Physical activity used to intimidate Melanie. “When I was in high school, if you ever asked me to go for a run, I would have looked the other way and continued to eat my bag of Cheetos,” she revealed. “I didn’t have a bad diet - my mom was pretty good about home-cooked meals. I was always a petite girl, but I was never ‘in shape’ or athletic. I was active with my friends, but never did a sport, nor did I work out independently.”
At the age of 21, Melanie was diagnosed as a type 1 Diabetic. She also struggled with an eating disorder called Orthorexia. “It’s an obsession with eating foods that I considered ‘healthy’,” she mentioned. “I obsessed over every little thing I ate and how it was prepared. I was 83 lbs at the time (my average weight being 115-120 as a 5’2” female). Unbeknownst to me, it was because of the [diabetes] that my body was producing [so many] ketones, which essentially eats all the fat and muscle on your body and can eventually lead to death.”
After Melanie was diagnosed for both conditions, she started to be more mindful of her fitness. “I made sure that when the insulin started making me gain weight, I did it the healthy way by putting on muscle,” she said. “I got a personal trainer at my gym and she showed me what to do and how to do it, but I went on vacation and it was downhill from there. I ate poorly, I didn’t exercise, and my boyfriend and I moved a few times. I ended up gaining 15-20 unwanted pounds, bringing me up to 140 lbs - the most I’ve ever weighed. I was unhappy, more self conscious of my body, and I wanted to get back into feeling good about myself again. I felt so unattractive even to my boyfriend, who was struggling with the same thing. We said that enough was enough and we started our journeys together.”
With the help of the PumpUp community, Melanie got back on track for good. “I’ve been using PumpUp for a little over two years now, and I’m pretty sure I’m more active on there than I am on any other social media site,” she gushed. “At the time, I was struggling with my body image. After reading the [app] description online, I loved the fact that it was like having a personal trainer in my pocket, with the aspect of support and community that I was used to on Instagram. I told everyone about it!”
Slowly, Melanie changed her diet and got back into the groove of exercising at least 3-4 days a week. “PumpUp helped me completely change my diet, especially since I felt that I had a community of people to share it with - who wouldn’t get sick of my ‘fitspo’ posts,” she admitted. “I can honestly say that PumpUp changed my way of life. I actually enjoy exercise, and I eat healthy and share my journey with fellow users on the app. My boyfriend makes fun of me because I take pictures of my snacks and food, [and] I tell him I have to share with my PumpUp friends! It’s also been a great tool for tracking my activity, because I can see what I did for exercise that week. With the ability to post photos as a social media site, it helps me track my physical progress as well. There are so many people who congratulate you on that next step, and it makes me want to keep doing more and sharing.”
While Orthorexia still factors into Melanie’s occasional feelings of guilt towards food and Type 1 Diabetes still poses a challenge, she manages to maintain healthy habits overall. “Changes in my blood sugar vs what I eat make it harder for me to lose weight or gain muscle as fast as healthy people,” she explained. “It can be very frustrating, but it’s always going to be something I have to deal with. Until they find a cure, I have to make the best of a hard situation.”
Now, Melanie is in the process of becoming a Certified Nutritional Therapy Consultant and she runs her office’s Health and Wellness Program. “I’m only 26, but I feel like now is the time to make those changes and create the ability to stick with it,” she stated. “I’ve had a roller coaster of a transformation. From being average, to extremely underweight, to overweight, to healthy and happy. It was all an experience, but with PumpUp, I don’t think I ever would have stayed as on track as I am. My new lifestyle isn’t new anymore — it’s just how I live. I’m now 127 lbs and still going!”
Melanie’s Best Advice
"Give it a try! Why not? I never thought I would be as addicted to an app like I am with PumpUp but it’s a good one to be addicted to! If you’re looking to push and motivate yourself to make the changes you want, to see the progress you want, have people back you up and support you, and share advice with you, PumpUp is definitely the way to go. Can’t go wrong."
Melanie’s Greatest Source of Motivation
"Part of my motivation was seeing how motivated my boyfriend was and us keeping each other on track, but also just wanting to feel good again. I felt sluggish, slow, and like a log for so long. I met my tipping point when I saw photos of myself after a photoshoot and hated every single photo. I saw angles of body parts that I never realized looked that way, fat in places I have never had fat before, and just my overall feeling when I saw how I looked - even with Photoshop! I wanted to feel light and sexy and attractive again so I busted my butt to get there. I still push myself every day for more but I a lot whole happier than I was a year ago."
Melanie’s Favourite Exercise
"I said I used to hate running, [but] now I would say it’s my favorite exercise! I throw in my headphones and go running along this river-side trail near my house. It’s so nice to just get out of the house and take my mind off things and run! I also loved taking Zumba classes and I do weight training on my own. I want to be lean but also strong!"
More about Melanie
I started my own photography company in college called Lit’l Fish Photography. I love animals, tattoos, cooking, and anything that involves summer!
Keep Melanie pumped! Find her on PumpUp @insulin_junkie and on Instagram @melanieee.anne.