Overcoming FOOD ANXIETY
By: Brittany Carel
"I converted my obsession with being thin to being obsessed with being healthy. "
Firstly I’d like to say welcome to my first official blog post, if you don’t count the Tumblr days. I thought to kick off the first blog post about my relationship with food. I honestly find it ironic that I would have a food blog especially while working in the modeling industry. Granted, times are changing and brands are finally being more inclusive to all body sizes. My parents were models, that’s actually how they met, while working on a job together. With two parents in the industry I was automatically recruited. I remember going to places like Jamacia and taking a lot of cruises growing up, little did I know that they weren’t vacations just another day on the job. Jokes on me right. As I got older (aka starting puberty) which is inevitably everyone’s awkward stage I took a break from the modeling life. Now I know what you might be thinking, “oh boo-hoo your parents were models and you got to travel, poor you.” Think again, starting when I was a pre-teen all the way up to high school. Whenever my dad would catch me eating a hamburger, sandwich, french fries or drinking a soda he would say “Brittany you’re not going to like your body when you’re older.” I would just ignore him because I was a 16-year-old girl that just wanted to eat like everyone else, not hear a lecture. Now you’re probably thinking “Well, Brittany he’s just looking out for you.” Possibly, but if you know how models are they are just as vain as you expect. So after being verbally tormented after every attempt to reach for a snack, I eventually hit your limit of body shamming comments, especially from your own dad.
By 2015 I finished going through my awkward puberty years so I decided to get back in the game, except things were different now. I was no longer a cute kid but a 19-year-old girl, measuring at a solid 5’5 at the time with a square muscular build. Not ideal model specs. However what I did have were genetics, experience, and contacts. My dad arranged a meeting with his long time friend and agent Betty in Miami, she saw the potential in me now as a young adult and agreed to sign me. I was officially a signed agency represented model. Yippie. I was being sent to castings for brands like Carnival Cruise Line , Colgate, and Nike which evolved into a whirlwind of emotions. Imagine entering a room with 20-30 other girls that look just like you, except some where thinner, taller, some had bigger boobs. Basically you got to meet the hotter version of yourself. How fun, not…
“you don’t have to be skinny to be successful.”
I started comparing myself to others more than ever, even to girls that had a completely different body type than me. I became obsessed with trying to morph myself into that size 00 frame, little did I know that it’s physically impossible. The worst part is my negative and envious energy repelled bookings and castings. I carried this dark horrid attitude that I would try to conceal in the casting room, but the moment I left I blamed my muscular quads or square shape body for not booking it, when in reality it was all in my head. As a naive 20-year-old I never accepted that people some in different shapes and sizes. If I could go back and revisit my younger self now I’d tell her “listen girl, every human being is born with their own body shape. Sure you can workout to tone and build muscle, but to obsess over having a different genetic makeup from someone else is insanity.” Unfortunately I carried these toxic mindset all the way into 2019, yeah I know. I finally woke up and realized that you don’t have to be skinny to be successful.
If you’ve never experienced body dysmorphia (which I hope none of you have) it’s when you absolutely cannot stop obsessing over perceived flaws in your appearance. Which is 100% the most exhausting thing mentally and physically that I’ve ever experienced. I would restrict my eating through out the day and especially groups to perceive myself as “the model.” Until when I would get home I would binge eat everything insight, sleep with an upset stomach full of shame, wake up and do it all over again. So rather than starving myself and shaming my body for not looking like what I thought I was supposed to look like I flipped my perspective to “alright I’m tired of this endless self shame lifestyle. So how can I end this, how can I become happier/healthier mentally and physically.” I converted my obsession with being thin to being obsessed with being healthy. Now this was fun until I realized that what I thought was the end of one mental problem was the start of another, Orthorexia. Which is the obsession with “healthful” eating, compulsive checking of ingredients and nutritional labels. Cutting out a number of food groups like “cutting out all sugar, all meat, all diary, eating absolutely no carbs.” This went on until I was recruited for Worst Cooks In America on Food Network towards the middle/end of 2018, where I literally had no choice to but to cook with and eat butter, sugar, flour, etc. Talk about a blessing in disguise because that show is what helped me overcome all my food anxieties. I was finally free to eat what my body needed and accepted that not all people look the same. Once I accepted that truth I started noticing how many full figured, curvy, unique looking models were gracing the covers of magazines, billboards and booked to work with top brands. This was also around when Sports Illustrated was promoting curvier girls which really inspired me, especially from growing up idolizing stick thin Victoria Secret Angels.
Once I accepted that my body was already beautiful and showed gratitude towards my body was I finally released from all my food-related anxiety. Our bodies are incredible, we don’t even realize what it’s doing for us every second of the day. Breathing, producing blood cells, digesting, comprehending, the list goes on. We need to cherish our bodies, not destroy it with trying to be thin.
I remember asking myself.. would I rather be skinny/starving or be able to cook meals with my friends and future family. Coming from a family who choose being skinny I decided to take the other route.
To create recipes, teach myself how to cook wholesome meals, then to share what I learned along the way. With that being said, welcome to Food Crush.