A Rose with Starry Eyes

{November 11, 2011}   tough love article for fatties

February 08, 2010

Fat? Just think yourself thin

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If you’re fat, it’s your fault. Stop blaming food companies and diets and look in the mirror. You’re the problem. You’re the solution. Grow up, get tough and fix it.” –Steve Siebold, author of “Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People.”

Ah, if only it were that easy. But in some cases it is. While we know that genetics and social factors also play a role in obesity, for some people, weight loss simply requires the right mindset.

Once you know how to think like a “fit” person, rather than a “fat” person, the weight will come off like magic, said Seibold, a mental toughness coach who trains corporate sales teams and athletes.

For example, fat people, or what Siebold calls “middle class thinkers,” believe diet and exercise is an added burden in life that can only be tolerated for short periods of time.

Fit people, on the other hand, or “world class thinkers” see diet and exercise as a mandatory habit that will keep them physically, emotionally and mentally sharp.

That means expect to feel pain or suffer when you’re working out, said Siebold, whose book looks at 101 differences between fat and fit thinking. Then have a plan to push forward when through it, rather than giving up. “If you’re not ready to suffer during adversity, you’re not going to be successful,” he said.

Siebold insists he’s not preaching from an ivory tower. The idea for the book came after he packed on 40 pounds while traveling around the country speaking on mental toughness. His doctor suggested he started following his own advice.

So Siebold applied his tough love approach to obesity and wrote what he called the “Fat Loser” workout. He lost the weight and says if he can do it, so can you.

As you might expect, his “it’s-your-own-damn-fault” approach doesn’t always go over very well. He received three death threats after his recent appearance on the Today Show

But Siebold says overweight people are living in an alternate reality. When he asked those who were at least 50 pounds overweight and married whether their size affected their sex life, 90 percent said “no,” he said.

That’s the level of delusion we found,” he said. “These people are smart and educated but delusional. Your husband doesn’t notice? Women would say ‘he loves me.’ I’d say, ‘Of course he loves you but do you think he’s just as attracted to you as when you were thinner?’ The delusions run so thick with this topic it’s unbelievable.”

His bottom line? The thinking is the cause. “Go to your doctor, get on a good diet and then do the work and get the result. The only variable is you,” Siebold said.

Posted at 10:01:56 AM in Mind/body medicine, Obesity, Weight loss

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Article on actor Michael Fassbender’s weight loss of 33 pounds in 10 weeks to play fasting prisoner.

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My Disordered Eating Past

// // Feb

// 04

Polly is dead. She committed suicide on February 8, 2008, a likely result of her lifelong struggle with anorexia. I don’t know Polly but for some reason the news of her death went through me like a cold shiver, the same way it does any time I hear about a eating disordered woman who loses the battle.

So I did what any intelligent stalker-type does these days: I googled her. I discovered that her death made headlines because she was one of three eating-disordered women profiled in the HBO documentary “Thin” that aired back in 2006. Not watching TV, it has taken me this long to hear about it I suppose. Someone posted the entire documentary (in 11-minute segments) to You Tube. I watched it two nights ago and have been torn up ever since.

I’ve been mulling it over and trying to think of a way I could post about it – to let you know what an interesting, amazing, inspiring, and yet completely horrifying & depressing show it is – but I couldn’t think of an appropriate angle. It just hits too close to home for me. I see myself in every one of the girls profiled.

The Start
I’ve never been officially diagnosed with an eating disorder [edited to add: I have now! Compulsive over-exerciser, that’s me!] but there are times in my life where I think I definitely would have qualified for ED-NOS (eating disorder – not otherwise specified). As did far too many of my friends, I flirted with anorexia in high school & college, always managing to keep my weight just on the safe side of things. Always able to pull back when I really really needed to. I never cognizantly thought of the times where I would subsist on a single “fun size” package of candy for an entire day, several days in a row, as “restricting.” I just thought it was what girls did to stay thin.

Lots of girls I knew did it or things similar to it. Other waitresses at the restaurant I worked at taught me which foods had the least calories and tricks to make all the decadent food we were surrounded by look unappealing so we wouldn’t be tempted to eat it. Our dinner breaks were actually competitions to see who could eat the least actual food. Girls in my gymnastics classes taught me about not eating before a competition (the lower your weight, the higher you fly!) and then using massive doses of caffeine pills to mask the hunger & keep your energy up. Roommates taught me about “saving calories” by restricting all week so you could eat on a date and the guy would think you are one the cool girls who is thin but can eat whatever she wants.

This type of behavior also runs in my family – my grandmother, whom I still adore and think about almost daily despite her being dead for 20 years, was an active bulimic all her adult life. Two cousins were bulimic. Two more spent time in eating disorder clinics. And then of course there was the media – thin movie stars, even thinner fashion models. Even my health teacher encouraged disordered eating by requiring only the girls in class to keep a food journal, a practice I kept up for over ten years after her class ended. (The boys had carte blanche to eat whatever they “needed” to keep up their strength for sports and because they were still growing. Never mind that many of us girls were also in sports and also, duh, still growing.) I was surrounded, almost from birth, by our culture of thin. Every girl I knew was tainted by it.

The Decline
And yet my bouts of bad eating were interspersed with longer ones of health because my body’s will to survive and thrive was stronger than my willpower to starve. That is, until I met G. in college. He was my partner on a swing-dance team. He was an amazing dancer and, simultaneously, a sociopath. I saw something good in him and he, likewise, saw something in me: vulnerability. We began to date. The entire time we went out (if you can call it that), he abused me in every way possible. It started out small with little comments about how I was harder to lift than some of the other girls on our team – natural waifs, every last one of them. Then it progressed to screaming vitriol, that I cannot even now bring myself to repeat.

To cope, I did what came naturally – I stopped eating. I pulled out all the tricks I’d ever been taught over the years and combined them with hours of intensely athletic dancing. It worked. G. complimented me on my protruding hipbones. He liked that his hands could almost span my waist. He was happy. I was nearly destroyed. I fainted after a dance performance. I suffered heart palpitations, dizzy spells, nausea & insomnia. He finished the job by sexaully assaulting me. That was the end of my relationship with him, thanks to good friends and family, but the beginning of a kind of self-loathing I had never experienced before.

The Worst of It
After G., my weight went up a bit and stabilized. I met a great man who cared about my mind and my soul and honestly thought I was beautiful regardless of a few pounds up or down. I married him and for a few short years, managed to not think about food or weight at all. The hole in me wasn’t gone but at least it was covered up.

That came to an end when G. popped back into my life in the most horrific way possible. At the time, I had assumed that I was the only girl he had abused. Turns out he was a serial molester and had only gotten worse during the intervening years. I was contacted by the police and decided to press charges.

My only experience with our legal system being Law & Order reruns, I was wholly unprepared for the physical and mental nightmare of a sexual assault case. I was also pregnant with my third child. The interstate court case dragged on nine long months, exactly the length of my pregnancy. The longer it went on, the more I deteriorated. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. Despite being pregnant, I quickly reached the lowest weight I’d ever been. I thought about suicide every single day. The baby inside me was the only thing that stopped me from actually doing it. G. finally plea-bargained and got a year in prison, with time served. The very next day my son was born. Hale and hearty at ten pounds, he was beautiful child. I was broken.

The court case ended, everyone assumed I would feel empowered and vindicated and quickly ease back into my old perfect life as wife, teacher & mother. I think they assumed that because that is what they so desperately wanted for me. What did I want for me? I wanted desperately to finally heal. I thought being healthy physically would help me mentally. But this time my disordered eating snuck up on me as my quest for ultimate health devolved into Orthorexia, a newly coined term for people who restrict their food based on health reasons as opposed to wanting to be thin. In fact, I’m told it’s the new “in” eating disorder in the Hollywood set. Yay, me.

I saw a therapist (who was tainted for me by the fact that G. was court-ordered to pay for her services) who was pretty good at helping me work through my damage from the abusive relationship. But when it came to my disordered eating, she was worse than unhelpful. She wanted tips. Every week as I shrunk before her very eyes she would ask in awe how I did it. Somewhat overweight herself, she pressed until I actually gave her a how-to, which she then promised to implement. At last we both realized that she had problems with her self image & eating and that our relationship had moved far from therapeutic. So I stopped seeing her. But I still hurt.

The End
I wish I could say that there was some huge life-changing moment that made me leave my disordered behaviors behind. But let’s face it, you read my blog, you know I still straddle that line at times. Although these days I trend more towards orthorexia than anorexia [edited to add: actually these days it’s crazy amounts of exercise]. Which is why “Thin” was such a powerful documentary for me. I’m at a healthy weight. I’m healthier mentally than I’ve been in years. And yet I still see myself in so many of their mannerisms. The way Alisa obsessively tried on outfit after outfit, sometimes for hours a day, looking for one that didn’t make her look fat (not realizing that the fat was all in her head and not in her clothes). The way that Shelly (the girl pictured above in the Thin promo) talked about what her control over food meant to her and how it played out in her family. The way that Polly went to the ED clinic to heal and instead just found something else to rebel against.

I’m not saying that I have an eating disorder now. I am saying that the potential for one lives inside me. Which is why I suppose I am telling you all this. It’s my was of staying accountable.

Because Polly is dead.

{February 22, 2010}   celeb measurements blog

How Audrey Hepburn Ruined My Day

Feb  13

103. 20. Those two numbers have haunted my every waking moment for the past three days. Even though I have a known weakness for numbers – body fat percentage! max reps! weight! calories! IP addresses! (xkcd, I love you!) – the tenacity of these two little numbers in my mind has surprised even me. Every spare moment this weekend when my brain has not been occupied, all I can think is 103. 20. 103. 20. Their power over me is tied to a third number: 5′ 6.75″

That’s right. My height. I’m nearly 5′ 7″ which may possibly be the one number I have always been quite happy with. I have never wished to be shorter and thanks to a weird complex I have where I always think I’m taller than everyone, 6 1/2 foot-tall men included, my height has always been a happy number for me. Good thing too since it’s not like it’s something one can really do much about.

My height also puts me in good company. Kate Moss is 5′ 6.5″. Angelina Jolie is 5′ 7″. Jackie Kennedy was 5’7″. And Audrey Hepburn, one of my favorite actresses and style icons, is my height exactly. (Well, she was anyhow. For those of you who missed the memo, she’s dead now. She died a few months before her 65th birthday of cancer.) Why do I care about other women’s heights? Because it gives me the information I need to compare myself. Sigh.

103 was Audrey Hepburn’s weight. 20 inches was the size of her waist. I found this out courtesy of one of the magazines I read that is supposed to promote health (in fact it even has the word “health” in its title so it must be true!). This same article also called Princess Di “normal” with a waist of “26” at her largest” and Kate Winslet “large” with a 28″ waist. But seeing as I do not share the coloring nor stylistic predilections of the tragic Di or the beleagured Kate, back to Audrey. It is said that all throughout her life and illustrious career, she made it a point to never exceed 103 pounds. And according to all sources, aside from her two pregnancies, she never did.

Let’s get real. 103 pounds (a BMI of 16.2) is a positively ridiculous number for someone of our height. Kate Moss, the Waif of all Waifs, is reported to weigh 114 pounds (BMI 17.9). Angelina Jolie, if you believe the tabloids, is near 110 (BMI 17.2). All are considered underweight to the point of it being a health risk. At my very sickest with my eating disorder, I never got as low as Audrey Hepburn maintained for her entire adult life. For me to get to 103 would require calorie restriction and exercise the like of which I dare not even imagine.

A 20-inch waist is also similarly extraordinary. One of my thighs is bigger than her waist. The only women that I know of that can even approximate that number are Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara) and Dita Von Teese, both of whom use highly restrictive corsets to achieve 18″ for the former and 16″ for the latter. Audrey’s waist was 20 inches even in a bikini. (For the record, it is reported that Dita’s uncorseted waist is a mere 21″.)

I know all this and yet I still pine for a 20 inch waist. Why would I do this? I am healthy – exceedingly healthy if you want to talk those kinds of numbers (you should see the blood pressure reading on this baby!) – so why aren’t I happy with that? It’s because deep down I yearn, like most women I think, to not just be functional but also to be beautiful. And I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but for this beholder, Audrey Hepburn has always reigned supreme.

Part of my problem with this is that for everything that Audrey was known for in her life, being eating disordered was never one of them. She maintained an impossibly tiny figure without making herself ill. Good genetics, I suppose. And I imagine she was very careful with how she ate – there are certainly no records of her being a glutton. But here’s where the crazy voices kick in: Why does she get to be so thin and beautiful when for me that weight would earn me a one-way ticket to the mental health ward? Why doesn’t she look sunken-eyed and gaunt in any of her pictures? I lose 10 pounds and I have bones sticking out in all sorts of wrong places. And where did she put all of her internal organs? In her pocketbook?

I am embarrassed to say how much these numbers bother me. I have spent the last two days looking up corsets online and wondering if I could wear one under my gym tank tops without the Gym Buddies noticing (not likely) and still be able to breathe enough to do my cardio (extremely unlikely). I have been wondering if I ought to take out all oblique exercises just in case my crazy strong ab muscles are actually making my waist bigger – an assertion that Jillian Michaels uses in her book Making the Cut as her reason why she never does them – despite the fact that it would give me an unstable and unbalanced core.

There is a reason that comparisons are odious. Certainly I am stronger than Audrey, she being no fan of sport or exercise aside from dancing in her youth. And other than coloring (and height!), we share precious little with which to draw a comparison. So you would think that I could stop obsessing. But I can’t. I have admired her for so long that to learn that the reality of looking like her is so far out of my reach as to be a logistical impossibility feels terribly sad to me. A loss, even.

What do I do? How do I let go of the numbers? Has anyone mastered the art of not comparing? Seriously, somebody save me from myself (and also Women’s Health magazine).

link: http://thegreatfitnessexperiment.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-audrey-hepburn-ruined-my-day.html

{February 16, 2010}   size 4 is model-fat.

This is how the industry will turn on you if you are even a size four.



(more unfortunate fuckery under the cut) Read the rest of this entry »

{February 16, 2010}   Dita Von Teese article

Burlesque star Dita Von Teese maintains her pin-up image by working out in full make-up

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{February 13, 2010}   laineygossip articles

Extensive laineygossip pieces on thinnification, drugs in Hollywood, etc.

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{February 13, 2010}   tough love approach to fatties

Think Yourself Thin article criticizes fat people’s “middle class mind set”, says “overweight people are living in an alternate reality”.

(more after the cut)

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This is how the industry will turn on you if you gain ANY weight. This is what you’re up against. If you want to succeed, DON’T make her mistake!

(the rise and fall of the now-fat ex-model Gemma Ward is under the cut)

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From The Sunday Times
April 8, 2007

My 6-week journey to the land of thin

What does it take for a normal woman to achieve size zero? In this graphic account of extreme dieting, Kate Spicer reveals the revolting cost

Kate Spicer
(included under cut is documentary online, written article)
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et cetera