Robyn Lawley image via her Instagram.
I recently had some of my friends go help out at a ‘fat camp’ in America. They are plus models like myself and one of them was telling me about the experience she had there. The girls that were doing the camp were 12-19 years old and some were there because their parents sent them, while others had chosen to go.
At these camps they have ‘diet food’. They restrict campers’ calorie intake and they make these girls exercise all day every day. I hate diet food. Anything labelled ‘fat free’, or ‘diet’ is filled with chemicals, not nutrition. That’s not food. I believe in eating fresh, organic food.
Crash dieting on a camp is not a sustainable way to change unhealthy habits, because when you are no longer in that controlled environment it’s impossible to keep it up. Then after two months you’re sent home. It’s so hard not to rebound after that kind of structured, forced experience.
Parents are thinking they are helping the kid, but sending a 12 year old girl to a fat camp is going to bring on so many issues for her. I could never send a child to a fat camp, it’s such a shitty way to go about it. I can’t believe they even exist.
And then my friend told me something that I thought it was really scary and sad – after she told the girls how much she loved her body they all expressed that they’ve never in their lives felt that way and couldn’t imagine it. The girls all said none of them had ever felt like it was ok to be the size they were or that it was ok to be happy at any size other than “thin”.
My biggest aim in my career is to help younger women feel more secure in the body they are in right now. It’s something I feel so strongly about and I’m proud to be working with Pantene because their #shinestrong campaign is something I want to be a part of.
I was so heartbroken to hear how these girls felt about their bodies. Young girls are so impressionable and they’re learning at such a young age to hate their bodies. I’m so passionate about promoting, discussing body diversity. I believe we need to see so many more different shapes and sizes and bodies in the media, so all women can see that it’s okay to live in your own skin. No one is going to have the same body size, it’s impossible and we all have such huge variations.
These girls have a rigid idea of what an aspirational body is and it’s very skinny and slim and they aren’t being taught that it’s not the only way to be happy.
My version of shining strong as a woman is putting happiness as your number one priority. By putting your happiness first, you will find good things follow. You can’t properly take care of your health if you’re unhappy and hating yourself every moment of the day. I want to teach women that they can be curvy, healthy and happy.
What do you think about the idea of 'fat camp'?