'Healthy' isn't a weight - it's different for every body. Although Hannah always had a smaller frame, people judged her for it. Comments about her weight gradually undermined her confidence and aggravated her anxiety. "I've had anxiety since 2010, so setbacks aren't uncommon, but they're something I've learnt to overcome with the right mindset and support, "she mentioned. "Throughout my life, I've had people say to me, 'You're so skinny. Look how skinny you are.' This did not make me feel good at all. I had a few people laugh at the fact that I [went] to the gym and [lifted] weights because I was so thin and weak at the time." Her self esteem took a direct hit as a result of these comments.
Once Hannah immersed herself in a more positive environment, her confidence and self esteem began to soar. "I focused on the kind words from my friends and family who put a smile on my face instead of the words from the people who put me down," she explained. "I'm so much happier now than I was then." But before Hannah began to use PumpUp, her lifestyle was quite different. Her high metabolism lead her to believe that she could eat whatever she wanted to. Fast food and soft drinks comprised the bulk of her diet—she went to KFC every single week. "I didn't care for my body because on the outside, I thought I looked okay," she mentioned. "In fact, I was quite underweight and unhealthy with bad skin. I didn't start to exercise until 2012, but it was mainly cardio and that did not help my situation at all!" Hannah would exercise at the gym with her boyfriend on rare occasions, but she felt uncomfortable because she wasn't sure what to do. "My average day consisted of sitting in front of my laptop and getting fast food," she said. "Those days are long gone now!"
In the summer of 2014, Hannah joined PumpUp because she lost all motivation to exercise and eat healthy. She felt that she wouldn't be able to sustain her healthy habits. "I just wanted to give up," she recalled. "When I began exploring the PumpUp community, I met people just like me. [They] were just starting their fitness journey and I couldn't believe the amount of support and positivity that projected out of every member and comment. This was the kick-start I needed. It was the members of PumpUp who got me back on track. I didn't want to walk away from this. I wanted to be part of this enormous supportive and positive family. [I wanted] to help those who felt like giving up."
Hannah set out to achieve several goals when she joined PumpUp. First and foremost, she wanted to be an inspiration for other people. "I want to support people during their triumphs and support them when they feel like they've reached the end of the road," she shared. "I've had many accomplishments: one of them is being chosen to be featured on the PumpUp Blog! Another little accomplishment is actually being able to flex my biceps! One that is extra important to me is being able to go to the gym on my own without someone I know with me." Now, Hannah is able to train with confidence without a care in the world. She no longer panics at the mere thought of working out alone.
Regular exercise and healthy eating helped Hannah to feel much more confident about her body. "It is not all in entirely to do with the weight and muscle mass I have gained, but I accept myself more because I treat my body right," she confessed. "I don't have a 6 pack or extremely toned glutes, but that doesn't mean [that] I can't love my body for what it is and what it has become. I have seen a tremendous amount of progress in my body both physically and mentally. Knowing that that is because of my hard work and dedication gives me a feeling of accomplishment and most importantly, self acceptance."
Hannah is most motivated by the kind words from those who supported her throughout her transformation. Whether it's her mom commenting on the size of her biceps or her boyfriend telling her how beautiful she is, Hannah is encouraged to keep going. "Two [role models] that stand out in particular are my boyfriend, as well as PumpUp member @littlefitlex," she said. "My boyfriend has been with me since the day I started this journey and has also supported me when I was hit with negativity. He has encouraged me to keep on going and not to care what others think. @littlefitlex is goals! Her hard work and dedication to her own fitness journey encourages me to work harder and be the best I can."
Hannah's best advice
As me and my best friend Jodie would say: 'Be happy and healthy'. It's no fun leading an active lifestyle if you don't enjoy it! Leading a healthy lifestyle comes in so many different varieties and can vary from one person to the next. Do it in a way that makes you happy. There's no point pushing yourself over the edge in the gym or living on 'rabbit food' if it doesn't make you happy at the end of the day. Instead of slaving away in the gym why not go for a walk or a run in scenic surroundings or workout with a friend. I'm not a fan on living on salads all the time so I decided to bake all different kinds of yummy treats such as protein brownies and avocado ice cream and it turns out I really enjoy this! Active lifestyles are so much better when you have the right support and positivity from those around you. Concentrate on the people who motivate you. You will find plenty of them on PumpUp!
How Hannah takes care of her body, both mentally and physically
When I take care of my body physically I benefit mentally as well. When I look healthy I feel happy and healthy on the inside. Taking care of my body physically involves regular exercise and eating healthy. I workout 5 or 6 days a week every morning with gym sessions some afternoons. When I eat healthy meals and snacks I feel so much better mentally knowing that I have gave my body something good that makes me feel energized and satisfied. I enjoy detox water every day to reduce the dreaded bloat and I treat myself with some dark chocolate because we all deserve a treat for our hard work! I enjoy listening to meditation music and long walks when it’s sunny to put my mind at ease.
What having a healthy mind means to Hannah
Having a healthy mind means everything because that ensures that I am happy, confident and worry free. Throughout all these years of having anxiety I have ensured that I can still live life to the fullest and not let my nerves hold me back. This can include just having someone I trust by my side during uncomfortable situations or by talking to a professional to remind me that I am ok and everything will be ok, I can fight this. It has been a long battle but I never thought for a moment that I would give up on having a healthy mind once again. Having a healthy mind allows you to focus more clearly on goals and ambitions and have a much better outlook on life. There will always be people there to help, never be afraid to talk.
Keep Hannah pumped! Leave positive words of encouragement for her in the comments below! Follow Hannah's fitness journey on PumpUp and Instagram @hannahmci_