My health journey: from unhealthy to ‘healthy’ to healthy!


The transformation of my diet coincided with my entrance into the modeling industry. Previously my indulgences were daily and my idea of healthy was a whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese. I was blessed with good enough genes that this kept me relatively skinny, ‘athletic’ if you will. Unfortunately for the modeling industry this was not good enough. Thankfully, my mother agent recommended a trainer to help me get in shape rather than simply telling me I had to do so by myself, something many models face that may end up leading to stressful, unhealthy diets that have a high potential of leading to an eating disorder. It’s hard to be told to lose a certain amount of weight and become a certain measurement blindly.

I was able to lose weight, keep it off, change my diet and workout routines and ultimately get thin and move to NY. All good, right?

At the start of my new health journey, I had to write out a food diary to share with my trainer. After claiming “I would become obese by the time I was 30 if I didn’t change my diet” the trainer made adjustments and worked with me for roughly three months to crack down on my measurements. A 34 inch hip was what we were after. Now, in my trainers defense, they completely helped me transform my body, idea of health, and workout routines as I was successfully able to lose the weight and sign with a New York agency. It wasn’t easy, but over time I started to (for the most part) prefer my new eating ways and was getting used to working out more. Of course I cheated more than they knew and did workouts on my own easier than the ones suggested, but I adjusted the diet and workouts to help fit my lifestyle. I found it way too strict for my liking and found if I followed the diet too religiously I would binge and have five pieces of cake for example instead of one slice. For me, everything was best in moderation.

All was good, so I thought. I was skinny, happy, living in New York and traveling the world for modeling. But was I really healthy?? Here’s what I came to find…

Yes I was skinny. But I wasn’t actually healthy. Of course it was an immense improvement from my pre modeling days but It wasn’t until recently, when I signed up for Integrative Nutrition (an online certification course that enables you to become a Health Coach) that I realized my idea of what it was to be healthy was completely wrong. On the health plan my trainer had suggested, I was eating unlimited amounts of Splenda (and was extremely addicted), diet pops, packs and packs of gum per day, no fats, no sugars, etc. I was substituting what I missed and craved with chemicals. Chemicals and unlimited amounts of vegetables and proteins, a diet that was for the most part created for all of the models working with this trainer. I was constantly bloated, gassy, and addicted to these additives. Sure I ate a lot, but with such an unbalanced diet, I was nutritionally unhealthy.

With the help of a couple of my close model friends, who also have interests in the nutrition field, I began discussing my diet and how much I could improve on. I tried to cut out gum completely (something that I used to tie me over until my next meal), added olive oil (I previously lived on Pam and would go mental if I had to cook without it), take away all forms of pop, added in more healthy fats and replaced no sugar foods with foods containing natural sugars. The fear that was engraved in my mind about what would happen if I added in some of these foods was immense and it took me a while to realize I was fine and could maintain my general size and be much healthier and happier.

I’ve learned the importance of these balanced diets that incorporate whole grains (GASP! I can have more than 1/2 cup of oats per day???), healthy fats, super foods, and of course the copious amounts of vegetables I was and still love eating. Integrative Nutrition teaches you all the diet theories out there and it’s up to you to play around and find out what works best. There isn’t one diet that works for everyone and it’s important to experiment with all foods and find out what works for you. This is referred to as ‘bioindividuality’ and will have positive effects on your skin, mood, digestion and energy levels- all things I was lacking.

This was in no way meant to be an attack on my trainer. I still use a lot of the recipes and workout regimes and am thankful for helping me get to New York. I’m just trying to expose that you can still maintain an ideal weight for modeling AND be healthy by eating a balanced diet. On the diet we were not limited by the amount of food we could eat. There was absolutely no emphasis on starvation, something I think a lot of models assume you have to do to lose the weight. Instead we were told to eat many meals a day to fuel our metabolism. Without a balanced diet however, no matter how many vegetables and plain chicken breasts I was eating, I was still HUNGRY. That being said, this was the training period to get me to New York. My ‘training for the Olympics’ if you will. A strict diet of some sort was necessary, but definitely not ideal or manageable for a longterm lifestyle. Once I got to New York, (and even a little beforehand…) I made adjustments that suited me and my lifestyle all while maintaining my weight (for the most part- I may have gained a little, not enough that anyone could notice).

For any hard core diet whether it be juicing or no carbs; these are all good for short-term weight loss, or a cleanse if need be. For the long run, from me and my friend’s personal experiences, it’s best to adjust your diet with something that you can maintain longterm. With juicing, the second you add back in any foods, healthy or not, you’re likely to gain back more than the weight you lost simply because your body is craving to hold on to any solid food. Not to mention the stress that comes hand-in-hand with cutting out all the foods you love. The stress alone can keep you from losing those extra pounds you think you will if you juice all day. Do not be afraid of whole grains, healthy fats, and natural sugars. These are all packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that help all aspects of your diet and health. Research the benefits of eating healthfully and find a style of eating that works for you.

In addition to overcoming my fear of adding certain foods into my diet, I’ve tried to incorporate more primary foods into my lifestyle, a term Integrative Nutrition refers to as the mental health of your life- the stuff you feed your body other than food! Think spirituality, family and friend relationships, work/life balance, finances, workout regimens. Primary health is something that should go hand in hand with what you feed your body (secondary food). To maintain proper primary food in your life is an incredible experience and helps keep you on track with your life goals. It is this part of my life that I realize is just as important as what I eat and is something I am aware with to ensure happiness. If I check in with myself on a daily basis, I can assure I’m on track with my plans and living my life to the fullest. The person in the world who eats perfectly could be one of the most unhappy people- a crucial reminder on the importance of maintaining balance. For me, it is important to stay constantly motivated, have good relations with all who I encounter and make sure I live my life with meaning. Previously to this course I was already quite healthy, routinely practiced yoga and had a great relationship with my boyfriend. Now, I go above and beyond to be cognizant of all my actions with the idea of helping others on their health journeys.

 Live your life for you and your happiness, then share that with all you encounter.