It begins with that cross-country flight. East coast to West coast. I get on the plane feeling confident and fairly fit but the moment I hit the tarmac at LAX, I feel like I have gained 10 lbs (and actually 10 years but that’s a different blog). My perfectly capable and healthy size 6 body somehow turns fleshy and dare I say “beefy” somewhere over Toledo (and I didn’t even eat the in-flight Doritos Munchies mix) when compared to the size 0 chicas in their Michael Stars tees and Rich&Skinny jeans. This trip always seems to bring on a new diet quest and a quixotic adventure to “dream the impossible dream” and achieve my ultimate goal -a designer’s “sample size.” (the size I need to be to get designer friends’ samples wholesale- cue: harps and seraphim choir.)
I must admit, I have never really considered myself to have body image issues. I have seen those TV shows where those wonderfully enviable anorexics draw the distorted chalk outline of their bodies that look like Oompah Loompahs. That wouldn’t work for me or my oft inflated sense of self. I would end up drawing myself as a stick figure that resembles Kate Moss after a 24-hour stomach bug. In my years as an actress of course, I was never thin enough or pretty enough but I always attributed that to basic neurosis (practically an obligatory condition for most actors.)
So, the yearly diet adventure begins. My first step in the “Sample Size” diet plan is always a cleanse. I’ve tried every cleanse and detox that pops up on the right margin of my Facebook page including the crazy lemonade –cayenne pepper-maple syrup concoction I drank faithfully 5x a day for 10 days. And yes, it works. But let’s face it, maple syrup should be poured over waffles, cayenne pepper sprinkled on chile con carne and lemon squeezed into the butter you are dipping your lobster in. As for “cleansing”, I’ve taken enough oxygen cleansing pills to make Billy Mayes scream, “That’s the power of Oxyclean! And if you have never tried them, run, don’t walk to the nearest Vitamin Shoppe to get them (and to the nearest bathroom as soon as you take them!) Anyway, this year, the DOC (diet of choice) that will get me one step closer to my looking like a Lollipop is the Dr. Bernstein Weight Loss Clinic diet.
I was eager to try this diet after seeing some incredible results on friends’ bodies. Fat literally melted away like butter in a frying pan (probably not the greatest analogy for a dieter.) I am convinced that this diet will have me out of my Spanx and into a Herve Leger bandage dress in 2 weeks flat. Like a pancake! (Oops, there I go again.) I show up for my consultation enthusiastic and determined. After a two hour litany of all the foods I can’t eat, the nurse closes with the one food that allows for unlimited consumption. I am giddy with anticipation. “Lemons!” Huh? Is lemon even a food?? No p-p-p-problem. On board. I sign up. I am psyched! Ready, Set, Starve!
I cringe as I step on their scale. 139 lbs! Ugh! This is 9 lbs up from my norm weight and 14 from my ideal. However…I am one pound TOO LIGHT to be accepted into the clinic. Damn! Why did I pee before weigh in? Do I have loose change I can quietly slip in my pocket? I felt like a high school wrestler before a big match. Thinking quick on my not-so-light feet, I guzzle my liter of Smartwater and jump back on the scale. 141.2 lbs. (water weight!) I’m in!! I feel victorious. Lucky me! I get to embark on an 800-calorie, low fat, low carb, (low food!) unlimited lemon diet.
What starts happening to my body on this diet is truly miraculous. My Mia Farrow-on-a-hunger strike-style discipline, in combination with whatever is in those vitamin B shots they shoot in my ass, has turned me into a life-sized Shrinky Dink. I feel like the reigning Queen of Ketosis. I lose 14 lbs in 3 weeks. And I keep it off. For a whole month.
And there is where the problem lies. I had been warned about dangers of deprivation diets but took no heed. Until that dreadful day in Walmart (are there any days other than dreadful in Wal-Mart?), when I fell off the wagon into the proverbial FryBaby. It must not have been a pretty sight watching me inhale four donuts while combing the aisles of Wal-Mart searching for Screaming Yellow Zonkers. The humiliation only to be compounded by a very loud cashier demanding, “Exactly, how many donuts WERE in this box, Ma’am??” Ouch…
So back to Dr. B’s for weigh-in and pep talk. I am up 7 lbs in one weekend! Wish I’d had a liter of Smartwater to blame. I lose it, I gain it back. Not the lifestyle change they are after. I play a fierce game of diet tug-o-war with Dr. B before he finally breaks up with me. Yes, kicked out of the clinic. No more shots in the ass, cheery nurses taking away my bread and fruit or ketosis ogre breath. It is time to lose weight the NATURAL way. Diet Pills. Naturally!
I make a trip to my trusted ob/gyn. I broach the subject of weight loss in a feeble attempt to procure some miracle drug everyone apparently has access to except me. (The secret in Palm Beach is sending in your overweight housekeeper or nanny to a clinic for procurement) The good Dr.’s advice to me was (and I quote) “Now, Mia, you can continue these crash diets where you will lose weightand ultimately gain it back or you can be content to be a beautiful woman who is comfortable in her own body …like Queen Latifah…”WHAT???? Did my trusty,female gynecologist just compare my body to Queen Latifah’s?! For god’s sakes, why didn’t she just say Mama Cass?? I may not have walked into the office with an eating disorder but dammit, I’m leaving with one! Good news however, after a series of blood tests, I am informed I have a slight thyroid condition. YES!!! I can now blame these pesky 7 lbs on my thyroid condition like everyone I know who struggles with weight. When I call the office for the prescription that will surely get me back to being “comfortable in my own body” as a size 4, I am told I have an OVERACTIVE thyroid. Cripes! Side effects include an inability to gain weight, diarrhea and loss of appetite. “I’m sorry Doctor, is this a bad thing??”I often scour the aisles of GNC searching for products to GIVE me these symptoms! After a couple of weeks and dozens of yogic headstands, my thyroid normalizes. Foiled! Oh well, it was good while it lasted…
Now, a year after my initial weigh-in at Dr. B’s, I decide on a new plan of attack. No more dieting. No carb counting, I’ve forgone peeing on ketosis strips or woofing down 6 sugar-free jellos a day with half a dollop of Cool Whip FREE. And guess what? I actually am comfy in my body. And on my next flight to LA, I will just wear slimming black, and have all the lemons I want with my Rande Gerber signature cocktail!