Between the ages of 17 and 25, model Bridget Malcolm often lost her period from excessive diet and exercise.
The Australian , 26, said that she undernourished her body because of pressure from the industry to slim down, as well as her own struggles with disordered eating.
“Losing my period was always such a thrill for me, it meant my destructive habits were working and I was really actually skinny,” Malcolm wrote in a new post on her blog. “Funnily enough whenever I was that small I was never skinny enough for myself. I always had more weight to lose, and was so anxious and depressed about my perceived fatness. Body dysmorphia is really a bitch.”
Malcolm said that she would try to hide it, and would even give advice to her readers that she herself wasn’t following.
“People would write in and ask for guidance here, and I would give them logical advice — eat a little more, eat more fat and cut the cardio. Definitely hypocritical of me,” she said. “Because the truth is, I lose my period whenever my hips get below 34.5. So honestly — from the age of 17 to 26 I lost my period around two to six months out of the year.”
Over the past year, Malcolm has been working on her mental health and quit dieting for good. She consumed healthy fats and limited her exercise to yoga and walking. Slowly her period returned.
“Regaining it is strangely bittersweet,” she said. “It would always leave me feeling thankful that I am giving my bones a chance to restore health and my body a chance to carry a baby again — but also that evil voice in me would try to tell me that I had ‘failed.’ ”
The journey has not been easy for Malcolm. In August 2017 she was trying to regain her period without success, and it took someone criticizing her body to make her commit more fully to her health.
“I was nearly back at the size I was the year before, and had skipped my period again,” she said. “When I was told that my body wasn’t looking good enough, something snapped. Enough was enough. I made a vow to myself to allow my body to reach its natural, healthy size. I would eat healthily, eat well, and eat enough. I would exercise to add to my life. And if there was a place for me in the industry after all that, fantastic. So far, so good.”
Malcolm said that in September she’ll have gone a full year without losing her period since age 16, and she is excited to celebrate. “This is a big deal for me,” she said.
And the Victoria’s Secret model added that losing your period is incredibly common among models — a standard she wants to change.
“My message here is for diversity,” Malcolm said. “No woman should look in a catalogue, or on a billboard, or in a magazine and see a young girl who is unwell. Who’s body has shut down from starvation, all in an attempt to fit someone else’s twisted idea of what beauty is.”