My Body Image Story & The 80/20 Rule

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my body image story.

I assume I’m not alone when admitting my relationship with diets and fitness has been somewhat bumpy. I’ve wanted to share my story several times with you guys but I just haven’t seemed to find the right words or time. It’s so personal to me but I made a promise to open up more on here, and I am sticking by it. If this story reaches even one of you, that would make it all worth it.

For as long as I can remember, my weight has always affected me. To be honest, I don’t even remember a time where I have actually been okay with the way I look. It stems before even my teenage years. I guess it all really started when I was 11 years old. My group of “friends” at the time used to play these little games. They’d make me stand next to people and see who was bigger… or as they said, fatter. I used to laugh it off because I didn’t really know how to react (seriously though, how are you even supposed to react in that situation?) Those games played in my mind and had me crying to sleep for years. They changed my personality. I became more quiet and tried my hardest to just blend into the crowd. I didn’t want to be seen or heard anymore, and not just at school.

By the time I was ready to enter high school, my weight already played a big factor in my mental health. I struggled to make friends and was completely paranoid about people talking about my appearance.

The funny thing is, looking back, I wouldn’t say I was really overweight. I was honestly probably the same size as the girls making fun of me.

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When I was around 16-17, like most teenagers, I became even more self-conscious about how I looked. I became obsessed with calorie counting and basically deprived myself of food to the point where I would pass out. I probably lost around 10 kilos but the scale completely controlled how I felt about myself. My weight loss efforts didn’t last too long though because as soon as I turned 18, hello alcohol and 4am McDonalds.

So you could say my weight sky rocketed, as did my anxiety, and I became incredibly depressed. I didn’t want to leave the house, the thought of going to school made me physically sick and I was angry all the time. I was angry at anyone who tried to get close to me and most of all, at myself.

What’s worse is that I was in a terrible cycle with food. I would eat to feel better and then hate myself for it, or try to eat as little as possible during the day and only end up bingeing at night. The more it went on, the harder it was to snap out of it.

Of course, there were other factors that played into this like high school, toxic friends, relationships, and so on, but at the root of it all was my self-esteem. I used to think if I was skinny and lost a tonne of weight, it would fix everything. There was nothing I wanted more in life, and the fact I didn’t have enough self-control or discipline to achieve it made me feel pathetic.

The fact that high school finished wasn’t a cure-all, but I did feel a sense of relief. My weight still very much affected me all throughout the next few years at University. My eating habits became worse with going out and everything was just sort of spiraling down.

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I graduated University in 2014 and in the years after my weight fluctuated A LOT. I would lose 10kg then put it on 5 kg, lose 5 kg, then put back on 10 kg. Once I got into blogging and freelancing, a lot of my work was done from home which really did not help at all.

It wasn’t until this year, that I finally had enough and took control of my weight.

I started going to the gym, I started focusing on healthy foods (I count macros over calories – more on this in another post if you guys want to know about macros for weight loss?) and strangely enough, I’ve found a passion for nutrition in all of this.

I used to eat so much crap that I didn’t even realise how much certain foods affect your mood. Healthy foods equate to a healthy mindset. When you start to limit processed foods and choose wholesome ingredients – more veggies, fruits, proteins – it’s nourishing your body. I honestly used to wonder why I was so tired all the damn time. I had no motivation or energy because I wasn’t eating foods that were giving me energy, and I wasn’t moving enough to release any endorphin’s. When you fuel your body right, you’re also giving fuel to your mind.

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the 80/20 rule.

Don’t get me wrong, I still definitely have my days where I’m not on track. Where all I do is laze around, eat pizza and binge watch on netflix or eat cake for breakfast. But I also love working out in the mornings, and eating oatmeal, smoothies, & salads. Avocado, eggs, frozen yogurt and peanut butter is my life sometimes, and I’m more than okay with that. It’s called balance. I follow the 80/20 rule which means 80% of the time I eat clean, and 20% of the time I let myself indulge. Usually I’ll eat well during the week and let go a bit on the weekends. I’m happy if I can get in 4-5 workouts a week, but I’m trying to make an effort to workout at least once a day. You never regret a workout.

Think of it like a green smoothie in one hand, and champagne in the other.

You don’t have to give up the foods you love in order to be healthy. I’ve eaten chocolate nearly everyday and managed to lose weight. It’s all about moderation. Eat better, move more.

The one thing I had to change before starting anything was my mindset. When I go to workout, I don’t think it’s to “lose weight,” I do it so I can feel good about myself. It’s the one hour a day I have to focus on bettering myself. As corny and cliché as it sounds, you’ve got to work at it from the inside out.

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If you feel like you could relate to this post in some way, or you’re in a similar situation, it will get better. You have the power to make any changes to your life, your body & your mindset. You can choose to be positive or negative. It’s all up to you.

So how do you start?

Sweat it out. Seriously, go for a run, to the gym, for a swim (so good for stress levels), or ANYTHING that makes you sweat. Don’t be afraid of the struggle. Do it because you want to feel good about yourself, and the results will come. Like anything, it just takes time and persistence. Every workout and healthy choice brings you one step closer to your goal.

Keep a food diary. Keeping track of what you eat is a great habit to get into and I do not at all think it’s obsessive. It holds you accountable for what you eat. There are so many snacks that people forget they’ve had throughout the day!

Eat healthy + be mindful. When I’ve been eating healthy, I always feel so much better. I have more energy, more motivation & it’s not dull like most people believe. How do you feel when you know you’re nourishing your body? How do you feel after a workout? Eating healthy doesn’t mean limiting your portion sizes, it just means making sure what you’re eating is nutritious and filling. You don’t have to cut out rice, pasta and bread, just make sure they’re brown/wholemeal.

It’s the little things. Little things go a long way when it comes to keeping healthy and fit. Swap white for brown. Cook things from scratch so you know all the ingredients. Dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Sparkling water over soda. Skim/non-dairy milk over whole milk. Don’t underestimate how much of a difference these small changes can make.

Indulge + enjoy. Indulging in foods you love is completely okay. If I had to give up eating & drinking out on the weekends, my life would feel very dull. It’s one of the things I love most. Life is meant for living. So you had pringles yesterday? That’s cool, ENJOY them & sweat it out today. The most important thing I’ve learned is that if you deprive yourself of too many cravings, you will just end up bingeing. Cheat days are good for the soul.

My relationship with food & fitness is in a much better place than its ever been – I love them both just as much, but I still have my days where I’m not happy with myself. I think we all do. We’re human, after all. This is a process, and I have a long way to go to love my body, but I know I’ll get there one day. And you will too.

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I would love to know if you guys have been through/are going through something similar? How did you recover? Does fitness & healthy eating play a role in your life or is it something you struggle with?
As always, thank you SO much for reading and following along. It really does mean the world to me.

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  • The first part of the story made me so angry; I can’t stand school bullies and bickering because it can have such an impact on your mindset for years beyond school :( I’m so glad you’ve finally found happiness within your body, thankyou for sharing!

    Esmé // CloudEsmé

    • I totally agree with you! Kids can be so cruel & everything has such a huge impact at that age. I’m getting there – thank you SO much for your comment esmé!! Xx

  • This is a lovely post to read. I have a real problem with my weight, I think when you’re young you feel pressured to look a certain way. I only stopped caring about it once I got pregnant because every pound gained meant my baby’s growing healthy & strong. But I have a feeling I’m going to go back to my old ways once he’s born because I have put on quite a lot of weight and I don’t want to feel negative about my body after giving birth to a child so I’m really going to use the advice in this post. Very determined to start living a healthier lifestyle but also to not deprive myself of things and to start feeling better about myself! x

    Gemma Louise

    • Well first off, congrats on the pregnancy!! How amazing!!! I think it’s important to nourish your body as a new mother but equally important to treat yourself – its a balancing act. I believe you can get there, just start with small steps :) thanks so much for your comment Gemma! Xx

  • Sharni Hastings

    Thank you so much for this post and for sharing such a personal story!

    My relationship with food and my body is legit so similar to yours, except I’m still in the University weight gain area. I completely agree with the 80/20 lifestyle, and I hope I can incorporate some of your tips into my life so that I can become a healthier (and happier) version of myself.

    P.s. I’m actually obsessed with your hair!

    Sharni X

    http://www.sharnleeee.wordpress.com

    • Aw thank you so much Sharni! Ahh it is SO hard to keep a balance in university, but I believe in you!! Start small :) using exercise to release stress can be great & meal prepping helped a LOT (with being healthy & money!) – good luck lovely! Xx

  • I love this post. I’ve been struggling to lose some extra weight I’ve gained for over a year. Your obsessive tendencies are just like mine! And this week has been particularly rough in the lacking-confidence department. I’ve tried repeatedly to quit sugar and carbs, only to jump back into them 5 or 6 days later. I’m starting to realize that moderation is essential for me. Your post made me feel so much better! Thank you so much for sharing. And, yes, I would LOVE to learn more about counting your macros for weight loss!

    • Thank you so much Brooke!! Oh I totally feel you. I’ve had those weeks/months before – I’d do so well for 5 days and then completely crash. Fun fact: Did you know sugar = carbs? They’re not two seperate things, once your body breaks them down it recognises them as the same thing (glucose)! You should check out iifym.com for macros (SO GOOD for flexible dieting) but yes I have a post coming up on macros!! :) xx

      • Yes! I have recently explored sugar/carbs and how they break down in the body, and I was shocked! I was like, no wonder Cheez-its make me feel just as happy as cookies do….lol thank you for the link! I’ll check it out and check back for your macros post!

  • such a great post. i was never ever happy with my body and i’m not today. being so strict and hateful with myself made my relationship with food really tough and it was only until a few months back when i decided enough is enough. life is too short to be hateful with my body so i worked on my eating habits and i’m working out a lot and i can already feel changes and its so good.

    loovelle.blogspot.com

    • Aww I’m so happy for you Elena!! That is amazing. Just remember we all still have low days – it’s just apart of life! I’m so glad working out has had a great impact on you. Keep at it everyday and you’ll see results in no time :) xx

  • I try to live by the 80/20 rule too, but lately, it hasn’t been working out too well. I go on streaks where I work out like crazy, but my diet is always an issue. Now that summer is over, it’s time to really embrace my health and exercise! Thanks for the tips!

    • I’m the same! My diet has always been the problem (I have the biggest sweet tooth)! Winter is a great time to get back into it. Have you tried meal prepping? It helped me a lot. Also always having healthy snacks in my bag (almonds, fruit, raw veggies), never shopping on an empty stomach, peppermint tea, & drinking water (seriously makes such a difference). Good luck lovely!! xx

      • Thanks! Great advice! Need to stock up on the veggies!

  • Franca

    Honestly I loved this post! I was so stressed the last half term of school I couldn’t find time to work out. (I am 17) Always told myself that I would get back on track during summer holidays. Well they are nearly over and honesty I had to work 4 (eight hours/six days a week) out of 6 weeks and was so exhausted. So here I am: lost most of my muscles and my flexibility (which was good). School starts again in two weeks and the stress will be back. If you had only shown me these pics I would have asked how does she look so stunningly? How does she do that? She runs an amazing blog and other super cool stuff I adore and it looks EASYLY. And then the worst one: how does she manage all that while I am only doing ok at my peak? Well, you never know a persons struggle and what they go through. With social media we only see the finished/best version of everything. And that is why I love your post because it takes so much courage to admit that you were struggling for a long time plus it gives me hope that I don’t have to be a superhuman. Time management is important but it is ok if I don’t have time for everything. And in case you read over it: you look drop dead gorgeous! (Btw the tips are awesome as well)

    • Ohh thank you so so much Franca!! School makes keeping a balance very hard, but I believe in you :) It has definitely been a struggle for me to keep up with everything, there are a lot of sacrifices I’ve had to make. It’s so true though, social media is only someones highlight reel, not a real BTS of their life. Your comment & support means so much to me, THANK YOU! xx

  • Laura Mareno

    Feel so related to this post!! And can’t agree with you more!! I had never been comfortable with my body and with myself, until I discovered the fitness world and started to workout and caring more about what I was eating! It really changes your life!! Thanks for sharing your story!! kisses:D

    http://laurasavenue.blogspot.com.es/

    • Aw that is AMAZING Laura & thank you so much!! I’m so happy you discovered the fitness world too! :) xx

  • I’m so glad to see someone promoting a balanced and everything-in-moderation lifestyle. Life is way too short to deprive yourself! x

    Little Darling Life

    • Thank you Carissa!! Love your comment. It’s so true, why deprive ourselves of what we love when we can have it all in moderation? :) xx

  • Kitti

    The only thing I can say to you is thank you. You’re a beautiful person inside and outside!

    • Aww Kitti thank you so much – that is so sweet of you to say xx

  • You’re a beautiful human being, it’s so hard to go through times like this, it happened to me and I know that it still happens to a lot of girls. I’m glad that you got through it :)

    | http://www.noirettediary.com |

    • Thank you so much! You are so kind!!! It’s awful isn’t it? So crazy how something small can have the greatest impact on your life. I hope you’ve managed to overcome it too :) xx

  • I never had a horrible relationship with food & my body (thank the lord) but I completely agree with your tips & decision to count macros over calories. I’ve been working out for over a year now & found lifting weights 3-4 days, doing cardio (boxing on Tuesdays) 1-2 days a week & recording my food in order to watch my macros has really helped my progress & also really helped with just about everything when it comes to ‘that time of the month’. It’s truly amazing what a healthy lifestyle can achieve.

    P.S: What’s great about macros is I can usually fit a treat in every single day (one serving of whatever I feel like from icecream to cookies to cake, you name it) & have still lost weight. I recommend counting macros to anyone and everyone…

    • So happy for you, Taylor!! That’s amazing. Lifting weights is a game changer, it’s sad that so many women avoid them because they think they’ll get “big.” I’m all for macros > calories!! Macros have been amazing for me and allow so much more flexibility. Totally agree with everything you’ve said :) xx

  • Been obsessed with your blog all day, started on the travel side, soon that will be my life. But I did want to say, well done for changing the way you live and feel about yourself! I had a very similar, not as bad as yours but I always used to have a struggle loosing weight, then discovered healthy living isn’t a diet, Im not hard on myself but always good to know that you will feel good and not starved if you live the healthy life. I dont carry a diary but my little tip is don’t go for seconds, eat slowly and enjoy your food. I don’t eat when watching the TV as I find myself before I know it the food is done and im still hungry. I also believe you don’t need to be a cover girl, shoulders back and live a balanced life with the regular ice cream :) thanks for sharing your story :)

    • Aww welcome!! So happy to have you as a new reader, Natasha! I LOVE those tips!! “Live a balanced lifestyle with the regular ice cream” – my fave (I could neverrrr cut out ice cream haha)! Thanks so much for sharing lovely! :) xx

  • Kate

    I loved this post! I also keep a food diary and find it keeps me accountable and on track. Kate :) xxx
    http://www.frombritaintobrisbane.com

    • Thank you so much Kate!! Food diaries are a life saver!! xx

  • Mackenzie Lightwood

    Your exactly like me! Some weeks I am 100% in the gym 6 days + and others Im lucky if I make it once a week! Eating has also always been a weird struggle – I loose weight far too quickly and so I’m trying to gain weight and its actually so hard to eat heaps! But with the excuse to eat a bundle – it has to be all good right? The 80/20 rule and a food dairy seems so necessary really. Anything to keep us sane, eh?! Thanks for the great post :) xx http://www.mackenziealayne.com/

    • Oh yes, it’s just so hard sometimes! The 80/20 rule is a great food mentality to have, even if you’re not trying to lose weight! :) Haha & definitely to keep us sane!! Thanks so much for reading & sharing Mackenzie :) !! xx

  • Zara

    I can completely relate to your situation and history with food and image. I have always struggled with being too image conscious and at times have deprived myself of food over long periods of time. However, I have recently worked very hard to adjust my viewpoint and begin on the road to loving my body. I now work out at least 3 times a week purely because I love it and it makes me feel good. I also enjoy eating healthily and genuinely believe that balance is the way forward rather than dieting and being stupid when it comes to obsessively restricting food. Hurrah to us for overcoming our issues. Thanks for sharing your story xx