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Unbearable Lightness - A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi Books in Review
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Unbearable Lightness - A Story of Loss and Gain
by Portia de Rossi
Atria Books
ISBN 978-1-4391-7778-5
Published November 2010 - Hardcover - 308 pages - $25.99

Just reading the Prologue of Portia de Rossi's book will have you reaching for a tissue, shedding a tear, and then scratching your head.  The connection to food is a powerful one (we need food to survive), but the strive to be thin and accepted and "fit in" can be an even stronger one, sadly.  And a negative one.  It can literally drive you nuts.  Portia's struggle with her weight control drove her to the brink, and in her book she tells of the frightening places her mind went to all-consumed with not eating too many calories and thus not putting on any weight.  Too many equals 300 calories a day!  I don't know if a mouse could survive on that few calories.  And along with that obsession came the self-loathing.  A lethal combination.  As if this weren't enough to deal with, Portia was also struggling being gay.  Her mind in total confusion.  In her book she talks about her weight as a 12-year-old school kid who'd become a model, how she binged and then puked.  A "trick" she learned from other models.  Her weight and any weight gain was always forefront in her mind; this trying to cope with entering her teenage years wasn't easy.  At 15 she changed her name from Amanda Rogers.  Another insecurity taken care of.  She talks of her insecurities and weight loss while working on Ally McBeal and how she coped with eating her favorite foods yet having to get them out of her body soon thereafter.  It's no way to live, and reading her story made me giddy with all she had to deal with.  The constant worrying about how many calories she could have a day, when she could eat and the exercise she pushed herself to do so that the calories were burned and the food didn't have time to settle as fat.  Phew!  I found it exhausting reading to what extremes she would go to prevent herself from possibly ingesting an extra calorie, like not using toothpaste.  After dropping down to 82 pounds the realization of what she was doing to herself set in.  Especially hearing that she had osteoporosis, cirrhosis, early stages of lupus, and possibly organ failure.  Alarming to say the least.  Portia backed off from her bad eating habits, learned to like herself and her body as it was, learned that diets do not work, and is now healthy and happy.
Conclusion - Quite eye-opening and shocking to learn how extreme one can get.  So glad all turned out so well.

book cover

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.

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