THE SKINNY LITTLE BITCH PROJECT: The Cupcake Pusher
The Skinny Little Bitch Project is a biweekly feature dedicated to examining the role of weight in celebrity culture and the impact of size in one woman’s daily life. The entries may be triggering should you suffer from an ED or body image issues. For more info on the project, or to read it from the beginning, please go here. This is not a health plan we are endorsing, we do not promote dieting and hope this project will increase awareness. Please read at your own risk.
Last week marked the first installment of our series where my weight and weight loss were tallied, and my experiences and feelings during the previous week were put down and analyzed for your (food pun) consumption. I was pleased with the end result. I felt like while I was at loggerheads with a lot of my own issues. I was also able to analyze the societal element that I had sought out to aggregate, and found that the parameters of the project allowed for a level of objectivity that was, weirdly, freeing – if I’m doing it for work, if it’s not to change myself, it becomes a routine, and not something I’m emotionally dependent upon.
That said, I know what I’m doing has the potential to be problematic for me. I also knew, on the surface, that by posting this all to a website that people actually read, that I was running the risk of causing a minor controversy. I’m a sensitive person, and as much as I love writing, and in particular writing for the web, it has taken me years to come to grips with negative comments. I can pretty much deal now, and if I find myself in a mood where it doesn’t look as though I’ll be able to – I won’t read them.
With this series, it was important to me – knowing I was doing something ultimately TO spark a dialogue – that I remain an active participant in the feedback people left following each post. While I was prepared for out and out jerks, fiercely passionate pros and cons, and the worst of all possible outcomes – no comments, I was not prepared to be dismissed as out of hand for my headline alone. Whatever you might think of the project, I’d like to believe that before people scroll down and click ‘comment’ that they actually read the piece. In a way, I have a lot less of a problem being hated on the internet for things I’ve actually said and done than I do when I spend a lot of my time, thoughts, and energy on a post only to have it popped like so many helium filled balloons by someone who didn’t even take the time to read it before stating their baseless case. That was tough for me this week, and while I try to treat all FemPop fans and readers with respect, it’s tough when five words of an essay they have misunderstood is enough for the audience you’re trying to reach to undermine your goals.
This past week I developed a breath so foul that I am pretty sure I had no fewer than eighteen subway cars to myself on eighteen separate occasions. At first I became deeply concerned that I had some tooth rot going on (my teeth maintain the genetic makeup of their ancestors the English and delight in nothing so much as yellowing, cracking, falling out of my head or in several other ways making a menace of themselves.) However after several sessions of examining my gob from a variety of up-close neck-breaking angles, there were no physical symptoms of pain nor were their visual cues – like a demon dancing on one of my teeth. I did some research and discovered that bad breath is actually a symptom that Atkins is “working.” The idea of the initial “two week” induction period of Atkins (and I’ve put that in quotes because in order to achieve maximum weight loss Atkins advises staying in this phase) is that by restricting your carbohydrate intake, your body, no longer having any carbs to burn, begins to process our body’s fat and proteins for energy. Essentially, your body, deprived, is eating itself. The Ketones generated in this process, from fat molecules, make your breath smell like a goddamn predator – a ravenous forest creature. Clearly some of what I am saying is subjective, but since I’ve entered Ketosis – god help me for knowing – the change in my breath has been alarming. One morning, I actually woke up swatting a cat away, figuring one was breathing nastily into my face in a bid for their morning feeding. There was no cat. It was just my breath. And it smelled like a turkey had pooped out a steak. It was not cute, you guys.
Some folks report changes in body odor and god be praised that has not yet effected me. What killed me about this breath thing when I was researching the responses to this problem on the web, was the amount of Atkins-type message boards responses of “is this even worth it if I smell and taste bad?” It made me sad because I had been thinking the same thing, at one point when a particularly rigorous bout of brushing had done nothing to abate the sickly sweet taste of prey from my mouth. I had thought, “What’s the point of being skinny if I’m going to be stinky? Who’ll want me then? I cannot fucking win.” It was a lighting bolt moment of awareness for me, since it’s that sort of thinking that’s kept me in this yo-yo dieting cycle my entire adult life. Atkins board contributors admirably attempted to spin the breath issue, advising those writing in to “chew parsley!” and my personal favorite cure-all “drink more water!” The most troubling of all was the advice to re-think the bad breath as not being bad, but “different”. I wanted to grab the writers by the lapels and bellow, “if we could think differently we wouldn’t be trying to lose weight! If our perceptions were so easily moved, a disparity in size related to the other would not matter!” But I didn’t. Instead I took it for the gentle reminder that it was – I’ve committed to a project, I’ve committed to promoting health at every size, I’ve committed to pointing out these problems – I have not resolved to rationalize my way out of the gross side effects that come with removing entirely an entire food group. Because that shit is whack.
But not as whack as my other behavior worthy of note this week. I’ve written a play, right? And it’s being produced – which is a rare thing, and a blessing, and I thank my lucky stars every day! (If you live in the New York City area and wanna come out, do it, I will high five you!) It can be, however, as is the case in every labor of love, kind of stressful. Very stressful. I have a tendency to eat when I’m stressed, a behavior I’ve practiced awareness of this past year. Add our rehearsal slot to the mix – right around dinner time – and you’ve got the perfect storm for me. I’ve been good about packing myself snacks to tide me over – not a full meal because the ritual of cooking and eating my dinner is important to my sanity. I’ve had to be vigilant ever since the week before’s scary “oh my god THIS IS WHAT HUNGER IS?!” moment. Ha ha. It was classy.
But I get envious of the actors and their break-time snacks. I’ve got a stick of cheese and a coffee and they are diligently eating their thoughtful snacks – carrots, cherries, crackers, chocolates, and sandwiches. It’s funny because in the past, I’ve never noticed how conscientiously the actors I work with feed themselves. I just viewed everyone’s snacks as things I couldn’t have because I was fat and didn’t deserve to snack. I just noticed the eating, I didn’t notice – as I became a professional and so did they – that they were mostly always eating to power themselves effectively through the work ahead. On a diet, I’ve noticed it. I’ve also noticed, as I mention when asked that I am not eating carbs, how matter of fact the acceptance is that I’m fighting with my body. They are without exception fit and very attractive, but when I talk about what I’m doing to lose weight they nod along like me and my height weight differential are in anyway comparable to their own experience. What I used to see as sympathy, empathy, and encouragement – “Yes, you are fat, but yes, you can do this!” I now see as something more complex and weirdly, more obvious “Yeah, we think we could be better too.”
So of course I went out and got everyone cupcakes.
I was that crazed asshole, standing in line at Crumbs, eying my particular favorite – the Black and White cookie – and wondering how close this was to leaving a starving dog in a locker full of meat. As the cashier checked me out I tried my best to rationalize my behavior – it had been a long week and everyone was due a treat. I saw the scary motivation for my actions lurking – I was feeding them what I could not, would not feed myself. I was putting myself in the situation to ‘test’ myself, and I was, as I have always been, eager to please those around me. I have in the past used food to comfort me when I could not find that comfort elsewhere. Having had a tough week, and needing that comfort, but not knowing how to ask for it, I bought the cupcakes and foisted them upon others hoping that in their consumption I could derive some small form of consolation. That’s messed up, right?
I wonder how differently the day would have gone if I had just turned to anyone and said, “You guys, I am exhausted and freaked out and very anxious and could you just give me a little bit of a cuddle”. I think I’ll try it next time – it will cost significantly less money than two dozen mini-cupcakes that will go mostly uneaten if not unappreciated.
STARTING WEIGHT: 205 LBS
GOAL WEIGHT: 130 LBS
AMOUNT TO LOSE: 75 LBS
AMOUNT TO LOSE: 68.6
AMOUNT TO LOSE: 64.6 (THE DEVIL’S WEIGHT)
TOTAL WEIGHT LOSS TO DATE: 10.4 POUNDS.