Months after Katharine McPhee’s 2006 season of American Idol ended, she revealed that right before starting the competition, she began treatment for an eating disorder she had already been battling for five years.
Fast forward 14 years later. Katharine, who recently welcomed her first child, a son, with husband David Foster (whom she met for the first time on Idol) admits that she feared relapse during her pregnancy.
“It just suddenly came up in a way that hadn’t been present in a long time,” she said. But she noted that she “felt really stable in my life in the last four or five years, and my weight has been more consistent.”
Feeling like there was a relapse after getting pregnant was really shocking and upsetting, said Katharine
“But feeling like there was a relapse after getting pregnant was really shocking and upsetting and concerning for me, because I was suddenly so obsessed with food, starting from this first trimester, and I had such a distortion of the way that I looked.” During the podcast, Katharine revealed that she gained about 40 lbs during her pregnancy.
Katharine reached out to the psychiatrist she had previously worked with before Idol, who reassured her “that it’s really common for women who have struggled with eating disorders in the past to have almost a relapse, in some sense, when they enter pregnancy.”
“And it made me feel so much better that I wasn’t alone in that headspace … by just meeting with him and him talking me through it,” she recalled. Although she felt more relaxed during her second trimester, she “was very obsessed with food” during “the first trimester and into the second trimester.” In fact, the singer felt “really ravenous” during her first trimester.
Is this just the eating-disorder version of me or is this actually my body?
“You’re like, ‘Is this just the eating-disorder version of me or is this actually my body?’ … Suddenly, the cues felt really different, and I didn’t know how to interpret them,” she said. “When I did eat, I would feel really full and it was very confusing [and] made someone who felt like I had it figured out, the food issues, [feel like] suddenly I didn’t have any of it figured out.”
And while she didn’t feel like she had “full-blown relapsed,” Katharine said, “it was definitely a feeling like I was overeating and then I had that stuffed feeling where I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t figure out if…because there was a new thing in my body that was making me feel stuffed or if I was actually eating too much food.”
Yeah, my legs, my thighs, my arms are a little bit thicker, but I’m okay with it.’
“And there’s just a lot of anxiety,” she continued. “But I weathered it and I’m just really grateful I’m at the end of it [and] that I feel this good and that I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘Yeah, my legs, my thighs, my arms are a little bit thicker, but I’m okay with it.’ ”
In 2006, when Kathrine initially treated her eating disorder, she stopped binging, and still managed to drop 30 pounds throughout the Idol process.
‘You start doing something you love doing and the weight just started falling off me,” Katharine said at the time. “I was still eating,” she said. “It was a really amazing thing that happened with me and my body has just been kind of falling to its natural state and I don’t know if it’s finished going where it want, but it’s doing its thing.”
Later this month, Katharine’s new musical comedy, Southern Comfort will premiere on Netflix.