Rachel's 244-lb Transformation

When Rachel was just 24 years old, she received a scary prognosis. "My doctor told me that if I [maintained] the lifestyle I was living, I would end up in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank by the time I turned 40," she recalled. "I probably would have died." Eighteen months ago, Rachel weighed nearly 500 pounds and couldn't walk a block without being short of breath. Rachel's transformation began after she made subtle changes to her lifestyle. "Before PumpUp, I thought I was eating very healthy [and] I would cave into temptations often," she revealed. "I was eating a lot of cheese, turkey sticks, turkey bacon, and turkey sausages. I was unknowingly eating a fair amount of food with preservatives in them."

Rachel started to work out, but had a hard time staying consistent. "I went [to the gym] whenever, and didn't take exercise too seriously," she lamented. "I wasn't doing any weights [either], only cardio."  Rachel was so self-conscious that she had a difficult time leaving her house for an extended period of time. She was diagnosed with depression when she was just 15 years old. "I stayed home because I felt like people were staring at me—I was worried about what they thought. I didn't think I was worth it."

At the end of January 2015, her weight loss started to plateau. "I was losing motivation," she recounted. "I'm not big on social media, but I figured that I had nothing to lose. I'm so happy that I joined PumpUp - I've made friends from all over the world." With the support of the PumpUp community, Rachel accomplished more than she could have ever imagined. "When I started using PumpUp, I was in 3X shirts and wore size 24 jeans - now I'm a size 14 and I [even] fit into large and extra-large shirts," she gushed. "I've done things I never ever thought I would be able to do. I've gained more confidence and I'm a much stronger person, both physically and mentally." Rachel no longer relies on medication for her depression, nor on painkillers for her knees.  She is more conscious of when she eats, making sure that stress no longer leads to bingeing. "I've stopped emotional eating," she confirmed. "The addiction is not as strong as it use to be. It's slightly there, and I do get tempted, but now, I'm able to talk myself out of it."

Since the start of her transformation, Rachel lost 244 lbs. She diversified her meals by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into her diet, and by opting for lean cuts of organic meat with no preservatives in them. "I buy most of my food from the market, I treat myself no more than once a week (unless it's my birthday), and I work out 5 to 6 days a week," she shared. "I walk almost everywhere now - sometimes even taking an hour and a half to walk to work. I can even run for the bus with ease."

The PumpUp Community is Rachel's biggest source of support. "I don't have any people in my life who are into eating healthy and working out," she said. "All my friends eat unhealthy and some have never stepped foot into a gym. The friends I have made on PumpUp are such an inspiration to me and it helps a lot, even though I have never met them. They help me every day, more than they know." Moving forward, Rachel wants to become strong and enthusiastic about exercise. "I don't want to just become skinny and hit my weight goal," she expressed. "I want to be fit. I want to have a body that I'm proud to live in. I want to be a person who doesn't miss a workout for any reason. When I'm feeling sad, I don't run for food - but I don't run to the gym, either. [My emotions] make me skip a few workouts, and I want to stop that one day."

Rachel's Best Advice

Look at where you were when you started and where you are now. No matter how deep you [may have] dug yourself, you can dig your way out. You need to want [your goals] enough to put in the effort and hard work. Don't listen to the voice in your head that tells you that you can't do [anything] or that you aren't good enough, because you're most definitely worth being the best that you can be.

More about Rachel

I am honestly one of the most random people you'll meet. I am far from normal. I am insanely scared of clowns - even though the odds of me being in the same room as a clown are very unlikely. I love to fish and camp, but I am scared of fish and not too fond of bugs.

Keep Rachel pumped! Find her on PumpUp @rachelplauren and on Instagram @jamjams29.