My Triumph Over Anorexia



My Triumph Over Anorexia
My Triumph Over Anorexia
Two years after surviving the “nightmare” of rehab to treat the eating disorder that left
her at 73 lbs., Reba’s Scarlett Pomers finds peace of mind—and body—through yoga
carlett Pomers surveys the table
of empty plates in front of her at
the cafe in L.A.’s Golden Bridge
Yoga studio. The vegetarian has already
polished off a goat cheese quesadilla
and mixed green salad, but her eyes
are on the hunt for a sweet treat to top
off her meal. “I think I want a cookie,”
Pomers ponders aloud as she gets up to
order her dessert along with a hot tea—
proving that she wasn’t playing around
when she unabashedly told her fellow
diners over lunch, “I can eat a lot!”
No doubt Pomers’s life is much
sweeter compared to two years ago,
when the former Reba actress checked
into rehab for anorexia. Weighing
only 73 lbs., the 5'2" star underwent two months of inpatient treatment. “It was a nightmare,” she says.
“I was away from my family, my home,
my work. I just went, ‘This isn’t worth
it. I have to get better.’”
Now, with the continued guidance
of a therapist, Pomers, 18, has come
to accept that it’s okay to satisfy her
body’s cravings (“Chocolate cake is
the bomb!” she says) and has learned
to work out in a healthy way as a devoted student of Kundalini yoga. Pomers
also steers clear of the scale. “I don’t
weigh myself anymore,” Pomers says.
Adds her mother, Michelle: “She said
to me one time, ‘I am not a number.’
That made me very proud.”
and Reba
McEntire on
set in 2005.
Photographs by MARC ROYCE
Pomers (at L.A.’s
Golden Bridge Yoga
studio) also takes
belly dancing classes
because “women of
all shapes and sizes
feel confident,” she
says. Plus, she adds,
“I love Shakira!”
Growing up in Las Vegas, “I had a
totally normal relationship with my
body,” says Pomers, a fan of hard rock
who started singing and guitar lessons
as a young girl. In 2001 Pomers—who
had spent three years on Star Trek:
Voyager as Naomi Wildman—landed
her breakout role as Reba McEntire’s
sassy daughter on the country singer’s sitcom and later scored an album
deal. But in 2005, as the pressures of
producing her musical debut collided
with talk that the show might be canceled, Pomers became fixated on the
one thing in her life she felt she could
control: her body. “It was very stressful, and my weight became something
I centered on,” recalls Pomers, who
looked to pro-anorexia Web sites
for tips on how to over-exercise and
under-eat. “I became obsessed.”
Reba producers noticed that, along
with her dwindling size, the normally
bubbly redhead was depressed and
withdrawn on-set. Finally studio execs
and Pomers’s family sat the starlet
down and encouraged her to seek help.
“I would get angry,” Pomers says of
being confronted. “Even though I knew
it was true, I’m one of those people who
was very ‘No, I’m fine!’” On October 10,
2005, Pomers finally admitted she was
far from fine. She moved into a residential rehab center and, after two months,
started seeing an outpatient therapist
for five hours daily.
Post-treatment, “one of the most
important things is having a support
system,” says Pomers, who leans on
pals she met during treatment, as well
as her mom, her older brother Shane,
and her best friend. The actress also
draws strength from her practice of
Kundalini yoga, which emphasizes
meditation and chanting, and which
she discovered after reading a book
about Golden Bridge studio director
Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa. After popping in for an introductory class in
June 2006, “I kept going back and
felt stronger and stronger every
time,” says the yogi, who attends up
to four classes a week and has earned
her teaching certificate in the practice. “Yoga always made me feel really
good about myself. It was the final
Yoga “was the
thing I didn’t
obsess about in
a negative way,”
Pomers says.
I finally realized, What’s more important? My yoga and what makes me
happy, or trying to be thin?”—scarlett pomers
step of letting go of the demon.”
Now she hopes to help others do the
same. Last winter Pomers launched
the nonprofit foundation Arch-Angels,
which benefits the educational efforts
of the National Eating Disorders Association. “The more people talk about
eating disorders,” she explains, “the
more people get the real story about
what they’re like.”
Including just how hard they are
to come back from. Regaining her
self-confidence remains “an ongoing process,” admits Pomers, who is
performing on the L.A. music circuit
and working on her first solo album
this summer before she starts filming
the slasher movie The Kentucky Fried
Horror Show in the fall. “I’m not gonna
sit here and say I don’t worry about my
looks or my weight. Some days I feel I
have come so far. Other days, I hate the
way I look. But I’m at a place where I’m
really happy. I have a great family and
great friends.”
Not to mention a great new asset.
“She loves her J.Lo booty!” her mom
says. “She has a ba-donk-a-donk.”
Pomers smiles and gives her posterior
a little pat. “I have a mini J.Lo,” Pomers
says proudly, “and I do like it!”
Michelle Tan. Reported by Amy Elisa
Keith and Kristen Mascia in L.A.
Go behind the scenes of Pomers’s photo shoot at PEOPLE.COM/SCARLETT

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