On struggling with body dysmorphia and practicing starvation:
I would like to acknowledge and apologise for some of the things I wrote and spoke about over the past couple of years. I genuinely thought that I was doing the right thing for my health and wellness. I now know that I was completely in the depths of body dysmorphia and it really worries me that I was not a positive role model out there.
For the record, I never did lie about what I ate. I always was truthful. But the amounts I ate were never enough. The part that gets me though is that I truly thought they were. When I claimed that I ate loads, I thought that I did. I would fill up on foods that were low calorie, and think that I was eating a healthy balanced diet. I was extremely active, sometimes training 2-3 hours a day, and thought that that made me fit. But if someone offered me a piece of fruit to eat, I would become so anxious and fearful at the thought of having to eat it (something unplanned) that I would nearly be sick with worry. And I couldn’t calm down my anxiety until I had completed my training for the day. If I had a 5am call time, I would be in the gym at 3:30am. If my flight landed at 8pm, I would be in the gym at 9pm.
I am trying to temper my true passion for health and fitness with balance and meaning. I would eat such an extreme diet, and train so hard because I would look in the mirror and see someone who needed to lose weight looking back at me. I saw excess weight that needed to come off. When I would give interviews and discuss my eating habits I truly believed that eating predominately vegetables and protein shakes was ok. Obviously this is not ok. I am sorry for being so public about damaging eating habits.
Body dysmorphia is a terrifying thing. I have had countless conversations with fellow models, all of whom are tiny, where they call themselves fat. It is such a hard thing to understand if you are removed from this – weight and size should be objective. Either you fit the clothes, or you don’t. But when it becomes a mental game like this, it grows wings of its own. When I made the decision to start eating again, I really struggled with dysmorphia. Because this time I really was gaining weight. Nothing crazy – I threw away a few old pairs of jeans, but I am not built to be too curvy. But it was enough to give those head demons a microphone, especially since I had taken away the self soothing method I used to employ (starvation).
Whilst shooting, I had one lady refuse to look me in the eye, choosing instead to address my stomach with a sneer (I was shooting swim). I addressed her, smiled, and she didn’t even look away from my stomach, let alone respond to me beyond mono syllables. Another lady asked me to please make my ribs show more whilst shooting, suck in my gut, and tied a sarong around my hips, to ‘hide them’.
On the grey area in fashion:
It makes me enraged when a woman is made to feel fat at a size 4. What messed up parallel universe is this? The fashion industry should be celebrating women of all body sizes. We are experiencing a huge amount of growth in body acceptance – when will it start to make serious inroads in the fashion industry? I do have to acknowledge the appearance of plus size models in the higher end fashion industry. This is fantastic, and a welcome change. However there is a massive grey zone in the fashion industry. We see ‘straight size’ girls from sizes 0-2 maybe a 4 if the girl is well known or has boobs. Then nothing, until we hit ‘plus size’ girls at around size 14. Never mind the fact that the vast majority of women in the western world fall in this size bracket. Until a woman can open a magazine and see her body shape represented, how can women stop comparing themselves to an impossible standard?
I think the idea that fat is bad is complete bull. Fat is an extremely important macronutrient – we need it for healthy hormone function, strong hair, skin and nails, not to mention our need for fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Plus it makes food taste delicious, and keeps us satiated. I am a huge advocate for healthy fat in our diets, and I wish it were less vilified. Where I feel we go wrong however, is the sources of fat that we choose to consume. When we eat large quantities of plant-derived oils such as palm seed oil, we throw out our ratios of Omega 3 to 6 to majorly favor Omega 6. This is not good; our diets should be skewed to favor Omega 3 as much as possible, in order to reduce inflammation, and maintain good general mental health. We want a 1.5:1 ratio ideally. Maintaining this ratio is tricky – vegetable oils are everywhere! Consuming high levels of fat from animal foods is not ideal either; a high intake of saturated fat can lead to heart disease and other complications down the line.
On what she eats:
I love avocado, olives and nuts. Walnuts and macadamia nuts in particular are a good hook up of omegas. When cooking I choose a high quality olive oil or avocado oil. If you eat fish, enjoy wild salmon regularly. A good, high quality algae oil is a great call for the vegans out there – just to make sure you hit your requirements. Plant-based food sources contain the precursor ALA, and it has a low conversion rate to the important DHA – so make sure you supplement here!
On preferring fats to carbs:
I eat a lot of fat in my diet. I tend to avoid refined carbohydrates, and I make up for it by eating a higher level of fat in my diet. I could never ever be a HCLF person – my digestion just isn’t strong enough for all those carbohydrate spikes! Every person is different, and it is up to you to find out how much of each macronutrient ensures you feel the best. Nut butters are delicious and a great travel snack. My only issue with them is to ensure that there aren’t any other oils, salt or sugar added. I also find sticking to single serves ideal, because that stuff is moreish!