One of the most shocking and gut wrenching books I have ever read was Portia de Rossi’s autobiography “Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain“.  For me the most gripping part was how blatantly honest she was about how sick she was. She tells the story from the mindset she had when she was sick, and you can really see how she twisted every image, every action, everything she read or heard into yet another reason she had to be skinny. How she would spend what on the outside looks like the best time of an actresses life struggling to meet an unattainable goal of beauty.

I think it’s one of those books that when you read it – you begin to realize that we all have some sort of warped body image. It doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrity or not, male or female, gay or straight. We all get bombarded with images and societal norms of what we’re supposed to do, how we’re supposed to look, what we should and shouldn’t eat, how and when and why we should exercise. This book really makes you take a step back and evaluate the thoughts you have about your own body image. I applaud Portia for being able to put that vulnerability out there for everyone to read and learn from. Thank you Portia!

unbearable-lightness-portia

Book Description (pulled directly from Amazon):

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn’t enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues.

In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.

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