When The Zeit contacted me with an invite to become a contributor, I was beyond excited that my writing style & my one-month-old baby blog, The Gist of Life, had caught the attention of such a fantastic site showcasing relevant, honest insights into self care – both mental & physical. I started researching The Zeit & pretty soon jumped from ‘beyond excited’ to full on, knock-my-socks-off THRILLED when I found the following on the About page in regards to the health industry:
“…There are a lot of truly dedicated individuals and organizations that are sincere and have good products, advice, and services. However, it takes knowledge to know what is real and what is not. Knowledge is power and we at The-Zeit want to furnish you with the knowledge so you are able to make all the right choices.”
To share a little about myself, I’ve spent the last several years as an actress in Los Angeles. You’ve seen me on FOX, Lifetime, Disney Channel, ABC Daytime, among other places. You know what that means? My entire world has been a game of “what is real and what is not” for quite some time now. Because in Hollywood, if you can’t tell the difference between real and fake, then you’re doing something right. Right?
The Fake & The Real
I was raised with the fake, as I’m sure many of you readers were too, long before I ever knew it was fake. I idolized the size 2 pop princesses of my generation, the seemingly flawless Hollywood stars plastered across movie screens & magazine covers (which I bought & hoarded like it was my job), the Victoria’s Secret supermodels stuffed in my parents’ mailbox in the form of glossy catalog pages. The thing is, I’ve now been on the other side of it. The side that all of you don’t see. I’ve lived it. I’ve breathed it. I tried to survive as a woman with dignity in it, which is unbelievably, catastrophically tough. I’ve seen the war of The Fake fighting The Real from the front lines of the battlefield.
- THE FAKE: A beautiful, shiny existence full of television sets, short skirts & high heels, glamorous modeling shoots, gossip articles alongside Brad Pitt, red carpet events, perfect tans, lashes, curves, skin.
- THE REAL: A shall-remain-nameless television agent refusing to sign me unless I lost 10 more pounds. Countless auditions only to watch the role on television the next month to see the actress with a bigger bra size & smaller waist who booked the job. Humiliating, melt-into-the-floor moments at fittings, fashion shows, and photoshoots when your wardrobe has to be held in the back with a hair clip because you don’t fit into it. Manager invites to production dinners under the guise of “networking opportunities,” only to find you’re really there strictly as eye-candy for the men.
I’m here to tell you: none of that is a way to live. None of that even comes remotely close to touching on what the genuine meaning of beauty & health in a woman, in the human body in general, truly is. None of that should be marketed to anyone, from our young girls & teenage daughters, to our graceful, elegant elders, as an image and lifestyle and priority they should be working toward. Body image, unattainable standards, and trying to force myself into a box I didn’t fit in took over my life until that life of mine, along with my physical health and who I am, spiraled into something unrecognizable. Caffeine & ephedra pills, eating disorders, binge & emotional-eating episodes, two-a-day workouts in the gym, chronic, extreme depression & anxiety, all hung over me like a monstrous, nasty, storm-filled thundercloud just waiting to pour on my parade. And pour it eventually did.
The Strong & Healthy
But guess what? I’m still alive and breathing, and so are you, after whatever it is you’ve been through in your life. Which means maybe we’re both still fighting to work through some issues, and that’s okay. I’m in a new phase of my life that involves starting from scratch, which is terrifying. But it also involves a new purpose, a purpose that overflows every cell of my body from my gut (which is still 10lbs too heavy – Hollywood be damned) to the top of my head and back down to the tips of my toes. I’m here to share my journey of rebuilding myself as someone who truly believes in my own beauty without anyone telling me what that beauty entails and whether I’m doing it right or not. I’m here to get healthy for the first time in a long time, and to feel great doing it. I’m here to invite you to journey with me, into a place where YOU believe in your own beauty. Where YOU believe in your own worth. Where YOUR dress size, hair length, cellulite, number on the scale, shoe size, bra size, any-other-size, doesn’t define who you are and how you see yourself.
Together we’ll engrain The Real deep in ourselves, and lose sight of The Fake and the unnecessary stress that it causes us. If you’re struggling, let me know so I can help. You don’t have to journey alone. If you’re succeeding, let me know so I can cheer you on! You don’t have to celebrate alone either. 😉 You can always connect with me here at The-Zeit.com in the comments section below, on any of my social media accounts @AmandaGist, or at the other end of email@example.com. If you’re lost, confused, concerned, have questions …utilize The Zeit and the AMAZING contributors so we can help guide you to where you need to be.
You’re beautiful and you deserve your best, healthiest life. I’m so, so looking forward to joining you along the way!
From struggle to strength,
PS – If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the issues discussed in this post, please know there’s resources available to help. Find info on eating disorders here at The Zeit on this blog post or visit Eating Disorders Anonymous or Overeaters Anonymous to find anonymous support, medical resources, meetings in your area, and PHONE conferences if you’re not ready to confront a group. If you struggle with depression, anxiety, anger management, etc., please visit Emotions Anonymous for support, talk to a close friend, someone you trust, your doctor, or use a crisis call service to guide you through the dark. National Suicide Hotline & Crisis Call Center: 1 (800) 273-8255 CrisisCallCenter.org
Amanda Gist is an American actress, writer, and founder of TheGistofLife.com, a self-proclaimed “JFZ” – Judgement Free Zone, where she’s breaking down her Hollywood-induced glamour image in real time. This quickly growing blog gives followers a dose of unapologetic truth, inspiration, and laughter with Amanda’s unique voice, relatable writing style, and charming sense of humor.
You’ve seen her opposite Hollywood-favorite Greg Kinnear in FOX’s Rake and opposite Blue Lagoon’s Christopher Atkins in Pom Film Festival’s award-winning feature Guardian Angel. She’s currently a guest contributor at The-Zeit.com, creator of The Gist of Life: Goal Inventory Series, holds a UNR Department of Counseling & Psychology COA, and is a mental illness, body image, and eating disorder activist working to spread awareness, resources, and hope to those struggling alongside her. Also an avid animal lover & rescue mom, Amanda is a package deal that you’ll find comes with a 70lb bundle of 4-legged furry joy, Haylie Denae, who gets plenty of publicity of her own!
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