And hello 2014!
I am so excited for this year and would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my followers well; I hope that the new year brings you everything that you desire. And, to see us out, here are a few photographs from my shoot with Storm last month. Enjoy!
Anorexia. A bastard of a disease mostly affecting women, and something which quietly lurks in the background of the modelling industry. I cannot say that I have ever suffered with it in any real way, but I have certainly heavily restricted my eating on account of my work in front of the camera.
When I started modelling, I was pretty uncomfortable in my own skin. I was not confident in the way that I looked but never felt that I had any issues with my size and/or weight. However, within only a couple of months of shooting, I had a photographer make a flippant comment to me that contributed to years of feeling like I had to starve myself in order to be beautiful. He had booked me for a shoot and, in front of a team of people, told me that I had gotten fat and that he wanted to shoot (pointing to his monitor on which there was one of my pictures from a shoot only a couple of weeks prior) ‘this’ but instead, had (pointing at me) ‘this’. I felt incredibly embarrassed and even though at the time I was a healthy weight for my height, I realised that ‘healthy’ often just doesn’t cut it in terms of the expectations of others in the industry.
Please don’t misunderstand me; after this incident I still had an appetite for food, and I would like to think that I was very rational about eating vs not eating. In my mind, I suffered from a very selective eating disorder (and I only use that word for lack of a better one); I would binge when I didn’t have shoots coming up (which became more and more rare as my workload as a model increased) and still actively enjoyed eating in these periods. However, before a shoot or a series of shoots, I would eat next to nothing for up to a week beforehand. Although this was manageable when I was a part time model, when I went full time and had a lot more work coming in, it became a massive problem and made me feel very miserable all of the time. It was confounded by friends and strangers, who were obviously unaware that I had an issue, making comments about how good my body looked and putting me up on a pedestal for how they wanted to look themselves. In my mind, I knew that I only looked like that because I wasn’t eating, and all of the positive comments made me think that it was worth it. It wasn’t! And it never will be!
After a couple of years of being consumed by this faulty mindset, I saw a video posted by a model that I admire for her no-nonsense attitude, Ruth Crilly. She runs a blog/vlog in which she gives advice about all aspects of the modelling industry, which I would recommend to models for helpful tips about virtually anything you could think of. Although I don’t have a link to the video anymore, I remember it inspiring me to try to relax a little in my approach to eating. But the more I relaxed, the fatter I got, and the worse I felt about myself. It was truly a vicious circle; if I ate, I felt miserable because I saw an ugly person in my photos, but if I didn’t eat, I felt miserable because I was permanently hungry.
Ruth’s video stayed in my mind and in October 2013, I decided that enough was enough. I wanted to look good without starving. I started thinking about getting a good exercise routine going, but knew that I would need the help of a professional to get properly motivated. Here is where Jay Benedetti at OnPoint Training came to the rescue. I met him for a consultation and we discussed what I wanted to achieve through the training.
At the time I had imagined my exercise plan to mostly consist of cardio workouts and lots and lots of running. When I realised that the training would actually be focused on strength and muscle building, I became worried that I would put on a lot of weight and end up looking like a German Shot-Put Olympian (no offence to German Shot-Put Olympians intended…). However, I decided to trust Jay and his expertise and, after 3 months of working hard, I am so glad I did! It has certainly changed the way that my body looks but, way more importantly, it has completely and utterly destroyed any notion in my mind that depriving myself of food is in any way a good idea.
I eat more now than I ever have, but using Jay’s nutrition guide, my meals now consist of the right kinds of food. I have also, after getting fed up of seeing my him raise his disapproving eyebrow at the slightest cough from me, given up smoking (52 days and counting!). I feel better than I have for years and I know that for me this is not the quick fix that I had initially hoped for, but instead a complete change of lifestyle. I am enjoying the workouts, though I can’t deny that they are tough and sometimes my enthusiasm for ‘leg-day’ is distinctly lacking.
I will wait for another couple of months before posting photographs of my progress, but I knew that I had to write this blog sooner rather than later. I know that I am not the only model who has suffered from a serious problem with eating, and now that I have found a solution, I want to spread the word! I cannot recommend Jay and his team at Onpoint Training strongly enough. Not to sound too gushing, but they have changed my life!
And if a Personal Trainer is not an option because of a lack of funds etc, please take from this blog that eating good food (research nutrition…google is your friend!) and exercise is MUCH better, MUCH healthier and MUCH more effective than starving yourself. No picture in the world is worth not eating for.
I am still on my own personal journey of learning and training, and I will freely admit to having pangs of anxiety from time to time about the prospect of eating more and actually putting on weight (in muscle, not fat). But I know in my head and my heart that this is good for me. And you will see soon that it is good for my modelling work as well.
To all of those who are suffering, please believe me when I say that you don’t have to! There truly is light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is made of good, delicious food.
I am hopefully shooting with this dirty dog again soon. Here are the pictures from our last shoot together - watch this space for the next ones!