As a disclaimer I just want to write that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, and I am in no way a professional anything. What I have written is from my own experience, with my own body and my own feelings so if these small changes work for someone else then great, but cannot tell you right from wrong with your own body.
Like many people I know, for the longest time I have struggled with body image issues and self confidence issues that have had quite a big impact on my life. A few people will be like "pfft no, you're so confident" but unfortunately no, I do pretend to be confident a lot, but inside I am a very self conscious and uncomfortable-in-my-own-body person.
In, around August last year (the first photo above) I was really struggling with how I looked, I was so bloody unhappy when I looked in the mirror, I just thought I looked absolutely disgusting. Which I mean looking back now I was never overweight or anything like that- I was jut unfit, unhappy and depressed. Because it was a pretty shit time for me I was eating unhealthy, I was not working out, I was in a really unhealthy mindset which was affecting my health and how my body looked and how I felt about it. I was lazy not just in my fitness but in my eating, because I was so unmotivated I just couldn't be bothered cooking healthy, so take out was eaten way too much.
So, yeah in August I had a little turning point where I was like "nope, do you know what Elyssa. You can sit on your arse all day feeling like shit about yourself, or you can get up and change it." So I did.
At first, I went way too hard, too fast in terms of exercise. I was over doing it, and I was seeing very little results because I was overdoing it. I would force myself to work out every day, sometimes twice a day and my biggest fault was that I was working my legs, or incorporating legs into every workout. I did start change my diet at this point but it wasn't in a good way. I began restricting my food intake which is, as I now know not a good thing to do. I would count my calories and weigh a lot of my food, and usually restrict myself to around 900 calories a day. If you google it the average person needs around 1500 calories a day to lose weight. I was basically starving myself but I didn't see that because I was still eating and I thought (with very little knowledge that this was the way to go). So, I wasn't enough to give my body the energy it needed to do the amount of exercise I was doing.
ANDDDD it happend, I burnt myself out completely. I was seeing no results, I was unmotivated, I was fucking hungry and my confidence was just on the floor. I got to a point where I didn't want to dress nicely when I was going out because you know my legs were on show, or maybe someone would see that my stomach isn't perfect toned. It was really hard to have been in what was a lot of effort and have nothing to show for it, because I was pretty much looking exactly the same.
My biggest problem with my body has always been my legs, especially when I was in school- not having a thigh gap felt like the worst thing in the world and your legs were shit if you didn't have one. Other than my legs my other problem area was my stomach, no matter how many ab crunches and sit ups I did, I just always felt like my stomach was disgusting and too big. I would get a little bit of confidence from looking side on in the mirror where it seemed to look okay and a little bit flat, but then looking down from my perspective it just didn't look appealing at all
After around two months of the over working myself and a even more deflated confidence I decided to pick myself up and find another way togo, because obviously the methods that I was using weren't working. So, I decided to educate myself, not so much on how to loose weight, but more on how to feel better in myself through exercise and through eating right.
I started with the diet side of my issue. I researched different foods, and I looked different methods of deciding what I was going to eat. At first it was a real challenge to convince that I needed to eat more food, in my mind I was saying "no you need to eat less to loose weight". After a while I kinda got it drilled into my head that, I need to eat more, just of the right foods. I needed to incorporate a balance into my lifestyle, one where I wasn't restricting myself but I was giving my body all the fuel that it needed to keep working properly. I started eating more whole foods, and eating intuitively and thinking about what I was putting into my body and how it was going to affect it. I'm not a big chocolate and sweets kind of person so it wasn't hard to cut that one back but my biggest thing to cut back one was soda and bread. I really struggled for while, like was I supposed to have for breakfast without my toast, but eventually I did learn to love porridge and smoothies and even taught myself to eat eggs after claiming for my whole life that I hated them.
I took an intolerant test that I found online, it had good reviews (I checked don't worry) it not only told which foods I was intolerant too, but it also told me what I was deficient in. So it told me that I was most intolerant to things like bananas, tea (no more spilling tea for me), cooked tomatoes, rice and agent 341 which is found in bakery products mainly. I still have sausage roll every now and again on my way to the city because you can't just pass Bindoon Bakery and not stop for a sausage roll. As for deficiencies it told me I had three- lecithin, which can be found in eggs (no surprises there) and whole grains. The other was vitamin A, found in leafy greens and other vegetables; and vitamin B12 which is how you maintain your energy levels (another not so surprising thing here). Also vitamin b12 deficiency has a few symptoms and one of them is that your very pale and as we all know without fake tan I could pass as Casper the Ghost. So yeah, that intolerance test really gave me more of an idea of where I was at with my food, and the foods that I should have more of and what I should avoid.
With food, I think that a balance diet is so important. I think that if most of the time you're living on these whole foods that are so good for you, than a little treat every now and again is fine and nothing to feel guilty over. I also don't count my calories or macros anymore, just because I don't feel like it is important for me personally anymore. So I just eat what I know is good for me and my body can use to help me feel good.
With my exercise I talked too a trainer because I knew I was over doing it and I just wanted some guidance. I stripped it right back, seven days a week is just not practical for anyone, you need rest, and thats when your body builds the muscles during the rest period. So I threw out everything that I thought I knew and started from scratch. My goal was, and still is to be stronger, not only physically but mentally as well. I was doing the same thing day in day out in terms of exercise and I had to stop that because I was seeing no progress. I was doing a lot of cardio and I found that my body doesn't respond well to cardio, so I cut it back. I do cardio now in the form of HIIT and usually I'll do this for like twenty minutes when I first start a workout just to get sweaty and get my heart rate up. I have started following a workout guide, the home one because I don't like to leave the house, and that guide is Body by Madalin Giorgetta (thats a link by the way) and I LOVE it. Its three weights workouts- upper, lower and fully body plus some extras thrown in. So I do those workouts three days a week, and other three days I do what I feel like doing, most days I'll add in some pilates because I am really trying to build up my core strength, but I'll do what my body feels like it wants to do.
My body has really responded to the way that I am living life at the moment. Above is a photo from august 2017 compared to a photo that is from last week. I am so much more confident in how I look now compared to how I looked then. And I feel better in myself and I have more energy and I just feel healthier than I have for a while (and not hungry). As I said before this has been my experience and how I've come to be more confident in my own body.