Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I have a confession.....

All I want today is a doughnut. A big, sticky, sugary, flaky- doughnut.

And I'm fucking incensed over it.

All I want to do today is be elbow deep in butter cream frosting and rub it all over my face like war paint, while making Indian battle cries over my victory of gluttony.

And I'm so irate over it, that I cursed my salad for tasting like a fucking salad, instead of a cupcake.

No, I'm not about to start my period. I'm just being reminded that my eating has to be so conscious in order to not fall back into a period of my life that was so unhealthy and dark. A period where I let my mind, stress, and brutal standards for myself- take over.

I used to have an eating disorder.

I never would acknowledge that that's what it was, that was too difficult to even think in my head. I never CALLED it that instead I used words like- hardcore dieting, choosing healthy options, and on the bad days I was having a "Free day"- though most people's free days didn't include 4 stops to 4 different fast food chains, followed by 2 boxes of cereal, followed by candy bars, followed by liquor, followed by pastries, followed by immobility. And often followed by vomiting.

I went through a period of living solely off of Atkins Bars and Starbucks "replacement meals", and took up "forgetting to eat", then would indulge my ex when he brought me Starbursts and I devoured the whole thing since all I'd eaten all day was a diet coke and a scoop of peanut butter. I only let him take me to dinner twice in the two years we were together. Twice.

I was in the midst of a culture that would prefer my body to look like a prepubescent 12 year old girl, rather than that of a woman's body- unless the curves were properly placed, i.e. Boobs, ASS, and tiny waist. This body is as rare as finding a wolf sauntering down the highway, though I figured if I couldn't have THAT, I would look thin.

My thin size 3/4 was the biggest size at every audition. Every, audition. Or else I'd be cast as a character, or "friend of" the leading lady.

The double zeros warped my mind so much that this desire to be thin that started off as vanity, ended up a mind battle that had nothing to do with ME but with my thinking. The constant calorie checking on my cell phone calculator, people calling you "crazy" and not understanding whatsoever the inner battle, the intense two a days at the gym, the popcorn and hot coffee as a meal started to burn my stomach, the thinking obsessively about what I COULD eat next....and then a day, or a week, or two would hit- and I'd feel so deprived I'd turn into a ravenous animal with absolutely no control of my desire to eat everything I saw. It was an out of body experience, a loss of control to intense I couldn't even IMAGINE behaving in this way now. I was feeling lack, self destruction, the need for perfection, and the need for control.


I have been healthy and completely safe from my previous behavior for a little over a year.

I have been kind to myself, patient and accepting of my body. Of food. I've allowed myself ice cream even if it meant I ate it 4 times a week. I've started cooking and baking and learning to appreciate the art of food.

And finally; I've accepted the curves of my stomach, the roundness of my face, the strength and contour of my legs, the length and grace in my arms and that little extra I carry in my ass.

But there are days, when I'm still reminded of the mindfulness that I have had to acquire to maintain balance and a healthy lifestyle.

I almost always want a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast, I almost always want to say yes to dessert, I almost always want to live off of thick macaroni and cheese and garlic bread and there are days when I almost look in the mirror and get angry for being less than an unrealistic standard of beauty. I realize, on those days, I have to change the standard and BE beauty, see it in myself- be my own Dove campain.


On those days, I have to remind myself of how far I've come and strong I've become. How I've come through a situation and a lifestyle that didn't even seem abnormal to me in Hollywood. I have to remind myself that food is to be celebrated and enjoyed, that macaroni and cheese can be amazing if it isn't "the enemy" and that red velvet cake shouldn't be forbidden breakfast, but an indulgence that is a pleasure.

I have to remind myself that a lot of people don't understand, but a lot of people do....and I have overcome this gracefully and will continue to accept and live in the body and mind I've been given.


And if you've been there- you can too.

47 comments:

Airam said...

You're not alone. Trust me on that. I bet every single comment you get here will be one that totally and completely understands where you're coming from.

Acceptance is always the first step right?

Sizzle said...

good for you!

i just wish we all could see ourselves as beautiful.

m said...

i think disordered eating is a life-long battle, so good for you for working at it early, for "being your own dove campaign" (which i love.)

if you ever need me to take you out for a cupcake, let me know.

Southern Sage said...

Well good luck on staying healthy. My eating disorder goes the other way, hence my jeans size!
Just for the record, I don't know one guy that would prefer a size 0 over a healthy gal. The zero is a turn off for every guy I have ever known.

Stacy said...

Beautiful honest post.

You have no idea how many women you'll touch with this one.

Christine said...

Yes, there are lots of us who know exactly how you feel. I'm so glad for you that you are healthy now and have a great self-image. It is what a lot of us need to gain sight of!

Heidi said...

I am so proud of you. Not only to deal with that on a daily battle but to acknowledge it and admit the problem. That my dear is the biggest problem to start on the road of healing.

I have never had a problem like you but I wouldn't be a girl of my generation if I didn't try. I love food too much so my only hope was purging...but I had no "luck" at that. So I am where I am now, knowing I could lose weight but enjoying every bit and bite of life while I can.

brandy said...

"I realize, on those days, I have to change the standard and BE beauty, see it in myself- be my own Dove campain."- Well said. And can I just echo Airam and say that you are definitely not alone when it comes to this? You are a fantastic writer and an amazing spirit. Awesome job putting this out there and reminding everyone else- they aren't alone either.

A.P. said...

i've been there. but i was an overeater. i just gave in all the time. i gained some weight. eventually i found my breaking point and confessed my problem to a friend, which has started my road to recovery. i've written maybe posts about my problem, but every time they sound more stupid than the last and have all ended up as just drafts. nothing posted. someday, when it doesn't sound so stupid, i hope to share my struggles. and i'm glad you've shared this story with all of us. :)

Camels & Chocolate said...

I understand! I was there once before, too.

Good for you for acknowledging it, and oh my God, if you aren't absolutely stunning, then I don't know what beauty scale you're judging yourself on!

nicoleantoinette said...

Thank you for this post. I've been somewhere in the spectrum of this (hasn't almost everyone?) and just wanted to say that I think you're brave and honest and absolutely gorgeous. Seriously.

ana said...

Isn't it rewarding to be able to eat. I have been treating my self for a whole year now, and it is not getting old. I had an eating disorder too. I weighed 85pounds and I still thought I was fat, or felt fat, or battled fat. I don't know. I was crazy, I was punishing myself, without even realizing it. And it felt like a permanent PMS minus the bloating of course.

I'm glad I'm over it, I'm glad I can eat pancakes for breakfast, guilt-free (I try)

lspoon said...

Bravo. :)

Alexis said...

You are gorgeous. I love your honesty and the way you write about it with such wittiness. You're amazing. I love it.

I hope you'll keep being reminded of how beautiful you are and continue to have the strength to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

:)

irunwithscissors said...

wow, this is am amazing post! Congratulations on over coming that, that is huge! And I think almost every women no matter her size and shape can relate to this. Very few fit into the ideal of what beauty is, but like southern sage said, I don't know many guys that like that either. They like some shape. But, more importantly health is the goal. We all have those days when we look in the mirror and hate ourselves - and like you I have never been very heavy, so a lot of people don't understand that I have body image issues too... But your right, we all have to band together to change that ridiculous ideal, and become the new beauty!

emmaenlighted said...

Great post, you're definitely not the only one. And good for you for striving to accept yourself as you are - it's one of the toughest things anyone can do.

Renee said...

I bet more people understand than you'd think. I've taken to "eating authentically." After years of struggling with what I look like and what goes into my body, I finally understand that if I just listened to what my body actually wants to eat, it's pretty healthy. Who knew I could crave veggies so much? That doesn't mean it doesn't crave the occasional doughnut (or paczki, a Polish Fat Tuesday tradition that is simply TO DIE FOR and on the shelves right noooow) but everything is good in moderation!

Raven said...

I agree with the sentiment that every comment will be one of understanding.

I am not allowed to own a scale. I find that if I am don't have a number to fixate on, I do better.

Stay strong and beautiful!

Deutlich said...

Oh, I've definitely been there..

It's all a bunch of BLAH. I'm very proud of you for gaining some control over it. It's not easy, you know? You should be incredibly proud of yourself.

Keep on keepin' on. ;)

ChasingParadise said...

I honestly think that with our culture and media-obsessed society, every girl has a little bit of a disordered eating problem and disordered body image. I've seen both sides of the equation, and it has been like that since I was 16. I would skip breakfast AND lunch, subsisting solely on diet soda and the occasional bag of popcorn. Then I went into over-eater mode, upon entering college. Then it was overexercising. Just recently I woke up and said wtf are you doing to yourself and decided to stop it. So now I follow a balanced meal plan and I exercise by walking my dogs. I've lost 14 pounds and I'm proud, but only because I know I need to protect my heart and my body against disease. If it means I can fit into smaller jeans later on, then that's just a positive effect of being healthy. You are brave, and beautiful.

La said...

I'm seriously fascinated by eating disorders. And I realize that's a very odd thing to say, but I've had a lifelong struggle with food and dieting and gone into the scary territory myself - not ever bulimic, but trying to be anorexic - so I know how rough it is. I wish we could all just be a little nicer to each other and love ourselves for who we are. It would be grand. Nice theory, no?

Tina Vaziri said...

You are awesome and strong, good for you for being able to talk about it and for overcoming your eating disorder.

thisdayandage said...

I really respect everything you wrote...and you wrote it in such an honest way. looking at your post makes me realize a lot of the problems that I dealt with this summer...the extreme dieting and two workouts a day...and yea. I weigh only a few more pounds now than I did before, but I'm happy with myself for keeping off most of the weight in a healthy way. I'm glad you were able to get over that part of your life, and I know that it's a struggle you will have to overcome everyday. and I know that you're capable of it.

Jess said...

I am so impressed at how you have managed to develop such a strong, positive attitude after going through all that. And I totally feel you with those days of wanting to eat all sorts of unhealthy crap and being really pissed that I just can't.

Rebecca said...

I am with you. I have so been there. I am not in the dark days now but everyday they still shadow me. Every day it is struggle to accept myself and try to live a healthy life. It sounds like you are doing really well though!

Shanti said...

you are absolutely amazing, both in life and with words. i love raw and honest blog posts.

readsalot said...

Whenever I would diet when I was younger, I would go a bit overboard and end up with those ravenous, must eat everything I lay my eyes on times. Now, I have discovered, like you, how much fun cooking is and how you can eat yummy but pretty healthy things. Plus be full and not angry and hungry all the time. Healthy is better, curves are better. We are women! Curves are supposed to be there!

Amazing post.

Katherine said...

There was one day about two years ago when I went down the hall to visit a friend, and as I stood there chatting she suddenly interrupted with "I wish I could be thin like you."

It terrified me...because it was in my one muffin + one diet coke and random tidbits a day period. I thought my friend was beautiful the way she was, and I realized that if the idea of her wanting my too-thin body was so abhorrent...then maybe I shouldn't want it for myself, either. Why live a life I wouldn't wish on my closest friends?

Andrea said...

That was so Honest and Touching!! I really appreciated it!

Meesh-elle my Belle said...

I used to be a dancer...I went to auditions in the city and I forgot how talented I was because I was busy staring at all the other girls in the room that had bodies like boys and wishing, wishing that I hadn't been cursed with hip. I would starve all day then eat all night. So the pain you used to feel when you walked into auditions...I could feel it in my gut.

You are brave for knowing that you needed to change your life to make it better. And you are brave for admitting it outloud. It took me three years to change the way I thought about food...and I still have days where I feel exactly as you do today...it never goes away completely.

If you ever feel like you want to talk to someone in the city who is INCREDIBLE with eating issues in particular, let me know...I have an unbelievable recommendation.

This was an amazing, honest post.

Michelle said...

you definitely opened my eyes with this post chelsea. i'm glad you were able to overcome.

PrincessPolly said...

I definitely think I have an unhealthy relationship with food but I'm trying to be a bit healthier now but also trying to accept my body for what it is. Its hard to do though. But you're right in what you say about curves only being acceptable if you have an ass and boobs but a tiny waist. It makes me laugh how people like J-Lo are lauded as having a realistic figure when actually their figure is probably more unrealistic than the stick insects on a catwalk!

Dolce said...

I'm so glad you shared this story! I once had an eating problem and nearly lost two friends to anorexia. It's a disease that cannot be taken lightly.

It must offer a great sense of accomplishment to be able to appreciate food and health.

SSC said...

You never know how popular the hard core diet is until you really meet honest people. I use to do that diet or another name I used for it. Now I am back trying to lose the weight I gained from that hard core diet when I stopped.

The vicious never ending cycle.

Loved your post today, very entertaining. I wish my salads tasted like cupcakes!!!!!

DG said...

That's a great post Chelsea. You are DEFINITELY not alone in this battle. If you ever need a cupcake, let me know. I'll ship one to you from the MOST amazing bakery here.

Jamie Lovely said...

I can completely relate to this. I deal with this crap every day. I won't call it an eating disorder, more like disordered eating.. I've been wanting to kind of write about it but boyfriend and sister read my blog. I'd rather them not know. So I know how you felt :(

each of the two said...

me too, me too

Sparkling Red said...

This piece is inspirational. You have come such a long way in one year, to have compassion for yourself and to accept yourself as you are. It's lovely to read. :-)

Virginia said...

Oh hun, I promise that you aren't alone. And that you are beautiful, even though I have no idea what you look like. It doesn't matter. We all have moments of weakness where we hate the way we look, but in the end, it's better to be truly happy than to convince yourself that you're happy when you're unhealthily thin.

Vanessa said...

I have been there myself and while its a personal struggle, we can all somehow relate. My lowest was 89 pounds and I am very happy to say that I am healthy now. Mentally, I'm still getting better every day.

Katelin said...

Lovely post. I think every girl has experienced what you went through at least a little bit. You are definitely not alone.

Marlee said...

I *completely* understand and it's good to know there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks for the post!

Bee said...

Cool post and obviously relevant to many of us :)

Princess Pointful said...

Eep! You are on my blog while I am on yours. Yay for bloggie coincedences!

But, seriously, this post was amazing, courageous, and well-written.
It saddens me how many people in your comments can sympathize, but it also makes me happy that something like this can open up a dialogue about it.
So many of us have so much shame around our bodies and food, but it is kept so quiet. And while I have never had a "disordered" relationship with food, it still bothers me to no end how a simple negative comment about my body can turn me into such a downward spiral.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Princess Pointful- hahaha that is indeed a bloggy coincidence.
I felt like I had to write about it, because it is a SHAME based thing, people are afraid to speak of it because it's looked at as "crazy" or vain. When really, its a disease that takes over, and most people don't understand it.

So I think it's important to talk about it. To bring some light ot a situation that is so prevalent,yet so looked down upon.
I have an amazing family, a great future, talent, career, etc...and its still something that can affect everyone, even people that come from and are generally stable, successful people.

zandria said...

This is a very powerful and well-written post, Chelsea. I'm so glad I read far enough on your site to see it after you left me a comment. I went through a similar experience to this a few years back, and I'm also in remission, but silencing the negative thoughts about my body is something I'll continue to deal with every day -- even though I feel so much better and stronger now than I did when I was underweight.

leymilne said...

So I'm late to the gravy train that is your blog, and as soon as I saw the label "eating disorder" I had to read the post.

Sweetie, I know what you are going through! Eating disorders are not something that ever go away, the mental pain and struggle is always there. I battle it every single time I see my reflection, and it takes an incredibly strong person to talk about it so publicly.

So this post was written two years ago, and in that time I hope and pray that you have been able to overcome the anguish and have learned to love and accept yourself for who you are, not who you want to be.

You are a beautiful, talented person and you are an amazingly strong woman. I hope that you can stay healthy, and never relapse!!

<3 Ley

 
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