Iskra Lawrence is a model I envy. She works with “Aerie,” and her photographs with the company are not retouched. This model is body positive, she has posed in pictures with candy and chips, proving that she does not have to survive on air alone to be a model in our society. She promotes positivity for all bodies, and founded a website called “Runway Riot,” which promotes body positivity and glamour for every woman. Lawrence is an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association, or NEDA. NEDA spreads knowledge about eating disorders, and teaches the public about the importance of support and treatment of eating disorders.

Lawrence became the subject of controversy when she endorsed a New Year’s “challenge” meal and exercise plan with “Self” magazine, which included a restrictive diet with intense workouts. The calories only totaled around 1,500 calories, and with intense workouts added, this is not a healthy plan to maintain. Lawrence was met with negative comments from her followers, as in her role as a NEDA ambassador, she should not endorse a restrictive eating plan. Soon after the controversy took place, Lawrence removed the plan from her social media accounts.

Lawrence commented on the issue via “Instagram.” As a survivor of an eating disorder herself, she had not previously known that the meal plan would have so little calories. Lawrence had supported the fitness aspect, stating: “I wanted to share some of my favourite workout moves with you all that aren’t for weight loss, but to feel healthy, strong, and to look after our bodies.” This is an important distinction, as she wants to be able to inspire her fans, not encourage them to make unhealthy decisions about their lives. “Self” also stepped forward. The magazine apologized for sharing a plan that could be triggering for some readers. The sample meal plan seems to be where the majority of the controversy began. Lawrence has a fan base of people recovering or suffering from eating disorders, and “Self” did not intend to cause controversy through this challenge.

I find it honorable that Lawrence apologized and spoke out about the topic. Her body positivity inspires so many people, and it would be unfortunate for them to be negatively swayed or triggered by a low calorie plan. I am inspired by her positive self-image, and her ability to support what she believes in. “Self” has earned my respect as well, as it would not have been difficult for them to avoid addressing the subject. Working out does not have to be about losing weight. It should come from a mindset of bettering yourself, or becoming a stronger person. New Year’s resolutions are often about bettering ourselves, and Lawrence proves that this does not have to be through a restrictive diet.