>In a shocking new book, Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski, 46, opens up about the painful eating disorder she’s secretly struggled with for over 30 years.
When did your problems with food begin?
From age 15 through college, it was out of control. I would sit in the lower bunk in my dorm room with a sheet over the top to make a curtain and eat an entire pizza and still want more. I’d fill a salad bowl with 2/3 of a huge box of Crunch Berries cereal, the box that feeds 16 kids. I couldn’t stop. Then I’d be so disgusted, I’d starve myself for days.
Were you overweight?
No. I’m 5’7″, and I’ve been in the 140 range and the 115 range. For my frame that’s a really big jump.
Were you ever diagnosed with an eating disorder?
I’m sure if someone had dragged me to the doctor in my early 20s—and I wish someone had—I would have been diagnosed with anorexia. I also had bouts of bulimia.
Going into TV news probably didn’t help.
I thought about my weight all the time! I’d always feel my thighs or squeeze my back fat. The VP of a network once told me to lose weight, get a makeover and come back in six months. I lost 10 lbs. and got the job. It was a clear message and it fed my obsession.
Have you gotten less obsessed over the years?
When I got married and started having babies, I had to get my compulsive eating under some control, but it would often rear its ugly head. While writing this book, I took Ambien one night, woke up later and ate an entire supersize jar of Nutella. My husband told me the next day; I had no memory. I thought, “Oh my God, look at me!”
Do your daughters [Emilie, 17, and Carlie, 14] know about your food issues?
Yes. Once at the doctor’s, Carlie and I weighed ourselves. “I’m 10 lbs. heavier than you, but that makes sense,” said Carlie. “You have an eating disorder.” I appreciate her honesty and they deserve mine.
What are your eating habits these days?
I have Greek yogurt for breakfast with a banana, smoothies and salad and bread for lunch, then whole-wheat pasta with a salad and protein for dinner. I let myself have cheese now too. I don’t feel bad about it.
Do you think you’ll ever be free from the obsession?
No. No. But I’m 5’7″ and 132 lbs., the heaviest I’ve been in years, and not tormenting myself about it. I have days I don’t weigh myself! I just ate a big piece of birthday cake. I’m not fat, I tell myself, I’m gorgeous! I have more healthy days than not, and I’m happier than ever before.