Jackie Goldschneider 'Could’ve Died' After Anorexia Put Her at Risk for Heart Attack: 'Lucky to Be Alive'

The 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' star has been public about her decades-long battle with an eating disorder

Santiago Felipe/Getty Jackie Goldschneider
Santiago Felipe/Getty Jackie Goldschneider

Jackie Goldschneider is opening up about her battle with anorexia and how she almost lost her life because of it.

Ahead of the release of her memoir, The Weight of Beautiful, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star spoke to PageSix about struggling with an eating disorder for nearly two decades.

The 46-year-old explained that she grew up finding comfort in food, encouraged by her mother, who she said taught her to overeat. However, she said her anorexia battle began when she was 17 and a doctor shifted her mindset.

“I was told that I wouldn’t have any fun in college if I was fat. I remember my doctor being very disappointed in me. I felt so ashamed of myself,” Goldschneider told the outlet. “The minute he told me that I shouldn’t go to college fat, my head connected being fat with, ‘I’m never going to have fun in my whole life if I stay fat.’ It almost became this emergency for me to lose weight, like I didn’t have another minute to spare.”

At that point, the reality star said she tried “plenty of odd diets” but found no success in losing weight until she adopted an “elimination” diet in 2003.

“I started starving myself … when I was 26,” she recalled. “I was cutting a lot [out of my diet] and I was really on a dangerous path. Once I started counting calories, it was all downhill.”

Related: 'RHONJ' 's Jackie Goldschneider Says She's in 'Active Recovery' from Eating Disorder: 'I'm Not There Yet'

Cindy Ord/Bravo/Getty Jackie Goldschneider
Cindy Ord/Bravo/Getty Jackie Goldschneider

Goldschneider admitted that the turning point in her health journey was in 2021 when a debilitating bout of tendonitis left her on the floor of her basement gym during her daily run on the treadmill.

“I had this moment on the floor where my body was in so much pain and I had been starving myself,” she explained. “A few days before I fell, I was at the supermarket and I saw an old lady looking at the calories on the back of a frozen meal and I said, ‘That’s going to be me.’

“I had my moment on the floor and I thought about that woman. I realized that I’d be doing this until the day I died if I didn’t stop,” she continued. “In that moment, I just decided to start recovery.”

Goldschneider told the outlet that filming “New Jersey Housewives essentially saved my life” because it held her more accountable when it comes to her recovery. She recalled filming her meeting at Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders, where she was told that without proper help from medical professionals, she could lose her life.

“[I was told that] starting to eat again can make your blood circulate so much faster that you are at risk of a heart attack,” she said. “I’m lucky to be alive. I could’ve died and that really scared me.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

<p>Cindy Ord/Getty </p> Jackie Goldschneider

Cindy Ord/Getty

Jackie Goldschneider

Today, Goldschneider said she’s doing much better thanks to her consistent work with a therapist and dietician as she learns to love her body.

“I would say I’m about 80% recovered,” she said. “I still have a lot of fears around foods that I, for 20 years, labeled as ‘bad.’ I still get nervous sometimes about gaining more weight than I’ve already gained because I’m comfortable with where I’m at.”

“I haven’t been on the scale since 2021. I like the way my body looks, but I try not to put too much stock in it,” Goldschneider continued. “And if I start to think a bad thought [about myself], I walk away from the mirror.”

Back in February, Goldschneider opened up to PEOPLE about detailing her lengthy battle with anorexia in her memoir The Weight of Beautiful, set to publish Sept. 26.

"I wrote this book so people can truly understand how terrifying and insidious an eating disorder can be," she told PEOPLE. "My story shows how quickly you can spiral into diet culture and how shameful it can feel to live with so many secrets.

"This book is for anyone who has ever known or loved someone with an eating disorder and for the millions of people who struggle themselves," Goldschneider added at the time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with  an eating disorder, please go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.