An American model has revealed how her body changed under the pressure of fashion and her new, healthy transformation is amazing.
Liza Golden-Bhojwani was once voted into the Freshman model class of 2013 by Vogue – but her high fashion success came at a high price.
The international model, who now lives in India, was consuming just 500 calories a day and surviving off steamed edamame beans to walk shows at Paris Fashion week and be ‘the size I needed to be’.
The strain took its toll on the young woman, who was under a strict diet and exercise regime that led her to fainting spells.
Showing strength and independence, Liza decided to stick to her training but go it alone.
Years down the line, she has shared a transformation photograph with her Instagram followers, showing how healthy and happy she is now she has embraced her ‘true self’.
A little flashback Friday action for you. This caption will be long and won't fit, so if you'd like to read please find the rest in the comment section….The left side was me at the start of the peak of my career. My first proper fashion week where I was actually the size I needed to be. I was booking amazing shows that one never thinks they actually could, walking with girls who I once looked up to, it was a serious adrenaline rush…but after fainting one night in my apt whilst preparing one of my very low cal meals (I think it was 20 pieces of steamed edamame if I remember correctly), I called it quits with the diet and workout regime I was put on and decided I could do it on my own. I thought to myself, I can still be this thin, but I'll just eat a little more so I don't feel so horrible. Well, eating a little more turned into eating nearly a bag full of almonds, which then turned into eating full size meals, which then turned into a full blown binge. I was craving every single food you could imagine and I was giving in to every craving even though I knew this was such an important time in my career. I made it through NYFW okay, no one had noticed any weight gain, but by the time I had gotten the LFW I could see the pounds starting to show both in the mirror and on the measuring tape, but I kept quiet obviously not wanting to sabotage myself. I found myself going to the grocery store and picking up raw vegetables to try and make up for the near two week binge I had in NY, but I didn't see any weight coming off no matter how "healthy" I was eating and no matter how many workouts I fit in. MFW came and I knew I was bigger and by bigger I mean a 35.5in hip rather than the 34.5in hip I started with in NY, I played it cool and just pretended everything was normal. I did end up booking shows, Dolce & Gabbana being one of them. Which I afterwards received online criticism about my thighs looking fat…Anyways PFW came about, and I found it impossible to resist those chocolate croissants ? I went on many a casting with one exclusive option being on my schedule, but after meeting the client I knew the reason for me not nailing the gig, my size…
Liza recalled her desire to stay the size required by the fashion industry:
I thought to myself, I can still be this thin, but I’ll just eat a little more so I don’t feel so horrible.
Well, eating a little more turned into eating nearly a bag full of almonds, which then turned into eating full size meals, which then turned into a full blown binge. I was craving every single food you could imagine and I was giving in to every craving even though I knew this was such an important time in my career.
Liza walked New York Fashion week and London Fashion Week, explaining she ‘could see the pounds starting to show both in the mirror and on the measuring tape but I kept quiet obviously not wanting to sabotage myself.’
Having gained an inch around her waist, Liza managed to book shows for Milan Fashion Week where she walked the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk, where she received criticism online for looking ‘fat’.
By Paris Fashion Week, Liza ‘went on many a casting with one exclusive option being on my schedule, but after meeting the client I knew the reason for me not nailing the gig, my size…’
By the time the following season came around, Liza had gained and extra inch on her waist, becoming healthier and happier. She ‘had seriously just given up on my short lived high fashion career’, saying she ‘simply could not hack it’.
Liza recalled her devastation, saying:
I don’t know why of all people I was just unable to keep up with the diets and the regimes. I thought I was weak minded, I didn’t care enough, or maybe I just didn’t want it enough. I beat myself up for a long time, playing it over and over again in my head how I completely failed. So much was right there in front of me, and I just let it go because I could not let go of my worst enemy, FOOD.
Not one to give up, Liza decided to return to fashion and ‘get in shape again…but in a much healthier way.’
After ‘working her ass of in the gym’ and eating between 800 and 1200 calories a day, Liza was the fittest she’d even been, but, sadly, it wasn’t good enough for the high fashion industry.
Liza explained the emotional trauma, saying, ‘I was really in a bad state of mind, negative, depressed, overly emotional. I was miserable.’
After a little soul-searching back in India, Liza was refreshed and ready to work with her body to achieve her fashion dreams.
There are often times where you just feel like giving up and throwing the towel in, but you have to just keep pushing forward and believing in yourself even if you feel no one else does. You determine your future and your happiness. So don't give up now ?? #shineon #positivevibes #nevergiveup #bodypositive #effyourbeautystandards #lovetheskinyourein
I was struggling to lose weight again, and one day I just thought… why am I fighting against my body? Why don’t I just go in the same direction? Stop forcing my own agenda and just listen to my body. And that’s what I did, slowly slowly I was coming into my true body form. My natural self, not my forced self.
Liza has learned to love her body, ‘Not perfect, not show ready or VS ready, not the best, but it is mine and my soul is happy.’
She now models for so-called plus sized fashion brands – as well as those who don’t discriminate against or pigeon-hole women for their body shapes.
Liza works out five times a week, for her own happiness rather than to keep her career and she eats what she wants without guilt.
After a career-long struggle Liza has realised:
Maybe I wasn’t made to be on the covers of magazines and shooting the biggest and best brands, but I was made for a reason. I do deserve to be happy and feel fulfilled. We all do.
Liza’s story has been met with floods of support from other women who have experienced eating disorders, self-esteem issues, and who are everyday suffering the burden of influence from the narrow modern perception of beauty.
I can't believe that this time next week I will be in London, working. Last year this time, I had just gotten married and been enjoying all our wedding celebrations with friends. I never planned on starting to work again. I never thought I would be able to face the industry I had been in for so long, but felt I had failed at so incredibly. But then out of the blue one day, I found myself saying, "okay, this is it, you can do it again, focus, diet strictly, and workout like a beast so you can get that body back and get back to working." You know how it goes, it takes you 3+ months to get in shape, but takes you just a week to start losing that perfect muscle tone you have been working so hard on. It's quite frustrating. All I ever wanted was to be a naturally small girl. Naturally thin. The girls who were just BORN for this shit. They were born to fit in every damn thing perfectly. God how many years I wished that upon myself. But then I realised, that would never be me, I would never be the size 0-2 girl who can just be that way without having to slave away at it… I have come to terms with it and accepted it as you may have noticed in my previous posts. I have moved on from the obsession of fitting into the standard perfect model mould. And I have decided to make my own mould, my own shape, my own personal being. Again, I know I am not perfect. I am not perfect physically, mentally, or emotionally. I am really not sure WHO is. I have been through my trials and tribulations, where I really just lost hope in myself, life, and the world… But I would like to share with you that even the most broken and imperfect people can see the light at the end of the tunnel. One day, somehow, there is always hope for a positive outcome in each and every one of our lives. Photo credit: @thirdeyejedi #newbeginnings #positivevibes #loveyourself #riseabove #bodypositive #effyourbeautystandards #thisisme
Liza concluded, ‘Maybe I was made to share this story and spread the message of body love to all the women out there struggling.’
The model is breaking down the body barriers constructed by fashion – looking and feeling fantastic as she does.
Take a bow.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.