Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some words on the skinny . . .

I'm not one to generally post a sexy, scantily-clad pic of some Hollywood actress on my blog just for kicks. Ms. Johansson is not one of my particular favorites; though I think she's a fine actress, I don't follow her career with devotion or try to see every single movie she appears in. However, a recent post she made on The Huffington Post made my respect for her increase a great deal.

As many of you know, I have been on a mission this year to get healthier and lose weight. Part of this (a large part, if I admit it) is because I plan to move to LA in early 2011 and finally pursue my movie dreams, and my past relationship with food and exercise would guarantee that no casting director would ever take me seriously there. I have started to eat better, consuming yogurt, fresh fruit, vegetables, and lower fat/calorie alternatives to the things I love on a regular basis. I have started a seven-day-a-week workout regimen that includes cardio, strength, and yoga/pilates routines designed to tone my body and kick my metabolism in the ass. I have lost ten pounds in the last three months, but I have dropped a size and a half, and I haven't had a single cold all winter and no longer get winded going up stairs or running for the train. I feel better, I'm looking better, and this change, while tough, has been great for me.

Still, I see the pictures of thin Hollywood and I get terribly discouraged. I read about the latest crash diet or crazy fitness routine, which starlet used what personal trainer six hours a day to get in shape for a part, and my progress seems dim by comparison. So, how incredibly refreshing to read Scarlett Johansson's post today, about her own views on the Hollywood machine and the crazy and inaccurate ways the media portray the people caught up in it.

"Claims have been made that I've been on a strict workout routine regulated by co-stars, whipped into shape by trainers I've never met, eating sprouted grains I can't pronounce and ultimately losing 14 pounds off my 5'3" frame. Losing 14 pounds out of necessity in order to live a healthier life is a huge victory. I'm a petite person to begin with, so the idea of my losing this amount of weight is utter lunacy. If I were to lose 14 pounds, I'd have to part with both arms. And a foot. I'm frustrated with the irresponsibility of tabloid media who sell the public ideas about what we should look like and how we should get there."

Everywhere we look, we are assaulted with images of the "pretty people": on the covers of popular magazines, in rag mags, on the television, on billboards . . . it gets so that a girl can't turn around without facing a stick-thin version of womanhood that has nothing to do with the reality she sees in the mirror every day. I have had to fight an internal battle with the desire to fast and workout obsessively to become the next Megan Fox/Angelina Jolie/Natalie Portman, knowing that this is unattainable and probably unhealthy for my 5'7" frame. I know I am doing this the right way, getting healthy, but I also know that the climate in Hollywood may force me to push my body past the place it wants to be, beyond a healthy BMI, in order to "fit in". Reading the post this morning was a nice breath of fresh air from someone on the inside with a pretty healthy amount of realistic perspective on the matter:

"According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), as many as 10 million females and 1 million males living in the US are fighting a life and death battle with anorexia or bulimia. I'm someone who has always publicly advocated for a healthy body image and the idea that the media would maintain that I have lost an impossible amount of weight by some sort of "crash diet" or miracle workout is ludicrous. I believe it's reckless and dangerous for these publications to sell the story that these are acceptable ways to looking like a 'movie star.' "

I snickered when I heard about Ms. Johansson exchanging emails with President Obama, dismissing her as another rather self-interested starlet, publicity-seeking and silly.
Maybe I'll pay a little more attention from now on.

Read the whole post here.

54 comments:

down and out chic said...

huh, good post, and an important topic. thanks.

pk said...

Keep doing what you're doing, but to be healthy, not to be stick thin. I agree that sometimes it's easy to be distracted by Hollywood "looks" but I just remind myself that where I live is reality, where they live is not necessarily. :-) The best of luck in your quest for good health.
pk @ Room Remix

Judy Harper said...

Good post. As one who has a daily struggle with eating healthy and exercising, I appreciate the comments. As far as the media being at fault, I think they're 85% at fault, but the other 15% goes to the public, who buy the magazines, etc, for without the interest, the subject would surely fade out. Good luck on 2011! Hopefully you'll stay the same sane person when you move out there! Hope you have a great SITS day!

Helen McGinn said...

For every actress, model or starlet who doesn't eat and is skinny beyond belief as a result, there are 5 who eat healthily, look after themselves and exercise well; it is without doubt, the media who works us up into a frenzy at the sight of a skinny arm or what they perceive to be a big butt.

I too am trying to lose some weight but I made peace with it all many years ago. I will never be fat but neither will I ever be as slim as I was. I'd like to lose that extra stone and a half but nothing could make me go beyond that.

Food is such an important part of life; the cooking, the eating with family and friends; that it is a pleasure I'd never be willing to lose...limit, yes, lose, no.

Good for you for having a plan but do not be discouraged; times they are a changing and beautiful, skinny girls who don't eat are not what any of us want to see these days. Beautiful, slim girls like you? Yes. :O)

withoutadornment said...

I love your healthy attitude! I wish more people could have similar attitudes and then the tabloids would have to talk about real people instead of "fake" ones.

Happy SITS day!

Sarah Brown said...

So true. It is a struggle and seeing and hearing those stories about how people lost it like magic are very disheartening!

Kim said...

Happy SITS day. I, too, am in a never ending struggle with weight. Thanks for the thoughts.

Laura said...

I agreee that most everyone in Hollywood is way too thin...to the point where they look sick. Keep up the healthy weight loss and don't let Hollywood push over the edge.

AmericanTribal said...

I love this post! I was just talking about this the other day... good luck with maintaining a healthier lifestyle, that's something to be very proud of :)

www.americantribal.blogspot.com

Sonja, Queen of Crafts said...

Thanks for an insightful post. The weight issue looms big *haha* for me, too. I lost about 26kg (how much is that in American pounds? About 50???) over a 12 month period and can only say: the quality of life is so much better when you do not carry excess weight with you. So keep loosing, SITSTA!

Stesha said...

Dropping the extra weight has been so hard for me. It bothers me to see stick-like figures on some of the covers of these magazines. Why can't they show an average healthy woman for a change?

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

Disney said...

What a great post, I don't think there is any other issue out that that women can all relate to on such a large scale. I can remember times when I felt like a needed to loose weight, and people asked my husband almost weekly if I was anorexic! I wasn't, but it just goes to show you that we have such skewed views on weight!
P.S. Happy SITS day!!

Kari @ p.s. love.love. said...

Very good post and something many women should read. Self image issues can creep in and overtake you, even if you don't know it. Happened to me the year I got married in 2000. I had lost tons of weight and I remember thinking I was still fat and that I didn't look good in my bikini in Mexico on our honeymoon. Blah, blah, blah. Years later I was watching videos from our honeymoon and gasped when I saw how super thin and unhealthy I had become - and ashamed that even looking like that I saw something else and wanted to be thinner. Today I am 10 pounds heavier then when I got married, and ten pounds is alot for a 5'4" figure - and I feel better about myself then I ever have. Though I will admit, I still find myself 'wishing' I looked better. I have to stop myself from going down that road again. My goal is to be healthy, not skinny. And to not look at the number on the scale, but to know I'm taking care of my body properly. Ugh to it all sometimes.

S.E. Sward said...

My weight has been an issue ever since I spent a summer with my grandparents who suddenly forgot the word 'no' when it came to sweets. I gained so much weight, my mother didn't recognize me at the airport when I flew home.

It makes me crazy to hear a size-12 woman referred to as 'plus-sized.' And the recent flap over Ralph Lauren firing a size 4 model because she was too fat to fit into the sample clothes is unreal. We have a seriously skewed view of what beauty is thanks to the media photoshopping every photo that goes on their covers or into their pages. It is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Kmama said...

I battle my weight on a daily basis. Sometimes making good choices, and sometimes making bad choices. However, I celebrate the fact that I'm aware of what I'm eating and how it is/will affect me.

Happy SITS day.

Single Mama NYC said...

I'm in the midst of a battle myself, although the pint of Haagen Dazs I've had in the past 2 days wouldn't exactly indicate I am battling anything, lol. I don't like how much weight I've gained but I don't want to be skinny either. Just a healthier, smaller, toned version of myself.

The Mom @ Babes in Hairland said...

I think every female struggles w/this at some point in time, and yes, Hollywood and the like do not help. It's so sad that the image that is promoted in today's magazines & on the screen are so false and give girls the wrong message. Cool that there are a few stars out there speaking up about it. Happy SITS day to you.

Momnerd said...

Yeah, it's nice to hear that one of the "stars" actually has something decent to say. It's completely unrealistic.

Joy said...

Ironically timed with Ralph Lauren just firing that model that he had Photoshopped into oblivion.

Congrats on your SITS day though!

{leah} said...

Thank you! for the reminder... And good luck with you workouts!

Jennifer Haas said...

Happy SITS day. Good for you for trying to get healthly! But I do think that to much pressure is placed on girls these days to be perfect.

Brandi said...

I know what it's like to struggle with your weight as an actress. It's really frustrating at times. I watched so many of my already-skinny friends being told by agents and casting directors that the needed to lose more. I worried where that would leave me in the industry. I'm 5'8" and at my smallest I wore a size 6 and weighed 150 pounds (I think it was all the muscle -- I was quite tone). I eventually gave up my career in acting to pursue other things (I'm currently working on my PhD in Philosophy), but I am so impressed by what you've done so far. I really can connect with everything you said in your post.

Leah Rubin said...

Happy SITS day! I hear what you're saying about the insane focus on body image... It' so pervasive, and so perverse... Hang in there! Just remember to get healthy, not necessarily skinny!

Sarah Ruth said...

It's sad that the entertainment industry has given women such bad self-confidence. Don't they realize that the average woman is a size 14? I'm glad that there are some like Scarlet who speak out about weight.

Ashton Dene' said...

I also loved this post by Scarlett. It was very refreshing. I'm currently on a weightloss journey that is very difficult but also very rewarding. So go you for getting healthier & losing 10 pounds. You will reach your goals [the healthy way] and feel even better about it!

Happy SITs day!

x, ash

Two Normal Moms said...

So sad that Hollywood is the measuring stick for society. Total lunacy. Thanks for the great post.
Happy SITS Day.
***Ally

Rook No. 17 said...

I commend you for your healthy and sane thinking. I, too, am trying to find that healthy balance with food and exercise and appreciate your insights and the refreshingly human sentiments of Scarlett.

Jenn @ rookno17.blogspot.com

Creative Junkie said...

Healthy does not equate to thin, much less anorexic thin. Healthy is relative to each individual. Why can't people just understand that?

Insanitykim said...

So true, especially when we know all the photos are photo-shopped and don't represent reality at all!!!

I am encouraged by some of the small changes in attitudes I see sporadically in the media...Strive to be healthy and the best person you can be! Hope all your dreams come true!!

Kimmy C said...

So very, very true. Great post... and keep at it. You ARE doing it the right way.

drala625 said...

Healthy is about feeling good not always looking good!

Heather said...

Thanks so much for airing this side of things. I have struggled with my weight all my life and it's hard to hear the "love yourself as you are" message above all of the screaming about things like Jennifer Love Hewitt being FAT in a bathing suit at the beach. Complete nonsense sometimes, I think.

Congrats on your SITS day!

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

Good for you for trying to get healthy. That's really fantastic that you're feeling better about yourself. My sister spent some time in New York trying to get into the acting biz and I know how difficult that whole scene can be. I think it's good to follow your dreams as long as you can still remain true to you.

InspiredDreamer said...

Hi SITSta! What a great post. Nice to see a fellow Chicagoan on the blogosphere too... at least until you move to LA! :)

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

Thank you. I've never NOT needed to be reminded about all this.

Hoity Toity Baby said...

I am impressed by your drive and ambition! Keep up the good work!

Katie said...

This is a great post! Thanks for sharing!

Midday Escapades said...

Happy SITS day to you, Ginger!

I wish you best of luck in pursuing your dreams and with your get healthier efforts. Body image and weight will always be something I struggle with. I used to think that it would all be okay once I lost weight, but now that I have, the hard part of maintaining is just beginning.

Michelle said...

What a great post. And I love what she had to say...it does help one to like her more.

Krissy @ B.Inspired, Mama! said...

Yay for YOU! For following your passion in LA in 2011 and staying true to yourself while preparing.

Happy SITS day!

lauren verity said...

Glad to hear that you are focusing on the most important part... just being healthy! It's amazing how much better you feel when you work out and eat heathy. Congrats on your SITS day and good luck on your journey to becoming an actress!

Synergy Girl said...

Well, I admire your tenacity, and what an adventure you seem to have in life. This topic is on the minds of every female in the world I believe...whether it is realized or not...

Andi said...

What an absolutely fantastic post, I had not seen this post about Scarlett whom I am ambivalent as well. I want to see more and more statements like this rather than this being unusual.

Crystalin Dunn said...

Here here! Well said, SITSta! Way to go on your healthy outlook, and great job on your health goals.

Simply Mommy said...

Happy SITS Day to you!!! Great post!!! This topic is very imprtant to me personally. I am a huge avocate for realistic healthy body images!!! I recently joined in to help the Dove Campaign! Keep up the good work! Eatting healthy and staying active is the way to go. I truly believe there is no Diet out there, that is if you want to stick to it. I also believe in allowing yourself to have some of your favorites here or there. Complete deprivation always leads to binging.

Zeemaid said...

great post. I so know where you are coming from. There are many people who I think look amazing but they're a 12 and technically considered to be plus sized. That is so discouraging for those of us who could never hope to get into the single digits.

happy feature day on SITS!

Unknown Mami said...

Great post. I am an actor too and I recently had a daughter. It has been very difficult to lose the weight and going on auditions can feel excruciating. The truth is that my acting abilities are not affected by the weight, but my odds of getting cast are.

Holly said...

Great post. Being healthy is the most important thing of all...I do have to keep reminding myself of that too though! Good luck! I I have a friend who is the voice of reason when it comes to this and I rely on her advice.

Holly @ 504 Main

Yaya said...

I'm saddened by the body image distortion issues that run rampant in our country. My cousin is battling an eating disorder and it breaks my heart to see her struggle.

RebeccaMom said...

We really need to have a realistic image of beauty in our culture: regular people unite! Great post :)

Robin said...

I think you would enjoy this video.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vFvLhNWfZU

Elizabeth Patch said...

happy belated sits day! keep on focusing on your health and your dreams, they will come true. and hopefully, if enough people speak up about the crazy focus on super skinny women, the culture will eventually change. (that is what my own artwork is about)

Lamonica Epps said...

It's good that you have found an exercise and diet routine you can stick with. I bet it feels good not to have a cold anymore. Whenever you do go to L.A. to pursue your dreams be happy with how you look and don't pay attention do those people that try to tell you your not skinny enough. Good luck with your acting career in Hollywood.

Stopping by from SITS

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Jennifer Bowen said...

I'm rather impressed by Ms. Johansson's view. She's not the typical Hollywood actress who tries so hard to be like the rest of her peers. Extremely skinny is not in, never has been with regular folks like us.

It's good to know you have a good head on your shoulders. Healthy is the goal when it comes to diets. We should all keep that in mind. Just keep on doing what you're doing. You'll get to your goal in no time. =)