Three Months Down: I Miss Real Food.

The Three Month State of Beauty U Report continues.

The other thing about being in school every weeknight from 6 to 10 PM? That used to be when dinner happened. As in, a meal, often containing vegetables, which I cooked and sat down to eat — at a table, or even better, curled up on the couch in my PJs.

Now dinner is something that happens in under 15 minutes sometime between 5 and 5:30, when I’m also frantically finishing up work for the day and running around the house looking for my Beauty U apron. Think PB&J or whatever motley assortment of leftovers I’ve got in the fridge. And because we all eat like that, so fast and so early, when we take our 15-minute break at 7:30 or 8 PM, we’re hungry all over again and end up rounding things out with a trip to the vending machine, Dunkin Donuts, or Subway. Then I chase that with a pre-bedtime bowl of cereal around 10:30 or 11 PM.

Which brings me to another thing I miss after three months in beauty school: Being 5 pounds lighter. Bear with me while I break my New Year’s Resolution to stop talking about what I eat, and with the inherent hypocrisy that is me complaining about my weight while simultaneously writing a blog that’s all about challenging beauty standards. Because these are just the facts: Before I started at Beauty U, I ate fast food maybe once every two or three months, on a road trip or when in recovery mode after a big night out. I’m no purist, it just wasn’t part of my daily diet. Now I eat some form of fast food (a couple of munchkins, a pack of M&Ms, a sub slathered in delectable Chipotle Southwest mayo) three or four nights a week. Not to mention, working all day and schooling all night doesn’t leave a lot of free time for exercise. As a result, my jeans are getting tight and I have the broken-out forehead of an angry 13-year-old boy.

“I wish we could work in a salon without mirrors,” one of my classmates says as we’re fitting in some makeup practice between facials. “I hate seeing how bad I look every time I turn around.” An hour later, I hear another woman say, “I used to have a smoking body, but ever since we started here, I’ve just let myself go.”

We talk about bringing healthier snacks, we talk about going for walks during break instead of eating crap. Then we remember how we’re exhausted and starving and need a pick-me-up to get through the next two hours of class. And that Beauty U is located in the back of a strip mall filled with fast food joints and little else.

I’m not saying that personal responsibility doesn’t come into it. There’s a healthy amount of misery-loves-company going into that decision to go on a doughnut run. The one student who always abstains and snacks on dried fruit and nuts instead is perceived as a bit of a snob by the rest of the class. (She is not me. Obviously. Or my jeans would still fit.) But it would be nice if Beauty U stocked something besides Twizzlers and Doritos in the break room vending machine.

Like I said yesterday, this isn’t a woe is me thing. I’m keeping it in perspective and a couple of pounds in the line of duty ain’t no thing. Plus, as a freelance writer (without any kids at that), I’ve got the most flexible schedule of anyone there, so I know I’ll be able to return to my usual habits in a couple of months. Also, I really do try to practice what I preach and would like to shut the hell up about what I’m eating already.

But forget about beauty standards for just a second. A good percent of the Beauty U night school population is overweight in the way that comes with health complications, not naked Glamour photo shoots. And we just read the Milady’s textbook chapter on how nutrition affects your skin. So the irony is being lost on no one that we’re learning to sell beauty, health, and relaxation and all the while we’re making a weary beeline for the McDonald’s across the parking lot every night.


[Photo: "You are What You Eat," by Amber Hewitt, via Flickr.]

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  1. KNB
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    oh man. I love Munchos. I have only been able to put a lid on my fast food consumption by sheer proximity. I love McDonald’s when it is in my mouth, but I always end up hating it when it is in my stomach.

  2. Posted February 13, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Great, great post. I can hear my own voice in your words. There’s comraderie in the bad snacking, it’s easy, it TASTES GOOD!

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