How Singer Judy Collins Conquered Her Eating Disorder



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Singer Judy Collins burst on the scene in the 1960s and she’s still going strong at age 77, even scoring a Grammy nomination this year for best folk album. Always candid, she has a new memoir, Cravings: How I Conquered Food (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday), in which she writes about overcoming alcoholism and an eating disorder. Bulimic for 11 years until the early 1980s, she now adheres to a program she swears by called GreySheeters Anonymous. She avoids foods she says she is allergic to, such as sugar, flour, grains, wheat and corn, but eats fats (butter and cheese) and proteins like chicken (with the skin on!). “It’s not a diet, I don’t restrict, I have wonderful, wonderful meals,” says Collins. She spoke with USA TODAY’s Jocelyn McClurg:

Q: You have always been honest about your personal issues, your alcoholism (you have been sober for decades) and bulimia. Why are these stories important for you to share?

A: I really wrote the book so that I could help people understand there is a solution and they don’t have to go through all the years of struggle that I went through. We are addicted to sugar, grains, flour, wheat and junk, and they will increase the chance of bulimia, obesity and anorexia. Those (foods) contain alcohol (sugars) and they set up a craving and a compulsion to have more. I don’t have any cravings now, and for years that was the problem. I’d get in and out of these diets, and sure, they work for a while.

Q: You write about your childhood, that your father was an alcoholic and your mother made wonderful desserts, and how much you craved sugar. How big an impact did your childhood have on your subsequent addictions?

A: I think it was fundamentally in my DNA. They say these things are inherited; there are chemical imbalances that we get; the color of our eyes;  how tall we’re going to be. And I think the same thing is true for alcoholism…click here to continue reading