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Katharine McPhee claims TV show saved her life

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Katharine McPhee is multi-talented; she sings, writes songs, acts, and was the runner up on ‘American Idol’ in 2006. She also battled an eating for a long time. Her willingness to talk about it publicy and create awareness has earned her a lot of respect.

Katharine told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview that she began having issues with her body at the tender age of 13. As a child and young adolescent, she claims we was naturally thin, and could eat whatever she wanted without gaining weight. The problems began we she began growing into a woman, she says, after her body started developing more curves.

Katharine became bulimic at the age of 17. This lasted six months before she told her mother. She she reportedly tried to seek help from therapists, dieticians and Food Addicts Anonymous, but says she always relapsed. “Food was my crutch; it was how I dealt with emotions and uncomfortable situations,” she explained to PEOPLE magazine. “As soon as I would feel something, I would eat over it so that I didn’t have to feel anything I didn’t want to. It was literally a drug.”

Her problem became worse when she went to college. At her lowest point, she used to be sick an average of seven times a day. She had been bulimic for five years. This was when she auditioned for ‘American Idol’. When she got selected she decided to turn her life around. With the support of her parents and her boyfriend, she enrolled in the Los Angeles Eating Disorder Center in September for a three month program. Her schedule consisted of personal and group therapy six days a week.

Katharine McPhee has gone blonde in recent months

She realized she could have lost the singing voice ‘American Idol’ judge Simon Powell called “the best of the competition.” When she returned for the competition, she kept her bulimia a secret from the judges and contestants, though she told the producers. During the competition she lost 30lbs and three dress sizes as a result of the therapy she underwent.

Katharine is now in excellent health and recently rocked a bikini cover for Shape magazine. Though much better now, Katharine is still coping with the stress. “I still bite my nails,” she told Yahoo! Music. “But, ‘American Idol’ saved my life, because if I hadn’t auditioned I don’t think I would have gotten a handle on food.”

Other celebrities who have suffered from eating disorders include Mary-Kate Olsen,Sharon Osbourne, Daniel Johns and Jane Fonda.

Images: PR Photos

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