Comedian, eating-disorder survivor to speak May 2

Stacey PrussmanComedian, actress and recovering eating-disorder survivor Stacey Prussman will share her struggles with anorexia nervosa and bulimia at 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at Bell Auditorium in Hewitt Union.

“Looking Through Broken Mirrors: Understanding Eating Disorders,” sponsored by the Student Association, is part of SUNY Oswego’s new College Hour weekly programming series. It will be free and open to the public.

Prussman remembers the first time that weight became an issue in her life. “My eating disorders started early. I was put on my first diet at the age of 10,” she said.

“Before my big audition for the Broadway production of ‘Annie,’ an agent told me, ‘There are no fat Annie’s—you need to lose some weight,’” Prussman recalled. “The next 15 years were filled with diet pills, fad diets, starvation, extreme exercise, depression and bulimia. I was constantly trying to lose that ‘extra’ 10 pounds.”

After being hospitalized because of the effects of her eating disorders, Prussman knew that she had to make changes in her life.

“I decided to fight back and learn to set my own standards,” she said, noting she has been free of eating disorders for five years. “I feel it’s very important for young women to understand what they are doing to their bodies. I was brutal to my body and myself. I want others to learn from my mistakes.”

With a schedule that includes frequent work in comedy clubs, appearances on Howard Stern’s show and guest stints on sitcoms like “Hope and Faith,” Prussman knows firsthand about the pressures of being in the public eye and how those public perceptions can shape self-image.

Her lecture includes a segment that reveals how sufferers of anorexia nervosa can be labeled “technically obese” by virtue of their Body Mass Index, or BMI. “Your body weight might be low but your fat content is very high because what happens when you’re anorexic is that you burn all your muscle and are just fat and bone,” Prussman explained.

The University at Albany graduate is also a certified personal trainer.

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[Photo by Robert Kim]

(Posted: Apr 11, 2007)