Stories About Hooping and Self-Confidence Improvements

I personally have felt a complete change in my self-confidence, self-esteem, happiness, and feelings of fulfillment since I found hooping. On top of losing about 30 pounds from only hooping (without diet change), I have NEVER felt better about my body and my life. I feel that hooping makes me look beautiful and it makes me more valuable as a person. It gives me deeper meaning in my life. I wanted to know how others felt about it, too. I interviewed two other hoopers in hopes to discover even more about how hooping can improve lives! Thank you to you both for allowing me to interview you and for sharing your personal stories.

Jenn Phillips (Jenn Lynn)

Jenn foot hooping

1. How would you describe your self-esteem and self-confidence before you started hooping?

"My confidence has always been something I've struggled with from about 11th grade on. I never saw my body the way that others saw it. I always thought I could lose weight, even when others thought I looked good. My body has always been the major contributor to my low self-esteem. My personality was never the issue. If I would have rated my confidence on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, it would have been around a 4. I would always be down on myself about how my body was shaped and my weight, which caused me to have incredibly low self-esteem and self image. It was so bad that I wouldn't even want to think about how I looked because I'd get so upset."

2. How would you describe your confidence within the first few months of hooping?

"Within my first few months of hooping, my confidence seemed to grow and then kind of plateau in a way. I felt my body image start to change a bit, especially when my family would sometimes mention to me that it looked like I lost some weight. As I said before, my weight was always the main factor of my low self-esteem. I also noticed more personal confidence when I would learn new hoop tricks that I had been working really hard on. I learned a lot in the first few months of hooping and the growth in my confidence was reflecting off of that."

3. Would you say that you found something that gives you deeper meaning in your life?

"Ever since I started dating my fiance, my life was pretty fulfilled, I didn't think it could get any better. However, if he was gone I would get extremely bored and lonely, I almost felt lost when I didn't have him around me 24/7. He always told me he wished I had a hobby to occupy my time when he wasn't around so I didn't feel so alone. That void was finally filled when I discovered hoop dance. I had found something I could do while I was away from him that I was good at and I absolutely loved. In that respect, hooping really has given me a different meaning to my life. It's taught me that I can be an individual outside of my relationship and has given me a deep inner connection that I otherwise wouldn't have. I only discovered that connection within myself from hooping. It has really let me explore myself in a way I never thought possible, through love and creativity."

4. How did you view your body after hooping?

"As I have previously stated, my low self esteem and self image was all because of how I viewed my body. I always thought I was too heavy and wanted to lose weight, but couldn't stick with a workout routine long enough; I was always bored with working out and therefore I could never find the motivation. Once I found hooping I started viewing my body more positively and I can now look at myself and actually think I look good, as opposed to before, when I didn't even want to look at my body in a mirror."

Jenn hooping outside and enjoying the weather

5. Did you lose weight and begin finding and feeling toned muscles you never had before?

"I heard of something called the 30 day hoop challenge, which I'm sure almost every hooper has heard about, and whereas most hoopers were doing the challenge as a way to progress on their hooping skills, I was doing it to lose weight. I would waist hoop for 30 minutes a day for 30 days and it was an amazing way for me to lose a few pounds! After doing the 30 minutes a day on top of already practicing and playing around with my hoop for sometimes up to 2.5 hours a day, my body would really start to hurt! It was obviously a good thing, I was working out muscles that I probably never used otherwise and I'm just now beginning to notice a change in my legs and chest muscles - they're a lot stronger!"

6. Is there anything you want people that do not hoop to know about how hooping affects confidence and self-esteem?

"I strongly advocate hooping as a way for people to feel good about themselves. Whenever I hear someone doesn't like the way they look or is struggling with their weight I always tell them to start hooping! Even if they're not looking to hoop dance, waist hooping is a great way to get toned and lose weight too. I wish everyone in the world could experience the benefits that this little plastic circle brings with it. People who don't hoop don't realize the positivity that comes with hooping. It can give you your own beautiful identity if you are feeling lost, it can help you lose weight if you're unhappy with your body and need to build up your self-esteem, it can help you discover things about yourself that you were never aware of before, it can give you a new creative outlet even if you don't think you're a creative person - those are the wonderful benefits that comes with hooping that everyone who doesn't hoop should be able to experience."


Savi at the Hooping Life Screening event in PA

1. How would you describe your self-esteem and self-confidence before you started hooping?

"Before I started hooping I had no confidence. Don't get me wrong I was able to publicly speak and be the star of the show but I felt like I had no outer beauty. I seemed like I had things all together but if you really got into my head thing were not alright. I was very depressed, had no self esteem, and never viewed myself as beautiful. Growing up since I hit 11 I have been on and off suicidal. I had a lot of negative issues in my home life and from my childhood. Things "normal" kids didn't go through. Self mutilation went hand in hand with my depression, I couldn't tell you how many time I didn't want to be on this planet. It was strange though because it's something I kept inside. When I was with friends I always seemed to be alright but once alone I was never okay. This continued until I was 18 or so. I always wondered if it would ever stop. I tried so many things to change these thoughts. I've taken a couple trips to the psych ward, done therapy, taken medications, nothing seemed to really shake it. I'd also get terrible panic attacks, my thoughts would race, I never in life felt like I would amount to anything. I wasn't good at anything. I had no hobbies besides going to shows and attending festivals. But they aren't always around and can be expensive. Life never seemed to look up."

2. How would you describe your confidence within the first few months of hooping?

"I was given a hoop at a waterfest festival at the Slippery Rock Dunes. I had a bunch of hemp necklaces I spun up for trades. I love meeting new people. I met these campers from Johnstown, PA. This girl gave me this awesome glow in the dark hoop. I loved it. Before this we watched a bunch of different fire performers and the fire hoopers were breath taking. At the time there weren't a whole lot of hoopers in my area like there are now. I learned a couple tricks from this girl but she ended up leaving PA and moving to FL. So there went my hooping buddy. I didn't like how slow I progressed with my hoop. I brought it everywhere but mainly would play with it on my arms. That self esteem issue was getting the best of me. Which is the only thing I regret with hooping. I saw all these other girls and guys that were so amazing and I almost looked down on myself, I felt stupid in a sense. I could have gotten so much better but instead I became shy which is very unlike myself. I put my sacred circle down for a little while. Some other things were going on in my life at the time as well. I became homeless for a little while, sleeping in a football field every night. But as always things got better, I found a place to live and my boyfriend and I saved enough to get our own place. Once we moved in I really started picking my hoop up. I would watch YouTube tutorial all the time and hoop nonstop in my kitchen. I started landing those tricks that became impossible. Life was starting to look up and I began to feel so good about myself. For the second time in my life I was proud of myself."

3. Would you say that you found something that gives you deeper meaning in your life?

Photo Credit: Victor Gatto Photography

"Once my confidence rose I wouldn't be afraid to pick my hoop up at festivals. I wanted to learn new tricks and get advice. That feel good feeling when you land something you have been trying for awhile was my biggest confidence booster. One day I took my camera in the yard and recorded myself. When I watched it I cried. Normally I don't even take "selfies" unless someone else is in the picture because I am not fond of my outer looks. I sometimes snap a photo of myself if I have a day I think I look alright but I usually delete it because I don't like it. The video I recorded I watched probably ten times. I smiled the entire time and did not believe that's me. I looked so beautiful and graceful. I was in awe. I kept hooping, nothing could stop me now. My life felt like it had meaning for the first time ever. I stopped being so depressed, the self mutilation stopped, everything. I wave of relief and confidence washed over me. I started hooping in public no longer afraid what others thought. Somehow, someway my plastic circle saved me. I also started talking to the hoopers I envied and wouldn't be afraid to hoop with them. Hooping has become my life. It's my confidence booster."

4. How did you view your body after hooping?

"After hooping and watching myself I never thought I was so graceful. I always had 2 left feet and could never dance. But this dance we do is more beautiful than any dance I've ever seen. For the first time in my life I feel like I can do something and actually feel sensual. I began to like myself and my body. It became a temple of power. I feel like it's helped my three year relationship with my boyfriend immensely. I quit being so shy, I broke out of my inner shell. I've had more credence in my body than ever."

5. Did you lose weight and begin finding and feeling toned muscles you never had before?

"I have always had an average body size. But hooping has improved my strength immensely. I've became more tone. Also my ankles buckle so much less. What hooping has really helped more than body image is my balance. I am a klutz by nature. I've never been able to walk across a fallen log over open water, I usually sit and slide across it inch by inch. Ever since I have started hooping I can walk across logs no problem. Hopping across creeks by stone has become so much easier as well as hiking hard terrain trails. I fall so much less and I catch myself much easier. My hand and eye coordination has improved ten fold."

6. Is there anything you want people that do not hoop to know about how hooping affects confidence and self-esteem?

"If you do not hoop that is more than a better reason to start. Even if you feel like you can't or it's not your thing, you should give it a try. Before hooping I never thought like i'd find something in life I can excel at. It's the best feel good thing you can do alone. And the best part is you can make up your own style. You don't have to just land tricks you can just flow. It's almost like dancing your emotions out. Even when I am mad I will sit there and do breaks and stalls as hard and fast as I can until I am tired and no longer mad. Don't let anyone's level of hooping discourage you. Rome wasn't built in a day and like anything it takes time, patience, and practice. Nothing makes me happier than seeing beginner hoopers because I know how good it feels as you improve. Don't ever give up, no matter what your feelings tell you. Hooping can change your life and the way you feel about yourself. It's a great way to get involved in the community and make new friends. Spread the love, you'll find it contagious."

What did we learn?

As you have read, everyone has a totally different story of how hooping has improved their lives. There are many aspects, layers and levels of self-confidence. Some people struggle with their body image. Some people struggle with social anxiety. Some people are okay with the way their body looks, but struggle to feel their existence really matters in the world. Even if the issues are stemming from mental illness or depression, hooping helps with that also. Everyone's struggles are unique and need a little help from their hoops. I hope I speak for all hoopers when I say that we have so much to be grateful for in our hooping journeys. Take time to thank that plastic circle for your happiness and health!