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