Archive for September 29, 2011

Another one bites the dust:
why Kirstie Alley’s weight loss is something to embrace

It’s not hard to feel like you’ve lost a partner in crime when a curvy friend goes skinny, but no matter how easy it is to pile on the hate and envy, it’s not healthy—for us as individuals or as a society. After all, body acceptance is about accepting our bodies the way they are; it is NOT about rejecting thin women, which wouldn’t do us any good.

That’s why I never have a problem with any of the high profile weight-loss stories—from Jennifer Hudson to Kelly Osborne to Valerie Bertinelli. If they want to be curvy, great. If they want to drop a few pounds, that’s fine by me too.

And this is why I have no problem with another “bigger” actress slimming down—Kirstie Alley, who says she’s lost one hundred pounds. My God, that’s the size of a small human.

But as you can see in the picture above, Alley doesn’t look unreal or unhealthy—in fact, if you look closely, you can see she still has some lovely curves, which ought to prove you can be hot and curvy at the same time.

Again, the goal with this blog has always been promoting healthy living—mental and physical—and I hope that was the cause of Alley’s recent makeover. Alley claims she lost weight from working out on Dancing with the Stars and eating an organic diet, both of which are ideas promoted here on I Will Not Diet.

Still, the difference between Alley and every other celebrity who loses weight is that Kirstie has done this before. In fact, she’s done it so many times that eventually she got her own reality show—Fat Actress—about her weight problems.

For that reason, it’s a little hard to take Alley’s recent weight loss seriously.

At the same time, I could not be more thrilled by the fact that Alley—at age 62 and with some curves still present—looked hotter than most models do when she walked the runway recently at New York Fashion Week.

Alley was, in fact, smoldering.

And you’ll notice that they didn’t put her in something that says, “Hey, look at me! I lost weight!” which I really love.

It would be easy to mock Alley’s yo-yo dieting or to point out how unlikely she is to keep the pounds off, but instead, I’ll just say, Congratulations, Kirsti! You look amazing!

Just remember I said it first
. . . Yahoo Health announces diets don’t work

Plate with tiny tomato and nothing else.

Yahoo Health posted an article today called “The 7 Laws of Leanness.

The article begins by saying, “Why do some people seem naturally thin—able to torch cheeseburgers instantly and never gain a pound? And why do some of us—okay, most of us—sweat and diet and sweat and diet some more, and never lose enough to get the body we want? Because those ‘naturally thin’ people actually live by a series of laws that keep them from ever gaining weight. And if you know their secrets, you can indulge and enjoy and never gain another pound as long as you live.”

As soon as I read this, I thought of my sister and her husband. The two of them always seem to be eating, but they never gain a single pound. I can never understand it, so, of course, I kept reading.

And guess what is number one on Yahoo’s list of laws for staying lean?

Yes, you guessed it . . .

Law # 1 is “Lean people don’t diet.”

According to Yahoo Health, “studies show that the number one predictor of future weight gain is being on a diet right now. Part of the reason is that restricting calories reduces strength, bone density, and muscle mass—and muscle is your body’s number-one calorie burner. So by dieting, you’re actually setting yourself up to gain more weight than ever.”

Well, duh.

This is the whole reason I founded I Will Not Diet two and a half years ago—to get the word out about the fact that diets do not work. In fact, the opposite is true: diets usually make you gain weight in the long run.

The Yahoo Health article goes on to say that “a recent study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine showed that tracking your diet in a food journal can actually boost your stress levels, which in turn increases your level of a hormone called cortisol, and cortisol is linked to—you guessed it—weight gain.”

I know this is true too because I’ve tried keeping a food journal and have had the EXACT same experience. Writing down every morsel of what I eat makes me want to eat more. It makes me insatiable. And I think that’s because, like a diet, a food journal makes me feel as if I should be denying myself. And once you start playing the denial game, everything looks tastier.

As it turns out, Law #2: Lean People Don’t Go Fat Free—is also another way of saying that dieting doesn’t work. And many of the other laws on the list—like Law #6: Lean People Move Around—are in line with what I promote in the “healthy living” section of this blog, so I’m happy to see that some of the “experts” are finally caching on.

At the end of the Yahoo Health article, the author claims, if you follow their simple rules, “weight loss will be automatic.”

I know this is true, which raises the question, why aren’t more people getting the hint?

 

Turnabout is apparently fair play on Project Runway

Sometime it’s easy to assume that men are never held to the same standards as women, but while watching one of my favorite shows, Project Runway, tonight, that idea was proven to not be true.

It was clear on last week’s episode of Runway that a contestant named Oliver has a bias against people who do not have model-like bodies. He spent the entire episode complaining about his client’s “ginormous” boobs and actually said that he hates working with women who have breasts, insisting he prefers models with flat chests.

I was pretty offended by Oliver’s comments last week, but when I watched this week’s episode, I was downright pissed.

This was probably because this time around, Oliver insulted his client—the lead singer of The Sheepdogs—right to his face, actually calling him big and “plus-size” while the poor guy stood inches in front of him.

Just for the record, this guy was not plus-size. (He’s the one crouching down in the right corner of the Rolling Stone cover above.) I’m not even sure that men’s clothes come in plus-size. I think the correct term is “big and tall.” But this guy doesn’t even fit that definition. Yes, he was a bit thick around the middle, but he was far from being out of the normal clothing range for men.

To make matters worse, not only did Oliver insult the guy to his face, but he also could not let the issue go. The entire time he was designing he was bitching about the guy’s size. He said over and over that his client was bigger than the mannequin.

Simply put, he was obsessed with this guy not being as thin as he was used to men being. Heidi had said at the beginning of the episode that “image is everything” before introducing the designers to The Sheepdogs, and during the height of Oliver’s meltdown, he whispered those words to himself—image is everything—a misguided mantra that would, in the end, lead to the downfall of this story’s protagonist, an ending worthy of Shakespeare.

It was painfully clear to me then that it’s not just that Oliver doesn’t like fat people; it’s that he’s one of those people who worships at the alter of skinny. That’s why he hates breasts—and hips and stomachs. He believes that body fat shouldn’t exist. Even though we need it to survive.

It probably doesn’t help that Oliver (pictured above) is about as wide as an apostrophe mark, but that doesn’t mean I find it any less disturbing to hear a man who wants to be a fashion designer—in other words, a person who dresses woman for a living—be so unabashedly fattist.

British rocker Beth Ditto has said that models and celebrities in our society are too thin because many fashion designers are gay men who want the women they dress to look as androgynous as possible—meaning not at all curvy. Though a small part of me wonders sometimes if there is any truth to Ditto’s claim, a much bigger part of me thinks her attitude is both homophobic and unfair.

But after watching Oliver kvetch about breasts and tummys all season on Runway, it’s hard not to notice that he fits Ditto’s description to a T. And that frightens me more than I can say. We can’t have fashion designers who believe all women should look like young boys any more than we can have bosses who think their female employees are always inferior to their male counterparts—both attitudes are sexist and destructive to the fabric of our society.

Ultimately, anyone who can’t find beauty in others—no matter what their size or gender—probably shouldn’t be a fashion designer. And maybe that’s why the judges thankfully sent Oliver home tonight.

Miracles really do come true

Last night something miraculous happened.

It’s so huge I can’t possibly say anything to make it better than it is, so I’ll just come out with it . . .

A regular-sized woman appeared in a starring role on a network television show.

Yes, it’s true.

A TV show premiered on CBS last night called 2 Broke Girls, and one of the two broke girls the show is about has a regular body: Kat Denning who appears on the left above.

As I’ve explained before—in my Big Sexy, Mike & Molly, and Drop Dead Diva posts—most of the women we see on television or in film fall into two categories: size zero or size twenty-six.

But Kate Denning is not a size zero or a size twenty-six.

She looks like a size twelve or fourteen—in other words, she looks like an average woman—but considering how much bigger the TV makes you look, I’m guessing she’s around a size eight.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad we are now getting stories about plus-size women, but I don’t understand why we can’t get stories about average size women too, which is why I was so happy to tune in and see Denning on 2 Broke Girls last night.

Denning has real arms and real legs and a real stomach. She doesn’t look big. She just looks normal.

And all I have to say about that is thank f***ing God.

Cherry pies, chickens, and American Apparel

Earlier this week, a story emerged that I have just got to share with you . . .

Recently American Apparel ran a contest to find “The Next Big Thing,” and when they say “big,” they mean it literally: they were looking for a bigger woman to be the spokesperson for their new X-large size. (Notice I didn’t say plus size, but just extra large, and that’s because until now American Apparel has never offered clothing bigger than a size ten.) And after they started getting applications, they posted their photos on the contest page, so viewers could judge them in the privacy of their own homes.

Here’s the text from their call for bigger ladies:

Think you are the Next BIG Thing?

Calling curvy ladies everywhere! Our best-selling Disco Pant (and around 10 other sexy styles) are now available in size XL, for those of us who need a little extra wiggle room where it counts. We’re looking for fresh faces (and curvaceous bods) to fill these babies out. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next XLent model, send us photos of you and your junk to back it up.

Just send us two recent photographs of yourself, one that clearly shows your face and one of your body. We’ll select a winner to be flown out to our Los Angeles headquarters to star in your own bootylicious photoshoot. Runners up will win an enviable assortment of our favorite new styles in XL!

Show us what you’re workin’ with!

Forget the fact they’re trying way too hard to sound accepting, and you’re still left with the problem that their pro-curvy language is so overdone that it’s insulting. Do they really think curvy women sound that much dumber than skinny women?  Do they really think we call our backsides “junk” and that we’ll want to be identified as “XLent”? Do they really think that offering us a “bootylicious photoshoot” will be appealing? And why can’t we just have a beautiful photo shoot like everyone else?

(Incidentally, Amercian Apparel, “photo shoot” is two words, but from the tone of your ad, I doubt you’d expect girls like me to know that.)

Call me crazy, but I think we’re smarter than they’re giving us credit for. And by insulting our intelligence with language that is so over-the-top that it sounds completely artificial, they’re sending the message that they don’t really take curvy girls seriously—intellectually or physically.

And it looks like I’m not the only one who was put off by American Apparel’s faux enthusiasm for curvy women because Dallas-based blogger Nancy Upton responded with an application and photos that throw American Apparel’s patronizing tone back in their face.

Upton explained why she decided to mock the contest with photos that mockingly illustrate stereotypes about curvy women: “The puns, the insulting, giggly tones, and the over-used euphemisms for fat that were scattered throughout the campaign’s solicitation began to crystalize an opinion in my mind. How offensive the campaign was. How it spoke to plus-sized women like they were starry-eyed 16 year olds from Kansas whose dream, obviously, was to hop a bus to L.A. to make it big in fashion. How apparently there were no words in existence to accurately describe the way American Apparel felt about a sexy, large woman, and so phrases like ‘booty-ful’ and “XLent” would need to be invented for us—not only to fill this void in American vocabulary, but also make the company seem like a relatable, sassy friend to fat chicks.

That was why Upton enlisted her friend Shannon Skloss to take pictures of her doing just that—being unable to put down her metaphorical piece of pizza during the photo shoot. As Upton explains on The Daily Beast, “a friend would photograph me bathing in salad dressing, chugging down chocolate sauce, and Hoovering friend chicken.”

Here are some of the pics she submitted with her her tongue-in-cheek entry . . .

Nancy Upton

 

See all the photos on the oldest page of her Tumbler site.

And what she wrote on her application . . .

“My name is Nancy Upton. I’m a size 12 and wanted to show American Apparel my fresh face (and full figure). My good friend Shannon Skloss came over to take some ‘booty-ful’ photos of me… but I just couldn’t stop eating.”

All I have to say is Nancy Upton is my new hero.

(And she looks gorgeous, doesn’t she?)

Average-looking man takes over the world . . .
what’s your excuse?

My friend Ronnie has been feeling a bit less confident than normal lately. Not about her looks or body, but about her intellect because she’s just started back to grad school and is feeling overwhelmed by what’s happening in the classroom.

When Ronnie confided in me about this, I told her something I think relates just as easily to body issues and this blog as it does to her intellect. And what I told her is this . . .

Self-consciousness is the death of success.

I first heard this from Tom Hanks of all people—during an interview of some kind—and since them it has become my motto in life.

Actually, he said that “Self-consciousness is the death of art,” but I think “art” could be replaced with anything that relates to one’s passion in life—it doesn’t matter if it’s art or business or teaching or love or happiness. If we give into self-consciousness, we are not at our best. And we can’t really succeed—again in art or in life—if we are not at our best, can we?

Hanks is a perfect example of this.

Let’s be honest—he’s not the best looking guy on the red carpet. In fact, his looks are incredibly average. But when you see him there, smiling for the cameras, he looks as comfortable in his own skin as Brad Pitt or Daniel Craig.

That’s because Hanks exudes self-confidence.

And this has to be why such an average-looking guy is one of the most successful leading men in the world, a guy who’s played opposite some of the most respected actors in Hollywood.

It wasn’t easy for him either.

Many of you might not know that Hanks got his start on one of the most ridiculous sitcoms ever made, Bosom Buddies, a show about two men who dress in drag so they can live in an inexpensive, all-female apartment building. Think Three’s Company crossed with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I probably don’t have to tell you that the show didn’t last long despite Hanks’ bumbling everyman appeal, which he displayed in spades on the show.

A few years later, Hanks broke into the movie business, and not long after that, he began to be accepted in Hollywood. But then he starred in The Bonfire of the Vanities, which has been hailed as one of the worst movies ever made. And it really was that bad. At that point, it seemed as if Hanks’ career was over.

But he didn’t give up.

And he overcome all those bad reviews three years later when he appeared in Philadelphia, a gut-wrenching movie that won him his first Oscar. (And deservedly so.)

Since then, Hanks has been on top. And his presence there is never question. He’s Hollywood royalty. And he acts like he has as much right to be there—next to Pitt and Craig—as they do even though they are all much prettier than him.

And that’s why I spend my days trying to channel Tom Hanks, the average-looking guy who won two Oscars and is one of the most respected actors in the world.

Self-consciousness is the death of success.

For God’s sake, this year, let’s give the girl some dresses!

The Emmys are just over a week away . . . meaning it’s just over a week until the red carpet is, yet again, rolled down Hollywood Boulevard like a giant runway of shame.

I say runway of shame because it’s hard to imagine that very many people feel good about the way they look after being scrutinized from head to toe by zillions of reporters and bloggers around the globe.*

As the biggest TV awards show of the year approaches, I can’t help but think of one of the patrons saints of this blog—Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks—and wonder how she’s holding up as she prepares to preen for all those unrelenting cameras.

A year ago, Hendricks, who has recieved her second Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress this year, told reporters that, unlike other nominees, she couldn’t get designers to send her any dresses to try on for Emmy night because she doesn’t wear a size two. This despite the fact that she had been voted the sexiest woman of the year by Esquire magazine.

Back then, Hendricks explained to The Daily Record, “People have been saying some nice, wonderful things about me. Yet not one designer in town will loan me a dress. They only lend out a size 0 or 2. So I’m still struggling for someone to give me a darn dress.”

Normally designers compete to get nominees to wear their frocks—and mention their names on the nationally televised broadcast—but as Hendricks explained, they didn’t have anything to offer her since she wears a size fourteen even though the national average is between sizes twelve and fourteen, reminding us yet again that Hollywood has no room for regular-sized women.

Ultimately she wore the Zac Posen dress pictured above, but it was still horrifying to hear that someone as beautiful as Hendricks was being ignored by most designers.

Hendricks appears to have gotten a wee bit slimmer over the course of the past year—I’m betting she’s down to a size ten or twelve—and I can’t help but wonder if she’s having the same problem she had last year. I’m hoping that by now most fashion designers have figured out that Hendricks is one of our healthiest role models and not a woman they can ignore.

*Including me since I’ll be tweeting live at https://twitter.com/#!/IWillNotDiet that night.

TLC’s Big Sexy: a second opinion
. . . a guest post by Kyrie Gialdini


TLC’s Big Sexy is pretty fabulous. It’s about curvy women who love who they are.

I’m thankful for shows like this one because (as one of the women on the show mentioned) if curvy little twelve-year-old girls see this show, hopefully it will give them the body confidence they need to accept who they are and not let what others think get them down.

I certainly wish that I had something like this when I was younger because all of my friends were size six or below and my grandmother was one of those women who told me I would never find a man and get married because men don’t like big girls. I felt awkward and out of place (and sometimes still do) because of how the world often frowns upon women with curves.

It’s a shame that people have it stuck in their minds that women have to be a size two to be beautiful. I’m sorry, but people come in all shapes and sizes, and I’ve found that some of the most physically beautiful people are some of the most unpleasurable to be around.

Beauty truly does come from within, and having confidence goes a long way in obtaining that beauty. Hopefully with this show, more curvy women will accept and love who they are.


KYRIE GIALDINI is a graduate student in English at Western Kentucky University who hails from Bronston, Kentucky. About herself, Kyrie says: “I push myself too hard. I love tea, preferably hot. Word games are the greatest. Cheese is amazing. Green is my favorite color. I hate large crowds…and traffic…I hate traffic. Shoes suck. Plants make me happy. I love coffee mugs. Pasta comforts me. Chocolate is good for the soul. My cats keep me sane. I love to read but I rarely have time to do so…even when I have to. Being an English major only means that you are an expert bullshitter in training.”

Molly in the Middle: my take on TLC’s Big Sexy


The women of TLC's Big Sexy

 

TLC has launched a new reality television show about “big” women called Big Sexy. When I first read about the show, I was thrilled to hear about plus-size women who claim “’There is no reason to be ashamed of what I have.” But when I tuned in Tuesday night, I was pretty disappointed to see that, yet again, we have another show about women who fall on one end of a continuum and no shows about those of us in the middle. (This is an issue I wrote about in my “Mike & Molly premieres Monday, but still no show with people who look like this Molly” and “What’s wrong with this picture” posts.)

It makes me wonder if I will EVER see average-size women on my television screen.

It also reminds me of an article I recently read about a woman who used to be a spokesperson for the body acceptance movement but has now rejected her former belief that she should like herself the way she is. She rejects this belief because, as she explains it, after her first visit to the doctor in ten years, she finally realized she’s not healthy.

And if she’s really not healthy, she shouldn’t accept herself the way she is. She should decide to change her ways and embrace healthy living.
Let me be clear: I’ve never advocated that women (or men) accept themselves at the cost of being healthy.

But for some reason, the body acceptance movement is sometimes equated with doing just that, and that equation is truly unfortunate. Body acceptance does not mean embracing unhealthy behavior or a truly unhealthy weight. It means accepting the fact that you don’t need to be flawless or a size four to be attractive.

In that way, body acceptance is as much about AVERAGE people as it is about anyone. We will never be healthy—as a society or as individuals—until we learn to embrace the people in the middle: the size twelves and fourteens, not the size twenty-six.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t accept the size twenty-six. I’m saying that until we start embracing the size twelves, we won’t be able to even consider embracing the size twenty-six. Because people will think that body acceptance means fat acceptance when really it just means that we don’t believe that any woman can look like Heidi Klum without making it her full-time job. Even Klum can’t look like herself unless maintaining her body is her full-time job.

Ultimately I’m glad Big Sexy is on the air. It’s nice to have a show on which we hear women being told (by a man, no less) that men should like the woman not the body. (I agree!)

But what I want to know is now that we have Big Sexy to counteract the narrow-minded idea that only thin is attractive, when are we going to have a show featuring those of us in the middle?

Whenever you’re ready Hollywood, I’ll be waiting.

And why not call it something catchy—something like Molly in the Middle. Or even better, Average, My Ass.

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