Beauty is Pain

I am obsessed with Mad Men, so when its horrible, sleazier sister, The Playboy Club, debuted on NBC, I had to check it out. And despite its terrible reviews, there was one character who piqued my interest – Naturi Naughton – she played the Chocolate Bunny on Mad Men who almost convinced Lane Price to leave Britain and assimilate to the American way of life (where everyone apparently has their own bunny).

In an NBC interview for the show, Ms. Naughton commented on her bunny costume:

“It’s really really tight! And that’s the thing that people are like, ‘Does it hurt? Is it uncomfortable? I’m like, yes!’ But beauty is pain, baby.”

______________________________________________________________________________I finally decided to go through with a nine day cleanse. It was my New Years Resolution to do it the first week of the 2012. Two of my friends had completed the cleanse to great success – one has lost 13 pounds, the other, 9 pounds, and they both look amazing. Beautiful. I only wanted to lose 10 pounds – or the last 10 pounds I have been trying to lose since I was twelve. At 5’ 5, I’ve hovered within the range of 130 – 135 for over thirteen years – my heaviest was 144 but I haven’t been in the 140’s since 2008. So I know I can lose weight and keep it off. 

But every time I try to get below 130, my body freaks out. It just won’t stay below 130 no matter how little I eat or how much I exercise. I thought I was alone in this, but this phenomenon was recently discussed in Tara Parker-Kope’s New York Times article, “The Fat Trap”. It is well known that when one loses weight, one alters their biological state. And yet, our bodies work overtime to regain pounds lost which “translates into a sobering reality: once we become fat, most of us, despite our best efforts, will probably stay fat.”


Ms. Parker-Hope lit a fire in my belly to go through with this nine day cleanse. To prove this theory wrong – to prove to myself once and for all that I could lose another 10 pounds and keep it off.

I started the cleanse two days before writing this. The first day, I was exhausted and extremely hungry. I could not think about anything but food. In the past when I had starved myself, I would have dreams about eating cakes, brownies, ice cream. At the time, I found these dreams funny, but they just show how consumed my mind became with food when I tried to both control and deny one of my body’s most basic needs.


The second day of the cleanse, I woke up and immediately knew something was wrong. I ran to my bathroom mirror and found Eddie Murphy as The Nutty Professor staring back at me. For a minute I thought my starvation had merely created a series of hallucinations, but when I felt my neck and my jaw were completely inflamed and swollen, and I knew I had to drive to a hospital at once.


In the emergency room, they hooked me up to an IV and discharged me three hours later. I was so hungry but I was afraid to eat anything because I felt like my throat wouldn’t have the room to keep anything down. I just sat around and drank a lot of water, watching my IV slowly drip into my arm. I was also given three different medications, one of which was steroids, and told that the inflammation (due to an allergic reaction to protein tablets I had been taking for the cleanse) may take days to go away, and may even come back after a few days, by which time I would need to return to the emergency room for more care.

Is this beautiful?

One could say that my allergic reaction to the cleanse has nothing to do with my desire to lose weight. And on the surface, that is true. But the fact is, until about two hours ago, I was willing to soldier on with the cleanse, in spite of my inflamed face and heavily medicated self.


A couple hours after leaving the hospital, my mother forced me over the phone to read to her the label of the “shake” I was supposed to be taking as breakfast and dinner the next five days of the cleanse. My heart sunk –it was made of all the same ingredients as the protein tablets. And in spite of this, my first thought was, I’ll try one shake, see how I feel. If I feel sick again, I won’t have another one, I’ll be finished.


Wait! What if one shake lands me in the emergency room again? Do I really want to put myself through that? Even for the sake of losing The Last Ten Pounds? No, I deduced sadly, it was not worth it. Finally sanity had kicked in, and I proceeded to eat in quick succession a yogurt, a cheese stick, pita crackers, and an ice cream sandwich my roommate left in the freezer for me.


And I feel much, much better.


I consider myself a rational person when it comes to food – I’ve never had an eating disorder (I starve myself only under the delusion of being in love), and the past couple years I have been eating healthier than ever before. But if I am to call myself rational, why on earth was I willing to put myself in the hospital (again!) for a measly ten pounds?


It’s a combination of factors – I want to start seriously dating again and I somehow convinced myself that losing ten pounds would help me find a boyfriend/become more beautiful. Or, I live in Los Angeles, the most weight conscious city in the world, and at 130 pounds and a size 8, I sometimes feel positively huge compared to the beautiful size 0’s who fill the bars, clubs, agencies, production offices. This cleanse had nothing to do with health and everything to do with wanting to fulfill some sort of beauty regiment. Lose those last ten pounds in 9 days! All those years of ”suffering” under your ugly, fat-slavery, GONE!


I once asked my doctor, point blank, what the range of healthy weight was for my height. She snickered, and then got some medical book out, and pronounced loudly “110 to 148.” I gasped, “Well that is quite a range, no?” She shrugged.


I am almost smack dab in the middle of that range. I am not clinically overweight by any means. And yet, for some sick, fucked up reason, I was willing to put myself back in the emergency room to lose ten pounds I didn’t need to lose in the first place. And I still want to lose it. Even after what I went through these past two days. Even after writing this blog entry.


Beauty is pain, baby. Literally.








  • J Lefton

    Doing anything or convincing yourself of anything that makes you miserable and hurts you in the end is really not a good way to go. Seriously, if you stop worrying about being thin and conventionally “attractive,” and start doing what makes you happy and energized and something you can be excited and passionate about, you’ll attract guys who actually care for you.

    Instead of trying to lose weight, what about working out? Turning fat into muscle, making your body healthier… It improves your mood and self-confidence as well. Think healthier, not thinner. You can tell just by looking at someone if they take care of themselves or not.

    The whole notion that thinner girls are automatically more attractive is ludicrous. Most of the time they just look sick.

    And seriously? You’re attractive and intelligent. You don’t want the type of guy who would only look at you if you were ten pounds lighter, because he’s going to be inherently a dick. Just take care of yourself, do your thing and be passionate about it, and the rest will follow if you stop worrying about it.

    Yeah, I know being alone and not feeling confident or comfortable with sex sucks. But, take care of yourself, and have a little more patience. It will all come together. If your mom is giving you shit about marriage, tell her to fuck off (in those words if you have to). It’s not reasonable for her to pressure you at all, and it’s none of her damn business.

    Yes, it’s a lot of platitudes, but seriously, be a friend to yourself. What you have at the end of the day, regardless of partners, family, or anything else…, is you.

    Anyway, that’s all. I was just thinking of you a bunch recently.