Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 10: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall....

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of all?"

Finally OK with the Me in the Mirror!

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of all?" Those famously vain words, uttered by the Evil Queen in Snow White, are part of fairy tale history-- and in my opinion, continue to complicate modern-day culture.

Yesterday, The Daily Mail published an article about the controversy sparked by a Plus-Size magazine claiming that most runway models meet the Body Mass Index criteria for anorexia. Size 12 model Katya Zharkova stars in the shoot with an emaciated looking "straight size" model. One picture has a caption that reads, "20 years ago, the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today she weighs 23% less."

The article has gone viral -- some people even posting "Hot or Not" polls on their Facebook pages. Typically in these scenarios, women are the ones labeling the heavier woman "Not Hot"-- while men think a little junk in the trunk is sexy as Hell. Just last night as I was touting my latest weight loss number to JP, he said, "Honey, please don't lose too much weight. Skinny is NOT sexy. I think you look beautiful now." I know for a fact that the ideal weight I'm shooting for (145) is what he would consider too thin.

Without going into the whole, "Society Ideals of Beauty vs. Our Own" argument which becomes tiresome and circular, I'm wondering instead about whether we can transform our minds and our bodies together. Tracy Anderson promises that her program "defies genetics" to tone, trim and reshape our bodies....and it does. It totally works. But what about our Inner Fat Chick who tries to sabotage every bit of progress we make-- who whispers to us, "But you're not thin enough, Muffin (Top)!" "Go ahead and just eat the eclair, Fatty McChunkerson-- you know you have no self-control!"

We may be defying genetics on a physical level with TAM....But can we escape our MENTAL genetic destiny? Can we outrun our dysmorphic heredity?
Family Circle of Body Dysmorphia
Clockwise from Top: My grandmother, my Mom, me in the middle and my Mom's sister...All taken at the age of 22

My Mom has had anorexic tendencies her entire life. When my parents got divorced and I was spending weekends with my Dad, I would sneak phone calls to my Mom, reminding her, begging her to eat...something.

Once when I was seven, I sat on her bed while she changed her clothes for work. She stood in front of her full-length mirror and said with disgust, "Look how fat I am!" I remember thinking that she must have replaced her mirror with one of those crazy distorted Funhouse mirrors, because she stood there, so painfully thin, that I could visibly see her tailbone protruding out from her backside. Years later, as I struggled with bulimia and bouts of anorexia throughout my 20's, I wondered if I had a biological predisposition to eating disorders.

My mom's mother, my beloved grandmother Ronnie, was still obsessed about her weight at the age of 83! (yes, 83!) I lived with her when I worked at a Connecticut TV station and when I took her to the doctor, I'd make the nurse put Ronnie (4'11" and 90 pounds soaking wet) on the scale backwards so she couldn't see the number! LAWDY, if there's ever a time to indulge without regret, I think you get a free pass when you join the 'over 80' sorority. JEEZ. But it begs the question again: Was I genetically destined to have issues with food that may have been passed down to me by my mother and to her by my grandmother?

There was a time when I wondered if I could ever get through a meal without thinking about calories and weight-- I went for years feeling either famished or full to the point of stuffed. There never seemed to be a moderate in-between place for me at the table. All or nothing. Binge or Starve. Purge and Repent. I once described the feeling in a journal as getting lost in the looking glass. It's a scary place when the girl staring back at you is never the one you want to see. Not thin enough. Not pretty enough. Been there.

My love/hate affair with food is why now, in the midst of this Bootcamp, I keep a very close check on myself to make sure those obsessive tendencies don't start rearing their ugly heads. I don't like to follow a "diet" so fanatically and by the book that one slip up makes me crazy. For me, it's enough to follow the plan closely, paying attention to how I'm feeling and what my body is telling me. One benefit of TAM for me is the mind/body connection. I found that you can really teach yourself to respond to what your body is communicating-- whether that's with hunger, soreness or happy endorphins from a fabulous dance cardio session!

Watching people's progress through TAM on the various Facebook posts has been incredible-- but I am still surprised by the perspective many people have as they post Before and After pics. "I was finally brave enough to post this-- the changes aren't all that dramatic, but..." Meanwhile, the 'after' pictures are so incredible, it looks like a different person in the photo! It's refreshing to see the genuine support from other people on the boards, the encouraging and Go Girl! comments.

I do worry that a few of the girls are veering toward obsessive with goals and numbers, comparing themselves to one another...there is a contagious and dangerous enabling tendency that can emerge among women, thinly veiled as "support." I always say, "It takes one to know one," when it comes to that shift toward obsessive and unhealthy behavior. It's the Big Sister in me getting worried for these girls. It's one thing to allow someone's progress to be inspiring-- it's something altogether different when you allow it to be THINspiration in a dysfunctional way. Please be healthy, my sweet TAM'ers!

It feels weird to transition to a weight loss update now, but, let's keep perspective, here, people. Day 10 and down almost 2 more pounds. More important than the weight loss, is how I'm feeling about ME. And I'm a pretty big deal. ( ;

I did 40 minutes of DC (30 min. of Meta DC and 1o minutes of BC cardio on the rebounder). Finally finished 40 reps with ankle weights and did 2 bonus arm sections. Yay for me!

More deets on menu and some recipes tomorrow! I'm going to end, appropriately, with Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." And in my mirror, there's simply NO room for the Evil Queen and Inner Fat Chick!!


  1. I love your blog. I love how honest you are! Thank you!

  2. hi Parker, I don't thing its genetic - its maybe because you grew up with the obsession for food and calories. You did overcome it and pushed through - and thats what counts!!! congrats and keep going. Food is great and necessary to survive!!!
    PS: love your blog too! Reading constantly now!

  3. and btw - you look really great!!!!

  4. Rachael H and Nina-- Thank you for reading! I'm honored.

    It's been liberating to have this blog as an online "journal" of sorts-- it makes it all the more worth it to read comments like this.

    Big Hugs to you both!

  5. I think genetics is the obvious excuse for everyone. my family told me I won´t lose any weight because "that´s how we´re built" - but I lost 33lbs, looking better and fitter than ever even though I gained a couple back bc of my knee injury.

    anyhow you can defy obstacles and the so-called genetics and I too think that anorexic skinny is not sexy. but to me it´s not so much about pounds, it´s more about HEALTH. to fuel your body and not to mess it up with junk.

    agree that the mental part is HUGE for a transition like TAM. I cried a few times during special moves (shan said that´s feelings in your deep tissues, coming up).

    keep the good work up!xxx

  6. Hey Martie! Good for you for losing 33 lbs- -Holy TAM! I totally agree with Shan's assessment of feelings coming up-- that happens for some people with's all about the connection! xxoo