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news: model’s hunger for success leads to eating disorder

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Title/Topic: Model’s Hunger For Success Leads to Eating Disorder
Posted On: 10/9/2009
Oct 9 2009 ( – Holly Miyasaki reviews “Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves”, which tells the life story 23-year-old plus-size model Crystal Renn. Renn got her start as a teen when a scout spotted her at charm school, told her to lose nine inches from her waist, and said she could be a super model.

So Renn was determined, obsessively watching what she ate and exercising ceaselessly; trying to get her 5’8 body down to XXX* lbs.

Here she talks about the realization she’s met her goal after losing 42 per cent of her body weight:

“One night in the late spring of 2002, I stood naked in front of my full-length mirror, my feet together. I didn’t see that my inner wrists looked like pale blue birds’ wings you could crush with a breath. I didn’t see my concave chest. All I saw was the gap between my upper thighs. Finally, the gap. I felt the blood rush to my face. I was ecstatic.”

She was 16 years old.

The story follows her move to New York City where she lived in an apartment with other models, all trying to stay thin. She continued her downward spiral growing into a bony, hollow shell of who she had been.

Her typical daily diet was a breakfast consisting of steamed vegetables, fat free dressing and a stick of sugar-free gum; lunch consisted of a head of lettuce or steamed veggies, a protein shake, sugar-free Snapple, apple and a stick of gum; dinner was the same as breakfast; and snacks were sugar-free gum and two diet Cokes.

Those with eating disorders often have a distorted image of their own body and can’t see what the rest of the world sees. Bones jutting out. Hollow cheeks. Empty eyes.

Renn said she wanted to have a “lethal razor sharpness” people who she bumped into on the street would feel. At the same time, she was ignoring all the signs her body was turning on her: heart palpitations, hair falling out, skin turning grey, ringing in the ears, aching joints and more.

At the bottom of her lonely descent into her eating disorder she was spreading workouts between two gyms (so no one suspected her of being an exercise addict) working out eight hours a day on weekends and three hours a day during the week.

But she was gaining weight, and she couldn’t explain it. Looking back, Renn suspects it was just due to nature and normal changes in her body. But the modelling agency which represented her kept demanding she lose weight. “I hit XXX* pounds. For a model I might as well have been XXX.”

She said she walked around in a fog, “The stereotype of models is that we’re brain-dead, but some of us are just starving.”

I found this book really eye-opening. Not only does Renn open her heart and tell her deepest darkest secrets, but she also supports a lot of her statements with scientific evidence.

She suggests that genes are the deciding factor in what weight our body wants and needs to be at: “Adopted kids grow up to be the same approximate size as their biological parents, not their adoptive parents.”

She also mentions a study done by researcher Ethan Sims at the University of Vermont. Sims tried to make thin mice fat through force feeding. They gained weight but their metabolism also sped up and gained much less than the amount of food they were eating. As soon as he stopped the force feeding, they lost the weight. He also did the test on humans with similar results.

To read the entire review, go to:…


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