy and active lifestyle. Ever heard of the lemonade diet, military diet, and ‘cabbage soup’ diet? MaShunda has tried them all. “They would only work for a little while, but I was not healthy,” she explained. “I felt fatigued and flabby.” Our app is the only social network that she uses! “So far, it has been completely life-changing,” she professed. “I try to stay away from social sites because of the negativity that they manifest, but I don’t know what I would do day to day without PumpUp.” 

While she’s still making progress toward her goal, that doesn’t stop MaShunda from shining brightly in the PumpUp spotlight. She has been able to alleviate her depression with the help of our app’s positive and supportive community. “There are people out there with real-life issues and I want them to know that there is hope in turning their lives around,” she declared. "You don’t have to stay depressed and overweight. I’m not perfect, but I want to help others with my story." Learn more about her down below!

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MaShunda’s wellbeing has considerably improved since she became an active member of the PumpUp community.  With support and encouragement from other members, MaShunda has been able to make better choices related to her physical and mental health. “Depression is a sickness that takes over the mind and body,” she revealed. “My depression caused me to resort to unhealthy things such as binge eating and drinking.”  She now looks at life from a much more positive perspective and has ceased these habits since she began her health and wellness journey. “I currently go through depression moments but I’m quickly pulled out of that dark place when I log onto PumpUp,” she confirmed. “It truly keeps me going. Everyone is so uplifting and sometimes I cry when I read the kind words under my posts.” Now that she couples healthy eating habits and regular exercise with her prescribed medication, MaShunda’s formerly high blood pressure has been normal for months now. “I’m not as easily tempted by food anymore,” she asserted. “I’ve learned to be patient and to not rush weight loss—I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was.”

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She currently exercises as much as 5 days a week and is always looking for new ways to incorporate physical activity into her schedule, at times working out with routines on the PumpUp app. “I exercise with a dumbbell weight for strength training and my cardio consists of running on the treadmill for 15-30 minutes or 30-45 minutes on the elliptical,” she elaborated. “So far, I have gained muscle and strength in my shoulders, back, and calves since September.” As she continues her journey on PumpUp, MaShunda is focused on becoming a better runner, improving her resistance training, and plans to lose more fat around her thigh and stomach area. Her progress absolutely shows—she looks stunning! MaShunda urges other members to be patient with their transformation “Don’t always depend on the scale and don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t see changes right away,” she insisted. “Try to stay consistent with your meals and workouts for a few weeks to see how they work for you.”

Her biggest motivation is an expert trainer named Massiel “Mankofit” Arias, who began her health and wellness journey under circumstances that are quite similar to MaShunda’s. “I truly admire her and her background,” she professed. “She also used to be very depressed and after learning her story, it motivated me to get up and try to do something about my situation. My journey is not over. I’m nowhere near where I want to be but I am loving life and I no longer hate myself, now that I’ve found PumpUp and Mankofit.”

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MaShunda’s Eats

An average breakfast for MaShunda consists of an egg white veggie omelet with coffee, green or herbal tea or fruit protein smoothie. Lunch and dinner are both packed with protein: baked chicken breast with steamed veggies and brown rice for the former and green salad, grape tomatoes, and baked chicken for the latter.  Her snacks include fresh fruit or a piece of cheese and almonds. “I also love Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Protein 100% Whey powder, the Cellulor C-4 pre-workout mix, Nature Valley protein bars, and Greek yogurt with one pack of stevia and fresh fruit,” she elaborated. 

Motivational Mantra

“You only live once…but if you do it right…once is enough,” – Mae West

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More about MaShunda

“I’m always smiling. Even when I’m sad. People are constantly telling me this! I’m a certified radiology technologist. I have worked in a very popular Sports medicine and Orthopaedic office for 10 surgeons, performing diagnostic x-rays. I’m married to my high school sweetheart of 11 years and have 2 wonderful children. I love to read books as a hobby I’m my spare time when I’m not using that time to workout. I love to cook. Funny thing is, I didn’t want to learn to cook when my mom tried to teach me! 

Keep MaShunda pumped up on the app @shundyg and connect with her as she progresses along her health and wellness journey.

Katie is the most inspiring person you'll ever read about - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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It would be an understatement to say that PumpUp member @katieeliza_ has been through a lot! “Confidence is a new thing to me and I wish I could help grant everyone with even just a little bit of it!” shared Katie. “I could only imagine where I would be or who I would have become if I’d just learned to believe in myself sooner.” After she gained weight in the years following high school, Katie recovered from an eating disorder and now lives an active lifestyle with the help and support of PumpUp!  

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Katie has been on PumpUp for almost a year—and look how far she’s come! “I was starting to make a change in my lifestyle and I figured that using the app would be a good way to help me get started and keep track of my progress,” she exclaimed. Not only has Katie been consistent about updating the PumpUp community about her transformation, she gives back unwavering support to other members as well.

Prior to PumpUp, Katie’s lifestyle was quite different. “It was pretty all over the place,” she explains. “I was athletic when I was younger and I used to eat a lot of junk without a second thought. After high school my metabolism hit a brick wall and I started gaining weight. I had no idea what to do with myself.”

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It was difficult for Katie to cope with the physiological changes brought on by her weight gain. “I was pretty depressed about my body image and I struggled with losing weight in extremely unhealthy ways,” she revealed. “Living [with an eating disorder] left me miserable and I felt too weak to do even the simplest of daily tasks.”  Nevertheless, Katie bravely recovered from her eating disorder, put weight back on, but began to feel sluggish all the time. “I knew it wasn’t the way that a normal person in their twenties should be feeling,” she recalled.

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Now a self-professed gym-junkie, Katie wouldn’t trade her active lifestyle for the world. “If you had ever told the old me that I’d be a gym junkie, I would have probably laughed in your face!” she gleamed. “But look at me now!” Since she joined PumpUp, Katie eats clean most of the time and eats more frequently than she ever has before. “I push for 5 small meals a day. But every once in awhile I remember how much I love cookies…I’m a sucker for a chocolate chip cookie,” nodded Katie. She also manages to work out 5-6 days a week, despite her hectic schedule. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she affirmed.

She counsels other PumpUp members to find motivation from within his or herself. “Hold on to that motivation for dear life,” she urged. “You are so beautiful and so worth working for! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything.” Recognizing personal victories is an important part of the process for Katie. “Love yourself through all the successes and failures of your journey! You will fall, but that only makes victory that much sweeter when it’s accomplished,” she continued. Moving forward, Katie aspires to help other people find comfort in their own skin, just like she found comfort in hers. 

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Katie’s biggest motivation is her best friend Shayler (@shaysymm on PumpUp). “She really helped me kick my butt into gear!” said Katie. “She’s always been here to help guide me, she’s a beast!”

Favourite meals

“I’ll totally crumble for a gooey chocolate chip cookie with a tall glass of fat free milk. But besides that, I love steamed squash so much.”

Motivational Mantra

 ”We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”- Kurt Vonnegut 

Favourite Workout

I love weightlifting!”

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Fun Facts about Katie

 “I’m a Gemini, so I’m kind of a jack of all trades! I really enjoy doing just about anything new.”

Find Katie on PumpUp and Instagram @KatieEliza_  to keep her pumped!

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Transformations can also be about recovery, and we’re excited to feature PumpUp member newwarrior, who is using the app to track her recovery from alcoholism.
“I took the left photo (hangover and no makeup) to remind myself what I looked like. My face was puffy and retained water. Maintaining my goal to stay sober is a big part of my life. I have some hard days…but I choose to be healthy, I choose to become the better me.”
Keep her pumped!

Looking for inspiration? Look no further. This story is for you - PumpUp Spotlight Series

There’s a saying that “If to dance is to dream, then you make dreams come true.” The spotlight beams on PumpUp’s fantastic dancer @fitgirl_95 for inspiring the community with her strength in overcoming personal struggles such as depression and anorexia. She was brave enough to discuss these with us in hopes that she could help inspire others. She leads an incredibly active lifestyle and attributes much of her success to you, the PumpUp community! Learn more about her down below.

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Due to stress and curricular changes, the transition between high school and college took its toll on M. In high school she was enrolled in an intensive program where she danced semi-professionally for 17 hours a week. “I finished my dance program [after high school], so I wasn’t really dancing anymore,” explains M. “College applications caused me to eat out of stress and make less healthy food choices.” Though M is both lactose intolerant and a celiac, she frankly reveals that she was eating candies and chocolates almost every day at that point in her life. “The worst part was that I didn’t care,” she says. “Sometimes I worked out because I felt awful and sometimes I didn’t. I had led myself on a very dangerous path.”

Looking to jump-start her journey back to a healthy and happy lifestyle, M began using PumpUp at the beginning of March 2014. “I was unhappy with the way I let myself turn to junk food for comfort,” admits M. “I was not in the best place in my life. I stopped dance—something I love the most. I also let myself get into an unhealthy relationship with food.” This in turn led to poor health, weight gain, and lost muscle mass.Things turned around in a major way once M. resolved to shake off her bad habits. “One day I realized what I was doing to myself and simply decided that I was better than that. I could be better than that,” she recounts. “It was up to me to decide. I heard about PumpUp and decided that it would be an excellent starting point for me to get motivated.”

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M. reveals that she now is in a much happier place from where she was before. She eats three full and healthy meals a day, respects her lactose intolerance and celiac condition, and eats organic as much as she can. “Lots of fruits and veggies are key,” says M. “I learnt and am still learning that moderation is the solution.” She does not ignore her hunger, and instead turns to healthy and satisfying alternatives to sweets.  “Sure, I’ll have a fruit or almonds…never candies and doughnuts anymore,” tells M.

She exercises 5 times a week, alternating between 1.5 hour dance classes twice a week and cardio, weightlifting, and Pilates for the others.  “The elliptical is safest for a hip injury I have, and Blogilates on YouTube is my favourite for Pilates,” she gushes.

“Believe in yourself,” advises M. to others looking to lead a more active lifestyle. “It may be cliché, but when you don’t care about yourself and look down upon who you are as I myself did before, you let yourself go.” She affirms that negativity acts like an incubator for unhealthy behavior. “You’re in a sort of negativity bubble, which shuts you out of reality. Without knowing it, you’re full of unhealthy habits,” she elaborates. “You just have to realize you’re worth it and as good as all the models or celebrities—or whoever you look up to.” M. acutely recognizes how strong self-esteem comes hand in hand with introspection. “You are as beautiful, strong, and important as your role models in your own way. I NEVER had any self-esteem and am still struggling with this issue today, but I am working on it. Health has played a big part in my journey.”

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M. professes that her physical and mental health has improved significantly since she joined PumpUp. “I have to thank all of the wonderful members for that,” she explains. “They are honestly true friends…almost like family! I am so grateful and I am sure they don’t even know how much of an impact they all had on my life.” In the future, M. hopes to inspire people to the best of her abilities in a similar fashion to how she was able to recover with the help of other PumpUp members. “I also hope to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the rest of my life,” muses M.

Her biggest motivation is simple: happiness. “This answer might disappoint you, but let me explain: I was rarely ever completely and simply happy,” explains M. “When I was little, I was always the bigger girl. Although I tried to act like I didn’t care, I did. I just crushed these emotions inside of me and tried to forget about them.” One of her best friends exudes happiness, and M. was inspired to emulate her positivity to improve her own physical and mental health. “When we catch up and she talks to me about her life, everything is so simple to her. She is so great and…happy.”

M. is also an inspiration to herself, and an inspiration to all of us for the considerable strength she has demonstrated in the face of her own personal struggles. She was brave enough to discuss these with us in hopes that she could help inspire others. “In high school, I was anorexic to the point where I was close to killing myself. I also struggled with depression and bulimia a few years after,” reveals M. “When I look back, I realize that I’ve fought anorexia by myself, I’ve gotten out of this harsh depression without anyone even noticing I was depressed. I was never able to talk to anyone about any of my problems, so I didn’t. And now, to see that even at the weakest I was able to fight it and get back up by myself and for myself is…wow…I have impressed myself.”   M. is now working on recovery and self-acceptance. “Dealing with health issues is one of the hardest things you will have to do. It involves accepting the fact that you may not be as strong as you thought you were and showing your weaknesses to others,” she says. “Accepting yourself for you are makes YOU so strong for not letting go. I believe in all of you and I know you can learn at the same pace as I am to accept yourself.”

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Favourite Snack: I LOVE having frozen mangoes of grapes as a yummy refreshing snack. Sometimes I blend some frozen mangoes with a bind of coconut water or almond milk to make a yummy sorbet type of snack.  I also love kale chips.

Favorite Meal: Hands down, sushi. I could have it all day everyday!

Favorite Drink: Tea. It’s like an even healthier version of water and it is so good especially at this time of the year when it’s cold outside (especially here in Montreal).

Favourite Recipe: I try to post a few on my PumpUp page. I enjoy so many types and different foods, it is hard to pick just one I love my simple smoked salmon, avocado toast or my grilled and spiced grapefruit. All so yummy!

Motivational Mantra

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there’s footprints on the moon.” I feel that is so true! We always say “Oh, sky’s the limit”. But why do we limit ourselves to it? No, reverse the convention, go even further in what you want (fitness related or any other), go further than ANYONE would ever thought you would be able to go. Do NOT ever limit yourself for anything that someone said or has done. YOU are your limit and YOU set it.

Favourite Workout:

DANCE ! I’ve been dancing for 17 years now and dance is such a liberating sport. The feeling when you dance is pure freedom, pure inspiration and motivation to do more and more again and again. You sweat and workout without realizing it.  It is truly amazing. Apart from that, I run on an elliptical machine for about an hour alternating walking and running. I also do some weight lifting and some Blogilates routines. Blogilates is an amazing YouTube channel! It proposes routines for every part of your body and for every level too, plus they really work :). I also try to do simple things like taking the stairs, walking home instead of taking the bus, little things like that.

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More About M.

I think everyone that follows me knows that I am a dancer. I’ve been a dancer for more than 17 years now and it’s a true passion. From ballet, to tap, jazz, hip hop, jazz funk, contemporary, jazz funk, broadway, modern, I love to try them all.  I feel that you can only enrich yourself by trying and seeing new things.  Dance, to me, is not only a way to move and do exercise. It’s been my life jacket through all of my health and mental problems. I honestly think that without dance, I would not be here today answering all of these questions. It’s a part of me, a part of me that I’m proud of.

Apart from that, I am a real nerd in school. I study REALLY hard and love learning. I am aspiring to get into med school one day and help others in need. 

Follow M. on PumpUp @fitgirl_95