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self image

How Christine finally developed a positive relationship with food

How Christine finally developed a positive relationship with food

It was tough for Christine to come home after an entire year abroad in England—her whole diet was off track. "I think it was the worst lifestyle that I ever had," she recalled. "I wanted to enjoy myself. I was eating a lot of cake, chocolate, ice cream, burgers, and drinking soda, hot chocolate, and alcohol. Even if I was really happy at the time, I regretted my choices in the end." 

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. 

How a support system drastically improved Lana's mental & physical health

How a support system drastically improved Lana's mental & physical health

Lana learned that the state of her mental health was tied to her physical health. She began to eat healthier and saw positive changes. “Running became my escape,” she revealed. “I lost weight and I felt amazing. Before PumpUp, I lost about 25 pounds. I was doing good…but I wanted to be great.” Though Lana exercised in moderation, PumpUp really helped her to take her health and fitness to another level. 

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!

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.”

 pumpup app spotlight ashley

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.”

pumpup app spotlight ashley

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.”

 pumpup app spotlight ashley

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! :)