Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Growing Pains star Tracey Gold opens up about her eating disorder

In the 80’s into the 90’s Tracey Gold was part of a staple family on sitcom television – the Seavers on Growing Pains. Tonight (December 2), on Lifetime’s Starving Secrets she takes on a different role – reaching out to women who have problems with eating disorders,  something she is all too familiar with, having gone through it herself.

“I needed a change when I was called into the producer’s office on Growing Pains and told I needed to gain weight. When I got back from the Christmas break, I was basically sent home and Warner Bros. put me into a hospital in LA. I had done some treatment quietly, but I don’t think I took it that seriously.  I was doing it to keep everyone else happy.”

Being in the Hollywood spotlight, the pressures of looking good and losing weight is everywhere.  “It started innocently enough with a diet. I lost the weight in a very short amount of time. Everyone was complimenting me, saying how great I looked. It really messed with my head. I really started to doubt how I looked before. Did I look like crap before?”

Gold’s lowest weight was 79 lbs, and now she is offering her experience to other women in her new show Starving Secrets which follows 10 women in crisis asking for help. Tracey takes them under her wing, mentors and offers them treatment through friendship and also in various hospitals across Southern California.

“After so many years of having so many people come up to me and ask for help, it’s always in this secrecy, and I just want to open it up a bit and make people understand what eating disorders are really about. They have many different faces than what you expect.”

Her advice for women going through this is to see an eating disorder specialist immediately.  Starving Secrets airs every Friday night, beginning tonight, on Lifetime.

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