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self acceptance

11 quotes that will convince you to believe in yourself

11 quotes that will convince you to believe in yourself

There's a saying that self love often seems unrequited. It doesn't have to be. With a bit of positive thinking and fierce determination, you'll be surprised about how much you're capable of if you take the time to believe in yourself. Self-belief has transformed hundreds of lives and it can transform yours. Here are a few positive quotes that will convince you to believe in yourself, forever.

When I learned to love my body, I became so much healthier

When I learned to love my body, I became so much healthier

Over the last few months, Laura adopted a lifestyle that fulfills her nutritive needs. "[My diet] is one that I actually like to follow," she elaborated. "I have achieved my dream weight! I've never been overweight, but I was pretty much kissing that BMI limit line. I know that weight is just a number [...] but I'm now at a healthy weight. It's the perfect head start towards shaping my body the way I want it to be."

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 (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

Give yourself a hug. Too many people forget to do so.

It’s easy to forget how difficult it is to love oneself. The statistics on the State of Self Esteem paint a sombre portrait: 7 in 10 girls believe that they are inadequate in some capacity, be it through their relationships with others, their academic performance, or their appearance. We’re surrounded by images of unrealistic beauty everywhere we go: polished and filtered Instagram images that show us what we don’t have (thigh gap, we’re looking at you) and who we could never measure up to be (are we ever going to be as funny or as Twitter-savvy as the enigmatic Retta? No). 

Remember: you have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé, and even she can’t escape the tyranny of Photoshop.  Lines of wisdom and age etched across one of the most celebrated names of the 21st century are smoothed away to oblivion with the meticulous and instantaneous click of a mouse.

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Photo c/o nymag.com

It seems like there’s an app for everything. But there isn’t an app that will teach you how to love yourself. Luckily, you can teach yourself how to love yourself. No app. No magic wand. The only thing and person you need is you.

Give yourself an enormous hug, hold on tight, and never let go

  • Love yourself with positive affirmations. Wake up and tell yourself that you are beautiful. Say something over the top; something that you can’t resist giving yourself a smile to. Rather than focusing on what you feel inadequate about, congratulate yourself on something that you’re proud about every morning. Even watch cute puppy videos to restore your faith in humanity (yes, that part of YouTube will instantly make your bleak morning a much brighter place)
  • Nourish yourself with nutritious food. Eat well. Drink well. Drink water! Never punish yourself for eating poorly. Focus on what you did right, and do even better the next day.
  • Immerse yourself in an environment of people who encourage you. Communities like PumpUp are wonderful at doing this! Reach out for help when you need it; loving yourself doesn’t always have to be a lonely journey.
  • Compare yourself to nobody. Make each day an opportunity for self-improvement. Congratulate others and support others, but never ever feel inadequate if you aren’t making progress at the same rate as they are. Everybody has different needs, different goals, different bodies, and different circumstances. What makes you unique already makes you beautiful.
  • Forgive yourself. The past is in the past; let it go! Your future is uncertain, but it’s brimming with possibilities. Build upon your past, learn from it, and grow stronger. It helped shape who you are today.

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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Let's Change Low Self-Esteem into Self Love!

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

"Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions." - Harvey Mackay

Ever thought that because of how you look people will not take you seriously? As a consequence, you’re hesitant to push yourself to the forefront because you’re afraid of how you they think you look.

Will they like me? Will they really listen to ME or will they just look at how fat or how skinny I am? 

You find every reason to convince yourself and others that you are not the right person for the job, even if others believe in you. Let me tell you right now, DO NOT LIMIT YOURSELF.

"The moment you realize that you were always the right person. Only ignorant people walk away from greatness.”

― Shannon L. Alder 

We are on a journey together. What you weigh right now is not the final you! Don’t give up. There are people who will doubt you and who will tell you that your goal does not make pragmatic sense. Don’t listen to them. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone; strive to become better than you were yesterday - for YOU. When people criticize you, they’re just jealous - that’s the truth.

This is a progress photo from Abigal: she’s lost 15 pounds this month!

I can say all this because there was a time when I thought that self-esteem was derived solely from how you look. So I was afraid to go out; afraid to speak up; afraid to go to the gym because I was extremely body-conscious; afraid to have confidence; afraid to develop my skills and excel in everything I do because I was afraid of what people would say about me - how I look and how dare I have so much confidence, looking like that. Over the years I have come to realize that self-esteem is, above all things, loving who you are and appreciating where you are in life and working each day to become better, to be one step closer to self-actualization.

"Your self-esteem won’t come from body parts. You need to step away from the mirror every once in a while, and look for another reflection, like the one in the eyes of the people who love you and admire you." - Stacy London 

So in 2015 and beyond - love yourself. Be the most positive and determined person you know. We cannot truly encourage others and not encourage ourselves. Do not let ANYONE control your emotions and define what you think of yourself. No more low self-esteem; self-love then spread love.

- Abigail Brady

How to believe in yourself

This is a post published by PumpUp member @coachmelissa. Check out her website at melissalepage.com 

The truth is: If you do not believe in yourself, who will?

For a long time, my lack of confidence in myself limited and impinged upon several aspects of my life. I’m sure we all have this in common on different levels.

When I was young I used to doubt myself and begin sentences with, ” I can’t do this because….”. I didn’t stick to habits because I didn’t believe I had the discipline. I didn’t push past my comfort zone. I was always finding excuses to justify why ”I couldn’t do it” instead of finding reasons why I could do it!

All because I didn’t really believe I could.

I can honestly say that now, I believe in myself like never before. That doesn’t mean I think I’ll never fail or quit: I will, and often will. And that’s OK.

The trick is that I learned it’s completely fine to try and fail, to put yourself out there and not be perfect, to say hello to someone and have them not instantly love you, to create something and have people judge you. If you never try something new, something that will put you out of your comfort zone, you’ll never be able to grow.

Failure, not being perfect, mistakes, not having people agree with me, not being completely accepted: these are not negative things. They’re positive.

How is failure positive? It’s the only way we truly learn. For example: you can read a book on math, but until you try it and fail, you’ll never see where your lack of understanding is. The best way to learn something is to study it a bit, then try it, take practice tests, make mistakes, then learn some more. And repeat.

How are mistakes positive? They’re little pieces of feedback necessary to grow and learn.

How is being rejected positive? It means I’m growing beyond the absolutely socially acceptable realm. The best people in history were not socially acceptable: truth-tellers like Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Proudhon and Bakunin, Martin Luther King Jr., animal rights philosopher Peter Singer, unschooling pioneer John Holt, women’s rights activists, abolitionists, and many more.

These things we’re afraid of — they’re actually desirable. We need to learn to see them that way, and embrace them, letting go of the fear.

When we can get better at this — which takes a lot of practice — we can start to remove the things that hold us back.

How to change the way you think: It takes a lot of practice. First and foremost, you have to start thinking with these two powerful words: I CAN. Say it every morning when you get up in front of the mirror. Every time, you will face a difficulty make a promise to yourself to say ”I can do this…I can surpass this and I will”, every time you are working out and you have a hard time doing a certain exercise, instead of quitting, push yourself to make 2 more. Once you master your brain, you will be capable to achieve great things. Believe that you can and you will. Everything is possible when you believe you can. But it all starts with the choice of making these changes.

Never give up.
Chase your dreams until you make it. Whatever how much time it will get you there, fight for it, work for it!

Believe in your dreams and stand for your dreams. Even in the midst of difficult times…you need to maintain the confidence and conviction that YOU CAN achieve what you want.

Practice these steps

  • Start by reading books about personal development.
  • Push past your discomfort by growing how you manage discomfort
  • Put yourself out there, and be OK with not knowing if people will accept you.
  • Stick to a habit and never listen to negative self-doubt that normally holds you back. For every negative thought, find 5 positive things to say about the situation. Repeat these positive thoughts a few times.
  • Stick to it some more, and learn to trust yourself.
  • Go into situations not knowing, and learn to be OK with that.
  • Learn through repeated attempts that it’s OK to fail, that you can be OK in failure.
  • Learn through repeated experiments that you are stronger than you think, that you are more capable and more tolerant of discomfort than you think.

And in this practice, you will find yourself. And realize that you were great all along.
Never give up!

Why university catalyzed my health and wellness journey - Transformation Story

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This is a post by PumpUp member Sara A. (@bunnies), blog contributor. Follow her Tumblr @gurdiel

'Eureka' moments only occur once in a blue moon. Mine began with this simple, sudden, and striking realization: I can do anything.can change my lifestyle. Magic happens when you believe in yourself.

This wasn’t always the case. When I was in high school, had trouble with anxiety due to several contributing factors: social pressure, lower marks, bullying, and so on. As a result, I would stress-eat and lacked the energy and motivation to perform any type of physical exercise. The burden of anxiety constantly consumed me, and I couldn’t think properly because I was filled with pools of negativity. I wasn’t technically overweight but I didn’t feel healthy. Later on, I found out that at the age of 19, I had very high levels of cholesterol. I knew I had gone too far. 

Although I knew what I had to do deep down inside of me, I waited until university to make the transition towards a healthier lifestyle. This new chapter in my life became a great opportunity for a great change, and a chance to adopt good habits. 

It was at this point in my life that I joined the PumpUp community. Now that I live by myself, I am able to have more control over what I eat. I only purchase what is healthiest for me and am more careful over the composition and timing of my meals.  When I decided that I wanted to change my lifestyle, I introduced the PumpUp app to a few of my friends and now we keep each other accountable. We schedule our gym visits and work out together. It may not seem worth it, but I swear that the feeling after you workout and the changes that you and others begin to see will be worth the sweat and hardship. Giving up at this point will mean that you’d be giving up on your life, stepping backwards and harming yourself.

My advice to those who think that they will not make it, to those who have not noticed changes yet, to those who doubt whether it is worth it or not, and to those who think they do not have time and motivation to live a healthy lifestyle is: ”Just try. It is possible. Just because you are trying means that inside of you there’s a little ‘something’ that knows that you need a change. Do not ignore it, because it will reward you with unexpected feelings of well-being and self-esteem”

In my case, I waited for my moment to come. Then I did what I knew I had to do. But some people have the chance to begin a new lifestyle every day, so I would tell them to listen to that ‘something’ now and take advantage of that, since people with more difficulties have already accomplished their goals. Regardless of the situation, everybody is able to feel proud and satisfied with her or his body.

So this month I encourage you to #SpreadPositivity all over PumpUp and in your daily life!  Get your new healthy lifestyle started now

Shanon's story will boost your self-esteem - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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PumpUp’s superbly supportive @shanonxd is in the spotlight for her courage opening up to us about her personal struggles with self-esteem. “Now I love myself, I feel worthy, and it really makes me happy that you guys actually care about me even when you don’t know me.” She manages to stay active as a runner and dancer to manage her scoliosis and she aspires to help other PumpUp members overcome their insecurities. Learn more about her below!

It has been just seven months since Shanon was inspired to join the PumpUp community, and it wouldn’t be the same without her. “I started because I saw someone using it and thought I should give it a try,” she explained. Though she maintained healthy eating habits prior to joining the community, Shanon admits that she did not work out much. “I would usually just do my homework, and after that I would read or watch television,” she says. “Now that I use PumpUp, I make it a point to work out at least three times a week. Maybe more!”

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PumpUp has helped tremendously with Shanon’s self-esteem, and we’re excited that she’s constantly there to encourage people in the community as well. “I feel like I need to help other people even with the smallest things. If someone is down, I just want to cheer them up, even if I don’t know them,” elaborates Shanon. “PumpUp made me feel better about myself and that’s exactly what I wanted to accomplish with the app. Now I just want be healthier and get stronger. I’m so grateful for PumpUp, it really makes me happy that you guys actually care about me even when you don’t know me.”

Shanon was brave enough to share about how she overcame some of her acute personal struggles. “About six months ago I hated who I was. I was insecure, and because of certain things that happened on social media, I started cutting my wrists,” she courageously confesses. She has been clean for five months and we’re extremely proud of her progress. “Since I started to work out and saw everybody on PumpUp being motivated, it got better. Now I love myself, I feel worthy, and I’m really happy all thanks to you guys.” 

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To stay motivated, Shanon treasures a notebook where she writes and stores her favourite quotes and pictures of people who inspire her. Not only is it portable, the notebook also serves as a creative outlet for Shannon. “If anyone has a little trouble with motivation, you should try this! Just look in [the book] and realize what you have to work for!”

She has been able to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle—full of dance, soccer, tennis, running, pilates, long walks, and yoga—all the while overcoming certain medical conditions. “I still have to overcome dizzy spells. No one really knows or understands what it is. It’s really weird because it happens at the most inconvenient moments,” Shanon tells. She also has scoliosis, a medical condition that results in the abnormal curvature of the spine.

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She has tons of inspirational things to say for people others looking to get fit, urging other members to keep going even if it gets hard. “If it doesn’t get hard, you’re not pushing yourself enough and you won’t see any changes,” she insists. “The only way to overcome your fears is to face them.”

The most inspirational person in Shanon’s life is her mother. “She urges me to never give up and always keep going.” 

Favourite eats

My favorite snack would be bananas. Because I’m a vegetarian, I love almost meal that has vegetables in them. Water is my favorite drink.

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Motivational Mantra

"When they say you can’t do it, prove them wrong."

More about Shanon

"I’ve been a vegetarian for three years—when I was twelve I stopped eating meat."

Follow Shanon on PumpUp and Instagram @shanonxd to keep her pumped and to follow her along her journey! 

Why self confidence is more important than you think

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Why self-confidence is more important than you think

There’s a saying that to wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are. After recovering from an eating disorder, PumpUp member @beckysomerville521 now has a positive body image and she bravely discusses why it’s important to be, first, and foremost, self-confident. 
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Self confidence is something that many people lack. It’s perfectly understandable: media outlets and social media networks make us idealize perfectly skinny and fit bodies by throwing them at our faces at every opportunity that they get. One little flaw is shown to be the worst thing.
Nobody is perfect. Many of us fall victim into seeing another person and thinking that, “Wow! She [or he] has the perfect body. I wish I had that.” But what does ‘perfect’ actually mean? There is nothing wrong with having someone else’s body as a goal, but you should never put yourself down by comparing yourself to others.

Being self-confident is such a wonderful thing and it helps with actions and thoughts that impact your everyday life. It helps you get to the gym and work towards that goal body. It helps you feel good in your clothes, even if you feel like you have more improvements to make.
Look in the mirror and say to yourself that you are beautiful, strong and can do anything you put their mind to. A lack of self-confidence can lead to potentially destructive behaviour. According to a fact sheet compiled by Do Something, a US-based non-profit dedicated to youth-driven social change campaigns, 75% of girls with low self confidence reported engaging in negative activities like smoking and disordered eatingversus 25% of girls with high self-esteem. Moreover, Heart of Leadership found that more than 90% of girls between the ages of 15 and 17 want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest. Thus, it’s likely that the person whose body you constantly compare yourself to probably doesn’t feel comfortable about themselves just as you do.
Growing up I was never overweight, but to me I felt a lot larger than I was. I had a very hard time in high school thinking that I didn’t look good enough or I wasn’t skinny enough, which led to me having an eating disorder. Eating disorders are not something you just decide to have one day, and they are so dangerous. But like others, I thought this was taking the easy way out. My weight dropped that year, and by the time I began my senior year of high school, I gained a little more confidence.
I spent the next year eating whatever I wanted and never exercising, but actually lost weight due to my fast metabolism. This led me to having an extremely low weight of 92 lbs at 19 years old. After gaining about 25 lbs I lost all my confidence and have only recently increased my self-esteem. But in my head I still look back at that point in time and wish I looked like that sometimes. With more self-confidence, I see that 92 lbs isn’t and should never be a goal weight, and that my current weight isn’t too ‘heavy’ either. I may not be 100% happy with the way my body looks, but that gives me more motivation to reach my goals the right way, by eating healthy and working out! It’s nice to walk around  and be able to say out loud that I’m beautiful. I hope you all can do that because it truly is a wonderful feeling, something I would love to help others towards achieving!
Follow PumpUp on Tumblr for more inspiring stories. Keep Becky motivated on PumpUp @beckybeckysomerville521 and on Instagram @beckysomerville. 

Spotlight Series: Ashley D.

PumpUp’s Sunday Spotlight gleams upon Ashley D., an active PumpUp workout warrior! If we had one word to describe her workout regimen of HIIT/LISS cardio 6 days a week and strength training 4 days a week, it would be dedication! She says, “Never let yourself leave this world without becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be.” Want to learn more about how she does it? Not sure what HIIT and LISS stand for? Gain keen insight about Ashley on the blog today!

pumpup spotlight ashley

Ashley joined the PumpUp family after learning about the app from a beauty guru on YouTube. “I thought it was perfect for posting my workout progress pictures without all the ‘haters’ you sometimes get on Instagram,” she says. 

The community welcomed her with open arms and a tidal wave of positivity. “After using PumpUp I am motivated to get my butt to the gym and LIFT!,” exclaims Ashley.  Her dedication to maintaining her active lifestyle is unwavering, and it shows: since having her son 13 months ago, Ashley has lost 15 lbs and about 12% body fat.  “PumpUp has made a huge difference watching everyone cheer each other on without any negativity. I workout daily! Even when I put a rest day in the mix, [my day] consists of at least a walk.”

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While Ashley regularly ate healthy food and exercised with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio at least four days a week prior to joining PumpUp, certain obstacles impeded her ability to be completely fulfilled with her workout progress. “I never could get the motivation to push myself to the gym, having a baby at home,” admitted Ashley. “I’ve also struggled with weight most of my adult life since I am insulin-resistant. I’ve overcome being insulin resistant and being over weight most of my adult life by changing my mind set about food and eating differently.”

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She is courageous and optimistic about her ambitions. “I hope to be the best me that I can be—no matter if that means losing 5 more pounds or staying at the same weight and just gaining lean muscle mass,” affirms Ashley. She explains that her family is her biggest motivation, especially as she strives to be a role model for her son. “I want to teach my son that he can be whoever he wants to be. I want to be around to see him accomplish whatever it is he wants to pursue in life!” 

pumpup app spotlight ashley

Her best advice recognizes the importance of self-validation. “Never let yourself leave this world without becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be. Mind, body, spirit! No regret!,” emphasizes Ashley. She adds, “It’s a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable.”

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Favourite Snack: “ISO•100 Whey protein isolate shakes! They are sooooo yummy! They taste like a Varsity’s Frosted Orange!” 

Motivational Mantra: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”— Earl Nightingale 

More about Ashley: “I am a full time stay at home mom and army wife.”

Be sure to follow Ashley on PumpUp @ultimateashmo and on Instagram @AshMoDo2323!

"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! :)