It hit me as I was going through my entire wardrobe to figure out what to wear to my first cocktail party since the big move...I’ve gained weight. My clothes started fitting a little funny and when I pulled out the body measurer while unpacking my last box, the evidence was there: I had put on 2 inches in the waist and the hips…The most alarming part of this discovery was that I had just sent my “normal” measurements to a talent agency, which could lead to automatic disqualification once they’ve realized I, unintentionally, lied to them.
My “normal” measurements were considered as such throughout my 10 year span in New York City. Living there meant having a daily commute of about 4 to 5 miles a day, on foot. So when it came to rushing out the door, profusely aiming to catch a subway or speed walk to my destination – I didn’t give it a single thought that I could just slip on a pair of “go-to” jeans and go on about my day. And now, going through my wardrobe only two months into my Arizonian residency, I find that those pair of “go-to” jeans no longer fit.
My immediate reaction was sheer perplexity - I had no clue how this happened. I’ve kept up with my daily workouts, I took one complementary fitness class after another in a matter of 24 hours after receiving free passes in our house warming gift from our new apartment building, my husband and I started taking up hiking almost immediately on a daily basis - it wasn’t like I just completely stopped having an active lifestyle when I moved out here!
…But then reality started to sink in:
When I looked further into my residential transition, it was brought to my acknowledge that a few studies have shown not only do average New Yorkers walk 3 -5 miles a day, the average Ex-New Yorkers can gain up to 10 pounds within the first 30 days after departing the city.
…Now, it was all starting to make sense:
When I first moved back to New York City, after 5 years in LA, it didn’t take me long to throw my strict, Hollywood, macro-biotic, vegan diet right out the window. My morning rush, instead, was all about grabbing the nearest, sweet, corn muffin and start walking. With that said, there were times where I was either too broke to take the subway or it was way too crowded to even bother - so I would extend my walking commute right through Central Park and enjoy the scenery. Little did I know that commute, alone, increased my daily mileage quite a bit. According to my Nike app, one evening, I took over 18,300 steps on the way home from work, hence my normal spring/summer/fall route.
And now that I live in Arizona, whenever I go to job interviews, grocery stores or hiking trails – the only practical way to get there is through automobile transportation. A vast difference from what I am accustomed to…and could also be a reason why consuming a sweet corn muffin these days, could have something to do with why my “go-to” jeans don’t fit anymore.
I was devastated when I thought I had ruined my chances with the talent agency. I had no idea my body would change so quickly. If I still wanted a shot at not getting disqualified, I knew I was going to have to apologize for submitting my "out-dated" body measurements. And following that with the self-imposed embarrassment of admitting I was still eating like I’m a New Yorker and lacked the awareness that calories do add up once commuting on foot is out of the picture.
On the day of the big audition for the talent agency, something suddenly shifted before entering the casting room. Instead of feeling insecure about my appearance (which can usually lead to a desperate, clingy effect of needing to be liked), I grabbed the sheet assigned to me for cold-reading and thought Screw it! I’ll own these lines, I know how to work them, I know how to walk in front of that camera and hit my mark – in a nutshell, I know how to do this job!
After the cold read, the room came to life when the leader broke the silence amongst the team of women by addressing how nice it was to have someone walk right into the room and know exactly what they’re doing! And when I apologized to everyone for submitting my "out-dated" measurements and explained how I just moved here, not one of them batted an eye. My ability to do my job outweighed the changes on my body.
It was a no-brainer to sign with this talent agency, but trying to figure out my wardrobe for the first photo shoot under their representation had proven to be a bit of a challenge. Overwhelmed, I knew I needed to take a step back for a day to process everything.
After a quick Saturday morning brunch, my husband and I went on a hiking adventure in Boynton Canyon. When climbing to the top of a rock formation, he turned to me and said, “I don’t think you need to lose any weight. You’ve got a great shape, now…. and you look so healthy.” As he continued climbing to higher elevations, I stopped to reflect on a flashback that suddenly came to me.
I had snapped a couple of photographs of myself to send to him back in late 2015 to early 2016. I didn’t think much of those photos then, but when I looked at them for the first time in years, I was horrified. I looked terrible. I was in real estate during that time and running around all over the city with clients gave me no time to eat. By early 2016, I had hit the pause button and decided to leave the industry to get healthy. I could tell my hair was breaking, my eyes looked sunk in, my skin looked gray and ashy. It was the one and only time in the city where I was so thin, my clothes were actually hanging off of me.
I started going through some of the recent photos taken of me since the move and I must say, I like the way I look. But like the rest of America, I have to learn how to manage it. That means I need to be more aware that if I still choose to eat like my New York days, I will have to incorporate more steps into my daily (and now limited) commute. With that said, I started taking the stairs instead of the elevator and made more of a conscious effort to walk an extra mile or two a day after my workouts – even if it has to be on a treadmill (which I hate).
So now that I have incorporated these new steps into my daily routine, is it worth the weight?
Yes, it is. I like that I look healthy and I am motivated, more so than ever, to keep my body moving. Not just because of weight management- I’ve come to discover that walking gets me focused and that’s one of the things I loved about my NYC lifestyle. Since adding these changes, my body has fluctuated up and down about an inch in my waist and my hips. But I don’t mind it. What matters is it makes me feel good and keeps me engaged… Something I've always strived to achieve no matter who was in my corner, what I looked like and where I’m going.