Victoria’s Secret model Marisa Miller is on the cover of Women’s Health‘s first issue of 2012, catching readers’ attention so far with her tiny bikini and quotes about her “shy” personality. But what shocked me the most about her interview were her “diet tricks”; they read more like pro-ana tips than handy advice from a healthy woman. This is shocking, I know, given that Victoria’s Secret models are known first and foremost for their health. But seriously—even if she doesn’t realize how psychotic her weight management techniques sound, shouldn’t some editor at Women’s Health?
The formula for ladies’ health mag cover interview is that the girl must be: a) gorgeous and thin, b) does some combination of exercising and/or dieting, and is willing to spill the beans about it, and c) has some kind of flaw that makes her relatable (like, she has felt bad about her body before, or cheated on her husband… oh wait, no, that’s going too far). And in this, Women’s Health played by the rules: Miller obviously has a) down pat; she addresses c) in a series of quotes about how she’s “shy” and self-conscious, and she’s also got b) totally covered. Here’s what she has to say:
Sounds kooky, but she has a point: “Eating smart is all about having an awareness of your body. The most obvious way to do that is by seeing it. So when you’re trying to lose weight, spend more time wearing less. I don’t think I could eat a plate of nachos naked–could you?”
“Sounds kooky” is one way to put it. Personally, I think it sounds more like a pro-ana tip than a handy way to guide your eating towards healthy choices.
The rest of her advice, which involves cooking batches of brown rice or quinoa to eat with vegetables, or buying mini chocolates instead of “bad things” from Whole Foods for a less-caloric way to satisfy her cravings, is slightly more sane. But in general, the magazine is pushing some damaging ideas about weight and eating by publishing Miller’s gab.Not only are they sending the warped message that the most important thing about what you eat is how fat it will make you; if filling their magazine with photos of women who look just like Miller wasn’t enough, they’re also explicitly telling readers to curb hunger and cravings by feeling bad about our bodies.
Women’s Health publishes awesome fitness tutorials (which I’ve used and loved), nutrition plans, fashion editorials, and even well-researched articles about health. Hell, it was even one of their articles, years ago, that convinced me to march into my doctor’s office and do one of the best things I’ve ever done for my health: Ask for an IUD. So if they have the resources to do all that, why can’t isn’t anyone taking the time to realize that their cover girls are saying stuff that’s extremely damaging to what they supposedly put first: women’s health?
I’m sure models like Miller help their issues fly off the shelves, but its interviews like this that made me unsubscribe.