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April 30, 2007

My 11-Grape Diet: A Model Confesses

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I did the reverse. Toward the mid-'90s, I was ready, even excited, to move on to other careers. But my uphill battle with food wasn't over. Once relieved of trying to be an impossible size, my policy became, "Say yes to everything," like a naughty girl bolting out of convent school. As trays went by, I crash-tackled waiters and partied on booze and cocktail canapés. I ate for revenge, comfort, and company; the cheese platter was my idea of a stable relationship. After all those years of deprivation, my body threw its own Mardi Gras: Instead of being thinner than everybody else, I went bigger. Not that I enjoyed it — I just tossed it all down.

The only real silver bullet was the discovery of my "happy weight" many cities and years later, back home in Sydney: swimming, bush-walking, playing with my son — happy and in love. While I focused on other things, my body naturally stabilized at exactly where it's meant to be: size 12. And I have come to relish my big ol' womanly curves.

There is such a thing as a healthy model — a girl who got dealt the thin card. But as sunken-cheeked chic creates an undertow that drags regular-shaped women into a losing battle only models used to have to fight, I believe a mantra of self-acceptance needs to be put out there. Once you make peace with who you naturally are, life is an incredible feast.

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