Increasingly, we are becoming well aware that influencers on social media only show us their best, most filtered lives. We never see the late-night snacks, them throwing away the #spon weight loss shake their advertising, and most importantly we never see their real struggles. The person posting about their spin class could be suffering from exercise addiction, the influencer who is never without a glass of wine could be an alcoholic, the model Instagramming her latest headshots could be dealing with anorexia. These are the things we don’t get to see.
One model, however, is changing that.
Bridget Malcom, former Victoria's Secret model, has opened up about her struggles with body dysmorphia on her blog, apologizing to her followers for promoting an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. While her life online was true to her daily eating and exercise habits, her struggle with body dysmorphia was ongoing behind the camera.
‘I definitely was aware of the dissonance between the reality of my life and the public persona I was putting out there’, she said, ‘It really made me unhappy and for this I am thankful, as it was through this great discomfort that I found my way out.’
Stating that she never lied about what she was eating, she admits that her diet was dictated by her disorder, and so even though she did believe she ‘ate loads’, she knows now that her diet was unhealthy.
‘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,’ she said, ‘and I couldn’t calm down my anxiety until I had completed my training for the day.’
While she has since realised how damaging these thoughts were for her, she is more concerned with her public following, whom took this unhealthy advice from her for years.
‘When I would give interviews and discuss my eating habits I truly believed that eating predominately vegetables and protein shakes was ok,’ she wrote, ‘obviously, this is not ok. I am sorry for being so public about damaging eating habits.’
Asking for forgiveness, she said ‘I truly hope that you guys can accept my apology. I said some things in the media that make me cringe now. Being completely at odds with what I saw in the mirror and who I thought I was led me down a dark path of denial.’
That path, however, has since brightened. Attempting to improve her relationship with food and exercise, she began to eat foods she had previously been ‘terrified’ of, including carbohydrates, and only allowed herself to exercise via walking.
‘It was torturous.’ she states, ‘but as the weight came on, the anxiety quickly swelled to a deafening crescendo, and then began to slowly die out.’
And now, she is able to truly see herself in the mirror, and like what she sees. ‘Even though Bridget from 1.5 years ago would have been horrified that I had “left myself go”’, she continued, ‘for the first time what I am seeing in the mirror is actually my reflection looking back at me. And for the first time that I can remember, I like my body.’
Promising to no longer hide ‘behind the veneer of “clean” eating’, which she dubs ‘2016 talk for disordered eating’, she states that hereon out she intends to use her platform ‘as mindfully as possible’.
With 315,000 followers, opening up about her mental health issues and becoming more body positive can only be a great thing as we continue to change the conversation about body image. You can read Bridget’s full emotional blog post here.
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