How woman lost 18kg eating pasta every day
Most of her school life Zara Spooner never had an issue with her weight - in fact she struggled to put on the kilos.
But coming out of school her lifestyle changed dramatically.
The 22-year-old had taken on an office job where she found herself attending weekly social events involving lots of alcohol, and binge eating, which lead her down an unhealthy path.
"I feel like I had a few moments that made me want to lose weight, but the defining moment was my confidence hitting an all-time low last year," Ms Spooner told news.com.au
The Sydneysider who suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis said she failed at every fad diet possible - even the ones that were seen to help manage her condition, which she thought was underlying issue to her 18kg weight gain.
"I was uneducated when it came to calories and also the benefits of flexible dieting and I was sometimes in denial of how much weight I had put on and how unhealthy my habits were becoming," she told news.com.au
"I ate a lot of fast-food, large sushi rolls, pizza, I loved cheese - I ate a lot of cheese, and I got a sweet tooth I never really had, so lots of chocolate and lollies."
But she soon learned the importance of flexible eating after educating herself on the nutritional value of food and today her diet consists of pasta and even Nutella crumpets.
She transformed her body in eight months, losing 18 kilos and 12 per cent body fat, currently sitting around the 52-53kg mark.
"I was so thin in high school and active for that matter, I think with school having structured recess and lunch, there were less temptations like office lunch rooms which made it easier to stay leaner," she said.
"Coming out of school my lifestyle changed a lot moving into a desk job, dining out more, drinking alcohol and the weight just progressively piled on."
At her heaviest, Ms Spooner said she weighed an unhealthy 69.8kg which was reflective of her bad, binge eating habits.
"I remember so clearly weighing myself a few times when that number came up because I was in utter shock. Being so lean through all of my school years and majority of my teenage years - at times even struggling to put on weight, it was just a position I never thought I would be in having 'weight issues'. So to even think about hitting 70 kilos was shocking to me."
Ms Spooner even refused to go to the beach for three years.
She said her biggest challenge during her transformation was being "so open about her journey".
"I was hesitant to share my personal journey at first as I felt embarrassed, but after comparing both photos I've realised I should feel nothing but proud of how far I have come and practice what I preach every day to our amazing tribe."
Ms Spooner, who uses her experience to provide client support for Equalution, her sister Jade Spooner's online weight loss business, said she is finally at a place where she can be "happy, confident and healthy" - all while enjoying her favourite foods.
"The biggest lesson I have learnt is how important it is to fuel your body with what it needs, how diet plays such a huge role in both your physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing too and to not take your health for granted," Ms Spooner said.
After educating herself on nutritional values, Ms Spooner became more aware of what she was consuming and instead of having a pina colada (546 calories) she would swap it for a vodka, lime and soda (65 calories) when she was out drinking with friends.
"It allows me to enjoy social events and see results at the same time," she said.
"I have learnt to understand that no particular food will directly cause fat gain and that my body doesn't recognise food as 'good' or 'bad' instead it recognises it for its calorie and macronutrient value."
Equalution is an online weight loss program based on flexible eating.
A typical day on a plate for Ms Spooner has shifted during her lifestyle transformation.
"I was a vegetarian for the majority of my journey and was strategised for fat loss at the beginning, however I am no longer a vegetarian and now I am on a reverse diet," she explained.
"Reverse dieting is usually started when you've reached your ideal weight goal so that we can change your body composition and get your body used to more calories while still losing weight and seeing the results you love."
'I DID NOT INCREASE EXERCISE DURING MY WEIGHT LOSS'
When it comes to exercise, Ms Spooner said it can vary week-to-week.
For the majority of her weight loss, she did not increase exercise, instead she focused on her diet and being as consistent and adherent as possible.
"My exercise was simply walking to and from the train station averaging around 8000 steps a day. It wasn't only until February when I took part in a six week challenge at my local gym I was consistent with training showing my face five days a week."
"Pairing that with the 8-week challenge at Equalution, this is where I saw some great results."
Ms Spooner said she hopes by sharing her story, it can inspire others to start their own transformation and become the happiest and healthiest version of themselves.
"You have to look at the bigger picture and make a change for yourself and your own health," she said.
"You need to be accountable, be ready to become educated and know by the end of it through a non-restricted approach you will build a better relationship with food."
If you've got a transformation story you'd like to share, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org