Sunday, August 8, 2010

I had an idea for a blog title...

And I lost it.

Sometime during my 12 miles today I came up with a blog title.

And, oddly enough, at some point I debated changing it to another title.

Neither title do I remember now.

I went on a 12 mile run at the beach again today, doing the same loop as last week but just adding an extra mile to the middle. It was a great run. Not particularly fast or slow (maybe a little more relaxed than normal), but I actually remembered to pack my GU gel, which made a HUGE difference. Having run 11 miles last week on the exact same route, and felt exhausted, but this time having had two GUs and am still feeling great at 8pm, I'm just a total believer in whatever they put in those thingies.

It was a great run. Though when it was over I had a long talk with the DBF about my running, my goals and where to go from here.

No frontin', I started running (or trying to do it for more distance/competition) for two reasons:
1. I wanted to be an athlete
2. I want to be/stay skinny

I recently lost a lot of weight. Actually I had gained a lot of weight due to a medical problem, and mostly the steroids they put me on (and probably some depression that made me want to just sit on my couch and eat ice cream all day long). So I was getting pleasantly plump. But I knew I couldn't stay that way. Let's just say "Nobody wants to hire a fat actress".

I'm not putting that in special Negative Tape (NT) type or format, because, sadly, it's not a negative tape. It's the f-ing truth. I have never been "fat", but I was certainly edging up close to it. A lot of people really struggle with their weight, but I just let mine get out of control. However, I'd never been "skinny", I'd just been tall and svelte. Which I was always fine with. But I was really pushing the envelope. And, in an industry where competition is so fierce, you shouldn't be shooting yourself in the foot by being overweight, if you can avoid it

Now, if anyone actually reads this blog, they may take issue with this. And yea, there are tons of great actresses who aren't rail skinny. But how many of them actually end up being successful? And in reality, how many of them are constantly having to make a point about their weight? It's like a black actress constantly talking about how great of an actress she is because she has to overcome being black! We know that's prejudiced. It's great that there are shows like Hairspray where the lead can be a chubby girl, but then again... why does it have to be so remarkable that she's chubby? And I was always somewhere in between. Not really skinny, but not character actress chubby.

So this always bothered me, that I "should" be skinnier. And because I thought it was morally unjust, I decided to not be skinny. As a big "SCREW YOU!" to the man. Or whomever.

And the reality is... it wasn't screwing anybody, but maybe me.

Back to my story. I had put on some weight (let's say 15 or so pounds), and I went out to loose that weight. And I ended up losing almost 25 pounds. And I saw my career change. I saw my wardrobe completely change. I saw my perception of my self radically change. I saw people's response to me change. I actually heard casting directors tell me "You're a completely different type now!"

But I refused to be "Girl on a Diet".


I don't know. Because I find those girls who only ever eat salads irritating. (Sorry salad girls). Because I didn't want my career to "punish" me or make me have to change my life or my lifestyle. Because I was resentful that something so easy as eating less and moving more had been standing in the way of my career for so long... It pissed me off. But I was relishing the new body I had, and the opportunities it was providing for me.

So I decided to keep running. I truly love it. It's a great way to burn calories. Meanwhile I took up a more naturalistic approach to food, only eating "real food" (avoiding processed at all costs), eating mostly plants, trying to eat organic as much as possible.

And the reality is, I'm eating very healthily, I'm running 20-30 miles a week, and I'm still sitting about at the same place I had been before I had made those changes.

Maybe this is where my body is happy.

Or maybe this is where my body is comfortable.

(Those two things are very different, I think).

So the question now is: how hard do you want to work.

The DBF is quick to remind me that I have a bit of an obsessive perfectionistic compulsion, and he's totally right. There's a fine line between becoming more conscious of your weight and an eating disorder. But if it benefits your job to be 5 pounds skinnier... shouldn't you do that?

And then I start to sound like a crazy person, so I reach for a handful of popcorn and try to stop thinking about it.

Which isn't the answer, either.

Somewhere there is a weight, a way of eating, a way of exercising that is comfortable for me, and respects the reality of my career. If I were a teacher, I would never not give myself every opportunity to be the best teacher around. I would continuously work harder, reading, studying, enriching my own education and skills to be a better teacher. Now, being skinnier doesn't make me a better actress, but it might make me a better product. And do I agree with the image obsessed, "sex sells!" reality of our culture? No. But have I bought into it by chosing a career in this field...?

I think the answer is yes.

So how far do you go?

I don't know these answers yet, but I'm throwing them out there for tonight. And the next few nights. And probably the rest of my nights to come, at least those when I still call myself "actress". We'll see how they chose to reveal answers to me, and what I find.


  1. Hey Anna
    I totally understand where you are coming from, last time I was "skinny" I was 17.... Recently I've been exercising heaps and watching what I eat and I've also started asking myself the exact same questions, what is sustainable/healthy and what is obsessive?.... And I understand that your career does favour the skinny... Having said all this, our current obsession with skinny, what we see in magazines/TV etc is in my opionion getting out of control. I realised the other day that madonna is now the same age as Rue McClanahan was when she started on the Golden girls.... Think about THAT!
    plus all the "look at her fat arse" websites are just toxic... So all I'm saying is please don't start comparing yourself to courtney cox or catherine zeta jones types because those women are tooo skinny

  2. It's funny you should make a Catherine Zeta Jones reference, because since she just won the Tony for this year's Best Actress in a Musical, she's been my go-to reference lately...

    (Plus, my boyfriend thinks she's just the most beautiful woman to have ever walked the face of the earth. But having seen her in person (twice!) I can say she is skinny, but very normal. And gorgeous!)