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Bodybuilding Lauren gives a big lift to her 45,000 followers

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FROM Big Brother to body-building with body-image battles in between, one Islander is using her social-media presence to help women around the world to love the skin they’re in.

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Take a look at her Instagram account – which has more than 45,000 followers – and it would seem 27-year-old Lauren Carré is the epitome of body confidence. It is adorned with professional photographs of the former Les Quennevais student with the muscular physique that has seen her become a professional body-builder less than three years after first stepping into a gym to lift weights.

Take a look at her past, which has included starring in hit reality TV series Big Brother and modelling for best-selling magazines, and it would seem to show a young women embracing a physique that society would deem healthy.

But it has not always been the case. In her words, the Islander ‘starved’ herself during periods in her teenage years in a bid to conform to a celebrity-standard size zero image and her mental health suffered. At points she was surviving on eating only apples or just one-meal a day while doing ‘ridiculous’ hours of cardio in the gym to shed fat.

Now, the farmers’ daughter who lives at home on Grande Route de St Ouen is using her social-media profile – a platform she says destroyed her mental health when she was younger – to help women around the world feel good about their bodies or change them, in a healthy way, if they do not. Miss Carré regularly posts about body image and says she receives ten to 20 messages a day from women about body concerns and has helped people with anorexia and binge-eating disorders.

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The professional body-builder and emergency call-handler said: ‘I was in Big Brother several years ago and afterwards I did photoshoots. I saw celebrities turn up and I saw how the photos taken that day were different to what was published online.

‘Before that I was a gymnast and dancer, and so from the age of seven or eight I was aware of what dieting was and what it meant to be skinny. It has played a big role in my life. When I was 16 or 17 I was doing ridiculous amounts of cardio and eating one meal a day. I lost a lot of weight. When I started uni I was so thin. I looked happy in photos and I was getting compliments, but I was not happy.’

She added: ‘People need to remember that what they see online is not necessarily real, as lots of editing happens. People should love the bodies they’re in and if they don’t they can work hard to change that.’

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It was years after university that Miss Carré made her change. Now, three years on she is an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness athlete who has competed around the world. She also has goals of competing in the Arnold’s or Olympia events – the Olympics of body-building. She finished fourth in her class – which combines muscular physique and athletic ability – in her IFBB debut in Romania last year.

‘I fell in love with lifting weights and now understand I need food to fuel my body. I am eating twice as much but looking and feeling better than ever. Body-building has been my saviour – mentally and physically,’ she added. ‘Even when I was skinny and I had that so-called thigh gap I didn’t feel that comfortable in a bikini. I am in the best place I have ever been now,’ she said. ‘I know body-building is not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s saved me.’

Miss Carré is open about the fact she has had breast augmentation surgery and says the danger for women is looking up to others online who are not honest about procedures they have had or how their images are edited.

‘I get thanks for being honest online about my life and struggles. I do post lots of images of myself but it always starts a conversation. I have the following I have and if I can help one person I would be happy but I think have helped lots,’ she said.

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
author

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