I Don’t Support Starvation Diets

7 Nov

Until today, I always thought that Victoria Secret models were the healthier of the (modeling) bunch.


Until today, I really hoped that it was true that thought that Victoria Secret Angels could eat what they want in moderation, workout, and on average, have a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Until today.

My co-worker sent me an article which proved all of the above to be wrong. I guess I should’ve known better.

In short, the article explains the eating and workout habits of Victoria Secret Angel, Adriana Lima.


I’ll just give you the highlights of her “training” routine:

– She sees a nutritionist, who has measured her body’s muscle mass, fat ratio and levels of water retention.

– He prescribes protein shakes, vitamins and supplements to keep her energy levels up during this “training period.”

– She drinks one gallon of water a day.

– For nine days before the show she will drink only protein shakes – no solids. The concoctions include powdered egg.

– Two days before the show she will abstain from the gallon of water a day, and “just drink normally.”

– 12 hours before the show she will stop drinking entirely.

In a related article, it took the already controversial topic one step further, comparing the model’s training plan to that of a marathon training plan. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any marathoners who would EVER run 26.2 miles on a liquid diet, and eventually with no water.

When my co-workers and I began talking about the article at work today, I couldn’t help but get upset. One of my (…male…) co-workers saw nothing wrong with the diet, and actually accused me of being “mean” for showing some disgust towards it. His argument was that it’s admirable for those girls to have such discipline to make their bodies look great– and…I didn’t speak to him for the rest of the day.

Perhaps the reason it affects me so much is because, last year, my sister suffered with an eating disorder. Though she ate solid food, she was eating food with very little calories. She was also working out, and she was losing weight fast. At one point, her resting heart rate was 40 BPM. That’s slow. According to her doctor, dangerously slow for an active teenage girl. So, my mom took her to an outpatient eating disorder clinic. Though her case was mild in comparison to the other kids at the clinic, those several months weren’t pretty. When a girl doesn’t have enough fat on her body, her hormones do funny things. This results in major mood swings, no period, hair loss, dry skin, and so on. Thankfully, my sister got help early on and is doing well today, but it’s something that my family will remember for a very long time. And that’s where my frustration sets in…

If my sister’s eating disorder consisted of working out once a day and eating solid foods, then what does that say about the models- who eat drink a liquid diet and workout twice a day? Although they may look beautiful and fit and “sexy” on the outside, we don’t know how they’re feeling on the inside.  For all we know, they are on their way to passing out as they walk down that runway. And that makes me sad.

I can’t blame them, but I do blame the industry. And that nutritionist who designed that crazy program. And our media and society- for making girls believe that the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel is “ideal.”


If an Angel has to starve herself to look like an Angel, then obviously it’s not natural.

I want you to read the full article and tell me what you think.

I am going to go eat some eggs. Scrambled. With cheese. Because if they’re not going to eat, I am.

Please, tell me what you think.

Am I overreacting?

14 Responses to “I Don’t Support Starvation Diets”

  1. Jess November 8, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    I totally agree…it is so sad they are forced to be miserable to look good. Seeing her gives girls cmopletley unrealistic expectations. I’d never look like that!

  2. Heidi Titus November 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    This is a great post! I agree with your assessment of the “nutritionist”. I am a Registered Dietitian, an expert in the field of nutrition. Any diet that restricts a food without cause or eliminates a food from the diet is not balanced. If anyone has questions about how they should eat – for weight gain, loss or health issues – they should seek the advice of a dietitian. And you’re not overreacting. Society perceives those models as the norm and women are expected to feel inadequate if they do not look like that. I applaud you for bringing this up and speaking out about it. I’m glad to hear your sister is doing better. She is one of few. I also applaud your choice of a meal – high in protein, vitamin A and D and calcium. 🙂

  3. peaceloveandoats November 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I get what they mean by comparing it to marathon training. It’s not like she eats like that all the time, just before the show. I’m not saying eating only protein shakes is healthy by any means, but I don’t think this is all that bad. First off, at least she has a nutritionist helping her, second, this is her job, so she has to take it seriously and lastly, she is just one of many, many models, so she shouldn’t represent all of them. Haha, and I probably drink a gallon of water, or more, a day! I completely understand being sensitive to this kind of behavior though with your sister’s experience, I just don’t think her pre-show diet is all that horrendous.

  4. Hollie @ Lolzthatswim(andRun) November 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Wow my housemate and I just got into a huge argument about this. That is ridiculous. I hadn’t read the rest of your blog but my eyes honed in to it compared to the marathon training guide and then you said the same thing (thank god). I can’t even imagine what those girls are thinking on the inside seriously.

  5. runyogarepeat November 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Oh, I completely agree with you! It’s crazy, and it’s sad that they feel like they have to do it to look good. It’s also sad that the nutritionist is supporting and encouraging that eating and exercise behavior. “Nutritionists” can be anyone. I am (probably) doing an internship with a dietitian that focuses on eating disorders next semester, and I’m really excited because it is such a unique field. Hope your sister is doing better now!

  6. Mallory @ It's Only Life After All November 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    i agree that it’s kind of insane, but the article doesn’t shock me by any means. they have “extreme” bodies and it only makes sense that they go to extreme measures to get them. if it’s what their career requires and they’re happy doing it, i can’t judge necessarily. as i always say, everyone has their reasons for doing things. with that said, it’s ridiculous that many of these women themselves refer to themselves as “curvy”. um… what? haha

  7. lactosefreelizzie November 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    emily…thank you.
    this is such a sad reality! women are so concerned about the way they look and frankly i think that its angelic to have curves and not look like Victoria secret models!
    this post is so eye opening!

  8. Natalie November 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    I was totally gonna blog about this too haha You beat me to the punch. You have a very personal tie to this, which would help you-know-who understand why this is not ok. Great thoughts 🙂

  9. Sruthi November 9, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    I totally agree with you. This is insane. What affects me is many men don’t find anything wrong with it. They only focus on the way these girls look and not on how healthy they are.

  10. IB March 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Nothing wrong with your take on this. I know quite a few men who do NOT think that very tall and stick thin is an ideal shape for women — but also know many men who conform to whatever the media pushes and praise how these girls look. Wow. And women are making themselves sick over this. Thanks for speaking out against it. I have a teenage daughter of healthy weight and this issue is important.

  11. Anna July 5, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    I’ve recently just stumbled upon your blog and I have to say I really like the title of it! Perfection isn’t happy…that’s so true! I would have to say the opposite too: Happy can be perfection! I love this post. To me, a big part of being healthy means living a life that you can maintain…happily! Thanks for posting this 🙂

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