Health isn’t about how you look, it’s about how you FEEL.

I used to have a very toxic relationship with my body, with food and with exercise. Although it has taken hindsight for me to realise this, I once had zero respect for my body and didn’t treat it with love. I’d flog myself in the gym, restrict my eating, count calories, weigh myself not just every day, but after every meal and I used to hurl abuse at the person standing before me in the mirror. I used to take selfies in the mirror to watch my ab progression and make sure my ribs and hipbones started protruding a little more each day. I’d starve myself for days leading up to an ‘important event’ to make sure I was ‘skinny enough for it. I didn’t realise at the time how unhealthy it was and the damage I was doing. In fact I thought I was killing it! I was fit. I was skinny. I had abs and quads. Biceps and hard rounded glutes. I was healthy. I was disciplined. I was in control.

I was under the illusion I was healthy af. Even despite my sister coming to me from a place of love and telling me I needed to calm my farm, I thought she was cray cray. I thought she was delusional and possibly even envious that I had such discipline. Pfft! How self-righteous of me!!! But now, now I can see that she was right. I was the delusional one. It was excessive. I was excessive. I would exercise every single day, mostly twice a day, and sometimes 3 times a day. I used a calorie-counting app to track every single morsal of food that entered my mouth, down to each individual almond. It wasn’t a successful day unless I out-exercised the calories I put in. On days when I knew I’d only be able to exercise once, the only thing I would consume was a small can of tuna. Other times I even tried to be in calorie deficit (burn off more calories than I consumed.) When I discovered that, it quickly became a dangerous obsession. It was a new challenge. How does any of this sound healthy?

No part of me was listening to how my body felt. It was all about how I looked. Exercising and feeding my body wasn’t coming from a place of love but a place of fear. A fear of ‘getting fat’, a fear of putting on weight. A fear of being ugly. A fear of loosing muscle definition. A fear of being unattractive and unworthy of love. I exercised because I hated how my body looked, not because I loved the way exercise made my body feel.

I was never formally ‘diagnosed’ with an eating disorder or body dismorphia but now it’s blaringly obvious that’s exactly what it was. My earliest memory of what I now know are signs of disordered eating is age 10. 10! I was in year 6! I remember going to school with no packed lunch. Intentionally. With a busy shift-working Mum, I was expected to make my own lunch at that age, which worked perfectly for me because I could get away with not eating. I thought I was fat (at age 10! Wtf!). So not eating meant I had control over my weight. After school I would binge, out of pure starvation. This continued (and probably worsened) throughout high school. But by then it was noticed by my friends and my mum, who tried to intervene and threatened to take me to a physiologist on many occasions.

That was obviously the beginning of some unhealthy habits but the issues really peaked when I was in my early twenties. Low self-esteem was already raging and then I got into the bikini-modelling world, which I’m sure you can imagine really didn’t help my lack of self-worth and only exaggerated my ‘need’ to be ‘skinny’. I look back at photos from those days and remember exactly what I was thinking in those moments. I genuinely thought I was fat! I remember going to competitions, having not eaten all day (but still somehow having completed two hours of intense exercise), a tiny-framed 47kg girl and thinking I was huge next to the rest of the babes there. I wasn’t though. I was the furtherest thing from fat. Photo evidence and hindsight has made me realise that I was tiny! I looked fit and healthy because I had abs and defined muscles but I was verging on too skinny. What was going on in my head was the epitome of self-loathing, disrespect for my body and a completely dismorphed view of myself. I may not have appeared it, but I was unhealthy af. Every workout was fuelled by self-hatred and every meal (or lack there of) was eaten with underlying guilt. Nothing about how I approached my health and fitness was healthy! (Yes, this was about the time my sister had words).

A few years later, I went through a stage of binge-eating, purging then overeating again. It was fuelled by depression. I was living in a small apartment with a not-so-social housemate. I was lonely, I’d had my heart stomped all over by someone I trusted and things just spiraled. I still exercised, but not as much. And when I did, I felt so self-conscious and uncomfortable in my body that I didn’t like being at the gym. I knew so many people there that I was embarrassed to show face. I would lock myself away from the world and I would secretly overeat – searching for happiness through food. At this time I was the unhappiest, the unhealthiest and as a result the heaviest I have ever been. It took an eye-opening conversation with my Mum to realise I was depressed and needed to get help.

Like Oprah, my weight yo-yoed for years. (Just trying to connect myself to Oprah ya know?) I did so much damage to my metabolism that my body didn’t know what was going on. It had gone through starvation and then overeating, to starvation again. Throughout my adult years I have been as light as 46kg and as heavy as 63kg. None of these weights or any numbers in between were ever healthy. Because throughout all those years, my relationship with myself, with food and with exercise was toxic. It was based on hatred not love.

Fast forward almost a decade from those undereating, over-exercising, calorie-counting, gym junkie days, and here I am, the happiest in my body that I have ever been! But more than anything, my mind is the healthiest it’s ever been. My whole philosophy around food and exercise has transformed. I approach my health from a place of love and respect. So much so that I only want to do what’s best for it. I listen to my body. How it feels, when it needs fuel and when it desires movement. I don’t have a regimented fitness routine like I once did or plan my meals out down to the minute. I eat when I am hungry and exercise when I feel like it. I fuel my body with nutrients and nourishing foods. But I treat myself too. I don’t bust my ass in the gym daily. Gone are the days when I would approach training with the objective to look good. I no longer focus solely on aesthetics and how I looked in bikini. Now I exercise to feel good. To feel fit and healthy.

Weirdly, once I stopped acting from a place of fear (of getting fat) and started acting out of love for my health, my body seemed to find its own happy weight. Sounds strange I know. But when I used to slog myself at the gym and feel guilty about the food I was eating (especially if it wasn’t a salad), I was never happy. My body wasn’t happy. There was always something to improve or weight I couldn’t shift. But now, I’m pretty fucking happy with how I look. My body has healed itself from all the metabolic damage and within the last few months I’ve unintentially lost weight and dropped a size without even trying. (And I’m stoked about it!) I didn’t put a plan in place or start weighing my food or even weighing myself. It just happened when I shifted my focus from aesthetics to how my body feels inside. I guess there really is something to this whole ‘listening to your body’ thing.

Of course I’m not completely healed from my low self esteem, disordered eating, body-dismorphia years. Fear still rears it’s ugly head every now and then. But I tell you what, I’m pretty fucking happy to be in the place I’m at now. My relationship with food, fitness and my body has completely flipped. I may not look the fittest or strongest I’ve ever looked but mentally I’m the healthiest me I’ve even been. I’m comfortable in my skin. I eat to fuel my body now. I even eat chocolate and ice cream and other ‘no-go’ foods sometimes. If that’s what I feel like, then I have it. (I seem to do better without self-inflicted restrictions). I probably only go to the gym 1-2 times a week but still move my body most days. I don’t even own a set of scales and couldn’t even tell you the last time I weighed myself. Numbers shnumbers! When I’m hungry, I eat. When I want to exercise, I move. I understand the importance of looking after my body from the inside out. It’s the place where my soul resides so I have to and I WANT to look after it!

Health is not a number on the scales, a particular shape or a specific size. Health is all about how you feel. From within. Not how you look. Remember that.

Love Eloise x

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When you want a hot bod but you also love food

My number one dilemma in life is this – What do I want most…a bangn’ beach babe bod or to devour all the delicious foods?

I love food! All the foods! Sometimes I really wish I didn’t love food. Any of the foods! Because well, what I would reeeeeally love is cheese-grater abs and the type of defined legs that don’t wobble when I walk.

Raw balls or buff biceps? Burrito bowls or a bountiful booty? Hot chips or hot rig?

Life’s tough decisions.

Going out for brunch and trying new cafes around Perth is probably one of my favourite past times. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a piled-high avocado bruschetta or a decadent warm chocolate brownie?! My camera roll is a smorgasbord of screenshots of food to try and places to eat. Yet, there are just as many snaps of bikini babes and #fitspo motivation.

It’s like my brain is constantly fighting between ‘treat yo self’ and ‘eat for sustenance.’ I want to be able to eat all the yums, but I want a ripped rig just as much!  You see the struggle?

Taking your tastebuds to pleasure town is all well and good (in moderation), until the kilos start creeping on and your jeans don’t zip up anymore. And if that still doesn’t drive the point home there’s always that moment when you stand in the Myer fitting rooms and see your cellulite from every possible unflattering angle. Every last, wobbly inch of it!

For me, it was the Target change rooms (those bloody mirrors don’t lie) and the realisation that my bali holiday was no longer months away, but just a matter of weeks. Maybe those sneaky kgs were easily hidden in the cold winter months under layers of clothes, but now the sun is (occasionally) making an appearance again, shit’s gettn’ real yo. And did I mention I go to Bali in less than 2 weeks?!

If like me, you struggle to say no to temptation as much as you should or you are also stressing that bikini season is fast approaching, well it’s time to get your shit together! Food should be fuel for your bodies not just for sensory satisfaction. Before reaching for that treat, ask yourself, is this going to nourish my body and fuel me throughout the day? Is it going to help me achieve my desired body? Are my goals really worth sacrificing for that piece of cake? Will I regret it later? Is a fleeting moment of tastebud satisfaction more important than feeling happy, confident and sexy every single day?

Look, I get that it easy to say ‘no’ in theory (especially for me right now, as I sit here writing, love handles and stomach rolls buldging as a reminder of all the calories consumed the past few months). It’s easy to say, ‘I’m not giving in to temptation anymore!’ but when you come face-to-face with a cabinet of raw treats will you still have that focus? Or will the internal monologue start all over again as you debate with yourself whether to eat the cake or not.

I’ll tell you what works for me in these moments, other than knowing I’ll be in sunny Bali exposing all my limbs in under two weeks. It’s this.. DON’T GIVE UP WHAT YOU WANT MOST FOR WHAT YOU WANT NOW!

And so from here forward I’m going to go all Charles Boyle (hello Brooklyn Nine-nine fans) and only eat for sustenance now! Or at least try.

Love Elo xx

Would You Juice?

Juice cleanses are like, so hot right now! You just have to jump on Instagram to see thousands of photos tagged with #juicecleanse to know that.

Some people love the idea of juicing, others hate it. Some people think it is a great way to reset and detox the body, others believe only consuming liquid for 2, 3 or 5 days must be unhealthy. Valid points. I mean, each to their own. Prior to the weekend, my opinion was pretty neutral on it. I’d never done one before so how was I to make an educated judgement? However, after completing my 2-day cleanse experience, I am now totally an advocate!

There are a bunch of different reasons why people decide to do a juice cleanse – for just a bit of a kickstart, a light detox or a more intense cleanse. Me, I did it for a bit of a reset. To get my body feeling fresh and most importantly, get my head in the right gear. I had been struggling with my food choices lately. Eating too much and not always making the healthiest decisions. I needed a bit of a kickstart – a reboot of my body but mostly my mind. I wanted to get back into a healthy mindset when it came to diet and making good food choices. A mental cleanse if you may.

Before I got stuck into my 2-day cleanse I did a bit of research. With so many brands and cold-pressed juice companies around now, I wanted to make sure I choose the right one. Made Juice was recommended to me by a friend and also happened to be the best value for money. Winning! Not to mention, the options they had available to suit all types of cleansers, was a huge draw card. It meant I could choose the cleanse that best suited me. I opted for the ‘made for health’ 2-day cleanse, but next time (yes, I said next time) I think I’ll try the next step up and get the ‘made for recharging’ pack.

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So what were my thoughts on the cleanse? I loved it. More than I expected to actually. The juices were filling and super delicious. Admittedly, I did have a bit of a headache on day 2 but otherwise I felt surprisingly energised. Post cleanse I feel incredible. Refreshed, reset and energised. Since finishing I have been less hungry and I all I want to put in my body is health and nourishment. Goal achieved!

Were the juices tasty? Were they ever! My favourite was the ‘fruit’ and the ‘root’ juice. And as far as cold-pressed green juices go, the Made Juice one is the nicest I have ever tasted.

Did I feel hungry? Truthfully, no. Any time I felt any kind of hunger pangs I knew it was time to have my next juice, which would keep me full for a good 2 or 3 hours. At the sight or smell of food, sometimes I thought I was hungry, but in reality I was just envious of something I couldn’t have. Take a toy away from a child, the child will only want it more.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! Next time bigger and better! I don’t think I could ever commit to a 5-dayer though.

Thinking of doing a juice cleanse? Here are my tips to get you through:

1. Think ahead and plan your cleansing days wisely. Perhaps do it on your days off or on a day you know you won’t be surrounded by temptations… Preferably not on a day that coincides with a social event or anything involving food. Seriously, don’t torture yourself.

2. Give your partner/friends/colleagues/housemates a bit of a heads up about your cleanse. You might get moody and you might get HANGRY so it’s in everyone’s best interest to be forewarned.

3. Don’t be around food. Seriously, if you can avoid being around food, avoid it. Seeing food, seeing other people eating food, smelling food isn’t fun when you know you can’t have it. It’s the old ‘we always want what we can’t have’ thing.

4. Distract yourself. Keep yourself busy. Read a book or watch some movies in bed (or in my case, multiple episodes of the OC). You’ll find being preoccupied will stop you from counting down the hours until you can eat again.

5. Get a buddy on board. Anything difficult is always made easier when you have someone by your side. Even just for accountability. I have to admit, at times I wished my boyfriend was juice cleansing as well so we could at least suffer (I mean, enjoy it) together.

6. Stock up on toilet paper. When you are literally only consuming liquid for 48 hours you need to pee A L O T! Part of the juice cleanse process is the elimination of toxins from your body – that means your kidneys will be working in overdrive and yep, you will need to wee pretty much every half an hour.

7. Master your mind. It really is a mind over matter thing, the ole’ juice cleanse. Half the time when you think your hungry for food, it’s not the case. The juices are quite filling and to be honest there weren’t that many times I felt famished. But when a certain time of day comes round in which you are usually eating lunch or dinner your mind can start to trick you into thinking you are hungry when you are not. So keep a strong mental focus and you’ll be fine.

8. Drink plenty of water. Drinking lots of H2o between your juices is necessary to stay hydrated and help the detox process.

9. Light exercise only. This one goes without saying. With less energy (food) going into your body, the less energy you should exert. Keep exercise to a minimum. Probably opt for some light walking over a heavy weight session or intense HIIT workout.

10. Enjoy it, Don’t resent it. Just enjoy the process.  Be proud of your willpower and the fact you are doing something amazing to nourish your body. Notice how light and refreshed you feel and focus on that feeling accomplishment once it’s all over!

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No matter your reason for cleansing – whether to completely detox your body or just get your head back into a healthy mindset, I highly recommend giving it a go.

What are your thoughts on juice cleanses? Love them or hate them? Have you tried one before? Leave me a comment below.

Love Elo xx