‘Broke me’: Model’s harrowing health battle
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For almost six years, Olivia Molly Rogers was living a double life.
While she may have appeared all smiles on the outside, Ms Rogers said it was far from how she was feeling inside.
The then teenage model was hiding the truth from family and friends about a health battle she was facing at the time - something she even struggled to admit to herself
But it came to a point where she no longer wanted to continue feeling the way she did.
Speaking to news.com.au in her role as an LG Electronics ambassador, the courageous 29-year-old revealed she had an eating disorder during the peak of her modelling career.
And it wasn't until one year before she was crowned Miss Universe Australia in 2017, that she began her journey to recovery.
"100 per cent it broke me," she said about her body image struggles. "I was having a really hard time.
"I couldn't imagine a life without feeling the way I did and thinking about a life constantly like that was very difficult and overwhelming."
Ms Rogers, who is also a mental health ambassador, said while the modelling industry was definitely a catalyst, other aspects of her life had also contributed to her health battle.
"I had a lot of different risk factors in my life that were there anyway and the modelling industry telling me to lose weight didn't help the situation," she said.
"When I look back, it's hard to know exactly what it was."
Ms Rogers said it had got to a point where she had suicidal thoughts and while it was hard for her to reach out for help, she eventually confided in her mother who went on to become her safety net.
"I realised I couldn't continue to live like that and so I reached out to my mum who came with me to doctor appointments," Ms Rogers said.
She was later diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
"Although I did seek professional help and sought treatment I still kept it a secret from others because I hadn't even admitted it to myself," Ms Rogers said.
"For me, my recovery didn't really start until a few years later."
Ms Rogers was six months into her recovery when she was crowned Miss Universe Australia in 2017.
She said it was during this time she turned to exercise, but not in the way she once approached it.
"Back then, exercise wasn't about health, it was about being a certain size," she said.
"It can be tricky to change your relationship with exercise and that took me a while because I found it hard to separate it from using it to just burn 'X' amount of calories."
To help shift her mindset she set different goals, like reaching a certain distance when running and listening to her body when she felt tired.
"Now, if I am having a day where I feel sore or tired, I won't force myself to train, whereas in the past even if I was sick I wouldn't allow myself to rest. I was sore every day; it was the norm for me."
Today looks very different for Ms Rogers.
She said if she's not in the mood for a workout, she will go for a walk instead; either listening to meditation music or a podcast, not leaving the house without her beloved LG Tone headphones.
"The best thing about my relationship with exercise now is I can be flexible with it - I don't like to be strict on my regimen."
The 29-year-old said she loves HIIT and strength workouts and where she can, incorporates pilates into her weekly schedule.
As for her diet today, it's all about fuelling her body with nutritional food and not depriving herself of certain food groups.
She told news.com.au that she "knows for a fact" there are many women and girls who struggle with body issues, because she gets inundated with private messages on Instagram asking how she got through her battle.
"I always respond by telling them to seek professional help as I only know from my experience that's what had helped me."
Ms Rogers said it is also important to have a support network.
"Opening up about it to my family and friends really helped in my recovery - it allowed them to know what to look out for if I did fall back into old habits, but thankfully that hasn't happened."
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Originally published as 'Broke me': Model's harrowing health battle