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Katie Couric is reflecting on her former struggle with bulimia and the dangers of living with an eating disorder.
The renowned journalist gets candid about her eight year battle with bulimia in her upcoming memoir, "Going There," set to be released on Oct. 26. In the very first chapter, the 64-year-old reveals that her family often stressed the importance of dieting, calling it "a way of life" while growing up.
“Starve, cheat, binge, purge — the cycle would take years to break,” Couric writes, recalling that she chugged baking soda and water and forced herself to vomit after not being accepted to Smith College.
In a recent interview with People, the anchorwoman touched more on why she felt it was important to share her story, and shed more light on the influences of diet culture.
According to Couric, much of her eating disorder was a response to the pressure in her family to be perfect, combined with the messaging of diet culture.
“Like so many women of our generation, I aspired to be thin and lanky and all the things I’m not,” Couric explained. “I think back on my formative years when Twiggy was all the rage and that period of time in the ’60s. And there seemed to be an ideal body type, which was extremely thin.”
A long term eating disorder can cause cardiovascular issues including heart failure, as well as gastrointestinal issues such as bacterial infections and nausea and bloating. Bulimia, in particular, can lead to stomach and esophageal ruptures as well as intestinal perforations.
As of 2018, at any given time in Canada, as many as 600,000 to 990,000 may meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder, anorexia and bulimia being the most common. Approximately 80 per cent of Canadians affected are women and girls.
Couric's recovery began after learning the potential dangers that come from having an eating disorder. The death of singer Karen Carpenter in 1983 due to heart failure caused by anorexia shook Couric "to the core" and motivated her overcome her eating disorder.
“I do the best I can. I think probably some of my own neuroses were channeled to them, but I try to emphasize healthy eating and taking care of yourself,” Couric noted. “Food still plays a slightly outsized role in my consciousness, but not nearly as much as it did.”