I Can’t Believe I Ate A Whole Head Of Lettuce!
Once upon a time I wanted to look like a cover girl, despite whatever feminist consciousness I may have had.
It had not occurred to me that that wasn’t an option. It’s what my culture said I was supposed to look like. What I needed to look like to be truly valued.
Full of contradictions, I began my supermodel project. But in a healthy sort of way, I told myself. Wasn’t going to starve. No anorexia or bulimia for me.
I later came to see that I did end up with an eating disorder.
I became obsessed with food. How much had I eaten that day? Constantly counting calories. My worth depended upon how well I had kept my calories down.
At times I swung between overeating and starving. Very little starving – I wasn’t good at it.
I next developed an exercise obsession. You can’t get too much exercise, right? After developing a knee injury from jogging, I tried Nordic Track. Another knee injury. Next, I began walking three miles a day at a brisk pace. Yet another knee injury. Apparently, you can rub your cartilage too much from over-exercise and lack of rest. My physical therapist told me to start biking instead – and don’t overdo it! No more than four days a week, and no hills.
After all the food and exercise mania, I still looked nothing like a supermodel. One day standing in line at a grocery store I picked up People Magazine and read a story on how supermodels did it. I finally understood why I didn’t look like them, and never would.
Kim Alexis had tried every fad diet and at one point starved herself for four days straight.
Carol Alt went on a fruit-only diet. Later, she drank eight cups of coffee a day, and ate salad for dinner.
Andie Macdowell said many models took drugs to deal with the stress of starving.
What struck me most was when Kim Alexis said:
When I first started out, I was rooming in a New York City hotel with (supermodel) Kelly Emberg. One night I came home, and I was eating only a head of lettuce for dinner. Kelly walked in and said, “You’re eating a whole head of lettuce? How could you?” I cried and said, “But it’s all I’ve had all day. It’s not even 50 calories!”
To which I say, “Are you freaking kidding me?!” That big “cheat” would be insane dieting in my book. In anyone’s book, one would hope.
That’s when my hopes for supermodel slim were dashed.
Yes, I had been insane. But not that insane.
And it’s not just me. It’s society. What kind of crazy culture says women must feel guilty about eating a head of lettuce — or she won’t “look good”?
So I determined to gain my mental and physical health back. I’ve had ups and downs, but so far so good.
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