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November 14, 2011  | by: Kristine Hoang

Would you go on an all-liquid diet to look like Adriana Lima? I’m pretty sure some of us would love to look like her, but an all-liquid diet – that sounds grueling (and just not fun).

Last week, news broke out before the long-anticipated Victoria’s Secret show that 30-year-old VS walker Adriana Lima goes on an all-liquid diet nine days before the show and stops drinking water 12 hours prior, in order to purge water weight. During her diet, the model gulps down protein shakes of egg power and a gallon of water daily.

Lima told E! News last Wednesday that she has an “athlete’s mind,” claiming that the way VS models prepare for the runway is similar to the way athletes prepare for their sport. Fellow VS walker Abbey Lee Kershaw has made a similar statement in the past, comparing a model’s job to a body builder’s.  Lima says that ‘extreme’ diets are only an occasional venture for her, implying that she becomes ‘normal’ again year-round.  On top of the diet, Lima also exercised twice a day weeks before the show.

Lima in VS 2010-2011 Fashion Show

In an age where extremely thin has become the ‘it’ look in fashion and the practices of crazy and sometimes desperate diets a norm, it’s no wonder that Lima’s liquid diet blew up into such a hot topic. Knowing the degree to which fashion ads and magazines can influence young girls, fashion’s current ‘it’ look is, understandably, controversial (and in turn, the regiments that come along with it). Remember Ali Michael? She was gorgeous (those brows!), but fashion critics said her legs were “too fat.” Remember when former supermodels Tyra Banks and Gemma Ward gained a little bit of weight? Their new bodies became headline news, and both were subject to short-lived, yet vivacious, eras of harsh criticism.  To add to the list, fashion personality and former-model Alexa Chung has openly stated that modeling had made her especially self-conscious. As much as I know how important models are to the fashion industry, I will say bluntly that it can be an extremely superficial, and brutal, business.

An extreme though temporary diet might be ‘understandable’ for someone whose job is to look sexy, but normal girls – who aren’t being paid to maintain a certain look – might forget that. With the prevalence of sexy women showing off their abs on ads, it’s easy to forget that being human – and embracing a unique beauty rather than conforming to a ‘perfect’ ideal – is perfectly okay. The pressure of looking ‘perfect’ – which is actually the industry’s concocted idea of ‘perfect’ – becomes real to young girls and women alike, and looking beautiful beyond human capacity, without any kind of compromise, becomes an unrealistic reach.  But, could normal ladies be blamed? Knowing how influential the fashion industry is, I don’t think so.

For young girls who idolize a Victoria’s Secret body (the younger me is guilty of this too, I admit), trying to do whatever it takes to look like Adriana or Gisele can mean dangerous and damaging effects. Not only is it psychologically straining to put so much work into looking like someone else (exercise, make-up, and hairstyle can only do so much), it’s also mentally destructive to set a standard for ourselves that says we’ll never be good enough.

It’s also physically straining.  As a consequence of such a low calorie intake, the all-liquid diet may induce initial feelings of sluggishness and fatigue. What’s more, nutritionists state that the diet is only safe for people who are at least 40 pounds overweight. Even someone who is mildly overweight could acquire heart problems and organ damage from it, since they’ll mostly be losing muscle mass, not body fat.

I’m pretty sure that Adriana Lima is anything but 40 pounds overweight.

My suggestion? I’m no nutritionist, but as far as I know, the best way to be healthy is to diet and exercise moderately, and with good intentions. Because when people can accept themselves, they’re already hotter than any VS body. You don’t need an elaborate, pink-lit runway to prove it, either.

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