Yahoo has a new (or new to me) body image series called It Figures. They talk to famous folks about their struggles with body image in the hope that their journey will help others as they work towards body confidence. Their latest features Abbott Elementary star (and all-around bad@$$), Lisa Ann Walter, who has been open about how co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph stopped her from saying negative things about herself. Growing up, Lisa Ann had boobs and a butt when thin silhouettes were the style, so she felt inadequate. It left her with insecurities and an eating disorder. Instead of embracing her body type, Lisa Ann was forever on a diet, resolving every New Year to lose 10 pounds. This year, she put an end to that toxic cycle and resolved to stop trying to lose those 10 pounds. Instead, she vowed to no longer be worried about the numbers on a scale.
Abbott Elementary star Lisa Ann Walter is happy to say goodbye to her recurring New Year’s Resolution.
“I made a purposeful resolution, that I was going to stop trying to lose the 10 pounds that I’d always been trying to lose since I was 14,” the star tells Yahoo Life. “I’m not going to worry about the number on the scale.”
These days, the actress, who is currently working with Fiber One on its “Fall Off Forgiveness” sweepstakes, prefers giving herself grace and moving her body in a way that makes her feel good. She created the competition show Dance Your Ass Off, which ran for two seasons from 2009 to 2010, because for her, dancing was far more fun than running when it came to working out. Now, she admits to “doing some arm stuff” so she feels confident in her red carpet looks — but she no longer feels the pressure she did as a younger woman to adhere to unrealistic body image standards.
“When I was young, it was the Charlie’s Angels look,” she explains. “We’ve gone through periods where it was that ‘heroin chic’ look, and then there was the period that came out with the Kardashians, which was my figure naturally growing up that they shamed me for … and I still had an eating disorder, because it wasn’t skinny enough.”
Of her time spent dieting, she adds, “When you go into that all-or-nothing kind of mentality, there needs to be a perfect number on that scale that you allow yourself to be. It’s false. It doesn’t work. It’s unsustainable. It’s a recipe for disaster. We all need to get much more realistic about the healthy version of the body that we are meant to have.”
I wholeheartedly support Lisa Ann’s resolution. Living by numbers is setting us up for disappointment. And that all-or-nothing she talked about is a killer. You take seven pounds off and feel great but then you stall for a bit. Instead of feeling marvelous about the seven pounds, you beat yourself up about the remaining three. It should be about health. Goals should be to be able to walk an extra block or swipe out the occasional French Fries for a salad. Or reverse that, treat yourself with some fries every once in a while because we deserve fun things. But the scale shouldn’t get to dictate how severely we live our lives. And I say this as a hypocrite, of course. I’ve felt great about how I look, stepped on the scale and had my entire day shattered by what was staring back at me. I’m still working on this myself.
Lisa Ann reiterated in this article how much Sheryl has helped her stopped speaking negatively about herself. We need to see more of this. I agree with those that ask others not to mention their weight at all, even if it’s complimenting a loss because it reinforces the idea that a gain would be worth criticizing. Instead, we should support each other by refusing to let each other talk down about ourselves, especially our bodies.
And just a side-note, a few of you were concerned about me being on a starvation because I said I ate 1/8th of Hugh Jackman’s calories yesterday. I’m not, I just can’t math. I promise I’m eating what I’m supposed to. I’m sorry if I made anyone nervous.
Photo credit: JPI Studios/Avalon and Cover Images
I made this resolution too. I eat pretty healthy and exercise but have also been on and off diets for the last 10 years. As I get closer to menopause I want to be strong, not skinny. My daughter is a preteen and I really need to watch what I say and not criticize my body in front of her.
I love her, and everyone needs a friend like SLR. In my 40’s, it’s become so hard to lose weight, perhaps at least for me. I’ve tried but the pounds just don’t come off like they used to. I no longer mention how many pounds I’d like to lose. If pounds come off I’m just thrilled. I refuse to give up the foods I love to which I know I probably shouldn’t be eating. I’m just trying to cut down a bit.
I’m currently trying to lose the weight I’ve put on this winter but only because I just don’t want to buy new clothes this summer. LOL Beyond that, I know my body can go to a certain weight and comfortably stay there and I just have to accept that. It’s never going to be the weight I dreamed of for decades. Never. That’s fine. I just don’t want to go shopping.
Last week I had a stomach bug and lost the 4lbs that were keeping me above my “goal” weight. (Not really a goal, but more of a “I really want to be under this weight, which is still quite overweight but ok to me.”)
Anyhow – losing those 4lbs, I saw that my body… still looked the same. I could not tell I had lost those 4lbs. And if I can’t tell, naked and looking in the mirror, then the rest of the world can’t either. It also showed me that losing those pounds through a stomach bug would look differently from getting stronger and losing the weight through fitness.
I’m 31 and need to lose 60 pounds. Any suggestions?
Sugar is my weakness
Not a dietitian, nutritionist, HCP, but for me, what’s been helpful is
– sleep. i.e. do whatever you need to do to consistently get good quality restful sleep most nights or every night
– move Not necessarily “exercise” but just move. Take the stairs, walk around when you’re chatting on the phone, if there’s something active you like to do (gardening, dancing etc,) find ways to do it more often. And do it outside in nature when you can.
– drink water . Not to hit a goal, but just to keep yourself hydrated (so often I think I want something to eat, but I’m really just thirsty)
– pay attention to what’s going on, what your frame of mind is when you get a sugar craving
For me, I found I was consistently hitting the candy dish, my chocolate stash at work like hundreds of calories a day. When I paid attention it turned out it was always when someone had done something irritating or pissed me off. It was negative emotions I wasn’t dealing with directly, using treats to “soothe” me instead. Once I realized that, I could ask myself: “do you really want chocolate? are you going to enjoy it? Or are you just angry, stressed etc?” sometimes I’d decide I was stressed AND wanted the candy. But a lot of the time the intense craving would pass (and I’d give myself permission to have a small treat later when I’d really enjoy it)
The first helped me improve decision making and I think get my hormones more balanced, the second put me in touch with my physical body and the fourth gave me insight into how I was allowing other people’s nonsense to negatively impact me, and allowed me to start untangling some really bad emotional eating habits.
It’s definitely a journey though. But even after a couple of weeks I felt much healthier (and bloodwork improved) and started to slowly lose weight even before adding in anything else.
Hi Jillian – Last year I decided it was time to lose my excess baby weight (4 years later, LOL). I started following health/fitness guy Jordan Syatt. Changed everything for me. Personally, I’ve lost like 35 lbs since July and for me, it was very easy just following his advice. I joined his Inner Circle ($25 a month) where you have access to tons of workouts and other health/fitness advice. I started with the Unicorn Strong program. The key for me was calories – I’ve always eaten healthy, but I didn’t realize that I was still consuming too many calories (I had never counted calories in my then-41 years). There’s a calculation for how many calories you should eat based on your goal weight. It’s reasonable – I was never starving. And it WORKS. I only counted my calories for about 3 months but I’m just more aware now of what I’m eating and how much.
Jordan’s thing is also movement – weight lifting, some cardio, and WALKING. General movement throughout the day (I got a fitbit to track my steps, I love it). I started working out again too and I’ve made that part of my lifestyle again. He’s great on instagram so check him out before paying for his program. He’s got actual degrees in this like anatomy/physiology or something so he’s not an online fitness hack. He’s the real deal and very supportive and again reasonable (like if you go over your calories sometimes, no big deal, it happens to everyone just get back on track). I’m in better shape than before I got pregnant. Can’t recommend enough!
ETA – I have no affiliation with him, it just worked for me. Hope it’s okay to share this advice on here!
@Jillian: I recently read Jessie Inchauspé’s book “Glucose Revolution: The life-changing power of balancing your blood sugar” and I’m finding it really helpful. Sugar is also my Achilles heel, but it really helps to know that if you are smart about eating some veggies and protein first, you can still enjoy something sweet but you won’t have the massive cravings because your blood sugar is better regulated.
I haven’t been following it with a weight loss goal per se, and it’s only been a short time, and your mileage may vary. But I *do* find it very helpful as a set of tools for managing sugar cravings. Hugs and best wishes on working on improving our health!
And the thing is – there are SO many posts on Twitter talking about how beautiful she is! We all tend to only hear the negative stuff
It is never too late…
Beautiful on her own standards…
Numbers can be so triggering! I’ve been in recovery from eating disorders for several years now. I don’t step on the scale at home (it’s so frustrating that it’s standard for doctor visits). Sometimes I’ve cut size labels out of clothing so it wasn’t a stressor.
But I’m grateful to have learned that no number will ever make me happy. Happiness comes from the inside, regardless of external factors. Bodies are just…bodies. They’re not good or bad.
I love Abbott so much, and Lisa is great on it! The whole case is fantastic. I’m glad she’s got such a great support person in her ear in Sheryl.
What a great resolution. I appreciate her talking about it as well to encourage others to offer that kindness to themselves.
The only time I step on a scale is begrudgingly at the doc’s office. And even then do NOT tell me! I do NOT need that trigger ever. All I know is how I feel in clothes and out lol. And that’s good enough for me.