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17th Apr 2017

One Dublin model gets real: Being ‘Insta lean’ caused my periods to stop

Lean; clean; goals; fuel… they’re all completely familiar hashtags on social these days.

And it’s unquestionably normal to share with your followers pictures of your meals and workout routine.

However, one Dublin former model is now speaking out – shockingly revealing that her periods stopped for years all because of her quest to look social-media-worthy super-slim.

More worryingly, she says she’s far from alone.

Emma Quinlan is well-known for her photocall and promotional work. Now working in PR and marketing, she has a pretty perfect, size 8 figure.

Which makes her recent Instagram post all the most jarring.

“Before insta for a young (ish) lady I would have been described as slim,” she began while also sharing a snap of her (currently amazing) body. “Now maybe not so much or at least not ‘lean’. I am not lean but I am maintainable and well, I may not be insta fit but a Dairymilk is worth more to me now.

“When I was lean I was missing something fundamental that so many ‘lean’ and apparently inspirational girls suffer with and some wear as a badge of honour.

“Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (no cycle) and for almost 4 years – (1.5 years of that was recovery which is horrendous – And that’s how long it took to recover!). The irony is I was never thin, I never looked unwell; just Low in bodyfat.”

A post shared by Emma Quinlan (@emmaquinlan) on

She warned: “All these things lead (not may lead, they actually happen) to osteopenia, infertility, anxiety, insomnia, easier weight gain, depression etc etc… I say this only as so many here see people as an inspiration because they’re starving to get into a bikini.

“Balance is not flex bowls and clean eats – balance is a bar of chocolate if you want one, sleep, eating and drinking in moderation and maintaining a shape. Since I’ve ‘recovered’ I’ve been able to reduce some body fat I’m about 1.5kg less now than that… exercise 3 days max (you don’t need more), eat, sleep and somewhat feel – because when your hormones stop working you lose ‘all the feels’.

A post shared by Emma Quinlan (@emmaquinlan) on

“Saying the gym helps you mentally (I call BS for most) may be the case but not if your hormones are suffering, sleep or a mindful walk may help you more.”

Emma concluded: “Disclaimer – if you are on the pill you will have a withdrawal bleed but may not be able to alone. It’s a topic that needs to spoken about with PTs, the media and should make you question what is defined as inspirational.

“Sorry to preach but it was a long journey I’d not wish on anyone and posts I’ve seen off young girls the last few days made me really sad.”

We’re totally behind Ms Quinlan’s message at Her – and we know that, tragically, eating disorders take many forms.

For more information, check out BodyWhys.