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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Happy Mind, Happy Life

Happiness is a choice. It is a state of mind. In the same way you select your clothes each day, you need to learn how to select your thoughts. This is a power you can cultivate.

Your thoughts create your world. When you wake up in the morning you have the choice to be happy or not. When something bad happens, you can decide to dwell on it, let it affect you and allow negativity to manifest. or you can choose to brush it off and let it go. How you think and how you feel is entirely up to you. If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness away from you.

You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.

I am a huge believer in the power of positive thinking. I believe you are a product of your own thoughts. What you think about, you bring about. It is all in the mind. Where your mind goes, energy flows. Focus on negativity and you’ll only attract more negativity. Possess a positive mindset and you’ll attract more positive energy into your world.

I am not saying it is possible to think, feel and be positive 100% of the time (as amazing as that would be), but it is certainly possible to try. Living a life of positivity is about trying to see the best in every situation. It is about moving past the things you cannot control and focusing your energy on the things you can. You may not be able to control events or the way others treat you, but you can control how you react. The only person you are hurting by holding on to negativity, is yourself. Think happy thoughts and manifest positivity. With a happy, healthy mind, you can create a happy, healthy life.

Happiness is a choice. Not a result. Nothing will make you happy, until you choose to be happy.

Choosing to be happy isn’t always easy but you can train your mind to cultivate the art of positive thinking. Here are some ways you can take control of your own happiness.

Practice Gratitude: Gratitude turns what we have into enough. It can be so easy to focus on all the things you don’t have but when you stop, take a moment and think about all the things you are thankful for, it becomes apparent how blessed you truly are. When you express gratitude for all the things you do have the more things you will have to feel grateful for.

Be More Mindful. Live in the Moment: ‘If you are always rushing to the next moment, what happens to the one you are in?”. The secret to happiness could be as simple as becoming more mindful. Sometimes you need to slow down, remain within the present and not stress about the next moment. This can reduce feelings of anxiety.

Enjoy the Little Things: It’s usually the little things, the small acts of kindness, the simple things that bring us the most joy. It isn’t always about the big picture, but the little moments that make us smile that truly matter.

Smile: It’s amazing what a smile can do to lift your mood or even make someone else day. Smiling is contagious after all.

Do More of What Makes You Happy: Life is too short to waste precious time doing things you do not like or spending time with people who bring you down. Do more of the things that you enjoy doing and bring you happiness.

Love Eloise x

Love Who You Are

Loving Yourself is the best thing you will ever do.

self-love2

‘To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now.’ – Alan Cohen

Learning to love myself is probably the hardest challenge I have ever had to face. I have never struggled with anything more than I have done with this. I have always wished to be one of those women who truly and wholeheartedly love themselves. Someone so utterly happy and content in their own skin that they absolutely radiate with confidence. One of those women who, despite their flaws, still embrace who they are and accept themselves completely.

Wouldn’t that just be so elevating? So refreshing? To not worry about how you look every single minute of every single day. To not be paralyzed by negative self-talk, hatred and low self-esteem. To be so content with who you are as a person that you never feel the need to impress anyone. Can you just imagine how wonderful that would be?

Well let me tell you, it really is A-MAZING!!!

After years (I’d say roughly 24 or so), I have finally found happiness in who I am. I can finally say that I truly love and accept myself. I am content, confident and proud of the woman I have become. I accept myself and my flaws. It has certainly been a long and treacherous journey with many bumps along the way but I, Eloise Smith, can finally say… I love me.

I think the reason I struggled with the concept of self love for such a long time is because I was on quest for something I could never be… Perfect. A trap, a lot of us fall into.

Loving yourself isn’t about being 100% happy with every last inch of your body and soul. It’s not about being perfect. After all, perfection doesn’t exist. Self love is about acceptance. It is about accepting that you have flaws, that you make mistakes, that you are unique. And it’s those things that make you, you! It’s about truly embracing yourself for the beautiful individual that you are.

And I’m not just talking about body love. What I am really talking about is, inner love. Self approval from within. It’s when you wholly love the person you are inside, that everything else follows. When you finally find and understand yourself as a person, when you finally become happy with all your personality quirks and discover your inner beauty, you realize that having the perfect body really doesn’t matter. Your body is just a shell. A shell for what actually matters – your mind and your soul.

The absolute best thing about finding self love and acceptance is the opportunities that follow. For me, it feels like my eyes have been opened up to a whole new world of possibilities. I have a new found confidence. I am willing to branch out of my comfort zone. I am finally confident in myself and content with who I am. I no longer fear rejection or ridicule. I no longer need to impress anyone. I like who I am. I like the woman I have become. I am happy with me and if someone else doesn’t like me, then that’s perfectly ok. I am who I am, and people can either choose to take it or leave it.

I’d rather be disliked for who I am than liked for someone I am not.

It is true what they say. Love yourself first and the rest will fall into place.

You must learn to love yourself. You must learn to be happy with yourself. Only then can you spread love and happiness to others.

Love Elo xx