Dr. Drew Pinsky’s daughter, Paulina Pinsky, first came out about her seven-year struggle with anorexia and bulimia in a brave essay she penned for the Columbia Daily Spectator in November 2013. The 21-year-old junior at Barnard College described the moment she revealed her secret to her mom in her essay “Get Your Teeth Checked.” She wrote:
I paused, but before I knew it, the words were out of my mouth … “I’ve been throwing up since the seventh grade.” … [T]he words flew out of my mouth before I had a chance to take them back. The following moment was the longest and most painful silence of my life; I felt like my stomach was going to fall out and that I was going to projectile-vomit onto the windshield. After a silence that lasted far too long, [my mom] responded. “Well, get your teeth checked.”
Pinsky writes about how her 13-year-long career as a figure skater contributed to her body image issues as did her mother “demanding perfection” from her.
Thinness became my entire identity. Everyone needed me to be thin and, even worse, I needed myself to be thin. I’m not the only woman who has suffered, though. Women are supposed to be small. As I watched my football-playing brothers stuff themselves with spaghetti carbonara, steak, and hot fudge sundaes, I would pick at my salad, as my mother did the same. It wasn’t just I who had been affected by society’s demands for my body. It was my mother and her mother before her.
After two years in recovery, a major part of which included learning to have a “functional relationship” with her mother, Pinsky is using her struggles to help others eating disorders and poor self-image. Columbia University, Pinsky organized Columbia’s first Body Positivity Week, running February 24th through 28th.
“Usually when people hear ‘eating disorder,’ they freak out. We want to be educational but also inclusive, so we’re really focusing on having events geared towards everyone,” said Pinsky.
The week will include events like body-positive yoga sessions, a “speak-out” about eating disorders and body positive photo shoots (Orozco and Pinsky’s is featured above). Since writing her essay, Pinksy says she enjoys being a spokesperson on the subject.
“I like talking about it—to me, it doesn’t feel taboo, and I think it’s so funny that it is. For me, talking about it normalizes talking about it. Eating disorders shouldn’t be a secret because that’s what perpetuates them,” she said.
Her TV psychologist father couldn’t be prouder of his daughter’s campaign. “We are so proud of Paulina and her outreach to help others and particularly empower women. When she recognized she needed help she sought treatment and actively engaged in the process. And now she is using her insights to help others,” he said in a statement to “Entertainment Tonight.”
I could not approve of this enough. Thank you to Paulina Pinsky and Liz Orozco for their brave and inspiring work. [Columbia Spectator]