[Lori Gottlieb] loves math and chess and softball. Her mother loves shopping and decorating; her stockbroker father is remote. Her mother, who never finishes a meal, eats one slice of toast for breakfast. When Lori stops eating, her mother tells her she can't diet--until she's a woman. She is, however, supposed to be "ladylike" and stop her annoying habit of speaking her mind at every turn.
Last week, over a tall chocolate milkshake with whipped cream at a West Hollywood diner, Gottlieb says she first stopped eating during a family vacation in Washington, D.C. Rather than follow her father's order to finish a milkshake during a White House tour, Gottlieb dumped it in a bookcase. "I do sort of wonder if anyone ever had to clean it up," she says with a rueful smile.
Gottlieb credits her recovery in part to a nurse she met at Cedars-Sinai, who stayed in touch with her. And she found friends who shared her interests. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1985, Gottlieb attended Yale University. She worked as a prime-time series development executive at NBC in Burbank, where once again she was immersed in a weight-conscious culture. "I would go out to lunch with actresses, and they would order only a Diet Coke while I'd be chowing down. I don't think the average person has any idea how much work it takes for them to look like that. That's why they have to have body entourages--nutritionists, dietitians, personal trainers."