Author of The SimplyRaw Kitchen, Natasha Kyssa presents Let Food Be Thy Medicine at TEDxOttawa…
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Let Food Be Thy Medicine by Natasha Kyssa at TEDxOttawa
25 years, exactly half my life ago, I looked a very different world. It had its exciting moments: jet-setting around the world; globetrotting between Tokyo and New York City, London, Munich and so on; working on location in exotic, faraway lands, and getting paid ridiculous amounts of money to look good and wear the latest fashion; and, of course, the socializing, hobnobbing with artists, musicians, actors, eccentric barons and other beautiful people; living the glamorous life. It’s every girl and her mother’s dream, right?
But modeling came with a price, a personal price. Did you know that the average model weighs 23% less than the average woman? Or that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses? The pressures to look thin, young, and beautiful, having to lie about our age and weight at auditions, “cattle calls” we called them. Fresh stock lining up in front of middle-aged clients, mostly men. Our portfolios scrutinized, our bodies ripped apart with criticism as if our feelings didn’t count. As if – and of course, being told to lose those 10 pounds, day after day after day.
Living — on black coffee, sugarless gum, strong cigarettes, uppers, and other stimulants, including the occasional line of cocaine in the dressing room, desperate to squeeze into that model sample size — that’s a size 0, ladies. And before I knew what hit, I was catapulted into a less glamorous place, one filled with loneliness, depression and shame, anorexia and bulimia, as if one eating disorder wasn’t complex enough. Oscillating between starving myself for months at a time, hmm, until I hit 85 pounds and then, of course, the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction, bingeing completely and utterly out of control.
And if it wasn’t for the handfuls of laxatives and the use for my middle finger thrust down my throat to purge the copious amounts of food, the anger — hmm — and humiliation I had stuffed down, I would have been obese. But I was too vain for that.