Whitney Cummings Details Eating Disorder Struggles In New Memoir

By Britni de la Cretaz 10/06/17

“It was as if I were looking in a funhouse mirror that makes your hips comically large. I literally could not see myself how others did.”

Whitney Cummings

Comedian Whitney Cummings just released a new memoir—in it, she details her struggles with disordered eating and body dysmorphia. The book, I’m Fine…And Other Lies, was released on October 3. In an excerpt obtained by People, Cummings grapples with her lifelong struggle with the way she viewed her body. 

“I became irrationally terrified of fat,” the co-creator of 2 Broke Girls and Whitney writes in the book. She says that as a teen, she almost exclusively ate rice cakes, non-fat yogurt, and apples, causing her to become “alarmingly thin.” Her hair started to fall out, and Cummings says that her hairbrush “looked like Chewbacca.”

When she moved to Los Angeles at 19, Cummings said her disordered eating habits continued and she began bingeing at night—sometimes even in her sleep—saying she would wake up covered in wrappers and “sticky” from “whatever weird sauce I blindly poured down my throat.”

She shares how skewed her perception of her own body was, writing, “It was as if I were looking in a funhouse mirror that makes your hips comically large. I literally could not see myself how others did.”

This is typical of body dysmorphic disorder, which involves an obsessive focus on what a person perceives as a flaw in their appearance. The flaw could be minor, or it could be imagined, as their own ability to see their body for what it really looks like is distorted by the mental health issue. According to the American Psychiatric Association, BDD typically develops in adolescence and occurs in 2.2% of women and 2.5% of men. 

Cummings is candid about the fact that she still struggles with her body image at times—something she says has its roots in low self-confidence—and hopes that speaking openly about it will help other people who are suffering, too. She tells LA Weekly, “I found that when I was trying to not be crazy, hearing about other people's trials and tribulations with mental health issues, eating disorders and addiction made me feel better.”

“Writing the book was a nightmare. It was a truly harrowing experience to say the least,” she told LA Weekly. “These are all of the stories and material that I never felt comfortable talking about onstage because I was too embarrassed and didn’t want to say this stuff while making contact with strangers. It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.