Nobody's transformation story is ever completely straightforward. As a child, Rachel was constantly in and out of of the hospital because she had kidney disease. By the time she was nearly four years old, she already had 8 surgeries - one of which removed her left kidney. "My right kidney had to do the job of two kidneys, which caused [its] protective layer to be stretched thin," she recounted. "Because of this, the doctor told my parents that I should never play any sports or do anything that could cause me to fall on my right side." Thus, Rachel was inactive and overweight throughout her entire childhood. "It was not something I ever focused on," she added. "Once I finally realized that life did not and should not be lived that way, and saw many people in my family suffering with illnesses because they were overweight, I decided that this was not going to be how I lived the rest of my life. I changed my mindset, and once I did this, I was able to change my lifestyle."
While Rachel started to eat healthier when she became a vegetarian in 2010, there were unexpected consequences to her changed eating habits. "I still ate way above the amount of carbs that I should have been eating in a day," she mentioned. "On some days, it was far over 300 grams. So, even though I was adding more vegetables to my diet, my portions were far too large - carbs in particular." Rachel had a hard time motivating herself to exercise on a regular basis. "I was in a lull and having a rather hard time picking [the weight loss] back up," she recalled. "I was not very active except for the occasional yoga class." In July 2014, Rachel joined PumpUp after a friend recommended it to her. "I felt like it would be a good place to find motivation and encouragement, and I was right!"
With the help of the PumpUp community, Rachel lost 40 lbs. She dropped 70 lbs over the course of her entire fitness journey and she is only 20 lbs away from her goal weight. "At my biggest, I was 235 lbs," she mentioned. "I honestly couldn't even imagine myself losing this much weight, but by seeing [my best friend] accomplish her goal, I knew it was possible. That is one of the best parts about PumpUp for me. You see people who are where you are or where you once were - and they've reached their personal goals. Seeing somebody reach those goals makes you feel like it is possible for you as well."
Since Rachel joined PumpUp, she started to exercise on a daily basis and began to manage her intake of carbohydrates. "It's always great to see people posting pictures of their healthy and colorful meals because it helps me to remember that what I put into my body is important," she revealed. "I enjoy running now, which I never thought I would say, but I love seeing the posts when people run because it helps to keep me focused on how great it feels to run, physically and mentally." Moving forward, Rachel hopes to become the healthiest version of herself so that she can encourage others to do the same. "The encouragement I have received from others has been a huge motivation for me," she insisted.
Rachel's Biggest Motivation
I have two friends who have been my biggest motivation. One of my best friends was 230 lbs. a few years ago, and is now around 145. It is so helpful to see her lose the weight and reach the goal that I have for myself. My other friend has been in great shape the entire time I have known her. She is a runner and works hard to keep herself active and healthy. In July, she asked me if I wanted to run a 5k with her. I thought she was crazy since I had never ran in my life. But she asked because she believed in me, and because of that I said yes. In August, we ran the 5k and it was a huge accomplishment for me! Had it not been for her motivation and encouragement, I would never have run my first 5k. I hope that others will be able to see this type of motivation from PumpUp, and hopefully I can pass on this motivation and encouragement to others.
Rachel's Best Advice
Remember that it's about becoming the healthiest version of who you are. It is not about how you look, but it is about how you feel. I have found that the best way to lose weight and actually keep it off is to take it slow enough and not to use fad diets, but to look for a healthy amount of specific things that you should be eating a day. For instance, as I stated before, I found that I was eating far too many carbs and I looked up the healthy amount to eat and have stuck with that. I have also looked up the healthy amount of protein to have and have stuck to that. You are in the process of training your body and your mind to eat healthy and to be active. If you work yourself to death and follow a fad diet or being starving yourself, you are simply hurting your body or may not stick with it for the rest of your life.
Rachel's Exercise Routine
Every morning and evening I work on my core, doing 50-100 crunches and 50-100 reverse crunches and a few random core exercises. I constantly make myself aware of my core in everything I do, posture is a big part of this. I also began walking and/or running 3-6 days a week.
I love to run, do yoga and do core exercises. I have struggled with anxiety and some depression throughout my life, but I have found that some of the best therapy has been running and yoga. If I'm having a stressful day, I run it off and feel so much better and one of the biggest things that has helped my anxiety I learned from yoga.
More about Rachel
I am currently in grad school studying to become a professional counsellor. Even though I am learning about the various techniques that are used in counseling for anxiety and depression, what has helped me with my own personal issues has been exercise. In my practice I plan to encourage physical activity and to use some of the techniques for stress reduction that I have learned from yoga.
Keep Rachel pumped! Find her on the app @rachelfoxx87 and leave positive comments for her below!