Iskra Lawrence on Eating Disorders: "We Think 'Eating Disorder' and Immediately Go to a White Anorexic Woman"
Welcome to Deep Dives, a new Health video series where inspiring people talk about a health topic that's meaningful to them and share relatable stories around health and wellness. Watch Iskra Lawrence's Deep Dive above!
British model Iskra Lawrence, 30, wants us to change what comes to mind when we hear the term "eating disorder." Specifically, she wants people to know that anyone can struggle with an eating disorder—not just dangerously thin women who have anorexia. "We think of 'eating disorder' and immediately go to a white anorexic woman," Lawrence tells Health. "But that's not the case. Eating disorders have many different forms."
Lawrence's struggle with disordered eating started when she was a teenager trying to break into the modeling industry. "I was kind of thrown into this fashion world where I was pitted against other models and other women. It was purely based on appearance," says Lawrence, who has partnered with Activia to raise awareness about gut health and its impact on well-being. "That immediately made me very super focused on the outside, on the superficial things, especially on size."
This obsession with what size she was and how her body looked compared to other models took a toll on her mental and physical health. "I was a US [size] six, if that. Maybe a four," Lawrence explains. "And I was looking at myself in the mirror thinking that I was huge. Fighting against my own development into a woman at the time of those teenage years was so detrimental to my mental health. It was a constant battle."
In addition to the emotional turmoil, Lawrence recalls that at the time, she was so weak that she sometimes didn't have the energy to go to class, since she hadn't eaten enough food.
But as Lawrence's career progressed, she began to appreciate her body in its natural form. Motherhood also helped. After giving birth to her first child last year, she learned to love her body even more. "Definitely without a shadow of a doubt the fact that I was able to create a human—that just feels miraculous."
Watch the rest of Lawrence's deep dive in the video above.
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