I haven't really been following this season of Dancing with the Stars. At least not to the degree I've followed past seasons. There just wasn't anyone I was really intrigued about when it started. So I generally skip the Monday night dances altogether and only tune in to the last 20 minutes of the Tuesday elimination show just to see who gets kicked off.
However as the season has progressed I've found myself silently rooting for Kirstie Alley. I didn't really realize why until last week when Travis was downstairs and made some comment about her having gotten really fat since her days on "Cheers" and in the movies. It bugged me but I didn't figure out why until later this week. After unloading on my sister Shiloh yesterday about my weight struggles of recent years I realized I am Kirstie Alley.
Okay no, I'm not saying I'm a 60 year old actress who's struggled to find jobs in recent years. But there are several ways in which I can identify with her. Did you know she adopted two children? A boy and a girl. I can certainly identify with that. But mostly it's her well documented struggles with her weight that I totally get. Here's a woman that really had to work hard to remain thin during her heyday in the 80's and 90's on television. And when she started putting on weight after her second sitcom was cancelled the press was absolutely vicious. She tried to make fun of herself in a short lived show called "Fat Actress" but she wasn't happy being that size. That's when she contacted Jenny Craig. Everyone remembers those commercials right? Watching her lose weight and get other celebraties on the program also. And who can forget that moment when she appeared on Oprah in a bikini at the age of 57 looking amazing! It gave hope to millions. Including me. I'd put on so much weight in the course of my marriage I was miserable. And I hated feeling so tired with a brand new baby boy to take care of. I didn't go on Jenny Craig, but I started running and trying to be more concious of what I was eating.
Sadly the weight loss didn't last for Kirstie. What she'd worked so hard to take off, got put back on within a year and half. It's so tough because even though I was running and eating more carefully, my weight didn't seem to change at all. So I went on a diet. It was under the direction of a doctor but it was very restricted calories with a supplement. Had I done it on my own it would have been considered starvation. But it worked I lost 23 pounds. And for over a year I managed to keep it off. And then last fall after Parker was born, things got hectic. I wasn't working out as much. After Travis got laid off and the kids ended up in the hospital I gave up on eating well entirely and I didn't get to work out for nearly two months. The result is that I've put on two-thirds of what I had previously lost. It's disheartening to say the least. It makes me sick to be this size.
The problem is, I only know one way to lose weight. And it's not healthy. But the honest truth is that the only times in my life I've ever lost weight have been when I've restricted calories to the point of starvation or something near to it. I feel helpless. I'm working out and/or running 5-6 days per week, I'm obsessively counting every calorie, carb and fat gram. My food journals contain copious notes, not only about what and when I eat, but how it makes me feel. And yet everyday the scale tells the same sad story. I'll lose a few ounces over several days and then wake up one morning and be right back to where I started. So I'll eat nothing but an apple, cottage cheese and a hard boiled egg all day long and the whole process will start over again.
So as my own struggle to get thin become increasingly more frustrating, I find myself rooting for Kirstie Alley on DWTS each week. I hope she proves them all wrong. I hope she continues to dance her full-bodied self all the way into the final. Because maybe, just maybe if she can do that, I can find something, anything that might work in my own life.