Katie Couric is opening up about her past struggle with bulimia.
The legendary journalist and former TODAY anchor shares the details of her eating disorder in her new memoir, “Going There,” out Oct. 26. While discussing the book with People, Couric said, like many in her generation, she began obsessing about her weight as a young woman.
“I think there was an aspect of perfectionism and high achieving that was very much a part of our family and that contributed to my discontent about my body,” recalled Couric, 64. “There was so much pressure on women, and dieting was so much a part of the culture. Having older sisters and watching them kind of subsist on Tab and cottage cheese. I remember after college I said, ‘I’ve lost 10 pounds.’ and my sister said, ‘Keep going!’”
In the 1980s, Couric became aware of how harmful eating disorders were, and she began focusing on healing herself. “I really just started to understand how dangerous it was. When Karen Carpenter died (of heart failure caused by years of anorexia) in 1983, it shook me to the core,” she recalls.
Couric said her relationship with food is healthier now.
“Food still plays a slightly outsized role in my consciousness, but not nearly as much as it did,” she said, adding, “I have a weakness for Tate’s chocolate chip cookies.”
As for numbers on a scale, those can still trigger a response so Couric opts to avoid them.
“I haven’t gotten on a scale in five years. And when I go to the doctor, I weigh myself backwards — I look out. Sometimes I flat-out refuse. I don’t want it to ruin my day,” Couric revealed.
Because of her experience, Couric has been mindful about teaching daughters Ellie, 30, and Caroline, 25, to embrace their bodies.
“I do the best I can,” she said. “I think probably some of my own neuroses were channeled to them, but I try to emphasize healthy eating and taking care of yourself.”
Couric previously discussed her struggle with bulimia in 2012 on her syndicated talk show “Katie” while interviewing pop star Demi Lovato, who’s been candid about their own past eating disorder.
“I wrestled with bulimia all through college and for two years after that,” Couric said. “And I know this rigidity, this feeling that if you eat one thing that’s wrong, you’re full of self-loathing and then you punish yourself, whether it’s one cookie or a stick of gum that isn’t sugarless, that I would sometimes beat myself up for that.”