Portia de Rossi's Anorexia Battle

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82 Pounds

You write that you would never wear lip gloss to a restaurant. Why not?

One of my biggest fears was ingesting calories that I wasn't aware of. I didn't wear any lip gloss or lip balm so I could detect if there was oil in the grilled vegetables I'd order. If there was, I wouldn't eat them.

When you were at your lowest weight of 82 pounds [at 5-foot-6], how many calories a day were you eating?

About 300 calories. At that point my diet consisted of tuna, yogurt, egg whites, sugar-free jell-O, Extra chewing gum and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray. The craziest thing I'd eat was sugar-free jell-O with butter spray and Splenda. I would mash it all up in a bowl and eat it with chopsticks.

Did you think you looked good at 82 pounds?

I knew my arms were too thin. I could see my rib cage. But my legs still had a little fat on them, and my stomach was a bit flabby. I was looking at myself in the same way everybody looks at themselves. They look in the mirror and their eyes are drawn to the one part of their body they dislike. I would always go to my thighs and think, Eh, they're still not good.

At one point in the book, your family pleaded with you to stop dieting. How did you react?

When people tell you you're too thin, it's a contradictory message for someone struggling with anorexia. On the one hand, it actually means you won the battle the whole world is fighting, which is to be skinny. When I'd get those reactions I'd think, That's fantastic! How can you be too thin? It was also nice for me to hear that people were worried about me. It felt like love, like caring, so why would I give that up?

Continued on page 3:  Breaking Free


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