My Battles With My Body And How Pinup Girl Clothing Helped Save Me

I seem to have reached a point in my life where, at 22, I am finally happy with my body, found a style that suits my shape and love myself for who I am. Pinup Girl Clothing has played a huge role in this and I will be forever grateful.
I would like to share my journey in the hope that it may help someone who is going through something similar.

I hit puberty early, at age 11. Up until then I was tall for my age and skinny as a rake. But then I started getting boobs, pimples,  putting on weight and just felt downright ugly. I wasn't bullied in school but always just felt inferior to all the 'pretty' girls and the only attention I got from boys was honking and hollering out the window from perverts. Since I looked much older than my age, I was getting this kind of lewd attention very young. 

At 16-17, I lost some of the baby weight, discovered makeup and hairstyling and started feeling pretty. It would surprise me when people complimented me- I thought they were just saying it to be nice! But slowly I began to believe them.

After high school, and a brief stint at University, I started working in retail. I put on weight as I would buy my lunch everyday and the choices would almost never be healthy ones. I started to feel ugly again and unhappy so I joined a gym. The tipping point was actually my Doctor telling me that I was overweight on the BMI scale.

One thing about me that I consider as a flaw in my personality, is that if I do something, I either have to do it 110% or not at all.  Some would say this isn't a bad thing, but as you will find out, it most certainly can be!

I joined the gym in June 2009 and started going 6 days a week. It was great, I would go after work for an hour, get home, cook myself up a healthy dinner and then do it all over again. I ate really healthily but would still allow myself treats so in the beginning I had a good balance going. 

The weight melted off, I felt amazing and everyone noticed. Then after about 6 months at the gym and 10kg lighter, I started running. I felt so powerful and athletic when I ran, especially since I'm not a naturally sporty person. I decided to sign up for the Auckland Half Marathon which was about 5 months away so had plenty of time to train. This was the start of the downhill slope. I was still focused on loosing weight. I wanted to be skinny, I looked at the models in the magazines and my heart ACHED to be like them. 

So I was running 4 days a week and 2 days strength training. That's not the bad part, its what I was eating that was the problem. I became OBSESSED with loosing weight and was basically only eating carbs at breakfast- I would have porridge and then salads for lunch and dinner and fruit for snacks if anything. I was probably only eating 800 calories a day and burning half that off. I didn't realise it at the time but when I look back, the fact that was so undernourished would be why I was cold ALL THE TIME, my hair was falling out, nails breaking and skin looked like crap. 

Anyway after a few months like this, I started to crack. I would binge on carbs....peanut butter and jam sandwiches were my drug of choice. I think my body just NEEDED those carbs, especially since I'd boosted my training up and was running 40km a week. I hated myself when I binged, I was so obsessed with calories in, calories out. I kept these diaries (i still have them, to remind me how sick I was and how I never want to go back to that) where I wrote down everything I ate, how may calories I burned during my workout (I had a heart rate monitor that told me) and wrote down how I was feeling. When reading these now, I am astounded at how blind I was- my figure was amazing but I still thought I was fat. If I had one biscuit more than I "allowed" myself, it would ruin my entire day. By now I was down to 61kg, 1kg from my goal weight.

The binging would happen a couple of times a week and then I started to make myself sick. Luckily I am naturally quite a sensible person and still had some sanity left and after verging on full blown bulimia for a week or two, I came clean to my mum, before it got any worse.
She was amazing, the next day we were at the doctors and had appointments set up with a counsellor and nutritionist. The nutritionist was incredible. After being so scared of carbs for so long, she said that if I was going to go for long runs in the morning, I needed to "carb-load" the night before- big bowls of pasta! PASTA! You're kidding right? Well I embraced it, I took everything she said on board and continued with my training.
My trainer at the gym was equally helpful and supportive and I am so grateful to her. Unfortunately I got a chest infection a 2 weeks before the half marathon and it didn't clear in time for the race so I didnt get to do it which was a real shame. 

I slowly stopped going to the gym, I just needed to focused on me and my eating habits. I have put most of the weight back on but have a much healthier relationship with food. I joined back up at the gym 2 months ago and feel so much better for it. It's nice going just to be healthy, and seeing my body change and get stronger

The real turning point to me going from hating my body to embracing it was finding the pinup/50s style, and more specifically Pinup Girl Clothing. I'd admired the dresses while I was doing my hairdressing course and when I finished that and starting working full time, my first paycheck went towards a PUG order. I was hooked. I stopped wearing all my old 'normal' clothes and switched to 100% PUG everyday of the week. For once I was wearing clothes that suited my hourglass shape. Since that first order, just over a year ago, my self-esteem has sky-rocketed and I have been never been happier- my boyfriend loves it too! ;-)

It's a tough time growing up in a world surrounded by sexual imagery and air-brushed women. I wish I had learned to just accept myself without having to go through what I did, but I wouldn't be the same person I am now if I hadn't. I hope that this post can help even just one person who might be struggling with how they feel about themselves. Please just try to accept the way you are, find a balance and experiment with clothes, makeup and hairstyles. These three things can give you that little boost of confidence and don't have the risk of eating disorders and self loathing- the only damage will be on your credit card! X

Views: 18005

Comment by Jenn Bailey on August 13, 2012 at 3:36pm

What a beautiful story. I'm so glad that you feel comfortable in your own skin now, your pictures are gorgeous!

Thank you for sharing <3

Comment by Amavesta Bee on August 13, 2012 at 3:41pm

Wow Ella.  It is really awesome you found your path to acceptance so early in life. You absolutely glow in every picture I see of you.  Loving yourself gives you that inner light.  Great post :)

Comment by Michelle Boutilier on August 13, 2012 at 4:45pm

Thank you for sharing your story with us Ella... I've always seen you as a confident, beautiful young woman that i admire and never would have guessed that you went through this...  I too use to have very low self esteem, but I've learned to accept myself ( all though I do have my days when I can be very critical of myself ) but since finding PUG as well I feel confident and like what i see in the mirror and feel like '' Me''  XOX  

Comment by Sarah F. on August 13, 2012 at 5:09pm

Wow, Ella, your dieting story sounds a lot like mine. I lost over 130 lbs and was running marathons while eating practically nothing but chicken, salad and oatmeal. If I binged, I had to run it off the next day, or even immediately afterward. Then, suddenly, I got sick. Pneumonia, the flu, bronchitis, ear infection and severe anemia, all at once. I was bedridden for several days, and even after recovering from the illnesses, I had zero energy - not just for running, but even doing things like walking up a single flight of stairs. I put about half of the weight back on over the next two years, and was still unhappy about feeling fat again and not being able to do the athletic things I used to be capable of. It's taken me a good amount of time, a lot of reading of different body-acceptance blogs, and finding clothing that makes me feel good about myself (like PUG) to help me get to a better mental space. I'm strong again, and can dance for hours without a break. I can eat pizza and ice cream with my husband and not freak out that I'm ruining my diet and am going to gain 5 pounds. 

Anyway, thank you for sharing your story! Every time I hear about someone else, it's further encouragement that I am not alone in my struggles, and that it does and will get better :) Cheers to you.

Comment by Jess O. on August 13, 2012 at 6:17pm

I had the same problem. After high school I grained almost 30 lbs and i am 5'1" and was weighing at about 150 so that was really bad for a person my size. It wasnt until about 2009 that i managed to shed off the weight and weighed 113LBS until many people not used to seeing me that thin kept telling me i looked too unhealthy so i told myself 120 would be ideal, but as many people know its easier to regain the weight than to reloose it and yes, thats what ended up happening, i regained the weight that took so long and so much effort for me to loose and now i am at about 140. One thing that keeps me from becoming anorexic/bulimic is the style of "pinup" looks best with curves and thats one thing i have very much of lol. If I can loose the weight once again, that will make me ever so happy, but if not, i am happy as is. I have no illnesses and am healthy. The only thing that matters in the long run is confidence and trust me, that is the one thing i seem to have very much of. Thanks for sharing your story! Much love to ya <3 

Comment by Della Rae on August 13, 2012 at 6:23pm
You know what, I was going to write something just like this too.

I've always been the tallest, the biggest boobed the biggest stick out since grade 3.
It became ingrained in my brain that I was too awkward looking to function.
So I just became grumpy and got into punk rock.
I made myself appear to not care about my image, but of course being a teen I cared all too much.

When I first started buying/making clothes in this style I realized there was hope out there for me and my body shape.
When I found I was reassured that I am not fat,awkward or too tall.
How they size is perfect for me.
Everything I have ever bought from them has fit like a glove.
A very very sexy, confidence boosting glove!

I never would have thought some clothing brand would really change my life as much as it has.
Comment by Pamela Fox on August 13, 2012 at 9:52pm

Thank you very much for sharing this. It is so good to hear that you have found your self love. We all deserve that.

Comment by Alexis Pelow on August 14, 2012 at 4:05pm

Thank you so much for sharing this, it gives me hope that I will someday be happy with my body. 
I was never the skinniest girl, and I never had a chest what so ever. Then I had my two boys, and now i'm unhappy with the way my body looks. Nothing seems to fit me right, either it hides my tummy but is too big for my chest or its too tight... I've always been self consious, but now its starting to get to the point of effecting my happiness, and my relationship. My boyfriend tries to compliment me all the time, but I never believe him I always just say yeah and roll my eyes, because i honestly dont think i'm beautiful and i dont think my body is attractive.. reading your post really makes me think that maybe someday I can learn to love myself the way I am too. <3

Comment by December Jones on August 14, 2012 at 4:05pm

Thank you so much for sharting. Your story is a lot like mine and I too feel so much better about myself because I discovered the pin up style. You're beautiful!

Comment by Anna Jóna Heimisdóttir on August 14, 2012 at 4:12pm
wow, this is fabulous. A great story and you yourself is beautiful. I wish I could afford this beautiful clothing as well but it is very expensive to ship here and the exchange rate is horrible...

Your story is super inspirational to me. Thank you :)


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