The recent Victoria’s Secret runaway show fuelled criticism from plus-size models, calling VS models unrepresentative of ‘real women.’ Newspaper columnists have argued that their models undergo starvation and obsessive training, thus selling a dangerous fantasy to the public. I wanted to see how challenging emulating a VS meal plan was and what effects it would have on me over five days. The meals I found are from the blogs of Romee Strijd and interviews with Stella Maxwell.
I woke up feeling excited to get started. As I’m not an avid water drinker, the goal of a gallon a day seemed an impossible feat. For breakfast, I had an egg-white omelette with spinach and black coffee. Dairy is banned. Lunch was quinoa and roasted vegetables, and dinner sea bass with mixed vegetables. It was surprisingly filling but avoiding habitual snacking was difficult.
I began the day with black coffee and poached egg on a rice cake. While lacking excitement it was surprisingly tasty and satisfying. Lunch and dinner included meat or fish with vegetables. Strangely I felt unsociable during my challenge, such as when my flatmates were watching a film and I felt I couldn’t join in. I couldn’t eat three hours before bed and had to sleep at a certain time. I went to bed feeling full (most likely due to the amount of water I was consuming) but not uncomfortable or with my usual feelings of guilt due to my typical unhealthy eating choices.
Breakfast consisted of grapes, apple and oats with another black coffee. Afterwards, I still felt hungry. Lunch was another poached egg on a rice cake; however, by 4 pm I was so hungry I couldn’t focus on my work. I kept watching the time wondering how much longer I could wait until I could eat. For this reason, I had an early dinner of chicken breast, roasted peppers and lots of vegetables. Friday night was difficult as I wasn’t allowed to drink any alcohol. As I refrained from going out clubbing, I began to get a sense of how isolating this meal plan was.
I can see why VS models are always drinking water as it becomes addictive. I woke up so thirsty. Food was becoming a little repetitive mainly because I couldn’t afford to have much variety. I also felt tired due to a lack of carbs. Breakfast was a fruit bowl, lunch an egg-white omelette and for dinner, I had chicken breast with salad. At this point, I was drinking black coffee three times a day. The novelty of the challenge had worn off and I missed the liberty of eating whenever.
I woke up and decided to have my favourite VS breakfast – poached egg on a rice cake alongside a banana. I will definitely incorporate these meals into my regular diet. Vegetables had been filling me up for five days and I didn’t feel sluggish as I would after heavier foods. Having said this, I was looking forward to having cheese back again. I think VS models do enjoy a good diet, however, the restrictions on their eating habits verge on the extreme with cutting whole food groups out.
By the end of these five days, I have found some real benefits from the VS meal plan, the most prominent being the importance of water. My mornings were energised, and I felt good about my eating habits. The meals were also not as plain as I was expecting; I thought I would really miss my carbs at dinner, but I was happy to be without. However, there are clearly some serious issues with the meal plan. Even though I craved food less and less, when I did, I couldn’t focus until I was able to eat again. It was also the most anti-social I have felt. These five days have been eye-opening to the dedication of VS models. While I agree that their diet is highly restricted and verge on becoming obsessive, there are some key lessons which can be taken from it. Overall, it is most important to listen to your body and do what works best for you.
Image: Alpha via Flickr