Thursday, November 15, 2012


I accepted a challenge to go 3 days out of a week without consuming any form of sugar except for fruit. I was successful for ONE WHOLE DAY! I had intended to do 3 consecutive days but by day 2...well, I folded.

I realized that I probably haven't gone too many days in my life without some form of added sugar (including, honey, maple, etc). Even in the days of yore when I was eating as healthy as I knew how to, I was still consuming tons of sugar-in my daily "healthy" Slim Fast shake and in my daily yogurt and granola parfait. Plus I was eating Peter Pan peanut butter by the pound and had a pb&j sandwich (not the kind I make now) pretty much daily.

So even at my skinniest, I've been a sugar-monger.

My wonderful Fiancee reminded me this morning of a memory I shared with him while ago. Back in 6th grade, I used to make a box mix of brownies every Friday night for my school lunches the following week. I'd package one for each day, set one aside for my mom who was teaching piano in the front room and then the rest would come to the family room at the back of the house where I'd gobble them up while watching teenybopper sitcoms. By the time I was done, my dad would come back from work. I may have saved one or 2 for him as well. Because you know...the consuming carbs in front of the tv was a habit I picked up from him after all!

Why he decided to bring this up over a steaming hot bowl of steel cut oats seasoned with nutmeg, cocoa powder, raisins and peanut butter baffles me. And made me sad. Why did my parents allow me to do this? Sure I was thin but I was eleven and a dancer!

Friday nights when I was in 7th and 8th grade were my choreography nights. I'd brew up a huge pitcher of orange tea into which I'd dump like a cup of sugar and dance until I was too tired or making too much noise for my parents to sleep.

My sophomore year of high school, after dance team practice I'd come home and help myself to a plate or two of cookies from the freezer left over from my mom's piano recital. Ah yes this was accompanied by a diet pop (I grew up in Ohio, ok). This is when it really started to catch up with me. By then end of my sophomore year, I was not skinny anymore!

Not to get all boo-hooey over my adolescence but I recall thinking that I was fat when I was 10. I looked at a 5th grade class photo when I was in high school and I said to my mom "I was so skinny! I thought I was fat!" Truth is I told myself I was fat because that was the negative self-talk I heard from my own dear mommy. I was always told I'm more like my mom and my brother was more like my dad. I do look a lot like my mom. I'm good with kids and a natural teacher.

But I love adventure! I like doing things outdoors- not all the time but occasionally. I love cooking, baking, and trying new things! I used to rip snails out of their shells and give their wriggling bodies to my grandpa to use as fishing bait. I enjoy (to some degree) helping Garrison work on the cars. I love raunchy humor and thought provoking theatre.

I'm really not exactly like my mom. I don't have to be! If/when I have children of my own, they don't have to be like me either but I HOPE HOPE HOPE I don't pass my bad habits down to them. I want to raise them to eat healthy and make good choices. Sure they might not follow everything I teach but I just want to know that if they turn out to be 25 and struggling with weight or body image that they can't turn around and point their finger at their mother.

Monday, November 12, 2012

For health or vanity?

I took a journey through Facebook last week and browsed a bunch of photos of me from my freshman year of college. Doing so made me feel terrible. How dare I torture myself so?

From my senior year of high school through my first summer after college, I lost 20-some pounds. I wanted to be thin because I thought a skinny figure was the missing piece of my success as a triple threat. In high school, I worked SO HARD to get the role I wanted. I made it my only ambition. I figured that since I was doing everything in my power to achieve my goals, I better lose some weight since I probably just don't have the right look.So I completely gave up all sweets and fried foods and had a Slim Fast shake for breakfast every day. I also exercised 5 days out of the week; Pilates, running, and light weights.

I got to college and kept up the habits whilst improving them some. I was still probably getting sugar and other processed ingredients but I was eating as healthy as I could to the best of my ability. I was also walking everywhere--on campus and off and never took the elevator to my 4th floor classes or my 4th floor dorm room.

I was looking HOT. But I started to take in my surroundings...people indulging in high fat or sugar foods....people taking the elevator or driving places...or not even bothering to get the Rec center for a regular workout. Yet these were theatre colleagues of mine who had no trouble landing a leading role in a play or musical. Or someone who was just a little chunky seemed well-liked by people anyway. This confused me.

I changed my habits in order to change the shape of my body in order to be a successful actress and be liked. When I look back on these days I have mixed feelings. I was thin but I certainly wasn't healthy- mentally or physically-- and I was looking for validation in all the wrong ways.

Right now on my diet of mostly organic whole foods, I haven't been sick in 9 months. I'd say with the exception of my occasional sugar or highly processed food binges (a different issue to address some other time), I'm pretty healthy! Well then why the obsession? I'm not thin.

When I was thin I had the vanity but not the healthy. Now I'd say I mostly have the health but not the vanity.

Forgive the lack of clever writing. I guess I've been mulling over this idea. I did not get what I wanted from being thin and engaging in behaviors that I thought were healthy. Since I know that such validation isn't available, even if I wanted, then why all the headache?

Plus I couldn't possibly duplicate the habits I had in college. I didn't drink alcohol at that time. I'll be damned if I'm going to deny myself wine and beer! The only dessert I ever ate was an espresso fudge brownie every other week from the campus Starbucks and now STARBUCKS DOESN'T EVEN HAVE THEM ANYMORE!! Everywhere I go is too far to walk, there aren't 4 flights of stairs at my leisure and DAMN IT, I go into work 8am Monday through Friday. There's no such thing as a 9am workout before my 11am class.

Sorry for the pity party...this weight loss thing is just too hard.