The cycle of fad dieting is a vicious one: you toil away for weeks fasting, exercising or following some weird regime – which often feels like you’re doing it for centuries – to drop off a couple of pounds for your next big event, then the moment you eat something of any nutritional value (or lack of in most cases), the weight returns and you’re angry depressed; slightly heavier, but always back at square one.
Fad dieting, on the whole, is pretty ineffective, and it’s not just us regular people who fall for the snake oil promises of dieting companies – models and celebrities have all been there too. Most notably of all, Iskra Lawrence.
Iskra Lawrence, body positivity campaigner and model, has been speaking out about the harmful psychological and physical effects of extreme dieting. As a young girl aspiring to be a model, Iskra says she found herself constantly chasing unattainable body standards so she has some wise words on the whole issue.
“I would look at magazines and the headlines ‘lose a stone in a month’ or whatever it might be and I would try the celebrity diets like the maple syrup diet,” she says. “Me and my friends from school would take in these big litre bottles of lemon and pepper and maple syrup and try and drink that.”
Excessive exercise and poor diet eventually took a mental toll on Iskra, who was eventually dropped from her agency due to the size of her hips.
“Your energy is awful, your concentration is awful, your eyesight is blurry. It’s really detrimental to your mental and physical health doing any kind of extreme fad diet and abusing your body with exercise,” she said to Fabulous. In the end, what she was doing led to her developing body dysmorphia and eating disorders.
It was only when she reached out to a plus size agency and was told that she was too small to be considered that she realised how warped the dieting and fashion industries were.
“I felt frustrated and I felt that I’d given so many years trying to fit into one slim beauty ideal and was then told by the other side of the beauty industry that I wasn’t welcome there and still didn’t fit in. It made me realise how much time I’d lost and wasted trying to fit into something that I wasn’t.”
“I just gave up on all of the things in my mind that I’d been fighting to change myself for. Instead, I realised that I wanted to look after myself because I deserved better, that really became the catalyst for change. I changed that narrative in my life – and it didn’t happen overnight. It took years, but it’s been the most rewarding journey ever to recover from that.”
A quick scroll through her social media accounts and you quickly realise the results of this mindset. Here’s to people like Iskra, Ashley Graham and others that promote such body positive ideals.