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Here I give a short description about what I learnt over the years on my long road to recovery from depression about what works for me. Some of it may help you if you or anyone you know suffers from any mental health issues. I really hope it can help in some small way xx

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All young people especially during their teenage years go through periods of insecurity. Most of us carry a lot of these issues with us into our adult years affecting our relationships and even our parenting. Through media and our circle of friends it’s easy to become obsessed with our body image often creating unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others.

This can lead to taking shorts cuts (of which there are none in life) and either avoiding food, over exercising or taking extreme measures, which can potentially lead to serious illnesses such as bulimia and anorexia.

Having been a model for 21 years there is absolutely nothing I haven’t seen. During my time in Paris I witnessed horrific things going on between agencies and their models especially if they were big earners. Greed and exploitation play a big part in this. I have witnessed girls lose their lives in a bid to be a model and live their dream. These dreams can often turn to nightmares. Gisele once said that she is predisposed genetically to being a model. She has a naturally thin body type. If you are not she said you shouldn’t be doing the job as it will only make you miserable. She caused a lot of controversy with this statement but I agree with her because it’s not right to go to work miserable and have to starve yourself and suffer to do any job.

However I also had many friends at home struggling with eating disorders who were not in my industry but had a strong desire to be thin as thin=beautiful in most young peoples eyes. We are sold this image constantly and consistently even our subconscious is constantly absorbing images from the media which affects are way of thinking.

We should be educating our children from Pre School in an age appropriate manner about health and wellbeing. Encouraging them to exercise, eat fresh food and have fun. We need to start rearing our children with confidence. If there is a mum at home constantly dieting and talking about her weight in a negative fashion that will be overheard by her children and have an impact on their relationship with food.They could then take that opinion to school and share it with friends, so everyone needs to take responsibility. I have often heard very young kids talk about their mum having a different dinner from them or mums not eating as she’s on a diet.

We need to instill good habits early on.

No ones body is the same and no one can look exactly like someone else but by living healthy and eating well you can be the best you that there is. Living healthy will also increase your confidence and help you to feel better.

I am very lucky and have always been naturally thin. I never had to work at it for the first 12 -15 years of my career but I have lived through incredibly insecure times and when work dipped and I felt sad I used all sorts of escapisms including over eating, diet pills, no food and excessive exercise I WAS COMPLETELY MISERABLE THROUGHOUT THESE TIMES!!!! All I did when I began modeling was sit back stage and smoke and drink coffee (because I was supercool of course). Young people need to understand that happiness and contentment come from pursuing your life’s passion’s and treating both yourself and your body well because as I always say:

“WHAT YOU FEED YOURSELF AND HOW YOU TREAT YOURSELF WILL DIRECTLY REFLECT HOW YOU LOOK AND FEEL”

At 36 I now realise that keeping fit and healthy is hard work and I work hard at it now. Yes its a pain in the ass sometimes but when I go the extra mile, exercise and eat right my mental health improves which in turn improves quality of life both for me and those I love.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please comment below

Thanks Ali xxxx

WATCH THE SEGMENT HERE ON TV3 CATCH UP:

http://www.tv3.ie/3player/show/184/82643/1/Ireland-AM

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Travelling all the time wreaks havoc with your skin, immune system and energy levels. Recirculated air on planes is no good for anyone but for the life of a model this is part and parcel of our job. The most important thing to do is keep hydrated at all times especially when you’re flying. I find coconut water great as it contains more potassium than bananas and is high in chloride, magnesium and other vital minerals our body needs to hydrate and re-energize. It also helps maintain proper body temperature, which can be great for travelling to climates that you’re not used too.

 

Potassium is an essential life mineral, necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally. Most people who eat a healthy diet would get enough naturally but unfortunately in our modern world, fast food, alcohol, smoking, eating disorders, birth control pills and physically demanding jobs deplete us of this essential mineral. Running around and very often skipping meals in this modern fast paced world means we need to go that extra mile and think about our health.  I always carry one in my bag when that sluggish hour of the day rears its ugly head. Small changes make a big difference. Switch one coffee for a coconut every day for a week and see how you feel?