Our columnist shares her supermodel body secrets and why she feels better now at nearly 60 than she did in her forties

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In 1986, I became ‘The Body’, a term coined by Time Magazine. Though a little daunting, it reflected to me the value of my efforts to excel at what I do. Since then, I’ve been on a constant journey with my body, learning what truly resonates with it, through trial and error. I’ve gone from believing wellness is fitness, to feeling totally burnt out, to coming to the realisation that wellness is at the heart of all beauty.

It took me a while to appreciate my own sporty, Amazonian body in a modelling world of tiny girls. Once I leaned into my own uniqueness, my career took off.

I’m nearly 60 and I feel better in my body now than when I was in my forties! But it’s been a journey.

Early on in my career I associated wellness with fitness. I used to spend hours in the gym working out, honing ‘the perfect body’ because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. I came to understand the true strength and beauty of my body through pregnancy and the incredible changes my body made to accommodate another life.

The fact that I also gave birth naturally and breast fed showed me that the body, in and of itself, is so magical and no amount of ‘training’ at the gym can ever match the mystery of pregnancy and childbirth. I then realised that true health and wellbeing was far more than just working out and required a different approach - starting from the inside.

By the time I was 50, I could no longer rely solely on my genetics for a healthy body. What once worked for me in my thirties and forties no longer did. I felt run down and irritable. I wasn’t sleeping well, I had no energy to exercise, I was consuming too much sugar and coffee and I felt uninspired and unmotivated. At a loss as to how to feel better, I went to see nutritionist Dr. Simone Laubscher PhD at her London clinic. She explained to me that I was malnourished, acidic and inflamed. She described to me the importance of an anti-inflammatory body. She then created a potent nutritional greens protocol for me.

After just a few weeks combining the greens with other life-style changes, I was feeling better than ever. The quality of my skin, hair and nails improved, sugar cravings reduced, and I regained my sense of vitality. I felt stronger and leaner with more energy. I realised that when my body is in balance, all the rest falls into place: weight, hormones, sleep, strength. It takes gentle but consistent changes. Now I’m almost turning 60 and I feel better than ever – more beautiful, vibrant and connected to my sensuality - naturally.

I started WelleCo so I could share my wellness discoveries by offering to the world the same elixirs and solutions that helped me repair and flourish in my own life. The Super Elixir™ greens ensured I received all the nutrients I needed to function optimally. It also helped my digestion no end and stabilised my weight.

When I couldn’t eat well due to my schedule or travel, I needed something to help me go the distance until my next meal. Our second release was Nourishing Protein and I knew I could rely on it because it had been formulated with the most clean, natural, quality nutrients available. It’s a true supermodel secret!

Diet and exercise – what works for me now

And while I don’t condone skipping meals or doing anything that harms your body in any way, I do advocate making wise, nutritious, self-caring choices. Given my career, I can’t deny that weight was, and is, important in my line of work, but even then, it’s just one part of the picture. It’s so individual – it is not a one-size-fits-all issue. And just because a protocol works for me, does not mean it works for everyone.

These days, I am a lot less intense about my fitness routine. In fact, I don’t have a fixed routine at all. I swim when I can, ride my bike and walk. I was recently in Tokyo and walked everywhere for hours, exploring, discovering and in total awe of the magic there. It’s a great way to get around and get to know where you are and see things you’re never usually see if driving.

Image: Instagram @ellemacpherson

My diet has changed a lot over the years. I used to eat out at restaurants, both for food and atmosphere, but now I love to eat organic, nutrient-dense meals at home. I love to be in the kitchen with my man [musician Doyle Bramhall, below] - we chat, listen to music and prepare delicious, simple meals together (he’s more creative than I am in the kitchen). For me, these days, food is very much a celebration of life.

I also no longer look at food in terms of ‘portions or ‘intake’. I nourish my body each and every day, in different ways, always paying attention to my body’s needs. There’s no formula or equation to meet a certain goal. I do, however, find my body works best when I intermittent fast in the morning.

What I eat in a day

I start the day with lime water hydration (with a little Celtic Sea Salt). I’ll then have an oat milk matcha, which includes ceremonial matcha, bee pollen, cacao and perhaps charcoal. I’m very specific about foam - I love it when it’s rich and frothy. I’ll enjoy that in the morning sunshine.

I take my The Super Elixir™ greens (Blood Orange flavour typically) and The Goddess Elixir, The Hair Elixir and The Skin Elixir around midday.

I usually eat my first meal – vegetarian - around 2pm and then I eat another plant-based meal around 6pm. I prefer to eat early, and I love soups such as pho in the evening. I’ll always have some dark chocolate after dinner as a little treat.

Ultimately, I don’t recommend restrictive diets or long hours at the gym. Gentle, simple, clean healthy living, lots of sleep at night, meditation and quiet time in the morning, sunshine, fresh air and laughter are important because it works.

Low maintenance body treatments

I’ve found natural sports work better for me than machines and lasers. Swimming every day for example, changes my body in just a couple of weeks. An evening walk after dinner and a regular bike ride do more for me than the latest high-tech thing ever seems to!

As for body treatments, I keep it simple as I’m on the road a lot, so I tend to prefer low maintenance. What is non-negotiable for me though is my steam/sauna/cold plunge combo, which detoxes after plane travel, helps rebalance jet lag, increases metabolism, fires up the immune system and is basically a life saver when crossing multiple time zones. I’ll also find the best Russian banyas wherever I am and go two or three times a week. Often, we will go straight from the plane!

I also travel with my new TheraPro Multi-Therapeutic Healing Pad. I’ve always loved Therasage but this one is especially incredible in that it offers seven healing modalities in one and detoxes, assists with pain relief, reduces muscle tension, increases relaxation, improves circulation and even assists with weight loss.

I’m also a huge fan of Weleda Skin Food an ultra-nourishing body cream. I adore all Tata Harper products for body because they are 100 per cent clean and luxe. I travel with a dry body brush (which I use before my sauna) and a rich body cream and that’s about it! Body brushing is great for circulation, skin texture, detox, tightening, brightness, softness and clarity.

I also love ancient eastern practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic, colon hydrotherapy and anything that works on energy rebalancing, clearing and fortifying.

Why I’m embracing braces

I’m also in the process of getting Invisalign because as we age our jaw changes and this affects our entire body. It’s amazing how interconnected our bodies are. For example, a change in your jaw affects your posture, teeth alignment, facial appearance, joints and bone density. I never had braces but am finding my jaw and mouth shifting, which is affecting my neck and back.

Dr Steven Lin, a dentist and author of the book The Dental Diet writes extensively about this, claiming the position of the jaw affects the position of the head and in turn, the spine. This can cause the head to position itself forward in a hunching posture --- something all too common thanks to our daily use of devices. Overall, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that our jaw is more responsible for our overall health than one would expect.

Heart and mind

I’ll also say that a big part of respecting your body is actually inhabiting it. Meditation is essential for this as it connects all of who you are – body, mind and spirit. It’s also important to come from a relatively trauma-free lens. For me, reading The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk really helped me understand how our emotional life informs our physical wellbeing. If we want to be physically well, we often need to address what’s going on inside our hearts and minds. Similarly, the body will show us what needs attention emotionally.

For example, with issues of the eyes, train yourself to ask, “What is it you don’t want to see?” And with issues of the feet, enquire, “What is it that’s worrying me about taking steps forward”? The stomach? Ask, “What is it that I’m finding hard to digest in my life?” The body tells us everything!

What I’d say to my younger self

If I could step back in time and have a word to my younger self about my body, I’d tell myself, “Easy does it, but do it,” and do so with joy in your heart. I’d also remind her that there is no point giving yourself a hard time in your quest for physical perfection. I’d also say to myself, laugh more, sleep more and find the joy and beauty in all you do. You ARE beautiful, unique, natural and vibrant right from your core (we all are) and all you have to do is be authentically you! Be you!

I would say find your own unique, natural beauty that sets you apart and make the most of it. Confidence is also a highly attractive quality — it’s that inner essence shining through; that unquestionable comfort with who you are; that ease; that grace and that inner essence that makes you beautiful - magnetic even!

I’ll finish on this note. Our bodies are remarkable; they have the capacity to heal themselves and rebalance when given the right tools and environment. Our NATURAL state is health and wellbeing, and our bodies respond so fast when we understand this.

Elle’s Body Essentials