Updated: May 1, 2020
Australians in Film Awards Gala October 2018
It's just another red carpet, no biggie. I have a great dress to wear, I love this event, this is the best part of my job. I love the people, the atmosphere, the glamour. Trust me - I was BORN for this. There's just one problem.... I need to lose weight. I always need to lose weight. I am too big, too curvy, too tall, too intimidating. I have a little paunch in my tummy. Thick arms. Big booty. I need to be slim, elegant, even a little gaunt. That photographs well. That is 'castable'. That's the kind of body that designers want to dress! That's the kind of body that gets you work.
Or so I thought at the time.
So I go into diet mode about 2 weeks before. I want to lose 5-10 pounds in that amount of time and I go hell for leather. NO carbs. NO salt. Only protein and a small amount of healthy fats - like the UFC fighters do before a weigh in. I had studied it. I googled it. That's what they do. I only do long bouts of cardio. No weightlifting. Oh and saunas. And don't drink any water the day before and the day of. Because that's healthy, right?
I had a lovely night. I felt okay in my dress (if not a little bit fat) and thought the photographs looked fine... but as you can see above I was not exactly beaming with pride.
The next day I got straight back to my usual diet of fasting until after midday, high protein, low carb, low calorie, way of life. And I put all the weight back on and then some.
That was my life. Yo-yo dieting. Starving for a role, or a red carpet. For as long as I can remember I have had roles where I am naked or in lingerie (there's an entire blog based on that itself) and I have had to live up to society's, and my own, brutal standards of beauty. I was valuing myself based on my 'thinness' and finding it completely unsustainable. My body always bounced back to its fleshy set point and made me feel miserable and fat. I kept trashing my thyroid, trashing my hormones, trashing my body in the gym... and the scale kept creeping up.
Something's gotta give.
I think I knew this instinctively. I had started making little changes in my life, little pushes towards a better situation. I had surrounded myself with real humans at a haven called 'Deuce Gym' in Venice, California where all types of people are lifting heavy weights, covered in filth from the yard, supporting each other to go harder, faster, heavier at every turn. I had also fallen in love with an incredible man who had built extensive knowledge of diet and health to support his CrossFit obsession, and he had been quietly letting me know there was another way...
Another way? One that doesn't involve eating less and less each year until I am eating next to nothing, exercising more than ever, and still gaining weight?
That's when I discovered a kernel of truth that would change everything...
Apparently I wasn't eating ENOUGH.
My whole life I had been told that you needed to eat less to be thin. That eating lots of food will lead to weight gain and that the number on the scale is the only number that counts.
I decided I needed help getting my head around this, so I researched many nutrition coaching services but found them all to be quite extreme or too trendy/fad oriented. I just wanted real nutrition advice, and I needed a one-on-one coach because I have an autoimmune disease that requires some monitoring and affects my metabolism (more on that later).
I found Black Iron Nutrition.
I signed on, and my life changed for good. I'm not saying it happened overnight - trust me, I resisted it for about the first 3 months! And even after it clicked, I had tough days, regressed into old habits and ways of thinking, and got tempted by so many diets and bad influences around me. I still have tough days. After all, I have had 36 years of bad information.
At first, tracking macros felt obsessive and I was surely eating FAR too much and was clearly going to become a hippopotamus in no time.... except that I didn't. I didn't put on an ounce. NOT. ONE. OUNCE. (Now I understand that this is not actually the point - sometimes you put on weight when you put on muscle and this is okay, but for my little weight obsessed brain it was not).
I was the same weight for the first 3 months while my coach and I worked on boosting my metabolism, finding my maintenance calories, healing my body. We developed a plan that would let my body build muscle in the gym, change my mindset about food, and along the way I learned the science of macros and the joys of 'My Fitness Pal'. A whole new world opened up to me. A world of 4 meals a day! A world of carbohydrates!!! A world where I don't get dizzy every time I do an intense workout in the gym. (I just thought I had low blood pressure all those years.... srsly).
My life has changed in the past 18 months with Black Iron Nutrition and I am never going back. I eat now. I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner - and snacks and shakes in between. I have energy for my workouts; I have so much fierce mental clarity each day; I sleep at night; my thyroid function is normal; I have a healthy relationship with food AND with red carpets.
I am also training to become a nutrition coach so that I can help people the way this has helped me. Go to blackironnutrition.com to sign up for one on one coaching.
12 months later at the same function.... I was a completely different person. I didn't diet to get ready. I felt sensational in my dress. I ate every meal in the days leading up to the event, every meal that day, and even drank water all day and champagne all night (gasp!) and most of all - I was just me. My body, the way it is, and the way it was meant to be. Strong, capable, nourished, whole.
Australian's in Film Awards Gala October 2019
**Photo on the right is 12 months after the left. I am exactly the same weight, with significantly more muscle mass; I am deadlifting 40% more; I have shaved about a minute off my 2km row time; and I am eating twice as many calories as before. Happy, healthy, confident. It is a journey.