Fashion week is just around the corner, so we called up professional model and nutritionist Johanna Zielinski for advice on how to keep energy high, stress low, and life balanced during the busiest time of the year.
Take Johanna’s tips to heart! This German native speaks from years of experience walking the runway for major brands like Alberta Ferretti, Escada and Max Mara, not to mention coveted editorials for Elle, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan plus campaigns for Levi’s and commercials for L’oreal and Coca Cola. Her insider knowledge and nutritional expertise mean you’ve come to the right place to learn something new or remind yourself what’s best for your body and mind.
Q: Could you tell us a little about your current projects?
I work as a journalist and nutritionist (check out my website here!) and am furthering my education in psychology.
Q: You are a highly experienced model—who first discovered you, and how old were you?
A friend of mine told me to give it a try when I was 17. Ford Paris discovered me soon after and my first editorial took place in Paris.
Q: So, fashion week is coming up. What advice do you have for girls who are getting ready?
Remember that it’s all connected – your mind, body and well being. So keep your lifestyle balanced and relax as much as you can to prepare your mind and body. Some models enjoy massages, others meet up with friends, work out, do yoga, meditate, go for walks or read. It’s up to you to find out what nourishes your soul. Also, it’s really important to stay hydrated, so drink lots of water to support your health and energy.
Tip: Surround yourself with water bottles, they will remind you to keep drinking! If you need a kick, try green or white tea–both are rich in antioxidants.
Q: Could you recommend what to eat, and what NOT to eat during fashion week?
Recent research suggests that each person’s body reacts differently to food–so it isn’t as easy as what’s right and wrong. In the future, we might eat what fits best to our genes and have fully “personalized nutrition” plans.
Until then, though, don’t count your calories, just enjoy simple and colorful meals. For example, try a smoothie in the morning and mix in some greens, seeds and fruits. For lunch, grab a fresh salad or vegetables and add some grilled salmon or eggs for protein. Also, pay attention to how your body tolerates dairy as it can make you feel gassy.
Tip: Keep your fingers off processed food, fast food and carbonated beverages—they will make you feel bloated.
Q: What snacks would you recommend for energy on the go?
Grab a handful of nuts, raisins, berries or a piece of dark chocolate. And… drink as much water as you can!
Q: What are the biggest mistakes you see models make when it comes to nutrition?
They count calories, restrict themselves too much and put their mind under too much pressure. Holding on to a strict diet forever is not realistic—it’s better to think about what to change long-term.
So don’t starve yourself, the weight you lose will come back to haunt you another time. Don’t go on a diet, focus mentally on a healthy lifestyle instead. Enjoy your food, your life and your job.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
Put your health first! Get enough sleep (8 hours) and avoid cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.
Fine print: Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.