Guest Blog: Wise Girl Singer Abby Weitz Recalls a Weight-Loss Cleanse Gone Horribly Wrong
[Editor's Note: On the strength of her frank songwriting (see: 'So Broken,' 'Stuck In This,' etc.), Abby Weitz has earned a reputation as the "female Rivers Cuomo." In addition to sharing the Weezer frontman's penchant for confessional lyrics, she and her band, Wise Girl, bash out punky pop-rock jams the bespectacled tunesmith would surely approve of. A while back, Weitz hit us up and offered to write a series of blog posts detailing her adventures in the New York City music scene, and boy are we glad we took her up on it. In this, her second installment, the singer recounts the time she tried to lose a bunch of weight for a planned TV appearance. The plan was to cleanse, but as you'll see, things got a little, er, messy...]
About two years ago, I was working as a host at a restaurant called the Breslin. One night, I snuck a peak at my phone and saw an email from the guys at Beta TV asking my band Wise Girl to come out to Los Angeles to do a live performance and interview with them in a month. I ran past my manager and screeched that I was going to the bathroom.
As soon as I got into the hallway, I started screaming. This was not out of character for me. I usually have lots of energy and am seen talking to myself, cheering myself on or yelling at myself. I believe they call that schizophrenia, or maybe I have some attention deficit disorder or excessive hyperactivity type of thing.
At the time, my best friend since kindergarten, Liz, was working as the restaurant office manager. I ran into the office, grabbed her and literally dragged her to the bathroom. Once we were in safe territory I started screaming, “LIZ, I’M GONNA BE ON F—ING TV, THE CAMERA ADDS 15 LBS!”
Of course that was the first thing out of my mouth.
The thing is, I am not your typical-looking front woman. I am 6 feet tall. I wear a size 10, and in the entertainment industry, that is considered obese. Every time I’m at the doctor, I bring up the fact that I don’t understand why my ass is so huge, considering my running regimen of four miles a day and my gluten-free and basically vegan diet. Each and every time, she refuses my plea for some kind of ass-melting pill and assures me that I am a “healthy” weight for my height, and that if I had those skinny legs that I’ve dreamed about since childhood, I would develop osteoporosis in 10 years.
Osteoporosis? Bring it on if it means a hot pair of stems!
Liz asked for the details, ignoring my “the camera adds 15 lbs” comment, as she usually does when I complain about my fat ass. Then she asked me what I was gonna wear, which I ignored when my ADD kicked in and I remembered that a bunch of people at work had been doing the Master Cleanse. I blurted out, “I’m gonna do a juice cleanse!” and ran out of the bathroom, leaving Liz in the dust.
I started my juice cleanse the next day. I was thinking about doing the Master Cleanse, but then I remembered that three years before, I had tried the cleanse for a day. By 9PM that evening, I was whining to my ex-boyfriend about how hungry I was, until he told me to “Shut the f— up and f—ing eat some f—ing food.” To that, I responded “OK” and made a sandwich.
I was not about to go through that again, especially since this time around, I was single and didn’t have that really “strong support system” around anymore. So that morning, I decided that I was going to make up my own cleanse, which included one banana, one cup of almond milk and one cup of ice, twice a day, for 30 days.
I know it sounds insane, but I allowed myself one skim mocha a day and on the nights that I felt like I was literally going to drop dead from starvation, I could have some steamed cauliflower or carrots mashed up. Oh yeah, and as much coffee, tea and water and Diet Coke as I wanted.
This “cleanse” lasted about 23 days. The first few days I felt tired, but I assured myself it could only get better. A few more days went by, and I could literally feel my stomach eating itself, which was a very reassuring feeling. Eventually, I started feeling really angry all the time, and I’m pretty sure I snapped at anyone who crossed my path from that point on, but I was getting skinnier! My body was wasting away faster than the speed of light and I was loving it. Can you say eating disorder?
On day 23, I had been invited to a party at Electric Lady Studios that would have free booze. My friend Michelle also called me to tell me that she was coming into the city that night to hang out. I said, “HELL YEAH, GIRLFRIEND!” I felt skinny and I was ready to partayyyy!
The Party was awesome, and I drank lots of free wine by Dave Matthews’ brand, the Dreaming Tree. (What the f—?). They even sent me home with a bottle, which I downed in the cab on the way to meet Michelle. I showed up to this lounge, barely able to walk and slurred, “I haven’t eaten real food in three weeks, I need to eat something.” I told her I’d be back and stumbled into a deli when I had the most random, kitchen sink of a salad.
I hadn’t eaten in so long and was so drunk that everything looked amazing! Pickles, beets, cream cheese, onions, chicken, raisins, grapes, skittles, dead babies — anything and everything was thrown in there.
We hopped a cab to our favorite spot, Otto’s Shrunken Head. I walked in holding the plastic salad container to my face, eating the salad while shouting “I’M STARVING” to my favorite door guy, Vincent, who wasn’t at all phased as I shoved a dead baby into my mouth.
I started to feel a little less drunk, and things were looking a little less blurry, so it was time to continue to drink myself into oblivion, which I did.
I woke up the next morning fully clothed, shoes and makeup still on, to the sound of my phone ringing. With my eyes still closed I choked out, “Hello?” It was Michelle. She’d left her keys at the bar and was on her way back to the city. I must have been half asleep and still drunk because I agreed to meet her for lunch. She was picking me up and 10 minutes away. Once this hit me, I sprung forward like the dad in the game “don’t wake daddy.” I was so hung over that I was seeing stars. I stayed sitting in the upright position with my eyes closed until Michelle called ten minutes later to say she was downstairs. I got up, wiped off the Joker-looking smudged red lipstick ring around my mouth and did the “I didn’t get laid” walk of shame, wearing the same clothes as last night, out to her car.
We got her keys from the bar and ate at a diner across the street. As I was eating my salad, I started thinking about how surprised I was that my stomach was fine after eating that weird salad the night before, especially considering I hadn’t eaten real food in ages. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
We decided to go to Veniero’s bakery after lunch, and I ate two cannolis. I was catching up from the past 23 days of misery! That evening, I met another friend for dinner and Pink Berry. It felt good to be eating food again, and today, I was letting myself eat whatever I wanted. Besides, I’d go back to my cleanse tomorrow.
The following day, I was woken up to a strange rumbling feeling in my stomach, “Am I hungry?” I asked myself. Then I had the sudden urge to run to the bathroom, and all I can say is holy s—. This was no joke, I was having my own Cuban Missile Crisis. I canceled any plans and appointments I’d had that day to avoid s—ing my pants (which almost happened about 6 times), except for band rehearsal. I couldn’t cancel — we were leaving for L.A. in a few days and this was our only night to rehearse. I figured by the time we all got together at 10:30 that night, everything will have come out of me at that point. While sitting on the toilet, I told myself, “I’ll be fine by then.” I looked down at my cat, who was sitting on my lap and asked “Right?”
We used my friend’s practice space that night, and the first thing I did when I got there was check out the bathroom situation, which had no doors. Yippie! My band got there, we started playing and I felt a lot better and even forgot about my stomach issues for a little while. But after about an hour, the explosive diarrhea feeling came back, and I started getting anxious. My thoughts began to take over, “What if someone walks in while I’m pissing out of my ass?” I had to make a 50 yard dash to the bathroom with no door, NOW!
We left for L.A. three days later, and after the bathroom shenanigans, I’d decided to ween myself back on to real food the right way, so I was feeling good. We got in late that night and were shooting Beta TV the next morning, so we all agreed stay in, hang out, go over some songs and get some sleep.
That morning, everyone rushed around and managed to make it to the shoot only 45 minutes late, and we started setting up. We started shooting our song ‘So Broken,’ and 20 seconds into the shoot, the producer stopped us to say, “This doesn’t look right.” He asked the band to move forward and me to move as far back as I could. We had to adjust because I am a giant with a band of midgets, except for our drummer, Harrison, who sits down anyways.
We started playing again, and all of a sudden, I felt a slap on my ass, then again and again. ”What the f— is going on?” I thought to myself.
It turned out I was standing so far back that my butt was touching the cymbals, and every time Harrison hit the cymbals, I was getting cracked on the ass. I would inch forward but it kept happening. I always knew I had a big butt, but was it that big? Apparently it was.
I sucked it up and thought of my old figure skating instructor who would yell at me, “No pain, no gain!” whenever I would fall down trying to do a jump … that stupid bitch.
We finished the shoot. I limped out of there and numbed my sore ass with some amazing Mexican food, washed down with a bottle of Prosecco. The night ended with me blacked out at the Rainbow, on Sunset, crying and yelling at the guy I was seeing (who was also in L.A. at the time) while my band pretended not to know me. The last thing that I remember from that night was screaming, “What the f— are you looking at?” to the L.A. space cadets staring at my hysterical s— fit. I’m from New York, this was typical behavior.
I have considered juice cleanses since, but all it takes is the thought of that bathroom-with-no-door situation to keep me in check.