At the peak of her modelling career, Liza Golden-Bhojwani lived off low-calorie meals and worked out religiously.
While the modelling jobs were flying in left, right and centre, it was proving costly to her health and happiness, and after fainting one evening while preparing a meal of 20 steamed edamame pieces, she knew something had to give.
Since that day, Golden-Bhojwani has been on a journey of self-love, coming to terms with the natural curves that she tried to keep at bay for so long.
While she initially lost modelling jobs because of her weight gain, she is far happier and healthier now than she’s ever been. So much so that the model, who lives in India, spreads messages of body positivity on an almost daily basis to her 38,000 Instagram followers.
Golden-Bhojwani shared a before and after photo of herself: the photo on the left was taken a few years back at the peak of her career, while the one on the right was taken recently.
She said that after she gave up the arduous diets and workouts, after she fainted in her apartment, she craved food to the point where she’d binge-eat.
“I was craving every single food you could imagine and I was giving in to every craving even though I knew this was such an important time in my career,” she wrote in her Instagram caption.
She was chosen to walk at New York Fashion Week, as her weight gain wasn’t noticeable at this point, but when London Fashion Week came around, she realised that her body was rapidly changing before her eyes.
“I could see the pounds starting to show both in the mirror and on the measuring tape, but I kept quiet obviously not wanting to sabotage myself,” she explained.
“I found myself going to the grocery store and picking up raw vegetables to try and make up for the near two-week binge I had in New York, but I didn’t see any weight coming off no matter how ‘healthy’ I was eating and no matter how many workouts I fitted in.”
By the time Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week came around, she had gained more weight - and the industry wasn’t responding kindly. She even received online criticism due to the size of her thighs.
“Needless to say I had a successful show season, but I certainly didn’t conquer to my full potential due to my weight gain,” she recalled.
It was then that Golden-Bhojwani went off the radar. After some soul-searching in India, she met her now-husband and realised that she should try and conquer the fashion world again - but without feeling forced to lose weight. As she calls it: “My natural self, not my forced self.”
“One day I just thought... why am I fighting against my body? Why don’t I just go in the same direction? Stop forcing my own agenda and just listen to my body. And that’s what I did,” she said.
“The picture on the right is me as of right now, my body as it is. Not perfect, not show ready or VS (Victoria’s Secret) ready, not the best, but it is mine and my soul is happy...Maybe I wasn’t made to be on the covers of magazines and shooting the biggest and best brands, but I was made for a reason. I do deserve to be happy and feel fulfilled. We all do.”
Golden-Bhojwani regularly shares photos of her body - often unedited - with body positive hashtags such as #effyourbeautystandards, made popular by model Tess Holliday.
In a separate Instagram post, she wrote: “I am the healthiest and strongest I have ever been. And that is all I care about.”