About Food, or: How I Joined a Gym Today.
Joined a gym today.
Depression & addictive behavior run in my family. The Dickinson women, especially, have a tendency to low self-esteem & setting-the-bar-high-for-oneself standards. Which results in a lot of internalized conflict and self-doubt, which begins to develop into depression which is numbed with fillers — like alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, food, etc.
Food has always been a self-destruct tool for me. I have, since I was at least 12, struggled with my body image. I was much sturdier and stockier than kids my age growing up, and somewhere between 8-10, the baby fat started to just stay and as I grew up, I also grew around. I wasn’t obese, or terribly overweight, but I wasn’t willowy or lean like a good deal of the kids I knew — or like the models, actresses & public figures. I have no idea when I became a compulsive eater — hoarding food, sneaking candy, pouring 1/4 sugar onto dry Rice Krispies so I could let the sugar sink to the bottom & eat it at the end of the bowl — but somewhere along the line, I did. Food was an escape, it was an out — if I was left home alone, the only real “bad thing” I wanted to do was to eat up all the food in the house, especially fatty/sugary treats.
I still find myself doing this 18 years later, as an adult who is cognizant of nutrition & a healthy lifestyle. I go on uncontrollable food binges, and have more than once in the past three years been guilty of devouring an entire 1/2 gallon of ice cream in 45 minutes, or a cake (frosted) in one night, or a 6-piece fried chicken with french fries. I have to end up throwing things away or else there are times when I know it will be nearly impossible for me to stop myself.
My overall daily eating habits are not bad — much healthier than many, I would think. I try not to eat meats with too much fat content more than twice a week, I make a conscious effort to get vegetables in me, I stay away from sodas, processed foods, etc. But there are these moments of weakness.
And my metabolism is none too high.
So, when I belonged to NY Sports Clubs for nearly two years, I was ecstatic. It was so great to have long stretches of feeling healthy and truly comfortable in my own body. I know there will always be “jiggly bits” to me, but the leanness and tone I had gained was a first for me — literally the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE that I had been fit. It was such a blessing and gave me a new perspective on my own confidence.
When I moved back to CA, I couldn’t afford a gym membership & I wasn’t particularly strict with food intake (it’s hard to be with the one you love during a beautiful CA summer and not feast on BBQ’s, hamburgers, steak dinners, grilled cheeses…). Although I am still a smaller version of myself — if you didn’t already know, I was 185lbs when graduating high school…and about 150 when I left college…after moving to NYC, I dropped another 10 just from all the walking around the city — I have lost a lot of tone and can definitely say I am out of shape. If it wasn’t for needing to bicycle places, I’d be even worse for the wear.
The “moment of truth” day was a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that my face was really starting to fill out. It sent little panic shivers through me and I had a mental flash of having an extra 15lbs on — and how uncomfortable in my own skin I had been when I was at that weight. My circulation was different when I was 150, my panic attacks were more frequent, and I felt a lot more tired a lot more often.
So, after depositing the check for services rendered for my directing work, I went to InShape City this morning to find out about their package. I signed up for a three year deal—and it was a special, no enrollment fee, month of Nov. free deal — I only paid $109 for the startup processing and key card, and starting Dec., I only pay $40 a month for an all-inclusive membership.
I can’t wait — and I’m excited that I got the chance to start this before rehearsals start for “Beyond Therapy.” My hope when I was cast in that play was that I would use that wonderful opportunity to force myself to get into better physical shape — because I know from my training that when the body is tuned/fit/ready, the mind can utilize it all the better for acting — the first read-through of the show isn’t until Dec. 16, so I’ll have a month headstart on it.
I could go on for paragraphs more about all my food issues and weight issues and body image issues. I won’t — I’ll just say again how glad I am to have a gym membership again. I know I’ll never be a bony runway model — but I also don’t want to be one. Working out gave me appreciation for the curves and the angles — my clavicles became my favorite thing, but I also loved how I had stopped seeing my child-bearing hips as a curse — instead they were incredibly womanly and the contrast of my curves to my angles was sexy to me…bring on the elliptical!!