Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Price of Thin

What would you be willing to sacrifice to have a model's body?

Kate Spicer, before and after her extreme diet

A few weeks ago, in a fantastic piece in The Sunday Times (U.K.), journalist Kate Spicer wrote about her experience undergoing an extreme diet for a documentary on what it takes to "achieve" the size 0 bodies of models, actresses and celebrities. An already fairly thin woman at "just over 10 stone" (140 lbs), she committed to 6 weeks of near-starvation in order to reach her goal size. Here's a summary of what happened:

Week One: She goes on the "Master Cleanse Diet" (a favorite of celebrities like Beyonce) and immediately begins to feel the effects, becoming weak and woozy, to the point where she can't concentrate on work and even faints after a trip to the steam room. She then increases her calorie intake to 500 calories a day, has terrible diarrhea and smokes far more than usual. She finds her social life suffering, since she can't be around food, and barely has the energy to socialize with friends.

Week Two: She avoids family so she's not forced to eat more. After going out with friends, she breaks down and orders a piece of cake, the sugar from which propels her to a sugar high, and she's unable to calm down or think straight. The guilt from the cake makes her feel so fat that she lies in bed wishing for her hipbones to jut out more.

Week Three: She's lost enough weight that her breasts and butt are flat and lifeless, leading male friends to complain that she's too thin. She continues to feel guilty about last week's slice of cake (!) and has reached the point where she can think and care about nothing but food and sex, "a girl needs some kind of sensory pleasures in life, and sex and smoking are the only ones left." She begins to take laxatives and attends a detox retreat where she consumes nothing but fruit juice and exercises twice a day. She no longer communicates with friends or family, and has so little concentration that she can only watch trashy TV and read celebrity magazines.

When she realizes that she's lost a stone (14 lbs) in 3 weeks, she's overjoyed, and gets a rush of power and a feeling that she's better than other women because she can look good in anything. She judges other women's bodies obsessively and ruthlessly, and her only enjoyments are shopping (naturally), smoking and sitting in the steam room. She decides to take time off work.

Week Four: When her doctor finds out about her laxative use, he sends her to a psychologist, who tells her she's at risk for developing bulimia and needs to go back to her pre-diet eating and exercise habits. Not surprisingly, she's furious and refuses to take his advice.

Week Five: Back on the job but away on an assignment, she can't handle her stress, and without food as a coping mechanism, turns to binging followed by self-induced vomiting. When she casually mentions this to two friends, she's surprised by their shock, having reached a point where such drastic measures are normal and justifiable. She begins reading books on eating disorders, encouraging her intellect to "fight back against my misguided, hunger-fueled, bizarre idea of vanity."

Week Six: With the experiment coming to an end and the binging and purging taking a serious toll on her physical and mental state, she slowly begins to eat normally again. Not surprisingly, everything else in her life becomes a lot simpler and easier to manage. Yet she feels like a failure, having gone down to 9 stone (126 lbs) when most Hollywood celebrities are closer to 8 stone (112 lbs, which would probably translate to a size 0). She reflects on the fact that at her thinnest, her female friends all thought she looked her best.

Okay, now up until this point everything made sense to me, based on what I've read about how the mind and body react to eating disorders, and from observations made by friends and family members who've suffered from anorexia and bulimia. But here's where she really shocks me:

"The cult of thin is a powerful one and, truth be told, if I didn’t have to work I could imagine almost enjoying getting into it."

Whaaat? After realizing the toll this lifestyle took on not only your body (constantly feeling weak, inability to think clearly), your mind (non-stop obsessing over food and comparing yourself to other women), your relationships (the eating disorder made it nearly impossible to interact with others) and your personal life (only gaining pleasure from shopping and smoking, no longer capable of participating in intellectual hobbies), how do you justify wanting to continue living this way?

Life is certainly easier when your life revolves around one thing only- not eating. You're competing with yourself, with the results of your hard work visible to you at all times. The article reinforced what I've often heard from people suffering from eating disorders, which is that it's never about wanting to look better for other people... it's not about looking better at all. It's about regaining a sense of control that you previously felt like you'd lost.

One other thing that interested me was that she mentioned in the beginning of the article that before this experience she had pretty good self-esteem, and while there were always things about her body she'd have liked to change, she'd never been motivated to make any drastic changes. But once she began the diet, the high she got from losing the weight and feeling like she'd conquered her body led her to do things that her normal, pre-diet self would have never considered. I wondered whether this meant that almost any of us, if we committed to an extreme diet like this, could be sucked into a kind of eating disorder... is it a slippery slope that we're all at risk for sliding down?

I've never been on a diet in my life and have no interest in ever going on one. If I want to lose weight, I try to limit my portion sizes, eat healthier and go to the gym more. When I stick to this routine for long enough, I lose weight (it's certainly not a fast fix). I've read the statistics about dieting and I recognize that diets don't work for longterm weight loss. And besides, I get way, way too much pleasure out of eating to ever consider giving up the things I love to eat, even if I limit my intake to weekends or special occasions.

I don't want to pretend that I wouldn't prefer to have Gisele's body over my own. But based on Kate Spicer's description of her life while on an extreme diet, I could never justify making those kind of sacrifices just to have the perfect body and all the things that come along with it.

But I'm curious what you guys think... do you think that having the perfect body and an (artificial) sense of control over your life is worth the mental/physical/emotional trauma Kate Spicer experienced? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.


Queen Michelle said...

I watched this show and it was flawed on so many levels it was ridiculous. It began as a piece about how celebrities get to size 00, hence all the crazy diets like the Liz Hurley Watercress Soup Diet, then it became a discussion about eating disorders in general, and the only conclusion that could possibly be drawn is that all super thin celebrities are all basically anorexics, and go to those extreme measures and do it all in 6 weeks. Firstly, if they want to know how many of those people get so thin - one word COCAINE. Secondly Nicole Ritchie's appearance, which was down to drug abuse mainly, didn't happen in 6 weeks, it was gradual over a long time.

Kate Spicer didn't finish the challenge because it was reeking havoc with her mental health, but the other girl did and it ended with her fitting into the elusive 00 jeans, but here's where I was confused - the girl Louise that did manage it, started of at approx. 10st with a BMI of 25 and a healthy UK12, and ended up 8st 3lb with a BMI of 19 - underweight. Well, I am 8st and 5ft 7" and have a BMI of 17.5 which means I should be dropping dead of a heart attack any time now, if the 'science' is to be believed. I can't fit anywhere near a size 0 (which is a UK4). I'm a healthy UK8. I have been 7st 7lb before too and still only fitted a UK6 and was still healthy and strong. It just didn't add up.

I don't exercise, I eat LOTS and I have never vomited in my life (well not deliberately!). So either the brand of jeans they used have taken vanity sizing to a whole new level, or the size 0 is total myth. I think they would have lost weight had they eaten healthily and exercised. It was basically tabloid TV at it's worse and once again only served to portray thin people as anorexics, which is total rubbish. Face it, some people are just born thin, them's the breaks.

Aruek said...

Queen Michelle, a BMI of 19 is not underweight (underweight is below 18.5).

Here is another semi-related article that is pretty interesting- it's about the calorie-restriction diet from the view of a former anorexic.

Also, Jane's article on breasts is up. You can read it here and see more pictures of real women's breasts in the guest blog.

JustAnotherMommy said...

I didn't see the show or read the article (though I will) but I have been that thin. I did not lose it that quickly, it took me about 1 year to lose about 70lbs and go from 180 to 110 (I am 5"4). But once I lost the weight, I got terrified of gaining the weight back and had to resort to the kind of behaviors discussed here to keep it off. I was thinking about food all the time, trying to exercise every free moment, binging and purging, and even throwing up when I had not binged but had gone over my self imposed caloric limit of 600 calories a day. I was also very competitive about being thin and eating less than everyone else, to the point I could no longer eat out. I criticized everyone's food and weight all the time. People always say when you have an ED you feel fat even though you arent. Not me. I felt thin, and I loved it. Also, as Kate Spicer noted, people definately though I looked better. I dont mean just from 180 to 100lbs (duh)...but even when I went from 120 to 110, I got more and more complements...though women also started telling me I had lost enough and could stop, but I thought they were just jealous.

IMO, it is very very hard to either maintain a large weight loss or lose weight very quickly without becoming obsessed with it to some level. It is just too much work to maintain an unrealistic weight or to drop weight at an unrealistic pace without being very very motivated and making it your number one goal. I have, over the years, met many women who did some sort of extreme program to lose weight, or lost a lot of weight at some point in their lives--they were often very preoccupied with food and weight all the time.

I eventually got over that behavior, gained weight to 140lbs which was a nice US10, and stayed that way for years with a balenced lifestyle that I could maintain with little effort.

Eventually though, life changes led me back up at 190lbs! I have again lost most the weight and gotten down to just over 150 (size 12, which I am happy with...I am a 30 something full time working married mom and don't feel like I need to be thin, out of plus size is great for me) but I spend 18 months losing the weight, making small sustainable changes one at a time until I reached a lifestyle I could maintain without obsessing over it, and taking breaks to focus on maintaining when I got unmotivated. It is a much slower way to get in shape, but certainly much healthier for mind and body.

I dont think all the models and acresses go on axtreme 6 week diets. Some of them have been in the spotlight for so long that it is just natural for them to make very healthy decisions. Some of them are probably naturally very thin (yes, I do know women like this, though not many). I do, however, agree that likely a lot of them do use drugs, and do have to be at that obsessed mindset to maintain their weights. But, it is also important to remember that as people who have chosen to be models and acresses, they have put themselves in the spotlight and have to live for their looks. It is not right that models and actresses are expected to be so thin to be considered beautiful and be successful, but it is the way it is, and there is no reason that those of us that are not in that lifestyle need to be a size 0 to be beautiful or successful. In real life, unlike Hollywood, a size 8 or 10 or bigger women can still be considered beautiful and can still be as successful in her chosen career as she would be if she was 2 or 7 sizes smaller!

Nika said...

This is a classical example of how eating disorders start - most people simply want to lose a few pounds, achieve that model like look, which is next to unattainable for the most of normal and healthy people, because human body is not designed to be size 00. So the measures to reach that goal become more and more drastic, until they not only seriously threaten one's physical health, but mental health and stability as well. They say eating disorders are in your head and not about your own body and food, but it's curious to see what makes an otherwise bright and intelligent woman decide that she needs to loose weight to beging with, to be able to feel confident and adequate about herself? That's a beginning to a really long discussion and i'm glad you brought this up in your blog - if you are interested at all, check out Every Woman Has an Eating Disorder by Dr. Stacey in New York, which, as the title suggests, women, even those who are not suffering an eating disorder, have certain amount of feeling of inadequacy because of being dissatisfied with themselves and their own bodies.

Jessica said...

First, let me just say that this is a really great post. I have never really struggled with my weight as it has remained fairly stable over the past few years. I'm 22, 5'4, and I weight 120 lbs. Depending on the company or brand, I can wear anything from a size 2 to a size 6 - however; I'm never really satisfied with my body. The problems is, I never have enough motivation to change. I rarely exercise, and I have a big problem with food - mainly that I love it, and I have no control over what I decide to eat. I've never been drawn to drugs or alcohol, but my addictive behavior manifests itself through food. I would definitely consider myself an emotional eater and a boredom eater. I'm always eating, even when I'm not hungry. I don't purge though because I cannot stand vomiting. I would be lying if I said I haven't repeatedly thought about it because I'm quite aware that all the girls that are my height in Hollywood only weigh about 110lbs maximum.

This article really does show that eating disorders can be developed at any stage of life and how they slowly begin to take over every other aspect of life. Have you heard of or read any of Lauren Greenfield's books? She's a photographer, but she interviews the girls that she photographs and she includes excerpts from the interviews in her books. In her book, "Girl Culture," there's a young college girl who refused to go to her brother's graduation from the Marines (I think) because she knew she wouldn't be able to control her food intake and exercise routine since her family would be traveling on the road for a few days. There are also "before and after" pictures of a group of teenage girlfriends who attend a weight loss camp. In the before pictures, the girls are all gorgeous and they seem confident and happy. In the after picture, though they are thinner, the girls seem tired, wary, unhappy, and much less confident.

Lauren Greenfield also recently published another book called "Thin" where she followed a group of girls and women at an eating disorder clinic/rehab center. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure it's just as shocking as "Girl Culture."

Thanks so much for starting this discussion. I think it's important, especially because many "beauty bloggers" only focus on the "fun" stuff. If you don't mind, I'll probably be discussing this same topic on my blog via the Greenfield books.

Anonymous said...

Speaking personally, being skinny is incredibly overrated. I lost weight in a way no one has discussed: I got something sexy called "irritable bowel" where my body processed food too quickly to get any nutrients out of it. I was in constant pain and nausea and the pounds fell off so fast it was like being in Stephen King's "Thinner." My neck bones showed, my ass bones rubbed on chairs, I went down a bra size, my rings fell off my fingers. And everyone told me how "great" I looked. It was gross. Maybe if I'd *felt* great, but it doesn't sound like anyone on a radical loss plan (either through sickness or strength of will) CAN feel great. Believe me, I would rather have been fat -- and happy!

I guess I don't understand the feeling that someone's perfectly healthy body is somehow the enemy to be "conquered." A sick body or an obese body, sure... but a functional one?

Also, just as a side note, every man I know says they prefer a woman with a little meat on her bones. And not just on her chest, either. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

You know, men always claim they like a girl with curves, but then most of them go for the skinniest girl they can find. My guy friends would tell me I was too thin, but when I gained weight, they, and strangers, stopped hitting on me.

I always had a relatively stable weight - always under 120. I dropped to near 100 twice - once in high school when I was barely eating out of depression, and once in college when I was barely able to afford food and was constantly on the go. At 5'6 and 100lbs, I was still a 2-4 and had a BMI of 16. I was an adult, not a teenager, who often have a naturally lower BMI. I do not think I could put a 00 over my dead bones.

After I graduated college, I finally had free time, enough money to eat regular meals, and a car (which meant I dropped walking 6+miles every day.) I also started on new meds, and put on nearly 40lbs in 4 months. I went from a 4 to a 10, gained two cup sizes, etc.

I honestly feel two ways about my body every single day. I know, rationally, that I am happier, healthier, stronger, and a lot less neurotic than I was when I was thin. My skin is better, my hair is better. I look better in my clothes, I look more womanly and less like a child. I love eating, the taste of food, the knowledge that I never have to feel *hungry* for days on end until my body no longer recognizes hunger as a viable feeling.

At the same time, I still try to put my body through places that are not big enough. I pull out size two pants and think "this is my size!" I try on swimsuits and recoil in horror at the bubberiness that was not there before. I wear much less revealing clothing now - I feel like I have to think far more about cut and fit and quality and style to find something flattering. Yet, I love my wardrobe all the more. I look at photos where I could get my hands around my thighs, and realize I look like I'm wearing peg legs, but I still want to get into those jeans. I can accept that I will never again be a 4, and should NOT be, but I miss it. Every day. It's complicated.

Anonymous said...

All these posts are making me realize just how much body type/shape (not just weight) affects clothing sizes. I've 5'6 and about 120 and I'm usually a 2-4. I feel like if I dropped 20 lbs (or even 10) I could fit into a 0 or a 00. I guess muscle is probably also a key factor here (and a problem for using BMI) since 120 lbs with lots of muscle will look smaller than 120 lbs with less muscle.

Annie said...

Meg - this story is really fantastic in that it's both compelling and alarming!

In my family, my sister was always the thin one...I was always the athlete. I'm 5'8" and very muscular. According to the "National Standards" I should probably weigh 50 pounds less than I do, in fact, this is what my doctor tells me to lose...50 pounds! But I wonder about this because I'm really athletic and I still fit into standard-sized clothing, so WTF?

Growing up,I rowed crew, ran track, and was on a soccer team for years. When I went to college though, I discovered beer and late-night quesadillas, which really put the weight on. A few years ago I did Weight Watchers, and lost about 25 pounds which was great, but still short of what the government tells me someone of my age and height *should* weigh.

It's true, I felt great and looked great, even though I went down only one size in clothing. But I still weighed a lot, although less than usual.

I don't eat junk food, I don't drink sodas, I don't eat cereal, I don't drink smoothies (hidden carbs & sugars), I don't eat fried food, I eschew dessert for a glass of wine or maybe a slice of cheese. I've cut back on pasta, increased the veggies & fruits, and have decreased my caffeine intake to only one cup of coffee a day.

And still with all of this healthy eating and exercise, I don't see much difference on the scale.

I have the feeling that my body likes being a certain weight, and if I were meant to be super-thin then I would be, but as of right now that's the purview of my sister - the thin one... ;-)

I did a triathlon last year, I'm doing another one this year, and will probably continue to do them. I can swim a mile, run about 7 or 8, and knock out 40-plus miles on my bike and not even blink. I will say that my body looks & feels great...although, guess what? I weigh even more. The more muscle you build, even if it makes you leaner and more efficient, the more you weigh. A pound is a pound in any matter, but in muscle-matter it takes up a lot less space while it weighs more.

My arms are cut, my thighs are toned, and my butt is really smooth and curvy - I'm pretty content with it all.

Would I sacrifice my empowering athleticism to fit some ideal number in clothing or BMI or national standard? Ummm...what do you think?

airstreamdiva said...

Can we also just note that Ms. Spicer is absolutely lovely in the "before" picture. nice curves, quite thin. lovely. geez.

H. said...

I saw some press about that show, and while channel-surfing I paused on it for a few minutes. I soon changed the channel in disgust.

I mean, really. What kind of a question was it asking in the first place? "I'm thin and gorgeous, let's see if getting dramatically thinner is worth going through a frenzy of self-starvation?" Shouldn't it be obvious that there's only one possible answer to that?

With less than a minute of viewing, I already knew how the rest of the show was going to go. When I was in college 15 years ago, my friend was certified insane because of this behaviour. I remember visiting her in the hospital and watching her fiddle with the tube in her nose. It is offensive that some journalist would treat this disease as if it were a game, just to enhance what passes for her career.

It should be obvious that anyone with anorexic tendencies will have gotten nothing from the show but more diet tips, and that everybody else will use it to affirm their prejudice that you can't be thin without being diseased. In a profoundly eating-disordered society where even the best-informed people have been deliberately put into a state of confusion about how to eat, this is nothing but bad news.

Kathryn said...

last year I dropped 50 pounds or so due to extreme emotional stress, not exactly healthy

yet people around me went on and on and on about how great I looked

my life may have been falling apart, but at least I looked good

I am now in a happier and more stable emotional space and have gained back 15 pounds or so (I am 5'10 and weigh 170, a solid size 10 to 12). However, the summer clothes I bought last year don't fit (too small) and I actually had a small panic attack about that the other day and have vowed to loose the 15 but quick

all this from a seemingly sane, professional woman with her head pretty much screwed on straight

easy to see where you can become obsessed with staying "thin" and therefore "better"

I think she looks much better in the "before" shot

Anonymous said...

Great post and great comments. Like many women here I notice I'm happier when I'm heavier (less cranky and have more and better sex) but get more compliments and feel more in control when I'm thin, go figure.

I've been rethinking this recently since I took a job that involves interviewing AIDS patients. I talk to a lot of women who've had wasting syndrome and dropped 25-30 lbs in the space of a few weeks. Often these are women who weighed what I weigh now and dropped down to the weight I reflexively think I should be.

The first few times it came up, I had to fight the impulse to say, "but you look great!"

It's weird to me that even in the face of all evidence to the contrary (these women would give anything to weigh 140 lbs and not be sick) part of me thinks these are friendly and reassuring words from one woman to another.

Consciously I'm well past thinking thin = beautiful and everything else is second best, but obviously at some level it's something women have an impulse to reinforce with each other even when it's totally inappropriate.

(I'm leaving guys out of this completely b/c any conversation I've tried to have on the subject inevitably gets derailed when someone mentions breasts)

libby said...

I'm 5"6.5 and weigh around 115 pounds. I do 30 - 40 minutes of yoga three to four times a week, eat healthy, (whole wheat, brown rice, limited sugar.) I just look like the second pic all the time... some people ARE naturally that thin. Sometimes I wish I looked like some of my curvier friends. Meanwhile, they are always telling me they whished they looked like me! I guess you just have to treat your body right, and appreciate what you've been given. Also, concentrating on standard sizing is ridiculous. A Gap size four is another company's size eight. Stores do their sizing according to the statistics of their average customer. So eat well, feel good, and only buy what fits in the dressing room. Forget the size.

Gwen >> My Relationship Resume said...

I'm not sure if anyone's said it but I wish I had Ms. Spicer's willpower, though she was doing it for a story.

That quote that surprised you, about getting into it if she didn't have to work, I nodded and agreed to it, for the feeling that if work and work-associated stress were not a factor, many a woman would be at least marginally thinner. The sad part is if she truly would prefer to trade in helping and connecting people through her writing in favour of working solely on herself.

I'm probably the shortest reader (of the ones who divulged height) and just as heavy as your tall readers so I'm miserable at times that I think about it.

I would write more but can't separate the personal from rational on this obviously hot topic.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for slimming down and feeling better about how you look...but not achieving this by dangerous means. A sensible diet plan and regular exercise should give you all the results you need, or should need. This dangerous mind-set of quick-route thinness via surgeries, pills or near starvation are signs that the mind is not balanced. Mothers should pay careful attention to how their teenage daughters are behaving. A diet coke, an apple and a cracker are not enough nutrition to sustain a body, even though the weight loss might seem exciting at first. As adults, we fall into the same expectations from our efforts: fast and noticeable, or we give up. The only healthy way to achieve the "perfect body we want" is by patience and dedication to a healthy lifestyle change. A self image upheaval shouldn't involve the deterioration of your health, or a false sense of beauty standards. Healthy common sense is what should be considered beautiful, in any shape, size or package.

winnie said...

Its kind of ironic, but really in the end this whole obsession about thiness is really making girls who are naturally thin paranoid. Being 5'10" and 115 lbs, I'm pretty close to this size 0 whatever it is. I'm not actually sure what it is because dif companies use dif sizing. I'm healthy. My doctor once had me tested for anemia because he thought i was too thin. But as it turns out, i don't have it. I am a dancer. I have to eat to have energy. I have breakfast everyday because if i don't i get weak. I have gotten some taunts on the streets because of my shape. I've had someone yell at me across the street to stop dying on the street and go home and eat something. Recently, i've noticed more reactions than before. Usually i just shrug it off because i know i'm strong and in good health. However, this past weekend icame down with food poisoning (because i eat food) and was feeling week and miserable. I kept being afraid that ppl would think i was anorexic and think badly of me. I would have to say, really i shouldn't have to feel bad because of how i look. People shouldn't expect others to look like them. Just because i dont look like you, doesn't mean i'm unhealthy. At the same time i know that anorexia and this size issue is a big problem right now. Whatever the current trend is, there will always be people who don't fit the mold.

Anonymous said...

I went through my excessive dieting phase like many teenage girls when I was about 13 to 14, so relatively young. Nothing serious, because luckily I had people around me that helped get me back on track when it was beginning to spiral out of control. Anyway, what I want to say is that it is scientifically proven that if your body is starved, so is your brain, thus you cannot think rationally, thus you embark on weirder and more obsessive behaviour. This is so important! When I have down days, when my parents have to literally drag me out of bed because I can't think of anything worse than facing the world with my sheer 'uglyness and fatness', my Father always reminds me that the less I eat, the worse I feel. And its true, I force down a half bowl of cereal and half an hour later I do feel better. But if I don't manage the breakfast, I continue to feel rubbish. You need food to be happy.
Now, at 5 foot 3 and about 108 lbs, I am ok most of the time. I have friends who are still stringbeans, who still haven't hit puberty at 16, and who have never had a boyfriend. One of them is an up and coming model (and Giselle look a like in my opinion) but any boy in our school thinks she is hideous looking.
I don't mean any offence to naturally skinny girls, and I'm pretty sure its a case of the age of my peers. As men and women get older (I hope!) we look past the exterior, and suddenly, fat, thin, its not so important any more. Beautiful can be dull. Come on, we all know we have something like a cute smile, or nice eyes, or a smattering of freckles across our decollette that boys find soso sexy, so whatever it is, focus on that, and work it, and love it.
Anyway, so that was just my two cents, sorry if its just a bit incomprehendable.

Kate Spicer said...

when i wrote that story, and the part about imagining i could get into a life of attaining thinness, I was still in the grips of a very strange diet fuelled madness. i also think something was lost in the edit, what i meant was, i can understand, and imagine, a life where working hard at attaining a ' good' body were my main objective; i could never have that life, but i can imagine a life where all you had to do is go to the gym, fret over 'healthy', ie, low cal, eating, and shopping to remind yourself of how small you need to be to look good in affordable fashion

in real life i have a lot of other shit going on and all this weight loss stuff is just majorly stoooopid, but when i allowed this stuff to take over my life, as it will and does for many women, this is where my head landed up.

does that make sense?

by the way, louise only fitted into 00 jeans which were from GAP, and therefore, about ten sizes bigger than the label actually says. that part of the programme was a bit of a hoax frankly. had they handed her a zac posen dress she still wouldn't have fitted into a US 6!!!

that's GAP clothes for ya

Granger said...

Kate's comment about seeing how she could get into the whole "culture of thinness" if she didn't have to work says a lot. Because I think us "regular" folk forget just how much time actresses and models have on their hands to focus on their appearance. After all, it's just as much part of their job as acting or modelling. Most of these women only work a few months (or even weeks) of the year. The rest of the time, they might be reading scripts or attending events; but mostly, they're working with personal trainers and nutritionists/chefs to keep their bodies "perfect". It's probably true that most don't starve for 6 weeks to get down to a size 0; but I have no doubt their size becomes an obsession for each of them. They are constantly judged on their appearance, by producers, directors, peers, media and fans. I think it would be very difficult NOT to focus on weight when you're surrounded by that kind of attention.

(As an aside, I think Jennifer Aniston is a perfect example of someone who spent years dieting to achieve the size 0 body that she so obviously isn't meant to have. There are 10 years of Friends episodes on television that attest to her body's evolution. When the show started, she was slim but curvy. For the first couple of years, she didn't change much; but then the weight slowly started to come off. Then one summer -- coincidentally when she started dating Brad Pitt -- she went on the Atkins diet, and when she came back at the beginning of the next season, she was suddenly at least 10 lbs lighter. It went downhill from there. I'm happy to see that she seems a lot less obsessive these days, and has even put on a few pounds over the last year or so, giving her back some of the beautiful curves that first made her so appealing to other women.)

Anyway, I can relate to a lot of the things Kate talked about in the show. I'm 5'4" and 120 lbs, which is NOT fat, but I am very rarely satisfied with my body, and would go so far as to say that I obsess about my weight on a daily basis. I recently started exercising again, which has helped give me more confidence, but would I like to lose 10 lbs and be truly thin? Absolutely. I'm almost ashamed to say that, but it's true.