While training for an upcoming film, I’ve come to this conclusion: chin ups are near impossible and lunges suck. There is no magic wand to wave over oneself to look good in a latex catsuit. Eating healthy and getting fit is about commitment, determination, consistency and the dedication to self-preservation. While I’ve never been considered a gym rat, I have, in fact, worked up a sweat in the name of cardio before, and although I enjoy a grilled cheese as much as the next person, I combine the not-so-good foods I crave with an all-around balanced diet.
People come in all shapes and sizes and everyone has the capability to meet their maximum potential. Once filming is completed, I’ll no longer need to rehash the 50 ways to lift a dumbbell, but I’ll commit to working out at least 30 minutes a day and eating a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. Pull ups, crunches, lunges, squats, jumping jacks, planks, walking, jogging and push ups are all exercises that can be performed without fancy trainers or gym memberships. I’ve realized through this process that no matter how busy my life may be, I feel better when I take a little time to focus on staying active. We can all pledge to have healthy bodies no matter how diverse our lifestyles may be.
Since dedicating myself to getting into “superhero shape,” several articles regarding my weight have been brought to my attention. 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.
Every time I pass a newsstand, the bold yellow font of tabloid and lifestyle magazines scream out at me: “Look Who’s Lost It!” “They Were Fabby and Now They’re Flabby!” “They Were Flabby and Now They’re Flat!” We’re all aware of the sagas these glossies create: “Look Who’s Still A Sea Cow After Giving Birth to Twins!” Or the equally perverse: “Slammin’ Post Baby Beach Bodies Just Four Days After Crowning!”
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.” It’s great to get tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, but I don’t want some imaginary account of “How She Did It!” I get into and stay in shape by eating a proper diet and maintaining a healthy amount of exercise. The press should be held accountable for the false ideals they sell to their readers regarding body image — that’s the real weight of the issue. The NEDA goes on to say, “the media is one of our most important allies in the effort to raise awareness about the dangers of eating disorders…we strive to work with the media to produce accurate, insightful and informative pieces that will resonate with the public, while maintaining hope and avoiding glamorizing or promoting copycats.” But how are we, the reader, to decipher friend from foe? How are we supposed to view articles highlighting celebrity cellulite and not sulk in the mirror, imagining a big red arrow pointing to various parts of our bodies? The media has packaged for us an unhealthy idea that one must suffer loss, be in the middle of a nervous breakdown, feel pressure from friends or coworkers, battle divorce or have a bitter dispute with an ex in order to get into acceptable bikini shape.
So why do these publications do so well? After appearing on the cover of US Weekly‘s “Did They or Didn’t They? A Plastic Surgery Guide for Dimwits” issue and battling for a retraction, I learned that the magazine profited $1.4 million from the issue alone (money I felt should be donated to Operation Smile or an equally well-managed charity helping those in need of reconstructive surgery). The concept of ‘Stars Are Just Like Us!” makes us feel connected to lifestyles that can sometime seem out of this world. Yes, celebrities are just like us. They struggle with demons and overcome obstacles and have annoying habits and battle vices. That said, I would be absolutely mortified to discover that some 15-year-old girl in Kansas City read one of these “articles” and decided she wasn’t going to eat for a couple of weeks so she too could “crash diet” and look like Scarlett Johansson.
I’m not normally the type to dignify toilet paper rags with a response, but in this case I feel it’s my responsibility to comment. In a way, I’m glad some dummy journalist (and I use the term “journalist” loosely) is banking on my “deflating” so that I can address the issue straight from my healthy heart.
For more information on eating disorders and/or treatment options, please visit: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/