Stephanie Beatriz of Brooklyn Nine-Nine opens up about her disordered eating

Fox Winter TCA 2017 All-Star party
Stephanie Beatriz plays Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. (I don’t watch it but my mom does, and she says that Beatriz’s character is funny and in a lot of scenes.) Beatriz has been open about the fact that she suffers from disordered eating, something she said she uses to stay thin as an actress. She first posted an Instagram about this issue, after reading a book called Eating in The Light of the Moon, back in May. That’s below. Sh recently wrote an essay for In Style about disordered eating and the way she punishes herself with food and exercise, and I wanted to talk about it. Here’s just an excerpt, and it’s well worth reading in its entirety:

I have an eating disorder. But like a lot of us, mine is a bit hard to define. I don’t purge, so I’m not a bulimic. I do eat, so I’m not anorexic. I’m what I like to call “a disordered eater.”

Disordered eating is an umbrella label because eating disorders can be hard to categorize—hell, they can be hard to recognize. Maybe you think restrictive eating just “works” for you because it fits within your budget or it keeps you at a certain size—I did.

I used disordered eating to try to keep myself small. I used my job as an actor under constant scrutiny as an excuse, a reason to hurt myself with food. I often used food to self-medicate, if you will, with a cycle of bingeing and restricting. I used the size of my ass and flatness of my stomach as the answer to everything that was wrong with my life and why I couldn’t seem to feel really, truly happy.

Food was both the remedy and the punishment. I thought by controlling what I ate I was controlling my fate, when it was ultimately controlling me.

Disordered eater, I know you. The only way you feel you can keep a grip on your life is to make sure you have three diet cokes before four, one chocolate chip cookie, and a small salad. You only eat certain foods that you’ve deemed “healthy,” and the list of what is okay shrinks every time you read a new book or article on the subject. You eat whatever you want and then spend hours at the gym as a way to counteract it. You eat three meals and two snacks but would rather die than put anything in your mouth that isn’t organic. Maybe today you had green juices and a vegan burrito so now you “deserve” a large pizza and chicken bites. But, f—, that means you screwed up so tomorrow it’s only juice all day long.

Does any of that sound familiar? It does to me. It sounds like the voice that speaks to me over and over in my head. The voice that sounds JUST LIKE ME but DAMN she is mean as hell. She tells me I don’t belong, that I’m not thin enough, that everyone can see how bloated I look after that last meal… And even if I lose the weight, she’s not satisfied…

I’ve started to figure out that this voice, so focused on weight and body image, is actually desperate to express her creativity, her fears, her desires, and her dreams. But she simply doesn’t have the language. It’s become the biggest job of my life to teach her how to start dreaming and thinking bigger than her body size. I’m encouraging her to worry and feel, to delve into the deepest parts of herself…

You want in on this? Take some time and talk to your own little voice. What do you think she’s trying to say when she talks about food or your body? What’s underneath all her control and fear? I bet it’s your best self, just waiting to come out. Bring her to tea; ask her what’s up. It might be damn hard to hear her real thoughts under all that nonsense, but I promise you, it’s easier that letting her, and your disordered eating, run your life.

[From InStyle]

This essay really hit home for me. I don’t do all of these things and I am not this negative towards myself. However after losing weight a few years ago I still count calories daily, weigh most of my food and weigh myself once a day. While I eat all kinds of food and don’t have restrictions around that, I will often skip a meal and/or exercise more if I eat too much. I do tell myself to get in line if I gain a pound or two. I’ve heard that you need to keep these habits for maintenance reasons and I don’t want to gain the weight back, but of course it’s a control issue. Of course I’m trying to escape from other things that bother me by focusing on this one aspect of my life. I can control what I eat and how much I exercise, even when everything else seems sh-tty and unpredictable. (To be clear I’m not underweight and do not believe I have an eating disorder, but I do have disordered eating habits.)

I also read some of the excerpts available on Amazon for Eating in the Light of the Moon, the book that Beatriz recommended, which was published in 1996. While it’s kind of hokey and I didn’t agree with all of the author’s points about masculine vs. feminine energy, I could relate to so much of it. I learn so much from this job and while sometimes I don’t want to hear it, I need to.

Also, compare this thoughtful essay about how she’s working on these issues to someone like Goop, who tries to convince customers that they need to pay hundreds of dollars for her deprivation diets aimed at whipping your body into submission. Some people will always think their way is the right way while others will strive to grow and learn.

been doing a lot of reading on this trip about #ed and #selflove 💕🌴 @detoxfromsocialmedia recommended an amazing book, "Eating in the Light of the Moon" by Anita Johnston, PH.D. I'm so grateful to be hearing this book's amazing messages of letting go of judgements about myself. I'm learning more about listening to my intuition. As someone who is actively seeking recovery from disordered eating, I'm starting to understand how I kept myself from enjoying life by limiting what I believed was possible for me. I thought I didn't deserve to feel really happy, that I wasn't "worth it" and that I only REALLY deserved it if I was super duper skinny. Somehow if I could achieve THAT, I deserved all the good things around me, and without that I just didn't. So I stopped listening to my instincts, and I used lots of techniques to dull my feelings. but I'm not interested in anything but authenticity rn, and though I'm terrified, I'm super ready to learn more and more about who I am and to celebrate EVERYTHING about myself. mad thanks to my other gurus @jennacokerjones and @mizshawnafit for your guidance along the way, and to @frankiesbikinis for their bomb 👙 💕🌴

A post shared by Stephanie Beatriz (@iamstephbeatz) on

Also LOOK AT HER TATTOO OF HER DOG. Ok I’ll stop yelling but this is so cute.

'Upscale with Prentice Penny' premiere - Arrivals

Photos credit: WENN and Instagram

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

22 Responses to “Stephanie Beatriz of Brooklyn Nine-Nine opens up about her disordered eating”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Lucy2 says:

    I would imagine that this is going to hit home for most of us. I’m glad she shared it.

    I love Brooklyn 99, but until recently I had never seen her in an interview, only as her character. Her actual voice blew my mind! Rosa is so gruff, and she’s very bubbly.

    • Lozface says:

      I love Brookly Nine Nine too. It’s such easy viewing and such an awesome cast.

      Rosa is such a great character – she’s so tough. It’s sad to hear what she’s been through but it definitely resonates with me too.

      Very impressed that she’s shared her story.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      yes, this resonated deeply for me.

      I like the show a lot, it’s very funny, diverse cast, and andy samberg is so funny! I am not fond of Amy exactly, but Captain Holt is my favorite.

    • TQB says:

      I adore this show and everyone on it, ESPECIALLY Rosa. She is so talented.

  2. detritus says:

    Orthorexia – being consumed with only eating ‘clean’ foods is becoming more common. I think for most people wellness can verge into obsession, it’s something that requires habit and control. Finding that balance can be hard.
    I’m really glad Stephanie shared. Actresses talking about how unhealthy or hard it is to maintain their very low weight is important if it’s ever going to change.

  3. Plibersek says:

    Ah the head and its lovely stories.

  4. Pumpkin Soup (formally pie) says:

    I don’t restrict myself except for mayo, but I can’t keep a meal schedule. I am convinced that if people ate proper meals three times a day, many problems could be avoided.

    • daisy says:

      If only eating three proper meals threes times a day was the fix for EDs. But it is not and most EDs have nothing to do with weight or food that’s the surface stuff. EDs go way beyond weight or food or diet.

  5. daisy says:

    So proud of her speaking with such honesty. EDNOS in the ED community are often overlooked even by health professionals and have a lot of guilt and shame attached. there is a different between eating disorder and disorder eating though!

  6. Margo S. says:

    Celebitchy, throw your scale away! Do not use it! You don’t need it. It’s all about how you feel and putting good things into your body.

  7. Esmom says:

    I can definitely relate and I love what she wrote, very heartfelt and insightful. Kudos to her for sharing.

    My habits are a bit disordered, too. I also eat pretty much what I want but tend to get anxious if I feel I’ve been eating too much. It was really bad in college — I’m guessing stress was to blame.

    And this stuff isn’t restricted to women. My 18 year old son isn’t restrictive about quantity of food but he is pathological about refusing any treats or junk because he thinks it might affect his fitness and athletic ability. It’s harrowing to me to see him unable to relax and enjoy once in a while.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      yes, this. Men’s struggles with body image are grossly overlooked. They are told to “man up” about so many things, that any struggles it seems are taboo.

  8. Barrett says:

    I went thru an intense version of this in my upper 20s, triggered by a guy in ny life who criticized my figure. ( he was no super model). I still have struggles but am no where near hitting bottom like I did back then.

    I think this is on the rise w social Media?????

    I see it very much in several women 10 years younger than me in my office. Theyrationalize their addiction to extreme exercise and most often obsession w clean eating.

  9. wut says:

    Just yesterday I watched a Brooklin 99 episode in which she appears in a bikini and I was WOW, she has such a great body! I honestly think she’s very beautiful. It’s sad to come here today and find out she has this kind of relationship with her own body. No one should feel like this.

  10. Cee says:

    Yeah, that’s me. The way food controls me angers me and even though I’ve been in therapy for a while now I can’t shake it off completely. I only feel at ease and happy when on a restrictive diet – take choice away from me and my mind stops yelling at me.

  11. i dont know her says:

    “Maybe today you had green juices and a vegan burrito so now you “deserve” a large pizza and chicken bites. But, f—, that means you screwed up so tomorrow it’s only juice all day long.”

    it sucks and its a hard “habit” to shake. 🙁

  12. Jana says:

    This is what’s considered “disordered eating”? I honestly don’t have a single female friend who doesn’t eat this way. Including myself.

  13. Eveil says:

    I ❤️ her and her cute little tattoo. I used to be like that, always stressed out about how much U was eating and exercising while hating myself and the way that I looked even when I was a size 2. So I allowed myself to give up. I’m a size 10 now and way more satisfied with my body. I feel solid and happy. I still try to mostly eat healthy and exercise four days a week but it’s so freeing just not to give a fuck.

  14. CharlotteCharlotte says:

    I’ve always struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Not helped by the fact that I have an Irritable Bowel and so many allergies that it is pretty much impossible for me to just find ready-made food to eat. Having to be so obsessed with my food these days is not helping that addiction I already had to be super restrictive. Much appreciation for the open dialogue.

  15. raincoaster says:

    I read a terrific quote in a woman’s magazine decades ago about diet vs exercise (disordered eating per se hadn’t been identified then as a bad thing). The doctor said simply, would you rather be someone who pushes herself, or someone who deprives herself?

    • tweetime says:

      The problem is “pushing yourself” is also becoming a thing through compulsive exercise habits. Some people can participate in gym culture and do great in it, but for others it’s a darker thing.