One actress without a diet, one forging ahead

"... I try little by little to find clothing that I feel dignifies my body without the need for a girdle, to enjoy my body as it is, to love my body for birthing children and nursing them, to respect my body as it changes and grows, to and to nourish it the best way I know how. With seconds." 
- Mayim Bialik

m Bialik, the actor best known for playing Blossom in the early '90s TV comedy Blossom, and currently in The Big Bang Theory delivered some straight talk about weight and the pressure to be thin in Hollywood and beyond here, on former Sassy editor Christine Kelly's blog.

Even more interesting is Bialik's life since she was a child star: she earned a PhD from UCLA in neuroscience in 2008, married and had two sons.
Bialik is easily young enough to be my daughter, yet I related to her words, "respect my body as it changes...". That's the attitude I've been circling since 50, and there she is, all of 35, on to it– and dressing more stylishly since a What Not to Wear Stacy London intervention:

Before, left; after, right

Lest you judge Bialik's "seconds" as unwise, she is a vegan, and a woman of average size (which is to say, by actress-standards, on the hefty side). Vegans can handle seconds as long as they lay off the tofu 'cheesecake'.

I can happily inhabit the ovo-lacto world, but take away my milk chocolate and huevos rancheros, it's a less joyful life. Vegans and raw-diet eaters are most welcome at our table, but may be bringing their own.

Wishful shrinking: Carrie Fisher

In the current Jenny Craig commercial, wry and shyly proud, she holds a tray of 12 one-pound blocks of butter, her current loss. Good for Carrie, but the mound of butter is deceptive, since the heap of blocks equals the size of a poodle. 

Twelve pounds is a size or so, but you don't lose the volume of what's on the tray. I'd rather eat whole food. I've never tasted a Jenny meal; they didn't receive rave reviews from friends.

What do you do to dignify your body? Has what and how you eat changed?


La Loca said…
I don't diet, or make any attempt to at this point. I do try to be mindful of what I eat. I'd say I eat healthily 85% of the time.

That's amazing about Bialik's educational achievements. Good for her!
Tiffany said…
I struggled with bulimia in my late teens and early 20s, so I don't diet. I do notice now, in my 40s, that it's easier to put on weight. If I'm not comfortable in my clothes, I try to eat more mindfully, remembering protein with every meal, more fruit & veg, less in the way of starchy carbs. I do all the cooking in my household, so it's not hard to ensure that I'm eating well.
I'm always heartened to hear a 'celebrity' talk about body and weight with sense, instead of the nonsense we normally hear. We need to remind ourselves - and younger women - that bodies are not just decorative items.
Duchesse said…
Jasne W: We share the same 85%! And I cherish that 15% as much as the other 85.

Tiffany: Eventually, many women come to that place of mindfulness over restrictive diets. But the entertainment industry is still a hard place for a normal eater to live.
Rubiatonta said…
No diets here, either. I try to eat more fruit and vegies than refined carbs, but don't deny myself occasional treats when I want them.

Practicing mindful eating -- savoring every sensation of the food, not just wolfing it down -- has helped slow down the pace at which I eat, which usually means smaller portions, though not always!
Susan B said…
I've quit eating anything "lite." I'd rather have a small portion of the real stuff, than a plateful of sawdust. I don't eat past the point of satisfaction. I've quit trying to achieve a weight that's unrealistic for me short of self-starvation. I also try to respect the changes in my body that come with age.
Duchesse said…
Rubi: I have one square of Lindt chocolate every evening; am like Pavlov's dog when that box opens. But without a taste of chocolate I would eat a whole bar.

Pseu: The fuller taste of "whole" is more satisfying. Occasionally lite is helpful; appreciated "lite" hot chocolate when in WW, it helped me feel not so deprived. But I haven't drunk it for years.
Anonymous said…
Mayim Bialik's words are very wise, but she has yet to experience the topsy-turvy world of menopausal biology. For my first 40 years I was effortlessly thin--a healthy eater with an appreciation for good food and the occasional indulgence (yes, chocolate--"vitamin C" my friends called it.) Then came the strangeness: the bloating, the need for clothes (especially pants) in at least 3 different sizes at all times, the redistribution of weight to places it had never been before, etc. I am still struggling with this new body--not trying to control it (tried that; didn't work) but to understand and support it: getting stronger by lifting light weights daily, keeping flexible with ballet stretches, walking everywhere, still indulging in aromas and flavors, still enjoying delicious food, drink, and conversation with friends, and dressing gently--especially around the middle--to feel and look as good as I can. Most days that suffices ("You're 60, you're healthy, be grateful," I tell myself) but there are still those wistful moments. Do any of us of a certain age ever really feel that age? I have heard very old women say, "When I catch sight of myself in a mirror, I'm shocked..."

Duchesse said…
C.: I find your words poignant. Whether through menopause, childbearing or just gravity, our bodies change. A woman at 60 with the body of a 25 year old looks odd, though she may be envied when we are in a mournful mood. Bialik is on a good path and I hope she doesn't detour into the self-loathing (the root of youth obsession) I hear from some women my age. It's one thing to miss the effortless glossiness of youth and another to do anything to retain an unconvincing facsimile.

I am heartened by your notion of understanding and supporting.
Rubiatonta said…
I'm a fan of Lindt squares, too. I keep a bag of them on hand for those moments when I really must have chocolate, and hold them on my tongue until they're thoroughly melted. At that point, one's enough! The few times I've had two, it's been a surfeit. This, from a serious "chocoholic." Go figure.
Anonymous said…
Amen, Duchesse, and a hearty NO to unconvincing facsimiles of all kinds!

And tomorrow I will look for Lindt squares.

Glennis said…
This is good to read, since I am in the middle of my second week of WeightWatchers online.

My second try. I lost 15 pounds this way about 7 years ago, then gradually gained it back.

I'm finding it's not really that hard. You just always have to stay "on task." - which can be a burden in its own way. You can indulge, only you have to plan for it.

anonymous is right to bring up menopausal metabolism changes. I never had a thought in the world about my weight until after I hit my late 40s.

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