I spent a week eating, (not) drinking, and exercising like a Victoria’s Secret model – and it wasn’t nearly as painful I expected!
Last week London Fashion Week prompted supermodels and fashion icons to be flown in from all over the world, temporarily transforming our capital city into a surreal world of propaganda and making the everyday London-based woman feel second-class at best.
It was in a local coffee shop on my way into work that I found myself stood in line behind one such surreal goddess and could not help but overhear her order, “One tall Vanilla Latte and a Pain au Chocolat please.”
Now this small but unmistakably high calorie order came as a shock to me at 7.34am because it went against everything I had always assumed about supermodels – i.e. that their ‘super’ status depended upon the basic requirement that they do not consume anything that is not (what we would now refer to as) clean.
Needless to say I spent the rest of my day researching the diets and lifestyles of every Victoria Secret Model who had ever been subjected to interview and began to devise a good working plan of how I might go about living as an Angel myself. And after a week of steadfast dedication I can conclude that being an Angel isn’t nearly as sin-free as you might expect and is actually far from impossible to maintain.
So, let me share with you my week of model living and help to unearth some of Victoria’s divine secrets.
- Breakfast and Yoga
One of the most important and unbreakable rules of the model diet is don’t skip breakfast. It’s an age old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it seems that maybe there’s something in that after all. A huge number of the Victoria Angels whose lifestyles I scrutinised in my research for this challenge exercised before breakfast. Some days this exercise proved more vigorous than others: a gentle yoga session vs. a light morning jog or an invigorating boxing class. But eating before or after the work out seemed to me to be more down to personal preference than anything else. The most important thing to note in a models morning routine is that it always contains both these elements, ensuring a fully charged metabolism heading into the day.
What and how much to eat for breakfast is highly dependent on the intensity of your morning workout, a few yoga poses warranting a much lighter affair than your half-hour HIIT workout.
On Monday, I decided to start my week off with a bang, taking on a Jillian Michaels workout DVD, earning myself the most delicious breakfast combo of Giant Shredded Wheat with a banana, chopped walnuts and a dash of honey, topped off with skimmed milk aside a cup of coffee.
Due to my Tuesday mornings being slightly more demanding work-wise, I started the day with but a few gentle stretches courtesy of the Ballet Body app by Robert Brace. Following this then came half a melon and a smoothie made with frozen berries, ginger, an apple and a scoop of my favourite icelandic yoghurt, Skyr.
Day 3 began with a boot camp circuits class followed by baked banana and cinnamon oatmeal topped with blueberries. This recipe is as simple as it sounds, mashing a banana into 40g of rolled oats and microwaving with skimmed milk and a sprinkling of cinnamon, then setting it under the grill to crisp up and give you time to sort out the cafetiere.
Day 4 had a similar start to Day Two with a fruity combination of mango, pineapple, banana and strawberries for an exotic vitamin boost.
On Day 5 I had a long walk ahead of me, so although I may have ‘skipped’ any official workout, I still enjoyed a bowl of Giant Shredded with honey to set me up for my day.
On Day 6, I thought how better to start off the weekend than with a few lengths at the local pool to be rewarded by a delicious stack of pancakes. My pancakes were of course healthier than the usual kind but definitely didn’t lack flavour. For one serving simply blend half a cup of oats with a banana, an egg, and a dash of milk before frying as normal. Serve (of course) with a generous glug or two of maple syrup and some fresh berries for my favourite breakfast of the week.
Day 7 of course earned me a rest day – because, yes, even super models are allowed these! But that didn’t mean breakfast had to be boring. A refreshing blend of spinach, mango, pineapple and sweetened ginger gave me an emerald green smoothie as my final breakfast of the week.
Lunch for me was almost always on the go and so had to be prepared in advance. The rules for lunch are to keep it light, always relying heavily on a strong protein source with veggies and a wholegrain source of carbohydrate. The model will usually try to avoid stodgy foods like bread during the day but that is not a requirement for the everyday person who doesn’t need to squeeze into zero sizes for their afternoon shoot. A few examples of the meals I managed to have at home are pictured below.
From left to right: a delicious combination of avocado, smoked salmon and wholemeal bread with touch of greenery; the top right pictures my go-to source of protein, a poached egg on a bed of rocket with a side of toast (keeping things real). My favourite lunch which I would happily have every day – half an avocado (renowned superfood) on a wholemeal English muffin with freshly sliced tomato (bottom left). And lastly, yes sorry another egg, this time boiled with salad and a whole tin of tuna spiced with lemon and chilli.
Dinner. My favourite meal of the day and as a food lover it’s the one I spend much of my day forward thinking. Good news is that being on a model diet doesn’t limit your options in the slightest; in fact I discovered a whole range of foods that I would never normally have eaten!
Day 1 was sweet potato with mixed veggies and fresh steamed fish.
Day 2 and Day 3 were the same meal: a prawn stir-fry made with spiralized squash noodles and a light homemade soy and chilli sauce.
I tried a new grain on Day 4: Giant wholemeal cous-cous with a selection of my favourite veggies and some fresh white fish – very artistically arranged!
Day 5 I brought back the sweet potato which I roasted in the oven with sesame oil and had alongside prawns and veggies.
Day 6 and another new food was millet. Millet takes some time to prepare but its definitely worth it as an alternative to rice. This meal was made with avocado, mixed veggies and turkey with a simple lemon dressing.
And of course, Day 7 was my take on a roast. Roasted sweet potato, smoked haddock and some steamed veggies.
All of these meals were not only healthy and filling but also cheap and easy to make even for the average Angel.
One Final Note
A final note that I have taken from my model week of living is the importance of snacking. Snacking can help to keep your metabolism running smoothly throughout the day and stops you from getting so hungry that you overeat at meal times. Curb your hunger with natural cereal bars, low fat smoothies, fresh fruit, popcorn or even a cheeky line of dark chocolate to beat those sweet cravings!