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QUESTION: I'm 17, 5'9", size 2, and weigh 136, with a waist of 27 inches and hips 37 inches. I'm getting ready to sign with a modeling agency but I have to go through an evaluation first. They prefer, not required though, for girls to have a 26 inch waist and 35 inch hips at the very most. I'm obviously over that and most of the other girls are wayyy below that, which makes me nervous and insecure. My measurements aren't that big of a deal, but since I'm over the normal measurements, I will probably have to do print and commercial, instead of runway which is what I really want to do! I'm thinking my height might save me but still, I'd rather be safe than sorry. The evaluation is in 2 weeks and I need to know any exercises, diets, etc. that I can do to get down to a 26 inch waist and 35 inch hips by then. I had to do a photoshoot awhile back and wanted to look slimmer so I took laxatives for a week and lost 3 pounds. I found out that using laxatives for weight loss is bad for you but I'm wondering if it'll be okay for just this one time then after my evaluation, I'll get on a legit diet? Also, are there any good workouts for getting a bigger thigh gap? Sorry if this sounds pretty pathetic, but modeling is really important to me.

ANSWER: Hi Jasmine,
First and foremost I'm going to tell you something you probably already know and maybe don't want to hear, but don't get overwhelmed with your looks, sizes, weight, etc. And don't try to compare to any other models. In the entertainment industry (which includes modeling) you never want to aspire to be like anyone else because you'll forever be in their shadow.
I totally understand the entertainment/modeling industry and what its expectations are. I've been a writer and filmmaker for over 17 years and have worked with lots of actors and models.
All I'm saying is don't let the industry tear you down, its VERY good at that. An inch here and there really is trivial. I get that the modeling industry takes it serious, just don't let it consume you or get you down. Now more than ever there is a place for everyone. The industry is a lot more diverse than it was 20 or even 10 years ago.
I don't mean to preach but I just feel it needs to be said.

As far as weight and measurements go you're pretty well in a good range. However I get that agencies want certain sizes. You have to keep in mind that you're only 17 so your body is still developing. You want to be very careful with what you do during this time because you don't want to do anything that can be bad for the development of the endocrine system and such (am I boring you yet?)
The main thing comes down to what you eat. Avoid fast food and processed foods. In fact avoid most restaurant food. Cooking for your self or having someone cook for you is the best way to get lean or maintain. Focus your diet on things like lean sources of protein (chicken breast, lean beef) or things like eggs and protein powder.
Avoid sugar and processed carbs. Processed carbs are things like white bread, white rice, pasta. Stick with whole grain carb sources like whole wheat flour, oats, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta. Also fibrous vegetables like broccoli, spinach, asparagus.
And don't neglect fat. Good sources of fat like those from olive oil, avocado, almonds, and fish like salmon are very important. These types of fats actually help you get lean and keep you from feeling over hungry.

The best way to eat is every three hours. Try to eat 5-6 meals a day.
So you might have a breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. All of these meals are spaced 2-3 hours apart. This way of eating keeps your metabolism primed and working.
And as the day goes on try to avoid starch. Starch is foods like bread and potatoes. After lunch try to keep your carb sources to vegetables.
Also drink plenty of water everyday. Try for 1/2 a gallon a day. This keeps your body hydrates, flushes out bad stuff, and is actually good for your skin and such since you are a model.
DO NOT skip meals thinking it will help you lose weight. You're already pretty lean so your body needs to eat. Skipping meals causes your metabolism to slow down and the body responds to this by storing excess fat. Think of your metabolism like a camp fire. It you never put more logs on it the fire slowly burns out and is ineffective. You need to keep putting a log on (food) to keep the fire raging.

And please avoid taking laxatives. They do way more bad than good. That 3 pounds you lost by using them was just water weight. There are safe ways to reduce water in the body but its a very detailed process and usually reserved for fitness competitors. I cut water for a fitness contest in December, but it was a 7 day process. There are no safe quick fixes. Its not something that should be done on a regular basis either, especially by using laxatives.

Try to exercise 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. Combine resistance training with cardio. Contrary to what most women and some men think, females should lift weights. Women are not as able to bulk as easy as men, so lifting moderate weight will help women look lean and defined. The more lean muscle you can develop, the leaner your body will look as long as your diet is on point. In fact go online and check out Nicole Moneer Guerrero. She is a perfect example of what weight training can do for women. I know Nicole personally and she trains pretty intense. You can see by looking at her that despite weight training, she is not at all bulky or over muscular. She is even a former NBA cheerleader.
Start off by doing 15 minutes of resistance training. You can use light weight or even body weight. Follow this with 15 minutes of cardio. Running, swimming, biking, etc. are all great.
Do this for 2 weeks then increase each to 20 minutes for a total of 40. After 2 weeks add another 10 minutes to each for a total of one hour.

Finally regarding your concern of a thigh gap. You're going to hate me for this but its impossible. Some women will have a greater gap than others, but its 100% genetics and impossible to change. And in reality all photos you see are altered to make the gap appear bigger. If you really look close it doesn't even look real.
In fact check out this video http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/americas-dangerous-new-diet-trend-achieving-thig
This article though shows you some good exercises for women to help tone the thigh area http://www.fitnessrxwomen.com/life-health/jaime-baird/buns-thighs/

Hopefully this information helps you. Again it wasn't my intent to come off as preachy. However I've been around the entertainment industry as well as actors and models enough to know how the industry can be. Don't let it get you down or make you feel insecure about yourself.




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I neglected to mention this in my original question but I don't have a gym membership, nor weights, nor a pool, etc. The only thing I have is a treadmil at my house. Based off of that, is just using the treadmill enough for me to lose weight? Also, most foods considered healthy are expensive and I'm a broke college student, as cliche as it sounds, so where can I get reasonably priced healthy foods? Also, sorry for all the questions, let's say I didn't lose any weight, am I considered healthy or fat? I know you're not a doctor or anything, but I was just wondering because even my family members are saying I'm getting really big (I used to be a size 0 but am now a 2). Lastly, I know you specifically said taking laxatives for weight loss is bad, but my evaluation is in 2 weeks and I desperately need results, is doing it one last time okay? Thanks for your time and help btw!

Answer
Hey Jasmine, sorry for the late response.
I get that you don't have the gym membership or access to a lot of money for food.
The thing is you don't need a gym. First and foremost you can do body weight exercises like pushups, dips, crunches. My whole approach to fitness is guerilla fitness. Much like guerilla warfare, you use what you have available to you and do irregular and unorthodox methods to advance.
If you can't do regular pushups then start on your knees. If you can only do 4 today, try to do 5, then 6, then more.
Also look for stuff that offers resistance. For instance a gallon of liquid equals 8 pounds. That's an easy homemade dumbbell.
You can also run outside or on a community track. If you don't want to leave the house you can even do Tabata  boxing drills http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/what-is-tabata-training or HIIT cardio. I don't belong to a gym either.

As for food there are easy ways to eat clean for cheap. Just be sure to read labels and compare prices. There is no need to go to fancy stores like Whole Foods. Personally I think Whole Foods is a waste of money except for certain things.
If your parents are willing to let you go after a modeling career than I'm sure they won't mind buying you some clean foods. If you buy your own food then just really examine how you spend your money. What things can you replace from your grocery list? Its pretty easy to get cheap vegetables too. There is no reason you can't get all of your clean foods from the regular grocery store or even from a Super Wal Mart grocery.

As for your concern about weight, just from the stats you provided you are pretty well in shape. I'm sure there are some things you can change here and there with your diet or activity level, but you're already good. A size 2 is still very small, especially for your height. You have some height working for you so realistically you can handle some more weight. The key is just making sure that weight comes from lean mass (muscle tissue)  

Finally as to your concern about using the laxative again. With all due respect, I won't directly answer this. You may very well be able to do this again without issue, however it would be terribly irresponsible of me as a fitness professional to tell you it is ok. Also I seriously worry about an agency that would make you go to such extremes just to represent you. I'm not the moral police or nothing, but if they would really dismiss you over an inch on your waist, are they really concerned about promoting you as an artist (yes modeling is an art)?
Again I'm not a model, but I've dealt with the entertainment industry for as long as you've been alive, it can be pretty dirty and shady if you're not careful. There is a ton of opportunity within it, just be smart about how you deal.  

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Tim Santoro

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding the following. Confusion about basic nutrition, explain how to improve diet, when and how to eat better, eating for weight loss, eating for health, eating for fitness. I will answer questions about nutritional and workout supplements. I will not endorse any fad diets, however I can explain the draw backs to them and explain why they are the wrong way to go. I will not give advice relating to medications and/or their interactions with food and supplements.

Experience

I have earned certifications in Fitness Training and Fitness Nutrition from ISSA. I also self taught and stay current on the fitness industry. I lost 70 pounds training my self.

Publications
www.bestfitnessnow.com

Education/Credentials
SFN- Specialist in Fitness Nutrition from ISSA CFT-n Certified Fitness Trainer from ISSA

Awards and Honors
Just the thank you from people I get to help.

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