Psychology Today

Famous Actresses Struggling with Eating Disorders or Low Self-Worth

Famous Actresses Struggling with Eating Disorders or Low Self-Worth

By Alice Baland

While doing a search of actresses who are currently, or have struggled in the past with eating disorders, I was surprised and saddened at how many there are: Jane Fonda, Paula Abdul, Wynonna Judd, Calista Lockhart, Felicity Huffman and many more. Just like you and I, they are talented people (yes, you are talented!) who have used food to cope with some life problem or personal insecurity.

 Think of Catherine Bell, star of JAG and recently The Good Witch, an endearing movie. Such a talented actress as well as a beauty, I could hardly believe it. Then there’s Barbara Niven (who played Marilyn Monroe), whom I met in Los Angeles several months ago at James Malinchak’s speakers boot camp. Barbara and I hit it off so well. She squeezed my hand with encouragement as I did a video interview of her. Her smile is brilliant and she easily befriends whomever she likes. With her to support me, I felt like I could speak out to help more people with eating disorders. She shared how she overcame her eating disorder with me and now speaks, as I do, to help women overcome this.

How they coped or overcame their disorder was as varied as they are — addiction treatment centers, religion, support, prayer, psychotherapy, self-acceptance vs. perfectionism, and on and on. Some haven’t yet recovered, but never give up!

Do you, or someone you know, struggle with weight or disordered eating to the point that it interferes with you being able to eat up the good life? What have you tried that works so that you no longer have to struggle? I’ve found that many of my clients don’t feel they are good enough, that there is too much competition with people they think are smarter, skinnier, more talented or better off than they are. Many of them also suffer from a trauma history. By that I mean they have been sexually abused or sexually assaulted as a child or young adult or have had spousal abuse. This accounts for 50-80% of those with an eating disorder.

Others are coping with job loss, illness, grief, loss of a loved one, separation or not feeling good enough on the job or with someone they love. More on that another time.

 Many use food to hide the pain, shame, embarrassment or reality of such horrendous treatment. Recovery is truly possible. Learning new and better coping skills, how to manage an out-of-control life, chipping away at the old thoughts, feelings and behaviors, replacing them with better ones, setting boundaries with perpetrators (abusers) and regaining self-worth via good counseling , EFT and hypnotherapy are some of the ways. Eating disorders are now a world-wide problem and must be stopped! ‘ An eating disorder is a fear of life disorder. We must change our beliefs and ways of thinking and acting to be the STRONG WOMEN we were meant to be!

What’s one step you can take right this moment to help yourself or another? Try a little KINDNESS. In other words, be kind to yourself and everyone you meet today. Say a kind word to everyone. This helps you forget your own problems for just a moment. Notice the eyes of the person to whom you expressed your kindness. Notice how they light up and smile back. Kindness involves being self-accepting, self-loving and self-forgiving — no matter your size, weight, shape, hair color or clothes.

 We are all individuals, special in our own unique way. BE YOURSELF! Every moment that you show KINDNESS to yourself or someone else puts you one moment closer to being a real, authentic, caring, whole, integrated human being. Sound too easy? Add up all those small acts of kindness and smiles and notice how you feel at the end of each day. If you feel better, try it again tomorrow. do this for 40 days. If you need help, I can be there for you. You are special and deserve good things in life. When to start? Now — with just one small step, and then another. Let me know what you have tried today or this week. What works for you? What is your greatest obstacle? You can send comments to me

 Alice Baland MA, LPC, RD/LD

America’s Good Eating Expert! Personalized Eating & Living Plans
Speaker, Author, Hypnotherapist, Dietitian, Counselor