Katharine McPhee has overcome huge personal challenges on her journey to professional success. Currently getting big attention for her role in the new show Smash, McPhee has found a balanced approach to food and exercise after struggling with a severe eating disorder. The singer and actress suffered from bulimia for many years, culminating in three months of rehab at Los Angeles’s Eating Disorder Center of California.
McPhee tried to address her cycle of binging and purging by a number of different approaches, from therapists to Food Addicts Anonymous. She ultimately found success through intuitive eating, which helped her overcome her fear of “bad” foods and curb her binge eating. Counter-intuitively, once McPhee stopped obsessing over her weight, she was able to drop 30 pounds.
“The more I focused on my weight, the worse my bulimia got,” McPhee said. “Now I’m more easygoing. I stopped fighting myself and became more forgiving of my body. Ironically, the weight came off naturally through exercise but no dieting.” She says she works to avoid a “diet mentality” to prevent relapses.
Finding an exercise routine was also an important part of McPhee’s journey back to health. She was always active as a child, taking dance classes and swimming in high school. Today, she works out regularly with a personal trainer, who helps make exercise fun. Picking a gym that’s close to her house was also important to keeping her commitment to exercise, because she has less of an excuse not to go.
Finally, finding support in her faith has also helped McPhee. She attends church and also goes to women’s fellowship meetings. “This exercise is so cool because it allows me to reflect on where I am in my life,” she said. “And also to hear what others are going through.”
Intuitive Eating Puts the Dieter in Charge