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Portia de Rossi, Dieting and Disordered Eating

March 18, 2011

Not a light read, but an important read.

I’ll start with a bit of a confession. I’ve been mega stressed for the past few month, and my body has taken the brunt of it. The bitter cold winter did not help and my overall activity level is way down from last summer. Add to that, I started blindly eating once again, sneaking ice cream when overly stressed, doubling portion sizes and eating way past full. And that old “Must Go On A Diet” mentality was starting to sink back in, and I found myself putting a weight loss plan together. Even though none of that felt right, I couldn’t seem to get past the fact that all my clothes are just a wee bit tighter these days.

Fast forward to this past weekend, I read Portia de Rossi’s memoir, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain. It was exactly what I was expecting (a memoir of her decent into anorexia) and then nothing at all what I expected (a poignant, disturbing tale of dieting and working out.)

At first, my thinking was that I would be reading this book from afar, as I have no history of anything resembling anorexia or bulimia. Yet I still found the story compelling. Add to that, Portia’s commentary on society’s pressures on women, the double standards we’re expected to live up to, and her entire Epilogue of her life now really hit home and I saw some of myself in her writing.

And it made me realize that I seriously need to give myself a break. Again. This is not a race to the skinny but a lifestyle of overall health. Yes, I need to move more and eat less. But, as I read through the Epilogue of Porita’s book, I felt like she was talking to me. For instance, how dieting, much like anorexia or bulimia, is just another form of disordered eating, telling you what to eat and when to eat it. Whereas “Ordered” eating is eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full (hmm, where have you heard that before?), eating for enjoyment and for health, and not restricting foods because they are “bad.” Holy crap, has she been reading my blog?

Wait, maybe I should be reading my blog. Hmm, maybe I should be writing to my blog, instead of keeping all this stress in while trying to be the face of FitMommas. I am so glad I picked up this book. So much has stuck with me, and seems to be the catalyst I needed to kick myself back up again. When Portia writes “Eat as many as you want knowing that you can always have them again tomorrow,” um, yeah, DUH! So why was I drowning my stress in a double bowl of ice cream. Or worse, no bowl, just ice cream right out of the carton! Wait, did I just admit that? 🙂

So I’m excited as I write this. I needed to be reminded that I’m worth more than my self-hatred over not being able to handle this crazy, stressful life. And I already threw out my dieting plan, because, as Portia’s one-time love, Francesca, tells her, “Fine. I’ll help you diet. But you’ll only gain it back.” Yeah. I already knew that, too.

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