As a stressed out music college student, Grace-Mary neglected to take care of her mental and physical health. When Grace-Mary wasn’t in class, she was either studying, composing, or practising her instruments. “I felt depressed, anxious, groggy, and always tired,” she revealed. “The most movement I got in a day was probably walking in between classes. I was sedentary and never developed any consistency in routine. I was even in the habit of avoiding stairs, because I would get short of breath from doing any physical activity.”
It came to a point where Grace-Mary felt powerless to change her lifestyle. She would eat very late at night, binge on junk food, and had a high fat and high sodium diet. “For so long, I thought that my life was the way it was meant to be,” she confessed. “I was meant to be overweight. This is genetic. I was meant to have an unhealthy relationship with food. I was meant to be sedentary and tired.”
Nevertheless, Grace-Mary had a powerful source of motivation to kick her health into gear. "I wanted to get healthy because I play the saxophone, clarinet, flute, which require a lot of air and stamina,” she admitted. “I noticed [that], before my fitness journey, my lungs weren’t able to blow enough air to get a full sound on my instruments, and I was always tired. I knew that if I didn’t start getting healthier, I could not physically follow my passion."
Grace-Mary reached out to her family to help her make changes. After she voicedher concerns, they immediately started buying different groceries, exercised with her, and signed up for fitness centres with her. “Around Christmas, my local gym had a special for buying a personal training package,” she said. “My brother and I both signed up because we both wanted to improve our health. My trainer told me about fitness apps to keep me on track, and I discovered the PumpUp community."
Since Grace-Mary joined PumpUp in January 2016, her habits changed drastically. She already lost 45 pounds in 6 months — far surpassing her original goal of losing 20 lbs in that same timeframe. "With PumpUp, I hope to keep my fitness goals on track, find motivation from others, discover recipe ideas, and to share my journey with a supportive community,” she insisted. "I love the active vegan community on PumpUp. When I first became vegan, I lacked recipe ideas. Seeing what other vegans have for breakfast, lunch and dinner has helped me figure out how to balance food. I am losing weight consistently, I feel nourished by vegan food, and I am active and energized."
Now, Grace-Mary cares for every dimension of her health. “For mental health, I keep a gratitude journal and I meditate everyday,” she shared. "I think this is important, because positivity helps you through any journey and gives you motivation. For exercise, I meet with a personal trainer twice a month. I go to the gym to work on these routines a couple times a week. I take a weekly Tai Chi and Kettle bell class. I swim laps and go on nature hikes for fun. For food, I became an ethical vegan in March, 2016. I eat a plant-based, whole foods diet, that is low in saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium. I no longer rely on restaurants for food and I do not eat many processed foods. Instead, I eat lots of fruits and vegetables and I also track what I eat in order to make sure I get the right amount of nutrients.”
The benefits of her healthy lifestyle have even extended to her career as a musician. "Since starting my fitness journey, it has been so much easier to play woodwind instruments [because] I can project my sound,” she gushed. “My confidence to play with others has increased and I am able to feel energized during long rehearsals."
Grace-Mary’s Best Advice
"Get others to join you in a more active life! Ask your family and friends to sign up for the same fitness centre as you. Invite others to come with you to the gym, or for a hike, walk, swim, so you can be social. Also, do not focus on a number on the scale. Throughout this process I haven’t had many expectations. When I started, I thought it would be great to lose 20 pounds in 6 months - I’ve already lost 45 pounds in that time, and am nearing 50 pounds since January. If you focus on your health and consistency, the results will come."
Grace-Mary’s Exercise Routine
"I go to the gym and lift weights with my brother a couple times a week. Every week I take a Tai Chi class with my entire family. I take a Kettlebell class every week. I go on walks with my family members several times a week. I also love hiking and nature walks at local trails. And, of course, during the summer I love to swim!"
More about Grace-Mary
"I am studying to be a composer for film and TV music!"
Keep Grace-Mary pumped! Find her on PumpUp @jazzgmb and on Instagram @pinkpurplejazz.