Kristin Cavallari Opens Up About Past Body Insecurities: 'I Put a Lot of Pressure on Myself to Be Thin'

The former Laguna Beach star reveals in her new book Balancing in Heels: "Everyone around me was tiny, and I felt like I had to be too"

Photo: Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

On Laguna Beach and later The Hills, Kristin Cavallari was portrayed the “popular girl” – cool, confident and undeniably beautiful with her California-blonde hair and skinny figure.

But in her new book Balancing in Heels, the TV host and designer reveals she was secretly battling “damaging” body image issues – and depriving herself of food for days before binging on the weekend.

“You name it, I’ve done it: the Zone Diet, no-carb diet, grapefruit diet. There was even one period when I would eat a block of cheese and justify it by saying I was on the Atkins diet. Ha!” she writes. “But primarily, as early as high school, I thought that depriving myself of certain foods (sweets and carbs) and limiting calories would result in the body of my dreams.”

Cavallari, 29, says she’d be “super-strict” about her diet for five days a week, limiting herself to about 1,800 calories a day and ending up “hungry and unsatisfied.”

“Then the weekend came, and it was a free-for-all,” she says. “I drank numerous vodka cranberries and ate everything I didn’t allow myself the previous five days. Grilled cheese, pizza, fries dipped in ranch dressing, red velvet cupcakes and ice cream were on the menu, all at the same time. I remember times when one girlfriend and I would order enough delivery food to feed eight people, and we would polish it all off.”

Not surprisingly, her habits didn’t work: She writes that she didn’t lose any weight, always had a “pooch” on her stomach and suffered from acne and a lack of energy.

But when she learned she was expecting her first child with now-husband, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, everything changed.

“Becoming pregnant made me get serious about my health. Before pregnancy, I thought zero-calorie food was good for you and every calorie was equal. Deep down, I knew that my eating habits weren’t truly healthful, but I put a lot of pressure on myself to be thin. I was my own worst critic: I hated the way I looked in certain pictures. Everyone around me was tiny, and I felt like I had to be too. I thought counting calories gave me control over my body,” she explains. “But when I became pregnant, I knew that everything I did, and especially what I ate, had a direct effect on my baby.”

RELATED VIDEO: Kristin Cavallari – ‘I Feel Good in My Own Skin’

Cavallari and Cutler, 32, welcomed son Camden Jack in August 2012. Two more babies later, Cavallari stuck by her maternity philosophy: don’t count calories, read food labels and avoid foods with genetically modified organisms.

“For the first time in my life, I didn’t care if I gained a lot of weight,” she says of carrying Camden, now 3. “It was a time to eat well and eat smart, and even indulge in food that was forever off-limits in my pre-pregnancy life, including ‘fattening’ things like cheese and pasta. I decided not to look at calories but instead to read ingredient labels and to reevaluate my ideas about avoiding so-called fattening foods. No matter what, I would eat only real food, no processed, chemical-laden junk. If it was good quality, real food, I would give in to cravings and enjoy every second.”

Balancing in Heels is available on shelves now.

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