Tracey Gold grew up on television on “Growing Pains,” and when she put a few extra pounds on her frame while the family show was still on the air, it helped lead to her own well-publicized battle with anorexia.
“I had never worried about my weight and all of a sudden, I kind of put on the freshman 15 without going to college… and they said, ‘You have to go on a diet and lose some weight.’ So I went on a diet and lost some weight and what happened was I got all these compliments and accolades… and it really kind of messed with my head,” Tracey, whose new series, “Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold,” premieres tonight on Lifetime at 10 PM ET/PT, told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Friday’s Access Hollywood Live. “It spun out of control and I didn’t know how to get out of it.”
Tracey said she was about 79 pounds at her lowest weight, and it took her own drive and determination to turn her situation around.
“It was a long, long road. I had intensive treatment,” she said.
When Kit asked if there was a defining moment that set Tracey on the path to recovery, the actress said there were a few.
“I had the moment where I had to leave the show to be hospitalized, where I was like, ‘This is really serious, I need to really get help. ‘ And I found help,” Tracey said. “But then, eight months later, I was still dropping weight… Then I had a moment of clarity of like, ‘I don’t wanna be sick anymore. I’m sick and tired of being sick. I wanna be healthy, I wanna be married, I wanna have kids.’
“Nobody can do it for you, it has to be inside of you,” Tracey said.
Now, the actress and mom is putting her experience to good use with “Starving Secrets,” her series for Lifetime, which sees her serve as a role model and educator for others embroiled in their own eating disorder battles.
“What I wanna do with this show is kind of shed some light on it and not make it such a secret,” she said of the impetus to put the show on Lifetime. “I want to make it so people open up the conversation and talk about it and understand eating disorders come in lots of forms and it’s not exactly what you think it looks like.”