Jamie-Lynn Sigler had it all: in 1997, the unknown 16-year-old actress was cast for the role of Meadow Soprano on ‘The Sopranos’. What many didn’t know about her, was that she was privately consumed by an obsession with her body; one that led her to become an exercise bulimic, which saw her get up at 3am to exercise for hours before school. Exercise bulimics, instead of vomiting, purge on exercise after eating in order to burn the calories consumed.
Recalling her bulimic days, PEOPLE quotes Jamie-Lynn as saying: “It’s hard for me to even recognize who I was. My reality was so warped. … I knew I had a problem and wanted to get better, but I was not able to let go of my habit. I knew every calorie that entered my body, and I tried to measure every calorie that I could burn. So for me, any sort of regimen, any sort of ritual or rule when it comes to dieting or exercising, is bad for me.”
What she says started off with running on the treadmill for 20 minutes before school, after seeing positive results, it turned into working out for hours before school and hardly eating any food. Within four months she dropped to a dangerous 80 pounds.
“I was wearing basically children’s clothes. It was hard to find clothes that would fit,” she said in an interview with CNN.
“Every week I would see my reflection of my back and see more bones coming out, more ribs and more hip bones. It was awful.”
Her calorie consumption, exercise schedule and her weight basically took over her life.
“I really wanted to just be comfortable and be happy, but I didn’t think it was possible ever again. And I just didn’t know how to get past it.”
Things were so bad for Jamie-Lynn, she even thought about killing herself.
“I seriously contemplated suicide,” she said in the same interview with CNN. “I felt that no one in this world would ever understand the constant battle I had in my head every day.”
As a spokeswoman for eating disorders and as an ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), caringonline.com quotes the 29-year-old as saying: “If you know someone who is going through it, or if you are going through it, the person really has to want to get better. Just make sure that you let them know that you love them and that you are there for them when they are ready, because that’s really all I needed to hear.”
Sharing her experience with bulimia with ET, she said: “It is a tough thing to talk about it, but it is actually therapeutic for me. I know it is something that touches almost every girl, and men, too.”
She also founded the Jamie-Lynn Sigler Foundation to raise awareness of eating disorders and promote healthy body image.
Images: PR PhotosTags: bulimia eating disorder weight loss