Mayim Bialik has long been candid about her mental health, a subject which inspired her new podcast series, Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown. But it wasn’t until the podcast’s latest episode, featuring author, speaker and activist Glennon Doyle, that she felt compelled to reveal her battle with eating disorders.
“I happen to be a compulsive overeater, and I’m an anorexic and I’m a restricter and I’ve never said that,” Bialik told Doyle in this week’s episode.
“This is the first time I’ve ever talked about it, because people are like, ‘Well, why are you so overweight?’ Well, because I’m a compulsive overeater in addition to being an anorexic and restricter,” she added with a laugh.
Bialik credited Doyle’s trademark unflinching honesty about her own issues, including eating disorders, for inspiring her to speak publicly about her own struggle for the first time.
“I only feel inspired because of her, to do that,” the Call Me Kat actress told her boyfriend and podcast co-host, Jonathan Cohen in a pre-show segment. “I’ve known about my problems for years, and I’ve been in recovery, as it were, for two years.”
While the former Big Bang Theory star didn’t go into much detail about her diagnosis or when she decided to seek help, she referenced her food issues throughout the nearly 90-minute conversation.
“I eat too much when no one’s looking,” she said at one point, adding later, “I’m eating so I don’t have to feel anything.”
The 45-year-old — who has been in therapy since age 17 because “the kind of help that I needed, you need it forever, I promise” — also addressed her weight during the episode. She was once told she was “brave” to be in a movie while 30 pounds heavier than usual.
“I’m trying to release the pressure of being 15 pounds lighter, which is what I, quote, ‘should be’ by Hollywood standards,” she told Doyle later. “I’m trying to release the pressure of caring that I’m wearing the clothes that make me look like those other women, even though I’m not those other women. Those are, like, my short-term 2021 goals. Like, when can I wear all black and not have a stylist be like, ‘We need you in more color.’ It’s like, how about if I wear black because I feel the best and I like it, and they make a lot of cool clothes in the color black?”
When Doyle shared that she too was letting go of worrying about her appearance by ordering 30 black shirts, Bialik responded, “I’m also anorexic with clothing, beauty products… I will scrimp and scrimp and scrimp. It’s hard for me to get new [stuff]. COVID had me pare down that closet — it’s embarrassing.”
In a conversation that touched on relationships, parenting and anxiety, the two women also bonded over their respective issues with food.
“How could a little girl develop an eating disorder growing up in America?” Doyle, 44, noted with sarcasm, adding later that both she and her wife, retired soccer star Abby Wambach, have been dealing with their approaches to food during the pandemic. Wambach, she shared, is more of an “indulger,” while she described herself as a “restricter.”
“What she does to feel safe is the opposite of what makes me feel safe,” the Untamed author noted, sharing how the couple will argue over sharing food. As someone who tends to restrict her eating, Doyle will want a sip of her wife’s milkshake, for example, rather than ordering her own.
“I’m with you — i’m not going to order my own thing,” Bialik agreed. “I’m going to drink half of yours and get mad that you’re mad at me about it.”
The mom of two boys admitted stealing food from her sons, while Doyle shared that Wambach’s influence and zest for life has helped her confront her own issues.
“[The way she lives] holds my stuff up like a mirror,” said Doyle. “I want to be able to eat like she eats and indulge like she indulges and at the same time, those are the very things that rub up on each other.”
For more information about eating disorders or to get support, visit NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) or call their helpline at (800) 931-2237.
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