Mika Brzezinski: Why I gained two dress sizes on purpose

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By Meghan Holohan

After taking a sleeping pill one night, Mika Brzezinski found herself binge-eating in the kitchen, arms deep in Nutella. The petite co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie that even though she is thin, she has struggled with her weight throughout her life — like so many other Americans.

“There's not a lot of difference between me and someone else's struggles with food who may have a different result,” Brzezinski told TODAY. “It looks like alcoholism, it looks like drug addiction and I go there in the book and look at the growing amount of science behind the addiction to salt, sugar, and fat.”

After a lifetime of binge eating and purging and exercising excessively, Brzezinski realized that she suffered from a food addiction and wrote the story of her troubles in a new book, “Obsessed.” The tale took root after she had a conversation with one of her friends, Diane Smith, who had gained about 100 pounds over the course of their friendship. While she was telling Smith she was worried about her health because of the weight gain, Brzezinski realized that she, too, shared many of the same poor eating habits as her overweight friend.

“We discovered that even her at her weight and me at mine we did the same things with food. We were drawn to the same things and we got that same brain reaction that science backs up. It's an actual reward when you eat certain foods, which points to addiction,” Brzezinski said to TODAY’s Guthrie.

Smith urged Brzezinski to write a book and gain some weight, while Brzezinski encouraged Smith to lose 75 pounds.      

“I said you ought to join me and you need to lose 75 pounds by the time this book is written and I'm going to figure out how to gain 10 and be OK with it. So she is today 75 pounds lighter, I'm ten pounds heavier, sort of OK with it, still working on it, and went from a size two to a size six. We're both healthier,” Brzezinski told TODAY.

To learn more about Brzezinski and Smith, check out an excerpt from “Obsessed.”