I have a Black Belt in Weight Loss Crazy. I’m talking about that frantic, junkie-level desperation. The desire to disappear made manifest. The grasping for control in an out-of-control life. The mind-imprisonment that comes from years of societal programming.
Yes y’all, I am talking about growing up as a female human in the western world.
On top of the usual Black Belt status, I have some extra special credentials, including but not limited to the following: I started ballet at three years old. My absolutely adorable mom was a model – a freaking model. I’ve been on stage since I was five. I am a fitness instructor. I live in Hollywood, the epicenter and roiling womb of Weight Loss Crazy. I could go on, but you get the idea. This is simply the tip of the calorie-dense iceberg that is my Eating Disorder Pedigree.
I’ve been the gaunt and period-less fifteen-year-old, standing at the barre with her sallow skin matching the shade of her olive-green leotard, despondent over her lack of thigh-gap…before the term thigh-gap was even a thing.
I’ve been the horrified twenty-five-year-old standing on the scale, moving the weight up the beam into the next notch with a resounding thud, crossing boundaries I swore I never would into next-level heaviness.
I’ve been the muscular thirty-five-year-old, rebuilding my body from the ground up, earning every lost dress size with literal blood, sweat and tears.
And—big shocker—never once have I felt my stomach was flat enough. If you catch my drift.
I recently found myself in the dressing room after fitness class. This is a large establishment with a diversity of members from various ages and backgrounds.
One of those classic female locker-talk convos filled the air. There were a couple of women—speaking in that very specific way that denotes Weight Loss Crazy—about the latest “nutrition news.” They were discussing kale, and the way it helps fill you by activating stretch receptors so you can lose weight, and the latest superfood melon that speeds your metabolism so you can lose weight, and freaking farro and how it freaking lowers your blood sugar so you can—you guessed it—lose weight.
It was that classic archetypal convo I’ve heard countless times before, from adolescent women on up…but never this far up.
This was a first for me. These women were at least in their mid-eighties. One was slightly overweight and one was slightly underweight. They looked like…women…in their mid-eighties. They were gorgeous and fabulous. And they were still obsessing over the minutiae of weight loss.
I wanted to grab their hands, to express to them just how beautiful they were. I wanted to tell them they were warrior high priestesses and that every inch of their fleshly selves was a testament to their respective existences.
But that would have been super inappropriate, obvz.
Something clicked in my brain in that moment. Something I knew intellectually finally sank into my bones. This Weight Loss Crazy will never end on its own. It will never run its course and disappear. I have to choose to stop it.
I don’t want to go to my grave wishing I were five pounds thinner, thinking that my inherent value as a human being would increase if my stomach were taut enough to bounce pennies off of.
In addictive behaviors and thought patterns, we set a somewhat arbitrary and ultra idealized future goal and decide that when we reach said goal, then we will be fulfilled/whole/complete and give up the behavior and/or thought pattern.
“When I am rich, then I’ll be happy.”
“When I meet my soulmate, then I’ll be brave enough to pursue my dreams.”
“When I get outside approval, then I’ll be honest.”
“When life gets less stressful, then I’ll quit smoking.”
“When I lose x amount of pounds, then I’ll be worthy of love…of living…of downright existing.”
The irony is that the truth is actually a total reversal. We need to find centeredness and self-acceptance in order to reach our goals, not dangle them like carrots in front of ourselves.
Not that any of this is happening consciously. But we can choose to awaken. We must choose to awaken. I must choose to awaken.
I want to be happy, healthy and strong. I want us all to be happy, healthy, and strong. There is so much flooding at us, constantly, in the form of pollution. Junk food and junk thoughts.
This isn’t about eating chocolate cake for breakfast. (Although, if you want to every once in a blue moon, I say, go for it.) This is about reconnecting as best we can to our own inner knowing of what we need to survive and thrive.
I promise you, there is no expiration date on Weight Loss Crazy. It won’t just magically end one day because you’re rich, or married, or have wonderful kids, or grandkids, or an amazingly successful career, or for any other reason. You have to choose to walk away.
Today, I am walking away, and I hope you will join me. Whether you are 5 or 105, it’s never too early—or too late—to leave the madness behind.
This is about loving all of ourselves, right now, right here. This is exactly where to start. I know that, because this is where we are. This is the perfect place to be.
It’s the only way to get to where you want to be, anyway.
Photo: Jumping Silhouettes by Antoine Gady