Stop saying "I can't". It's more destructive to your well-being than you may realize. "I'd say that my biggest setback has been the belief that I can't," confessed Krystal, a young mother who has been on PumpUp for a little over one year. "It was the idea that I can't lose weight, be a runner, get stronger, or change my life." For this reason, Krystal experienced several ups and downs related to her physical and mental health. With the help of PumpUp, she was able to embark on her postpartum fitness journey in the most incredible way possible.
The first time Krystal lost a lot of weight was in her freshman year of college, due to the stress from breaking up with her high school boyfriend. "I lost about 20-30 lbs because I was actually starving myself," she recalled. "Once we got back together, I went on a fast food rampage and wound up gaining 60 lbs." At this point in her life, Krystal weighed 210 lbs— more than ever before. It took awhile for Krystal to realize that she was using food to cope with stress and clinical depression. For the next six years, Krystal developed an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. "I would work out until I felt like crap, I'd hardly eat, I'd lose a few pounds, and then I'd tell myself that I couldn't do it," she shared. "The lowest weight I got was 203 lbs at the age of 21. My dad complimented me and I can remember thinking, 'It doesn't matter. I'm going to gain weight after this trip anyway.' It was a self-fulfilling prophesy."
Eventually, Krystal stopped paying attention to the scale and tried to out-exercise an unhealthy diet. She got stronger, but stayed 'heavy'. "Eventually, I got up to 228 lbs," she revealed. "But all the pilates, yoga, and pole dancing in the world wasn't changing the fact that I ate fast food 3-4 times a week and drank heavily on the weekends. The biggest change for me was coming back to God in my brokenness and seeking out therapy for all of my personal issues. Through Christ and counselling, I've been able to recognize my destructive habits (binge eating and negative thinking) and I replace them with healthy habits."
Since then, Krystal managed to lose a total of 40 lbs and she also weighs under 200 lbs for the first time ever in her 20s. "Now I'm trying to lose the last 6 pregnancy pounds," she insisted. "I look to friends, family, and the PumpUp community to encourage me and remind me that weight loss is possible through hard work and dedication."
Krystal joined PumpUp shortly after losing the first 18 lbs. "I increased my workouts, watched my food intake, but started slacking off," she shared. "I was excited to have an app that let me download all of my workouts without constantly annoying my friends! Knowing that I had a group of people cheering me on for working out and losing the smallest bit of weight was the encouragement that kept me going and helped me lose another 20 lbs." Three months into her PumpUp journey, Krystal became pregnant - but that didn't stop her from living an active lifestyle. "It was a huge blessing because the community was there to encourage me while I pushed to stay active and minimized weight gain," she explained. "At the end of my pregnancy, I had only gained 26 lbs and was running/walking up until the last day! Now, even when I don't post on PumpUp, I remember that I want to get at least 4 workouts in a week. It has become a habit."
Krystal's proudest personal accomplishment on PumpUp was her commitment to keep running throughout her pregnancy. "I always thought that I was 'too fat' to be a runner," she expressed. "Turns out, that's not a thing! You are a runner because you run, end of story." Krystal even completed her first 6 mile run when she was 33 weeks pregnant. "All that hard work paid off and has led me to running two half-marathons at 5 and 5.5 months post partum," she said gleefully. "Using PumpUp helps me stay accountable and keeps me inspired. When training gets tough, it's nice to know there is a whole community of people working just as hard as I am! I hope that the communal encouragement will keep me motivated to accomplished goals and go further than I've ever gone before."
Krystal encourages other PumpUp members to search the #TransformationTuesday hashtag on the app. "I look up to those pictures every week to search for people who have reached their goals," she said. "I watch the progress of people like me...people who are still striving for a better and stronger body. It inspires me to keep going when I think, 'I can't'."
Krystal's biggest support system
My husband is my biggest supporter. He listens to me talk about my macros and running and training plans, always encourages me when I feel down, and watches the baby so I can work out. He's an amazing source of support, considering [the fact that] he can't gain weight to save his life and hates anything fitness-related. Because of his encouragement, this October I will run 4 half-marathons in 5 weeks to donate money to a home in India that takes care of children with aids. My training started exactly 6 weeks postpartum and I signed up because my husband said he believed in me. I never would've had the confidence to put in all this hard work without his endless support.
How Krystal takes care of her body (both physically and mentally)
I'm pretty big on self-care. It's the only reason I exercise now. Previously, I ate and exercised to punish myself. Now I work out to love myself and the body God gave me. When I'm stressed, I think of foods I can eat that taste good and are good FOR me. If I'm depressed I go for a run or do blogilates. Strength training ALWAYS makes me feel better about myself because it makes me feel stronger. The most important part of self-care, for me, is not doing anything I will be ashamed of. I know that fast food can be a trigger for me as well as forcing myself to exercise to "make up" for "bad" food, so I avoid it. If I'm tempted to work out when I'm exhausted to "make up" for something, I don't do it, I rest instead. For me, self-care is paying attention to your bodies needs whether that be food, exercise, or rest.
What having a 'healthy mind' means to Krystal
Having a healthy mind, to me, means identifying emotions and processing them instead of stuffing it down with food. It means asking for help when you need it. It means looking to others for encouragement or support when you feel like you "can't" lose weight or get better.
What makes Krystal feel most body-confident
I feel most body confident after a long run or a hard blogilates workout. Even though I'm 6 lbs away from my goal weight!
Keep Krystal pumped! Were you inspired by her postpartum fitness journey? Give Krystal words of encouragement in the comments below. Connect with her on PumpUp @krystaljwallace9.