Browsing Tag


Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts, healing

I Don’t Want To Be Skinny Anymore.

July 13, 2014

I Don’t Want To Be Skinny Anymore. By Amanda Broomell.

I want to be skinny. I want to walk into Lululemon and know that every see-through pant will slip onto my milky white skin like butter, without the fat. No more doughy rolls hanging over my gym shorts. No more bulging FUPA stuffed like a petrified fried egg inside my pinstriped work pants. I want to be the woman brazenly bearing her T&A in the Equinox women’s locker room. The sweaty hot chick getting stretched out on the sticky mats while beefcake dudes drool as they pass by. The skinniest chick in the room.

I know they tell you that being skinny doesn’t change anything. But I dream it does. And the dream is what I desperately cling to. Even as I write this, I’m fantasizing about all the squats I’m gonna do later to get J.Lo’s butt (let’s be real, there are not enough squats in the world to give me J.Lo’s butt).


Except I don’t.

I don’t know how to BE skinny. It feels foreign, empty, unsustainable. Frankly, it’s just not me.

In 5th grade, I was over 90 pounds when everyone else was 70. I had a period and boobs when everyone else had cardboard chests. I grew up around a neighborhood of boys who called me fat on the daily. At school, I was entered into a “hotness” competition against Cindy Crawford as a joke. In 9th grade, a guy who actually had a CRUSH on me said I was built like a football player. You can imagine what that does to a young lady’s self esteem. (These days, the deciding factor in choosing a mate is whether I could break him or not.)

On top of that, from roughly age 8 to 10, I was sexually, mentally and emotionally abused by a boy who was my age, which was eternally scarring and confusing. He regularly demanded to look at and feel my boobs – and threatened to burn down my house or tell the school I was a slut if I didn’t comply – but he also thought I was an ugly fat lard. How does one make sense of that dichotomy.

After suffering through those traumatic elementary years, I was determined to join the legion of skinny girls as the elixir for my deepest wounds. I imagined a life of glamour, adoring boyfriends, and victorious Cindy Crawford competitions. And miraculously, I achieved what I considered “skinny” during 5 periods over the next 20 years, though each of those moments was abruptly followed by a disappointing journey back to FATLAND.

My first success was the summer before college during which I worked at a local classy movie theater and basically subsisted on chocolate malt balls and warm, mustard-dipped pretzel bites. Then the next year all my hair fell out. But, damn, was I a skinny bitch.

Next was my gain of the dreaded freshman 15, which was really more like the freshman 30. I accomplished this gain by eating 2 pints of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream every evening before bed, and every morning, the freshly-baked chocolate chip bread that my very sweet, Jersey-bred roommate would make for me. But after I graduated college, I started working about 80 hours a week at this sports bar in Brooklyn and was now subsisting on bread sticks, martinis and oxycontin. No room for food! Again, skinny bitch in effect (emphasis on the bitch).

Fast-forward a few years, I gained all the weight back, and also a little dignity, after discovering the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2005. I began to get my life on track. I stopped with the pills and excessive drinking, and began eating according to what my body wanted. At first, all it wanted was chocolate and wine and bread. But eventually I realized those were mixed messages being sent to my brain, the result of an emotional desolation that I’ve spent the last 33 years attempting to fill up. I started eating incredibly well and naturally lost weight. Somehow, though, I couldn’t keep it up. Eventually I got back up about 20 pounds and was right were I started. W.T.F.

Attending Columbia’s MFA Acting Program in 2006, I pretty much had no time to eat. We were in class and/or rehearsals for about 16 hours a day for 3 years straight, and the summers were spent either working at low-paying temp jobs, doing non-paid downtown theater in tiny, sweatshop-like blackboxes, or traveling to Europe with money I didn’t have (thank you to all the big banks for your irresponsibly generous lending policies, and, to myself, for the bliss of ignorance and naiveté.) Plus, Showcase (where you do a “pretty” parade around a stage for a bunch of agents and casting directors) was always on the horizon, and you HAD to be skinny for that. So, I hired a personal trainer and ate grass for about 6 months before it happened. And it worked. I got super skinny. But it didn’t do any good. I didn’t get an agent and then that sent me into a super tailspin. On top of that, I endured an endlessly painful breakup with my boyfriend (they tell you not to date people in your class for a REASON), so I went back to my old Chunky Monkey ways. No one wanted me anyway, so what was the point of looking good?

THEN, about three years after all of the post-apocalyptic grad school drama died down, I entered a bit of a health Renaissance. I started seeing a chiropractor and an acupuncturist (along with a psychic or two) and had the strong desire to take better care of myself. It was during this period I discovered I was gluten sensitive and decided to give up all gluten products. Well, let me tell you, I lost weight as quickly as a cop stops for donuts. I felt amazing, looked amazing and thought – THIS IS IT. I’ve made it! I’m finally skinny…for life! This was a lifestyle change, not a diet, so there’s no way I could go back to before.

WRONG. After two depressing breakups in 2013, I was cheating and eating Umami burgers WITH the brioche bun and a side (or two) of fried smushed potatoes. I was drinking bottles of wine, eating tons of fries and dessert (even though I tried to justify it by mostly eating gluten-free treats, they were still processed and full of fat), and suddenly, none of my size 4 work pants (that I was SO PROUD to have purchased since that was the smallest size I’d ever owned) fit anymore. How did this HAPPEN? I was so disappointed in and disgusted with myself. I messed up a year and a half of seriously hard work. What is my major malfunction?

In the scheme of it all, I was, at most, only ever 30 or 40 lbs over my skinny weight, so what’s the big deal? Others struggle with far worse than that. But it FELT whale-like. And also weirdly comforting. I felt protected. I had an excuse why I didn’t book an audition or get hit on at the ridiculous hipster bar. I could just hide and no one could see the dark recesses of my wounded self but me. I could hate myself in the peace and quiet of my own fat-insulated home.

The subconscious logic makes total sense: If I never get skinny, I don’t have to worry about getting fat again. And if I’m fat, no one will really notice me. They’ll just have pity or disgust, but they won’t ever see the deeper flaws. The irreversible, unlovable, ugly, scary flaws. The she-who-shall-not-be-named that lives within me. Fat is my invisibility cloak. It’s the only way I know how to be.

Fat = safe. Skinny = love. Love = fucking terrifying. Because once I’m skinny, I will be desired. I will be looked at and wanted. I will be seen, and the shame and disgust I feel will be broadcast to the world. There will be no hideaway. I will no longer be comfortably invisible. As much as I loathe myself as a fat person, I am horribly fearful of being a skinny person. Then there will be nothing between me and the broken girl beneath. I will be faced with confronting my true self, and that is the scariest truth of all.

As I write these words, I realize I’ve entered period 6 – I’m on the road to skinny! But this time, it feels different. I don’t have the same desire to eat until I burst. I DO, however, sometimes feel like there’s a Satanic voice in my head questioning whether I can sustain this for a lifetime or if the minute I get my heart broken or I don’t book that short film everything will just fall apart and I’ll gain all the weight back again and be a big fat blob that no one will ever have sex with ever again. SHUT YOUR TRAP, SATAN!

Bottom line is: I don’t want to be skinny anymore.

I want to feel good.

What would I have to give up to feel good, ALL the time? Basically my entire identity as I know it. Peel off my skin like the label on a wine bottle – have you ever tried to do this?!?!? It’s basically impossible.

So what’s the solution? Honestly, I have no flipping idea. All I can do – have been doing – is wake up every morning and make a decision about how I want to feel. I’d say 90% of the time, the answer is “good.” There’s still 10% of the time I feel like stuffing my face with 500 buttercream cupcakes. But compared to 10 years ago, that seems like playing a delicious, calorie-free game of Candyland. Everyday, I try to be grateful for what I have in this moment. I try to eat things that will make me feel good in this moment, in a nourishing way rather than an instant gratification way. I’m focusing on a new goal: I don’t ever want to be “skinny.” I just want to be a better version of myself today than I was yesterday. Become the kind of person I’d want to hang out with. FUPA and all.

Here’s my new mantra, inspired by the inimitable Jennifer Pastiloff:

Love yourself now, Amanda, because in 10 years you will marvel at how beautiful you once were. Savor it. NOW. You’ll wish you did.

Amanda Broomell is an East Coast girl with a West Coast heart – she grew up in Southern Jersey but always knew she was meant for Southern California. It’s only been a year, but she’s madly in love with this place. As an actor, holistic health counselor and marketer, it’s the perfect place to be. More at, (coming soon) and @RealUrbnWellnss on Twitter and Instagram.

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day. Check out for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: SeattleLondon, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

Next Manifestation workshop is Seattle July 26. Book here. Followed by Atlanta Aug 9.

Guest Posts, Inspiration

Sense of Self via the Coffee Counter? by Jacki Carr.

May 14, 2012

The following guest post speaks to my soul. I have known Jacki for a few years and have watched her grow into one of the most fearless and amazing women I know. I adore everything about her. Enjoy her words and then go follow her blog. She will add a little domthin’ somthin’ to your day.

Sense of Self via the Coffee Counter?

Remember the movie, You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan?  It’s a classic.

Don’t you just love the Fall leaves, Central Park and the all too suggestive plot of a feel-good Romantic Comedy?

Me, too.

The film follows the story of two people who stumble upon one another in an AOL chatroom, remember those? There is this one scene in the movie when Tom Hanks’ character, Joe Fox is emailing Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) about ordering his drink at Starbucks.  He speaks about the people that stand there flabbergasted with all the choices and completely unsure.  ‘Short, tall?  Lite, Dark?  Caff, decaf?  Low fat, non-fat?  He notes that people who do not know what they are doing or who they are, for only 2.95 can make six decisions at one time and get not just a cup of coffee, but an absolute defining sense of self’.  (You’ve Got Mail, 1998).

This is my absolute favorite part of the flick because I think it speaks so beautifully to our lives.

When you know what you want, you can declare it and then get out of your own way and allow the Universe to serve you.  Be it your specific coffee of choice or your future.

The mind wanders and I envision a large framed chalkboard with word choices like:

lover, courageous, powerful, enough, successful, homeowner, happy, flexible, business owner, confident, athletic, motivated, of service, complete, Mother, Father, charity, marathon runner, vacation, yoga retreat attendee…

This imaginary board hangs over a beautiful imaginary wooden counter with inspiring quotes carved into its surface and there is somehow never, ever a line.  People step up to the counter and declare their order from the chalkboard to no one behind the counter, yet everyone in the World.

Today, I would step up to the counter with courage and confidence and say:

”I will have grateful and fulfilled as a business owner serving the World through goal coaching clients in the Mountains and leading workshops via a traveling Airstream, Inc. trailer.  Thank you so much.”

And then, I would step down and rock my life with patience, love and compassion, trusting that my order has been heard, while at the same time committing that my actions will support the audacious endeavor.

Now, your turn.

Step up to the counter and declare what you really want in your big, amazing life.  Own it.  Live it.  Hell, you can yell it.  Then, move over, commit and know your order has been heard, written down and is being creatively crafted just at the right time.

You will be served.

The lovely Ms. Carr doin’ her thang.

About Jacki Carr:

Jacki Carr is a yogi, runner, goal coach, writer, ‘possibilitarian’, adventure-seeker and life lover. Seen Vespa scootering through the streets of Venice, CA, she lives a full life by the Pacific Ocean.   When not playing on the lululemon athletica playground that is her #joblove, Jacki is sharing adventures on her blog about gnarly life lessons on and off the yoga mat, an awakened reality in the beauty of vulnerability, and the real deal about gratitude.  An ultimate goal is to inspire all beings to embrace balance, be present and live a most passionate ‘rock-your-wildest-dreams-light-it-up’ life.  We really only have one, so why not make it an all out adventure?

Follow her on twitter+instagram here: @jackicarr. 

Check out her blog here.

Guest Posts

Blank Canvas. Guest Post by Mary Beth LaRue

May 10, 2012

Today’s guest post is by my friend Mary Beth LaRue, or as many lovingly call her “MB”. Mary Beth is a great source of inspiration to me and since the moment I met her a few years ago, I knew she was a sister soul. She and I share many of the same views of the world, both love a good glass of wine, the written word, and a lazy Sunday with our loves. I am thrilled with all the successes that have come her way lately. No one deserves it more. And, the best news? She just got engaged! 

You can see why I have posted her blog below. She also believes in our own power to create the life of our dreams. Day to day. Moment to moment. Brushstroke to brushstroke.



Blank Canvas by MB LaRue.

I think I was in college when I first read the Danny Kaye quote, “Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”

Since I was 18, I’ve filled up 16 Moleskine journals with my scribbles, passages that inspire me, bright colors, and cut-outs. They became my canvas, and my space to then begin to create my life. I’ve sat in tiny Italian airports with a box of colored pencils transfixed for hours, filling pages during a break from my desk job, cutting out photos from magazines and gluing them to the pages.

And you know what?

My journals were beautiful.

Sometimes I’d even show them to my friends, my brother. But in real life, I was playing a little small. What I was creating on the page, wasn’t necessarily translating to how I was living my life.

I was at a desk job that didn’t inspire me. I was in a relationship that had run its course. I spent my weekends at bars with friends rather than used bookstores and vintage shops.

My canvas wasn’t very pretty.

I was scared to throw any paint. What if it didn’t look good? What if no one liked it? Or even worse, what if it was magnificent?

Slowly, urged by the advice I’d written on my pages I quit my job, I broke up with the boyfriend, I moved into a beautiful apartment, I started doing more yoga, I filled my walls with collages and quotes, I even ordered a visitors’ guide to Santa Monica.

And you know what? I can honestly say that I am in love with the colorful, sometimes sloppy, canvas I’ve created. It’s filled with farmers’ markets, bare feet, avocados, candlelit yoga, bubble baths, a very lovable bulldog and extra lovable fiance, eyes wide open. It’s full of experience, and living from a space of YES. Of what makes me come alive.

In the day-to-day hustle, it becomes easy to overlook that in every moment we are creating our life. We are throwing the paint on the canvas, and in turn, are responsible for what that masterpiece looks like. Spend some time dreaming every single day. Take a walk without your cell phone. Spend an hour in silence. Go to a concert alone. No matter where you are in your life, it is not too late to create YOUR masterpiece. Throw some paint, and get dirty. Play.

Follow Mary Beth LaRue on Facebook

Visit her inspiring website here

In a fast-paced world, mary beth works to guide her students into a space of joy, mindfulness and compassion. forever a student of yoga and of life, mb’s mission is to inspire and elevate others to live their best life and to fully inhabit, enjoy, and heal their bodies and minds through asana, meditation, and pranayama.

A santa monica-based vinyasa yoga teacher, mb received her 200-hour yoga alliance certification from flow yoga studio in washington, dc, her pre- and postnatal teaching certification from inspired yoga in washington dc, and her 500-hour teaching certification from yogaworks in los angeles. she teaches group classes at two local studios she absolutely adores, yogis anonymous and studio surya yoga.

Beating Fear with a Stick

Fear: Is It Running Your Show?

September 19, 2011

Fear. We all have it.

It helps us. Sometimes. When you’re in a dark alley and you see a man with a long trenchcoat running towards you and your adrenaline kicks in and causes you to fly away. Totally helping you. Good fear.

For many years of my life I lived under its guardianship. Fear watched over me. Helped me make my choices. Was my voice of reason.  Helped me stay in the same job for 13 years, live in the same apartment, eat the same foods over and over again. It helped me stay in a rut. It helped me stay depressed. Bad fear. Cape Fear.

Lately the word fear has been popping up more than usual so I though I ought to pay it a visit.

I was in a yoga class last weekend with my mentor and teacher Annie Carpenter, and she had us all in navasana (boat pose) for a verrrrrrrrrry looong time. We all started to shake. I started to get angry. Then she started talking about fear. She asked us to identify a fear that we had previously had in our lives which we had conquered. Still in boat pose.

Then it hit me like a ton of navasanas. I had conquered my fear of gaining weight.

There I said it. Many people know this about me but I have never officially written about it or announced it on paper. Of course, it was not simply a fear of just gaining weight, but to simplify it, I’ll call it that. I was, for many years, in the throes of a bad eating disorder. Still in boat pose, I realized I had transcended the darkest, hardest years of my life. I felt like I could stay in navasana forever with this newfound realization.

Annie was saying how fear protects us at times but when it stops us from playing and living then it no longer serves us. Or something like that.  We were still in still in boat pose at this point…and here I was lost in my own newfound revelation, so I wasn’t exactly getting everything word for word.

My beloved teacher Annie Carpenter

I became severely anorexic when I was 17 years old after a doctor told me that if I wanted my breasts smaller, (they caused me a lot of unwanted attention and discomfort back then) I should just lose five pounds. (If I could go back in time and shake him uncontrollably for saying that, I would. Although I know it really wasn’t his fault. Even if it was a crappy thing to tell a teenage girl.) That was the exact moment I went home and made a list of all the foods I would and would not eat. Up until that point I had never exercised and I ate cheese steaks and TastyCakes. A lot. I’m from the Philly area. It’s what we do.

I quickly lost five pounds. Then 10. then 20.

Then I kept going.

Many years of my life were lived under a blanket of fear. I exercised four hours a day.  I was terrified to gain weight because I finally felt I could control what was happening around me and inside of me through my weight.

Cliché? I know.

I had a fear that people would stop asking me “Are you ill? ”  It made me feel like I stood out. Like I was special. When someone told me I looked “healthy,” I panicked. (I know that this is hard to believe for the people who know me now, especially my students. I am so at ease with my self these days. Most days.)

Well, here I am in boat pose still in Annie’s class last Sunday at Exhale in Venice, realizing all of this. I am at ease. I have released a huge debilitating fear. Finally. For the most part.

Of course, during times of stress, the eating disorder rears its ugly head. I never worry about what truly is the matter, such as, let’s say: getting married or letting go of a waitressing job I had for 13 years or my nephew having Prader Willi Syndrome. But rather, it becomes simply “I am fat.” My brain takes the path of least resistance, what it knows best. Much as the body will do. That is the old tape it knows.

This happens rarely these days.

I have, for the most part, conquered this thing that had such a clutch on me.

So here I am in boat pose, shaking like a dog, and I realize I have conquered this fear. This is huge. Finally we come out of the pose and I get a little teary-eyed. I start to feel sad for all the years I let this fear rule my life. What was the fear truly of?

It’s so dark and ugly. I mistakenly thought my self-worth was my appearance. Now, as a teacher of yoga, with so many beautiful young girls coming to me, I recognize the same thing in them. I know them immediately. Perhaps they recognize me as well. I somehow got programmed to believe that what I looked like signified who I was. Inside.

There is nothing farther from the truth. Nowadays, I feel such a deep love for who I am inside that it never even crosses my mind to think people even notice my weight or my face. How can it be so complicated? I am not, nor was I ever, a shallow person. I know better. And yet, for 15 years I battled this idea.

I was also terribly afraid to deal with life. With feeling or loss responsibility or death. When my stepfather died, 10 years after my father had passed away, I just ran. I went out to Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, New Jersey. and ran for over two hours straight. There, all better.

Not quite. It never works that way. Even if we want it to.

The pain and the feelings are still there, we have just distracted ourselves. Maybe fear is just a big distraction?

My sister said something savvy tonight. I love my sister. She said, “Ha. An article on fear? I could write that one in my sleep.”  (She could.)

As much as she has an innumerable amount of irrational fears, she is fearless when it comes to her son Blaise, who has Prader Willi Syndrome. She says that you find the courage somehow.

I get it. I have found courage through my own yoga practice, through my teaching yoga, through the amazing man I married, through my nephew Blaise.

I still have many fears and am working through them daily. Sometimes they feel so real, as if at any moment the fear will come true and I will be homeless, my family will perish, I will be without a job, people will hate me, that I will have to go back to waitressing. I will go completely deaf. A fear of the Future. The abnormal fears. They run the gamut.

But sometimes, when I am in navasana in Annie’s class, or teaching my own class, I look up at the sky and shake my fist and say “Eff you Fear! You ain’t real!”

Teaching for Lululemon

And anyway, as the amazing Wayne Dyer says, worrying is like saying little prayers for the things you do not want.

And of course, in a sense, it is real. But as Martin Luther King Jr said…….

Normal fear protects us; abnormal fear paralyses us. Normal fear motivates us to improve our individual and collective welfare; abnormal fear constantly poisons and distorts our inner lives.

Our problem is not to be rid of fear but, rather to harness and master it.

“First you jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” ― Ray Bradbury