Mayim Bialik says she's recovering from an eating disorder

Mayim Bialik is opening up for the first time about her battle with eating disorders.

During a recent episode of her podcast "Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown," "The Big Bang Theory" alum, 45, revealed she's been in recovery for anorexia for the last two years.

"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," Bialik said while speaking with author/activist Glennon Doyle.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is "similar to anorexia in that both disorders involve limitations in the amount and/or types of food consumed." Binge eating is characterized by episodes of "eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort)."

"I eat too much when no one's looking," Bialik said, adding later that she's "eating so I don't have to feel anything."

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Bialik said she was compelled to speak her truth for the first time because of Doyle's commitment to living authentically. Doyle, author of "Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living," has been open about her own struggles with severe bulimia and addiction.

"I only feel inspired because of her, to do that," Bialik told her boyfriend and co-host, Jonathan Cohen. "I've known about my problems for years, and I've been in recovery, as it were, for two years."

In the United States, 30 million people will be affected by an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

And there's a broad spectrum of disordered eating — which refers to a number of abnormal behaviors like calorie counting or a rigid exercise routine — but there are specific criteria for eating disorders, which are diagnosed mental illnesses. The big three are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

The pandemic has made things worse for some people. Since March of 2020, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Helpline has seen a 40% increase in volume compared to the year before.

‘I was living in hell’:COVID's triggers push some with eating disorders to finally get help

The star of "Call Me Kat" said her "short-term 2021 goals" include letting go of society's unrealistic beauty standards that are amplified and scrutinized in Hollywood. (Someone once called Bialik "brave for being in a movie 30 pounds over my normal weight," she said.)

"I'm trying to release the pressure of being 15 pounds lighter, which is what I, quote, 'should be,' by Hollywood standards," Bialik said. "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."

She continued: "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?"

‘I was living in hell’: COVID's triggers push some with eating disorders to finally get help

Mayim Bialik is opening up for the first time about her battle with eating disorders.
Mayim Bialik is opening up for the first time about her battle with eating disorders.

"Mayim Bialik's Breakdown" is a new weekly mental-health podcast she launched on Spotify in January that blends discussion of topics such as anxiety, loneliness, addiction and PTSD with Bialik's expertise on the brain, nervous system and their connection to emotions. (She has a Ph.D. in neuroscience earned at UCLA in 2007.)

Tips for dealing with disordered eating:

  • If you think that you or someone you know have warning signs of an eating disorder, get screened.

  • Virtually connect with a community, such as a Helpline or support groups.

  • Reach out to your support system and schedule a FaceTime or video chat during meal times.

  • Be thoughtful about your social media consumption and unfollow accounts that make you feel anxious. Instead, follow accounts that focus on self-care.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body image or eating concerns, the National Eating Disorders Association's toll-free and confidential helpline is available by phone or text at 1-800-931-2237 or by click-to-chat message at For 24/7 crisis situations, text "NEDA" to 741-741.

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Contributing: Alia Dastagir, Jessica Flores

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mayim Bialik recovering from an eating disorder: 'I'm an anorexic'