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Portia de Rossi and Awareness About Eating Disorders

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Anorexia Nervosa related image Photo: Getty Images

It was one of those rare afternoons when my kids were keeping themselves busy playing and I had time to actually sit down and turn on something that I wanted to watch. I was so happy for this unexpected break as I grabbed a quick snack and reached for the remote. It was Oprah time and I couldn't wait to see what the topic of that day's show was.

As her studio was projected into my living room, I admired Oprah’s shoes and watched her introduce her guest of the day, Portia de Rossi. I listened to de Rossi talk about her new book, "Unbearable Lightness," that outlines her struggle with weight and battle with eating disorders. I stared at my television screen in disbelief as this pretty actress described her feelings of inadequacies and self-loathing. I could hardly imagine that she would limit herself to only eating 300 calories a day which resulted in dropping to a dangerously low weight. At one point, she shared a shameful experience while at a photo shoot. She began to panic when each size 4 outfit that was bought to her didn’t fit. Finally the wardrobe person yelled out in frustration, “No one told me that she was a size 8!” She described it as a most humiliating experience and a huge push towards her downwards spiral. Oprah then commented, “Size 8 is my goal weight.”

It was a bit ironic that as I watched a show about eating disorders, I sat savoring the last few pieces of English toffee that I received as a Christmas gift. I listened to this successful and beautiful woman talk about how ugly, worthless and fat she once felt. It baffled me how she could possibly see herself that way. It made me realize that there are probably many people in the world that just don’t see themselves in their true light.

The entire episode gave me the urge to read her book--of course, the reason for her show appearance--and made me think about the extremes that people will go to in order to make their bodies the size that they want them to be. It is certainly a topic that deserves our attention.

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