Jordana Brewster Opens Up About Her Eating Disorder History
Content warning: This story includes mentions of disordered eating behaviors.
Jordana Brewster opened up about her history with an eating disorder in a candid new essay for Glamour.
In the essay, Brewster traces the history of various relationships in her life—from her longtime marriage to now-ex Andrew Form to her disordered relationships with food and her body.
“The first year of our marriage, I started to binge and developed an eating disorder,” Brewster wrote. Around the time, Brewster says, she was dealing with feelings of loneliness, boredom, and stagnation in her personal life and acting career. “I knew something was wrong with me. I had no creative output or outlet. I felt isolated, and the passivity drove me crazy.” She continued, “While my husband worked a full day on set, I would do the occasional audition. I was bored.”
While Brewster said she felt supported and safe with Form, she hid her binge-eating from him. “I would raid the mini bar at the Four Seasons for snacks and then promptly go downstairs to make sure it was restocked and paid for before my husband realized anything was missing,” Brewster wrote. “I had a buzzing sense of chaos within me that clashed with my actual inertia. I was stuck.”
Later, Brewster’s disordered eating behaviors shifted in the direction of restriction. “A couple of years later, my disorder swung to the other extreme, and I started to restrict rather than binge,” Brewster wrote. Brewster says that her hyper-focus on her eating and her body gave her a sense of control in her life—but it also took her attention away from other challenges going on.
“The cliché that controlling your food gives you the illusion of control of your life is true. But it also does something else: A fixation with your body gives you tunnel vision,” Brewster explained. “I was so focused on the number on the scale and the number of calories I consumed in a day that I ignored all other problems. I didn’t look closely at my career, my marriage.”
Brewster eventually sought treatment to help her work through her disordered eating and her relationship with her body, and feels like she is in a good place today. “Years of therapy helped me through my control and eating issues, and now I’m lucky to be at a level of peace with my body,” she wrote. And when issues with her body do arise, Brewster deals with them “head-on.”
Binge-eating disorder (BED) is when an individual has recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food in a short period of time while feeling a sense of lacking control over one’s eating, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Binge-eating episodes are associated with eating in secret due to feelings of embarrassment about the quantity of food being consumed; having feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt afterward; eating much more quickly than usual; eating until uncomfortably full; and eating a large quantity of food when not physically hungry, NEDA explains.
As with most eating orders, treating BED usually requires a multipronged and individualized approach that may include therapy, nutritional counseling, and medical care; recovery tends to be an ongoing process.
Restrictive eating behaviors and a fixation on body weight are a common feature of another eating disorder, anorexia. Someone can also have disordered eating behaviors (such as restricting their food intake) and obsess about their body weight without having a clinical diagnosis, as SELF has explained. (Brewster previously told Health, “I was never anorexic, but I was definitely too controlled to be healthy.”) The distinction depends on the number of symptoms someone shows, the severity of obsessive thoughts and behaviors, and how much this all interferes with someone’s ability to function, NEDA explains. Sometimes disordered eating behaviors can be a precursor to a diagnosable eating disorder, according to NEDA.
Whether someone is experiencing a clinical eating disorder, subclinical disordered eating behaviors, or an unhealthy or distressing relationship with food or their body, seeing a therapist (or a dietitian who specializes in these issues) is often a good first step to figuring out what’s going on and working toward getting better.
If you or someone you love is dealing with disordered eating, contact the NEDA helpline online or at 800-931-2237, or the ANAD helpline online or at 630-577-1330.
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