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How Blogger and Actress Lynn Chen Learned That Looks Don't Really Matter 


At an event a few months ago I met Lynn Chen, an accomplished actress who has appeared in dozens of films and TV shows (in 2006, she won the “Outstanding Newcomer”for acting at the Asian Excellence Awards). Chen is also the creator of the popular food blog, The Actor’s Diet.

Like many women, Lynn finds comfort in good food and even considers herself a foodie, but also struggles with body image. And having battled with numerous eating disorders for as long as she can remember—intensified by the highs and lows of Hollywood, where it often feels like looking perfect is the only thing that matters—Lynn founded The Actor’s Diet as a way to set herself free. 

The site candidly chronicles her every meal, featuring both recipes and unusual dishes she eats while out and about in Los Angeles. But you'll be surprised to see that Chen doesn't count calories or discuss in detail the health benefits of the foods she eats. Ask her about that, and she'll just smile and nod. "The Actor's Diet" as a title is winking in that way, and the short description on the homepage is more telling: "The unedited life of an actor, meal by meal." In choosing not to fixate on every calorie or gram of sugar consumed, Chen is showing that—even if your career supposedly depends on looks—your weight, or how you look on the outside, doesn't really matter. 

For Chen, the blog became therapeutic, and a way to reestablish a relationship with food, and ultimately with herself. When her disorder was all consuming, she wanted to change it. Taking photos of her meals held her accountable and gave her the opportunity to release her negative attachments. With every snap of a picture, her healing was taking place, and with every post she was sharing food with the world instead of keeping it to herself. The guilt she felt about eating was falling away and creating space for a healthier point of view.

It wasn’t before long that Chen discovered she was not only helping herself, but also helping colleagues and readers who suffered from similar eating disorders. Because of her honesty and openness, she became a champion for her cause. Today she's an Ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association and has co-created a new site called Thick Dumpling Skin, an online community where Asian Americans can connect and communicate about body struggles.

If you were to meet Chen you would never suspect someone as beautiful, fit, and confident had ever struggled with insecurity. She's a great inspiration to those dealing with body issues and eating disorders. She proves that it's possible to heal. And she's the prime example of what can happen when a woman wholeheartedly decides that it's about time to have her cake and eat it, too.

To learn more about Lynn Chen, visit The Actor's Diet and Thick Dumpling Skin

Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.