Stick Figure: An Interview with Lori Gottlieb
During med school, Lori Gottlieb went searching for a notebook she needed for studying and instead came across her old diaries, diaries that dated back to when she was an 11-year-old girl struggling with an eating disorder. After sharing the diaries with her friends because she thought it may help them see and deal with their own struggles with food, they encouraged her to publish them.
The collection is published as Stick Figure, Lori's first book, which became a national bestseller, letting the world into the mind of a young girl who was struggling and how she turned her eating disorder into a way to be popular when kids realized she could write a diet plan for them, as well as her journey out of that world that anorexia keeps you in. Today, Lori is a healthy, successful author, speaker and mother.
One thing Lori and I focused on during our conversation was how we emphasize healthy eating habits in children. So often our own actions are mirrored in our children, and we can be unaware the effects of personal issues with food have on them. For me, I know this played a huge role when thinking about my relationship with food. Watching my grandmother avoid the dinner table, seeing my mom's own struggles with weight and food and balancing the two were part of my everyday existence, and before I knew it, I was taking what I saw modeled and applying it to my own eating habits.
Lori focuses on keeping healthy food available at all times for her son, preparing it and teaching him how to eat and when to indulge. It's explaining that we "brush our teeth to keep our teeth healthy, and we eat good food to keep our body healthy," and then reinforcing that by modeling the behavior. It's those healthy habits that come so naturally to others that are important to pass on to our kids. The road to true health and healing lies in breaking the cycle that can often be found in families where eating disorders seem prevalent.
As I walk down this road with my eldest own daughter, I hope that my own healthy eating habits, my focus on things other than just weight and appearance and teaching her that her whole self is important, not just the reflection in the mirror or the grades on paper, not what other people think or how they think she should look and act have taught her to live a healthy lifestyle that will hold up against the pressures and stress of junior high and high school these next few years.
For more information on eating disorders, check out Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold Friday nights at 11/10p Central.