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African American news from Pasadena - Interview Part IIInterview:  Part Two with Author Stephanie Covington Armstrong
"Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat: A Story of Bulimia"

Background: "Bulimia is also known as bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by episodes of secretive excessive eating (binge-eating) followed by inappropriate methods of weight control, such as self-induced vomiting (purging), abuse of laxatives and diuretics, or excessive exercise."

The University of Southern California released the results of a 10-year survey of 2,300 girls (beginning at age 9 or 10) in California, Ohio and Washington, D.C., in March 2009 about the  perception that bulimia affects mostly white privileged teenagers.  Some of the most startling
findings were (1) African American girls are 50 percent more likely than white girls to be bulimic, in particular, African-American girls from families in the lowest income bracket; (2) the persistence of bulimic behavior and who is afflicted. . . would perhaps be more accurately described - and treated - as an addiction and (3) Only about half of those diagnosed with bulimia fully recover, and many struggle with bulimia for decades.

Her Story: Stephanie Covington Armstrong's story takes the reader inside her addiction, as an African-American woman, from childhood to age 27.

She no longer needs to disguise what was going on--no more smoke and mirrors--and life got to be enjoyable and became calmer. Stephanie was able to be intimate and to have close friends. She got to a point in her life where she wanted to share her story to help other women of color experiencing eating disorders.  She wanted to introduce a "new" face, and others who looked like her not normally associated with eating disorders. And, to let women of color know that they are not alone in their struggle. 

Stephanie's book was published in August 2009 and she continues to share her incredible journey bolstered by the fantastic outpouring of people recognizing themselves in her story.  She relishes the connection she made with mothers and daughters who have been affected by eating disorders.  She stated that eating disorders is a physical, mental (emotional) and spiritual disease and in order for someone to heal, work must be focused in all three areas. Stephanie learned that there are no quick fixes and by having the freedom and a safe place to go allowed her to heal.  She realized that in the midst of her eating disorder she spent a lot of time running from shame and pain which basically contributed to her eating disorder.  Once she was able to look at what was happening with her life and figure out a way to deal with it, her addiction to food went away.  No longer did she need a coping mechanism, food addiction, and was able to release the pain once and for all.  No longer is she afraid or being held hostage by the three-letter "F" word: "FAT." 

Stephanie, my niece, and a former Pasadena resident, had an incredible book signing  at Vromans Book Store on November 23, 2009 and was featured in the Los Angeles Sentinel November 19-25 issue. Stephanie lives in Los Angeles, is married to writer/producer Michael Armstrong and raising her 8 year old daughter Zoe.  She is working on a new book project to be announced.

Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat: A Story of Bulimia was published by Lawrence Hill Books distributed via the Independent Publishers Group. Stephanie's book can be purchased at major book stores, including Vromans in Pasadena.  Or, order by calling (800) 888-4741.

To contact Stephanie for presentations go to www.notallblackgirls.com.

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