Former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm has apologised to her fans sharing "unhealthy" and "damaging" advice about her eating and exercise habits while battling body dysmorphia.
In a recent blog post, the 26-year-old wrote that in the past she thought the habits she shared on social media were healthy, but now realises she was "not a positive role model".
“For the record, I never did lie about what I ate. I always was truthful. But the amounts I ate were never enough. The part that gets me though is that I truly thought they were. When I claimed that I ate loads, I thought that I did.”
But in reality, the Aussie model was filling up on low calorie foods and working out for two to three hours a day.
"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. And I couldn’t calm down my anxiety until I had completed my training for the day. If I had a 5am call time, I would be in the gym at 3:30am. If my flight landed at 8pm, I would be in the gym at 9pm.”
Bridget says she stuck to an extreme diet and trained excessively because she would "look in the mirror and see someone who needed to lose weight", all the while continuing to promote her "healthy" lifestyle in the media.
“I definitely was aware of the dissonance between the reality of my life and the public persona I was putting out there.”
“When I would give interviews and discuss my eating habits I truly believed that eating predominately vegetables and protein shakes was ok. Obviously this is not ok. I am sorry for being so public about damaging eating habits.”
She said that her experience with body dysmorphia was "terrifying" but in her industry, she was certainly not alone.
“I have had countless conversations with fellow models, all of whom are tiny, where they call themselves fat."
When she made the decision to start eating properly again, Bridget says that she struggled at first.
"It was torturous. But as the weight came on, the anxiety quickly swelled to a deafening crescendo, and then began to slowly die out. Over consistent work and time I found myself actually liking what I saw in the mirror. Even though Bridget from 1.5 years ago would have been horrified that I had ‘left myself go’. 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."
Bridget says that she feels intense guilt about her previous recommendations and intends to use her platform as "mindfully as possible" from here on out.
"I am no longer hiding behind the veneer of “clean” eating. That word aggravates me. It is 2016 talk for disordered eating. It also means absolutely nothing. Beyond making sure my food isn’t contaminated with bacteria, clean eating is not a thing in my life."
If you are worried about yourself or someone in your care, the best thing you can do is talk to someone. Please contact the Butterfly Foundation 1800 33 4673 or chat online.