Viewing entries tagged
self esteem

Carla's brave journey to recovery and self-acceptance

Carla's brave journey to recovery and self-acceptance

"I thought that having a thigh gap would make me happy because so many girls had one," said Carla. "My body isn't built for that, and it's okay. Now, I feel happier, stronger, and full of self-love." For Carla, the hardest step was making the decision to prioritize her health over all else. The more she endangered her body, the less support she received from her closest friends and family members.

How Stephanie reclaimed her life and healed from bullying

How Stephanie reclaimed her life and healed from bullying

Stephanie was always 'the bullied kid' when she was growing up. "I dealt with bullying for every reason possible," she lamented. "I had acne, kids made fun of me, and I wasn't as outgoing as everybody. I was always sick, so I was called 'the virus'. I was overweight and didn't take care of myself, so I was humiliated for that."

Here's how Arielle took her strength and confidence to the next level

Here's how Arielle took her strength and confidence to the next level

Inspiring people all over the world join the PumpUp community at very different stages in their lives. Arielle was nearly at the peak of her fitness when she became a PumpUp member— she was already extremely physically active and aware of her food choices. But after she downloaded the app, Arielle was thrilled to find a community of people who shared her passion for healthy and active living. 

PumpUp's best advice for anybody struggling with low self-esteem

PumpUp's best advice for anybody struggling with low self-esteem

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Take care of how you speak to yourself. You are not a mistake or a problem to be solved. You're capable! Rather than focusing on what you dislike about your body, focus on what you do like. Your capabilities and small achievements will propel you further than you could have ever imagined. We asked the PumpUp community about their best advice for anybody struggling with low self-esteem during their health and fitness journey and here's what they had to say: Hate versus Love. Take care of how you speak to yourself // PumpUp's best advice for anybody struggling with low self-esteem

Hate: "I am stupid for making this mistake." Love: "I am human, I make mistakes. I'll make an effort to do better next time." Remember, you are worth it.  - PumpUp member @millybedilly

You have an infinite power that can make or break you. Control your emotions and be the champion of your own life // PumpUp's best advice for anybody struggling with low self-esteem

You have this incredible, infinite power within you that can literally make or break you. Confidence starts from within and not from external things. Once you realize that you have the choice to control your emotions, you will be the champion of your own life! Tap into your power because you can do amazing things! - @plantbasedbabe

You are still beating the old you // PumpUp's best advice for anybody struggling with low self-esteem
Your speed doesn’t matter, forward is forward. Don’t beat up yourself trying to be like somebody else! Your progress is yours and nobody can’t take that away from you. There’s no place to go but forward. You’re still beating the old you, the one who always had an excuse; the one who said 'Tomorrow, I’m eating healthy'; the one who said, 'I’ll hit the gym next week, next summer, next year'. You and only you have the power to make your life extraordinary. Don’t wait for somebody to tell you this and make you see your potential. It’s all on you! Don’t give up. - @daphnec
No matter how fast you run, you're still lapping everybody on the couch // PumpUp's best advice for anybody with low self esteem
Even if you go slow, you’re still lapping everyone who’s on the couch. No matter how heavy you lift, how fast or slow you run, how many squats you do, or how often you exercise, it doesn’t matter. you’re trying and making an effort to better yourself, which is a huge step that so many people don’t take -@karak
Every downhill has an uphill // PumpUp's best advice for anybody struggling with low self esteem
Be patient, just stay positive about life. Life is hard if you think everything is going to be about and rainbows and happiness. You’re thinking wrong. Change your attitude. Remember that every downhill has an uphill. You just need to change directions and put a little more effort so that push through anything you’re going through. - @marianarobledosegura
Take all the negativity from your life and make it your strength. Follow your dreams & make them a reality. Most of all, believe in yourself because if you don't, no one else will.  Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you. Do not strive for perfection but strive for greatness. Write your own story and keep your eyes on your goal. You never know who you are inspiring.
Chiara Pereira
If it doesn't lift you up, ditch it. - @hisroyal10ness
Thanks for all of these great pieces of advice for anybody struggling with low self-esteem! Contribute to the discussion by letting us know your best advice in the comments below!

How PumpUp changed Riley's self-image in the span of months

How PumpUp changed Riley's self-image in the span of months

There's a saying that summer bodies are made in the winter, but that doesn't mean that you can't begin your health and fitness journey at any other time of the year. "I decided that a late start was better than not starting at all, so I made a PumpUp account," said Riley, a member who joined the community at the end of spring. 

Gemma's inspiring recovery journey after a hit and run accident

Gemma's inspiring recovery journey after a hit and run accident

At the start of 2015, Gemma was fiercely motivated to live a healthy lifestyle on her own terms. After she shared her first post with the PumpUp community, her drive to succeed accelerated to new levels. "I started using PumpUp as a way of keeping me motivated," she explained. "When I train, I train on my own. My friends aren't really into health and fitness. With PumpUp, even if you exercise alone, as soon as you share a picture or workout, it feels like the rest of the team is there with you!" 

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."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holly's Daily Routine

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

 

Holly's biggest motivation

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

 

Holly's workout routine

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

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

More about Holly

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 surprising reasons why beauty and confidence are linked

4 surprising reasons why beauty and confidence are linked

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People say that inner beauty is reflected in how people look on the outside. But the opposite also rings true. When you’re looking your best, you end up feeling good. Beauty and confidence are linked in less obvious ways that you'd think. Physical beauty jump-starts your confidence

Physical beauty gives you confidence gif via Crushable

If you’ve ever experienced ashy or acne-prone skin, you’ll know how it can zap your confidence. Likewise, when your skin is clear, you feel better. You exhibit a range of behaviours that indicate this: you'll hold your head up high and make eye-contact with people, rather than attempting to hide your face.   When you identify the aspects of your appearance that dissolve your confidence, you might be able to give your self-esteem a necessary boost. If you have an ashy complexion that causes your skin to look dull, skin lightening creams that make your skin more luminous may help. In turn, this may relieve any built-up tension you feel towards yourself.

A study found that when men wore a scented product, women found them more attractive - even though they could not smell them! The reason? The men carried themselves with confidence, which had the effect of increasing their physical appeal to people they interacted with. Even psychologists backed this up, saying that grooming rituals can help to boost your confidence levels in the short term.

Spiritual beauty helps you think more positively

Spiritual beauty makes you feel good gif via Buzzfeed

Although spiritual beauty is mostly an inside job - you should nurture your soul with goodness, find goodness in the world and spread kindness - some of it is definitely linked to how you react to your appearance. Sometimes people look at themselves in the mirror and only see negative things. Self-criticism can make you feel judged by yourself, which will launch you into bad mood territory. How are you supposed to be kind to others when you can’t be kind to yourself Start looking for things you love about your appearance when you glance at your reflection - your shiny eyes, your glowing skin, your beautiful smile - because it will stimulate the reward system in your brain. Remember that you can’t send out love if you don’t have some of it set aside in your soul for yourself!

Spiritual beauty can also enhance your physical beauty

Spiritual beauty enhances physical beauty gif via danysalternate / Tumblr

When you cultivate your spiritual beauty, this can enhance your physical beauty. Your appearance radiates what is going on within your soul. Having inner serenity will reflect in how you look. You will appear composed, calm, and you'll walk tall. If you're stressed, the consequences can reveal themselves in various ways. A few examples? Wrinkles from frowning, bitten-down nails, and skin issues.

Looking after your body makes you look and feel good, period.

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via LiveJournal 

The interesting thing about inner and outer beauty is that they're linked. If you care about your body by leading a healthy lifestyle, this will make you healthier and feel good (especially if you're part of a fitness community). It’s a positive chain reaction. Focus on healthy lifestyle habits that encourage physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and your soul will shine.

Beauty and confidence are strongly linked, sometimes more than we realize. Focusing on strengthening physical and spiritual beauty will enable you to take beautiful flight in the amazing person you are.

About the author

Gwen Lewis is a writer and makeup artist based in Southern California. Because of her passion for beauty and health, she hopes to help others not just look great but feel great, whether through makeup or her writing. In her free time, she enjoy shopping and pick-up soccer games with her friends.

Cover photo courtesy of Rachael Gervais

Were you surprised by these connections between beauty and confidence? Let us know in the comments below!

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

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

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

5 simple body positive art projects that you can start today

5 simple body positive art projects that you can start today

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All you need is a pen and paper to make a difference. That's the mission of Operation Beautiful, a project determined to end negative self-talk through the medium of positive, thoughtfully-placed post-it notes. The movement recognizes that there is extraordinary power behind random acts of kindness, as good deeds have the tendency to spread like a contagion. If you feel like doing a good deed on Motivation Monday (or any day, for that matter), consider taking up one of these body positive art projects:

A Body Positive Sticky Note Wall

Body positive sticky notes can make a world of difference for somebody's confidence. Consider this a Motivation Monday project for yourself

This is an example of body positive art that PumpUp member @midge623 found at her local gym. It's a wall dedicated to sharing positive thoughts, quotes, and messages about body image.

Thoughtfully-placed Post-It Notes

Body positive sticky note from Operation Beautiful

This body positive sticky note from Operation Beautiful was placed on various mirrors of public restrooms to remind visitors about how beautiful they are.

The positive white-board project

Body positive wall art

In this project, participants were asked to sit in front of a white-board while others were asked to write positive qualities about the seated person. Each participant was not allowed to look at what was being written until the photograph was taken.

Something borrowed : library post-it notes

Stick body positive post it notes between pages when you return library books

This person shares encouraging post-it notes between the pages of library books that they've returned.

Sewing mends the soul

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Artist Augustina Woodgate 'poetry bombs' thrift stores by sewing poems into articles of clothing. The same can (theoretically) be done for body positive quotes.

Inspired by these ideas? Share your favourite ways to motivate others on #MotivationMonday with the PumpUp Community! 

11 quotes that will inspire you to make today count

11 quotes that will inspire you to make today count

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What is done today is the tomorrow. Make today count by springing into action and taking steps towards your goals. Whether you find inspiration from somebody else's simple actions or a from a handful of motivational quotes, do something today that your future self will thank you for. Perform every action with intention and purpose. Here are just a few quotes that will help:

Concentrate on how far you've come rather than how far you have left to go // The PumpUp Blog

Concentrate on how far you've come, rather than how far you have left to go.

There are far far better things ahead than any we leave behind

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind - C.S. Lewis (Pinterest)

The best way to predict your future is to create it

The best way to predict your future is to create it - Abraham Lincoln (Deviantart)

The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson

The past is where you learned the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson. (Hplyrikz)
I'm going to succeed because I'm crazy enough to think I can
I'm going to succeed because I'm crazy enough to think I can. (Zenmartial)

Every student can learn: just not on the same day or in the same way

Every student can learn, just not in the same day or in the same way. (Teachers Pay Teachers)

Happiness is found on the way not at the end of the road

 

 

Happiness is found on the way, not at the end of the road (Pinterest)

The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty (TwistedSifter)

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time (Pinterest)

You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step

You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step (Soberjulie)

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What is done today is the tomorrow (PumpUp member @gabbyanalise)

Did these quotes inspire you to make today count? Have great inspirational quotes to share with the PumpUp community? Let us know in the comments below, or tag your photos on PumpUp with #MotivationMonday!

5 ways to boost your self-esteem

5 ways to boost your self-esteem

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

1) Exercise!

(Image via giphy) 

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

 

2) “I look good today”

(Image via giphy)

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

 

3) “You look good today”

You look good - Boost your self esteem

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

4) Doing it Ally-McBeal-Style!

(Image via giphy)

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

 

5) I love me because…

(Image via giphy)

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

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

 

6 lifestyle tips that improved my confidence and my health

6 lifestyle tips that improved my confidence and my health

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The weeks are flying by and summer is just around the corner. We all associate summer with the beach, summer clothes, no school, road trips, etc. For many years I used to feel a sense of dread, as I was overweight and felt so down about the prospect of baring so much skin in the summer sun. It affected my confidence and I felt so angry for letting myself get this way. I would browse through fashion websites and would look at all the beautiful clothes that I couldn’t buy. I would feel jealous of the models in the pictures. I was getting frustrated thinking about how I had let myself go. I had lost all interest in my appearance and didn’t even care whether I brushed my hair or not. On top of all of this, I wore extremely baggy clothes that would make me look even heavier than I was. I lost interest in life. DEBBIES CERT In 2014, I decided to do something about it by eating healthy and working out. It's been a year since I began my journey and I recently received my certificate for Gym and Fitness instruction. I'm also getting married next year to my best friend Darren and have never been happier. All of this happened because I changed the way I thought about food. Now, I eat to fuel my body instead of eating everything in sight. I work out 6 days a week and have one day off for rest. Life has become easier, and I am much more organized and calmer because of working out. I can concentrate better and can deal with every situation that comes my way.

When I was mistreating my body, the smallest of things would tip me over the edge. I was extremely irritable and was a nightmare to be around. Ultimately, I became so disorganized with how I handled my life and negligent of my friends and family. I just wanted to be left alone.

WATER I cannot even begin to describe the benefits of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle and working out. It changed my life so thoroughly: I am a completely different person on the inside as well as the outside. If you really want to change and get healthy, you can. I don’t believe in ‘diets’ as they are only a short term solution. Once you start to eat normal food again, you will pile the weight on. I have attempted so many diets and they do not work: they make you feel deprived and hungry. A lifestyle change is for life. I have never felt deprived or hungry at all since I resolved to maintain to a healthy lifestyle in 2014. I lost 3 stone (42 lbs) in 10 months and so can you!

Here are my best lifestyle tips that'll help you stay healthy for good

6 lifestyle tips to help you stay healthy for good - via the PumpUp Blog

  • Clear your home of all rubbish food: white bread, white rice, processed foods.
  • Go shopping and only buy food that you like and will nourish you
  • Have one treat day in the week, but make sure to go straight back to healthy eating and working out the following day.
  • If there is a special occasion coming up, enjoy it, but don’t go to mad that you will feel mad at yourself the following day.
  • If you feel unmotivated to work out when you come home from school/work /college turn on your favourite music and it will motivate you to workout (I swear by this one).
  • Drink hot water and lemon every morning before breakfast; it is amazing for your skin and helping promote weight loss.
  • When you are eating your dinner, turn off the TV because it can distract you and you won’t know if you are full or not.

Keep up the good work guys!

These lifestyle tips are by PumpUp’s @DebbieMC1232. Through her weight loss journey, she has been able to motivate and inspire others both on PumpUp and through her own personal fitness page Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram

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

Transformation Tuesday: How Robyn wore a dress confidently for the first time in 3 years

Transformation Tuesday: How Robyn wore a dress confidently for the first time in 3 years

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March to your dream and bring others up along the way! Congratulate PumpUp member @robynwhite for all she achieved! Last week, Robyn shared with the PumpUp community hat she was able to wear a dress confidently for the first time within the past 3 years. She has been documenting her transformation between 2013 and 2015. robyn wore a dress confidently

"Looking at these pictures make me want to scream with happiness," she professed.  "These past months have been so hard for me: I've cried and put myself down about how I looked, but I turned it around! I wore a dress for the first time in 3 years! I am in love with this dress and I'm falling in love with my body." These changes manifested themselves after Robyn adopted a healthier diet. She is far more confident than she has ever been before. With the help of the PumpUp community, Robyn is learning to focus on how far she has come, rather than on how far she has to go. Keep her pumped!

 

Spotlight Saturday: Silvia

Spotlight Saturday: Silvia

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"I almost can't believe it's me posting this picture! Mostly because I'm not perfect, and I'm okay with that. Which I never thought I would be. Focusing on small goals and learning to love myself for who I am are the 2 main things keeping me motivated, and those two things are mainly down to joining PumpUp. Trust the process and #MarchToYourDream." PumpUp member Silviamcd shines as our Spotlight Saturday member. She inspires  the PumpUp community on a daily basis with posts of her progress and healthy eating. Keep her pumped as she strives to reach all of her goals. Open the app to cheer her on!

How I taught myself to have a positive body image

How I taught myself to have a positive body image

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

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

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

Strive to be the best version of YOU!

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

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!