All right, mateys! Up next is item number two on my list, losing weight. You might want to put on your hip waders because it’s gonna get dirty and ugly up in here. Why? Because when I talk about weight issues, it ain’t pretty. This time, I’m looking at the issue of weight mostly from the viewpoint of auditioning, but as is always the case with this issue, I am sure I will veer into other territory.
I’m fat. I’ve said it before, but I wanted to say it again. Why? Because I’m tired of shying away from it. I have been skinny; I have been medium; I have been chubby; I have been fat. Right now, I am the last. I am uncomfortable with my weight, not only because of the health implications (though I have conflicting feelings about making weight the be-all, end-all when it comes to health), but because I don’t like the way I look.
Then again, I never do. When I was my thinnest, I still thought I was fat and ugly. Now, I no longer think I’m ugly (I don’t think I’m attractive, but I accept that others think I am), but I know I’m fat. I have avoided looking into mirrors ever since I was seven. Then, it was because I hated the fact that I didn’t have blond hair and blue eyes. When I was that age, a woman once told me I had beautiful hair. I remember thinking, “No, I don’t. How can this ugly black hair be beautiful? It’s not blond!”
Then, I gained a bunch of weight for many reasons. My mom put me on my first diet, saying, “You have such a beautiful face. If only you could lose weight.”
A side note. My mom is 5’2″ and really tiny, except for her stomach. It’s the curse of the women on her side of the family. My mom has been obsessed for as long as I can remember with losing that last five pounds. With me, she’s always sending me diet information, such as pills being produced in Japan. Regulation of such products are less strict than they are here in the states. So, in effect, she’s sending me untested crap that may kill me, but hey, I’ll look fabulous when as I die.
One time she was here, she brought this crazy three-day diet with her. It was like, “One piece of toast for breakfast. A half can of tuna and a banana for lunch. A scoop of cottage cheese and a lettuce leaf for dinner.” It guaranteed that you’d lose 6 pounds in three days. No matter how much I argued with her that any weight she lost on that plan would just be water (you can’t lose that much fat in that little amount of time), she refused to listen. What’s worse, she kept nagging me about it until I gave in and tried it. She is much more stubborn than I am, and that’s saying something. Needless to say, while the diet had just barely enough calories to sustain her, it didn’t provide nearly enough nutrients for me. I am 5’6″ with a stocky frame and five pounds of boob. One size does not fit all, no matter how much she wanted to pretend that it does. I nearly fainted the second day on the diet, and I quit.
She is coming back for a six-week visit. I know it’s going to be a combination of nagging me about my weight and urging me to go out to eat. We both have pedometers, so we go walking together. I don’t mind that, but I do resent the underlining concern–getting me off my fat ass in order to reduce said ass. Or rather, my stomach as I have no ass.
The ironic thing is that the two times I was deep into my eating disorders (mild forms of anorexia and bulimia), she said nothing. She never commented about how much I’d lost except to say how great I looked. Even when my junior counselors in college informed her that I’d been throwing up in the bathrooms, she didn’t say much. She got me to a shrink, but she never talked to me about it. Shrink was stupid. I had no respect for her. Didn’t really help.
By the way, I never considered myself truly anorexic or bulimic because I did eat every day (bowl of oyster crackers for lunch and another for dinner, no breakfast), and I only threw up once a week or so (when I got so damn hungry, I had to raid the vending machines late at night. I only slept three hours a night my first semester in college, so there was a lot of time to feel the hunger pains). It took me a long time to accept that while I may not have been a classic anorectic or bulimic, I had eating issues, to say the least.
The second time I went on a diet, I decided to do it the right way. Slow and steady, losing two and a half pounds a week. Exercising two and a half hours a day. Eating 1200 calories. I had done my research, you see, and this was all safe to do. Yes, even a smart woman like me can fool herself when she’s desperate to believe in something that only exists in her mind.
I lost the weight. I loved feeling my bones poking out at night. I would lie in the dark (hey, had to do something when I couldn’t sleep), tracing my bones. My favorite was my collar bone. Second favorite was the hip bone. I loved how my stomach was concaved. It took every ounce of energy I had to keep whittling away at my frame, but I stuck to it. I was determined to meet the magical weight, so determined, I kept lowering my goal. I weighed myself once a week and measured my chest, waist, and hips once a week as well. I thrilled when I saw the pounds melt away, the inches drop, and the clothes shrink.
I could wear a size two! Maybe I could make it down to a zero!
As I have related before, that all came to a screeching halt the night I fainted at a concert. I had banked my calories (a dieting trick that reputable magazines suggest) in order to be able to have a drink or two without going over my calorie limit. That meant I had eaten 700 calories prior to drinking two drinks in quick succession in a hot, crowded club. I am a lightweight to begin with, but skimping on the food like that was detrimental. One minute I was listening to the band, and the next minute I was on the floor. When I woke up, my best friend, her hubby, and another couple (friends of my best friend) were staring down at me in concern. I could hear voices, but I couldn’t answer. A bouncer came over and scooped me up, asking questions all the while. Did she do drugs? No, Kiki answered, the concern evident in her voice. She’s dieting.
The other woman went and got a KitKat bar (she’s a mom. It’s what they do) and shoved it in my face. I put it in my purse because even in my weakened state, I didn’t want to ingest the extra calories. She gave me The Mom look and ordered me to eat it while Kiki hovered behind her, looking scared. I was in no shape to argue, so I ate it. I felt a bit better, but not much at all.
That experience woke me up. I realized that as much as I wanted to be thin (and, oh, did I), I didn’t want to die for it. I stopped dieting, and I plateaued out. Then, I got depressed and my weight ballooned up once again.
So, that is where I am right now. I want to lose roughly fifty pounds. It’s partly for health reasons, but it’s more for looks and for auditioning. Theatre is more forgiving than is Hollywood, but there is still a limit as to which roles are available for plus-sized gals. If I want to go that route, then I will have to fashion my body into a more acceptable package.
In addition, while I do feel more sennsual when I’m a bit heavier, I feel sexier when I am thinner. I have to find that happy medium without allowing myself to slide back into my disordered way of thinking.
Once again, I have reached the end of the post before reaching the end of what I want to say on the subject. So, like a serial, tune in tomorrow for the next episode.
P.S. The woman in the picture above? That’s how skinny I long to be. It’s not right, I know, but there you have it.