"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Being an Actress in LA

One has to be realistic with their body and what they can and can not play because of it. If your body looks like birthing babies is going to be the easiest job you'll have (let's say your measurements are 36-28-42), and you're still only 22 years old, you are not going to be the leading lady in any studio produced anything.

And because actresses have to constantly scrutinize our bodies to see if it will help us get work, we tend to have a little bit of body dysmorphia.

Enter Detox Cleanses.

I have had friends do these starvation liquid diets where you drink maple syrup cayenne lemonade for a week. One friend chronicled in detail how she felt (there was much dizziness and feeling weak) and the other did the "cleanse" for 2 weeks. When she was on her last few days, both Glow and I asked her if she was feeling all right. She had starved herself and her complexion looked dull, yellow, her eyes seemed sleepy, and she seemed extremely weak and labored. "Please eat something," we implored, "you look awful! We're really worried!"

My sister developed anorexia when I was away from college. Our home life was a bit bananas and once I left, the only stability she had in her life was what she could put in her body. She dropped down to a size 12, then a size 9. I came home during a break and thought she looked amazing. "Size 9 fits you perfectly! You look healthy! You look good!" I come home for the summer and she's now a size 3. A skeleton of what she used to look like. "I'm telling you this because I love you, but you are not pretty. Your cheeks are hollowed, your hips jut out. You look sickly. You looked better when you wore a size 9." She listened to me. She started eating again and got up to a size 7. After her kids, her body shrunk down again (did you know breastfeeding makes you burn 1,000 calories a day? Now add a twin...) and then her body gradually and naturally went back up to a size 9. A 9 is where her body wants to be. (Just like, no matter what, my body loves weighing 132 pounds and has for the last five years. )

Because I grew up watching my sister wither away into a walking skeleton, and because I'm in the business where young women are constantly fighting their bodies, I absolutely HATE the cleanse. If you want to detox, it's super easy - cut out the alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar. But still eat food! Our bodies are pretty amazing and they tell us when we're hungry so that we can fuel our organs, our systems, and most importantly, our brain!

Found this article today from the Daily Mail with scientists saying what I've believed for years:

The great detox myth: Millions of women swear by detoxing - but is it just an expensive waste of time?

By Claire Coleman
Last updated at 9:35 AM on 22nd April 2010

Summer is just around the corner, which means that glossy magazines will soon be stuffed with bikini diets and celebrities eulogising how they lost their baby weight by following an amazing detox plan.
While it seems these days the word detox can be applied to anything, most often it is used to describe fasts or cleanses. These can discourage solid foods and advocate subsisting on organic juices and, in some cases, dietary supplements and laxatives.
According to detox devotees, such extreme measures are necessary because of the 'toxic soup' we live in.
Woman holding apple and measuring tape
Quasi-starvation: These days the word detox can be applied to anything, most often it is used to describe fasts or cleanses
They insist the industrial revolution means even healthy choices, like fruit and veg, are laced with pesticides and toxins, which our bodies cannot process.
The theory behind this quasi-starvation is that it gives your overworked organs and digestive system a break, helps flush out these terrible toxins and will leave you with a clean temple of a body.
This means not only will you drop dress sizes in days, look years younger and think more clearly, but it is also claimed that it will make you healthier in the long term.
Indeed, the detox brigade has claimed that a whole host of illnesses, from depression and asthma to heart disease and even cancer, are the result of a buildup of terrible toxins.
And celebrity endorsement has seen the industry boom. Here, we debunk some of the most common detox myths...
When Beyonce shed 22lb in ten days after following the Master Cleanse (aka The Maple Syrup diet, as you drink up to 12 glasses a day of a maple syrup, lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper), sales of books on the subject rocketed.
Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow's detox guru, Alejandro Junger, must be raking it in. His 21-day Clean detox programme involves having 'liquid meals' for breakfast and dinner and a light meal at lunch.
The kit he sells includes supplements and a manual and retails for £230 plus postage and packing. The problem is that there's very little scientific evidence to back up the claims made for detox diets, says Ursula Arens, a registered dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Beyonce Knowles
Celebrity devotees: Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce are both fans of detoxing
'Dieticians are scientists, which means we like facts and definitions,' she says. 'The term detox doesn't mean anything. As a result, people can claim something detoxes you without having to prove it.
'These diets and supplements work by overinterpreting bits of data and putting them together to mislead consumers.' '
'It's ridiculous to think of your digestive system and your colon as a purification plant or a sewer that needs to have its pipes flushed through and a holiday,' says Ursula Arens.
'The body actually has a massive overcapacity to dispose of toxins. 'As for the need to cleanse the colon, it is constantly cleansing itself by renewing the mucus layer that protects the colon wall from being exposed to toxins. So, flushing pints of water through it with things like colonic irrigation is one of the more damaging things you can do to it.'

'Almost anything can be toxic in a high enough dose,' says Ursula Arens, 'but the body has an amazing capacity to deal with this. 'If there's something that the body perceives as toxic, the liver will get rid of it and if the toxin is water-soluble waste, it's excreted via the kidneys.
'But if it's fat soluble - and many of the toxins that concern the healthy living brigade are - it cannot be excreted and is stored in the body's fat reserves.
'This means no amount of water can remove it from the body.'
'If you're starving yourself for anything from four to 14 days, of course you're going to lose weight,' says Ursula Arens.
'But as on any diet, if you cut your calorie intake, the first thing you lose is not fat, but stored glycogen, which binds to water, so you do appear to lose a lot of weight fast.'
However, after a few days you will then begin to burn fat and muscle mass. As your metabolic rate (the speed at which your body burns calories) is roughly related to your muscle mass, this can slow down as you lose muscle. The result? Post detox, when you start eating normally, you could gain more weight than you lost.
Healthy option: 'If you replace alcohol with herbal tea, it's not surprising that your skin will look clearer
Healthy option: 'If you replace alcohol with herbal tea, it's not surprising that your skin will look clearer
'If you usually drink a lot of alcohol and you stop and start drinking herbal tea, mineral water and fruit juice, it's not surprising that your skin will look clearer and healthier,' says Ursula Arens.
'But, in the long term, if your body isn't getting the nutrients and essential fats that healthy skin needs, your complexion will suffer. 'Funny that they never tout wrinkles as a possible side-effect.'
'This sort of anecdotal evidence is hard to argue with,' says Ursula Arens. 'One person might say they feel great on a detox, but another might say they feel awful.'
It's certainly true that if you're starving yourself you may feel light-headed.
Some experts say the reason people on extreme cleanses feel euphoric is that it's a signal of starvation.
'Starvation can trigger the release of endorphins as the body tries to protect itself. Do you want to be so close to starvation that your body thinks it needs to try to distract you from death?'
'Yes caffeine is a proven stimulant, but in most people it's not a problem,' says Ursula Arens.
'If you don't drink coffee but you suddenly have ten espressos, then you're not going to sleep and you may get heart palpitations.
'But the concentration of caffeine in the drinks we consume in the UK means that drinking two cups of tea in the morning and a cup of coffee in the afternoon isn't going to have a negative diuretic or stimulant effect.
'The claims for the benefits of not drinking caffeine are simply unproven.'
While there are studies which suggest eating fruit and vegetables is associated with lower risk factors for some diseases, a quick detox cannot claim the same.
'It's impossible to judge the effect of short term detoxing among an entire lifetime of behaviour,' says Ursula Arens.
'The studies that have looked at diet and disease are very broad. Nowhere does it say that drinking carrot juice for a week reduces the likelihood of you getting cancer.'


  1. Amen, sister!!
    I'm also an actress, but my day job is personal fitness trainer. Believe me, I've seen it all. In addition I come from a family of Type 1 diabetics and I have hypoglycemia. A "cleanse" would send me straight to the ER.
    I love this post!! In addition to the info here, people need to understand the role that sucking down maple syrup and cutting out any protein plays in affecting blood sugar levels, and in turn, major organs.
    A thing people overlook when cleansing is the lack of protein. When the body has used all protein, and none is being taken in, it'll feed off itself. Like you said, our bodies will literally eat away at our muscle tissue (slowing the metabolism) and then it attacks our BRAIN, which also needs protein....hence the weird light headed feeling.
    Thank you for posting this. Especially in this town where too thin is always in, it is so important to be educated.

  2. I agree. First of all "being thin" is not a goal anyone should have. "Being healthy" is what everyone should strive for. You can figure out what your healthy weight is by checking against the average BMI scale based on your height and age. All you need to do to be healthy is look after yourself and use common sense. Exercise - even if this means taking the stairs instead of the elevator or standing up from your desk and doing a few leg lifts every once in a while. Eat well - which means, eat things where you know all the ingredients and can pronounce them. Don't avoid all fats - some of them are good for you. In fact, you need a certain amount of healthy fats in your diet in order to have a strong metabolism. And now I'm on a rant, so I'm stopping. But there are nice, healthy recipes on my blog - as well as the rest of my rants. :) Great blogging, Lira. :)

  3. Preach it, girl. So tired of seeing those I care about practically starve themselves. Want to lose weight? Diet and exercise. Do it consistently and routinely. Let your body be what it's gonna be and love yourself no matter what.

  4. Great post.

    It's so unfair to have all that pressure to be thin. a friend of mine had an eating disorder in high school. She'd have this ugly-looking cabbage shake for lunch. Then she switched to eating egg protein mixed in quick soup. Awful.

    Like I once read, if you hate your body, you hate yourself.

  5. "If your body looks like birthing babies is going to be the easiest job you'll have (let's say your measurements are 36-28-42), and you're still only 22 years old, you are not going to be the leading lady in any studio produced anything."

    What if you're 34-28-38... and 5'9"? I know these measurements would be a problem if I was short, but I'm not. I'm tall. (I've been the same size since I was 16!) Which brings me to another thing.... What's the deal with being tall in the industry? Good/bad/problem/otherwise?

  6. Also, how do you measure your hips? Something about "around the fullest part," but I feel like that's unfair. I've got slim legs, but my back porch is a Kim Kardashian situation.

  7. And how do you measure hips, anyways? My legs are slim and my hips are curvy; I seems to have a Kim Kardashian situation.

  8. Anonymous 1) Being tall isn't a problem. Having short co-stars is. There are a lot of tall women working steadily in the industry. Don't sweat it.

    2) There are technically 3 hip places to measure. Your upper hip, where your pelvis bones are, your middle hip, which is the widest, fullest point of your hips, and your lower hip. When you fill out size cards, you just need your widest hip measurement. And don't worry, this is just so wardrobe can find you great clothes that are going to fit and look good on you. No one judges what you write on the size card.

    3) See above. And celebrate your booty! Men love it. They can't get shapely round butts like ours, so they find it extremely feminine and attractive. Go us!


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