Tia Mowry reveals she took diet pills as a teen star: 'I'm not proud of it'

Tia Mowry is opening up about the struggles she faced growing up in the public eye.

Mowry starred in hit '90s show "Sister, Sister" alongside her real-life twin sister Tamera. And though she never said anything at the time, Tia battled serious body image issues. She picked up poor eating habits on the set of the hit Disney show, an experience that she details in her new cookbook: "Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You."

"TV sets are always catered, so I was surrounded by junk food 24/7. To my teenage self, it was like living in a Willy Wonka's chocolate factory," she wrote. "Everything I wanted was at my fingertips: Twizzlers, M&M's, Starbursts, potato chips, you name it. And if something I craved wasn't there, all I had to do was ask: 'Chocolate chip cookies, please?' And they simply appeared. It was heaven. If heaven leads to health problems, that is."

16 PHOTOS
Tia Mowry through the years
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Tia Mowry through the years
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 3: Tia Mowry attends a special screening of Open Road Films' 'Spotlight' held at the DGA Theater on November 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Actress Tia Mowry and son Cree Taylor Hardrict attend the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'The Peanuts Movie' at The Regency Village Theatre on November 1, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 05: Tia Mowry arrives at the Industry Screening Of Sony Pictures Classics' 'Truth' at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 5, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Actress Tia Mowry leaves the 'Today Show' taping at the NBC Rockefeller Center Studios on April 29, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: Actress Tia Mowry visits SiriusXM Studios on April 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21: Tamera Mowry (L) and Tia Mowry sign and discuss their new book 'Twintuition' at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on April 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 13: Actor Cory Hardrict and actress Tia Mowry attend the premiere of 'Brotherly Love' at SilverScreen Theater at the Pacific Design Center on April 13, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 11: Actress Tia Mowry attends the 2015 TV LAND Awards at Saban Theatre on April 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - APRIL 4: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (L-R) Tahj Mowry, Tamera Mowry-Housley and Tia Mowry attend Tamera Mowry-Housley's baby shower at Casa Del Mar on April 4, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Actress Tia Mowry attends the Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Focus' premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
WESTWOOD, CA - MARCH 22: Actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict arrives at Twentieth Century Fox And Dreamworks Animation's 'Home' Premiere at Regency Village Theatre on March 22, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)
COMPTON, CA - MARCH 07: Actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict attends Tia Mowry-Hardrict And Nickelodeon's Nick Jr 'Beyond The Backpack Partner With Compton Unified School District For Kindergarten Registration Event at McKinley Elementary School on March 7, 2015 in Compton, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 16: Actress Tia Mowry discusses 'Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, For a Healthier, More Gorgeous You' with the Build Series at Build Studio on March 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 03: Actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict attends Hollywood Today Live at W Hollywood on January 3, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - OCTOBER 23: Actress Tia Mowry attends the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation's 27th annual 'A Time For Heroes' at Smashbox Studios on October 23, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/WireImage)
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Her unhealthy ways led her to experiment with diet pills in her late teens.

"I didn't feel fat, but the pressure of being on television and wanting to look sexy and beautiful took over," she revealed. "I'm not proud of it. I got skinny, true, but the pills caused my heart to race, and I knew in my gut that I was hurting myself."

It took a psychology class at Pepperdine University to give up her life-threatening habits:

"I had never told anyone about the pills, but I got honest in class," she said. She wrote, "Give up diet pills" on a piece of paper and threw it in a fireplace -- advice that she got from her professor.

"As I watched the paper crackle and burn, something in me released. haven't touched diet pills since that day, and thankfully, I haven't wanted to."

77 PHOTOS
The Child Stars Who Grew Up To Be Fashionistas
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The Child Stars Who Grew Up To Be Fashionistas

Perhaps the most famous child stars turned fashionistas, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen got their start as Michelle Tanner in Full House, seen here in a 2004 portrait for the show's fourth season.

Photo Credit: ABC

Talk about every girl's dream -- the twins attended the Spice World premiere in 1998 wearing the hottest trends of the time; Doc Martens, sportswear and an updo with face framing tendrils.

Photo Credit: WireImage

MK & A attended the J.Mendal Fall 2012 show at Lincoln Center during Fall 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in their signature oversized sunglasses, looking as haute as ever.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Jurnee Smollett got her big break on Full House as BFF of the Olsen's character Michelle Tanner.

Photo Credit: ABC

Jurnee had several small parts throughout the 90's and was on the silver screen in 2005's Roll Bounce, pictured here at the premiere.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Jurnee looked gorgeous at the premied for her 2007 film, The Great Debaters, with Denzel Washington. 

Photo Credit: WireImage

From 2009-2011, Jurnee starred as Jess Merriweather in the critically acclaimed series Friday Night Lights. She's seen here a year after the show ended, in 2012, at the Miss Golden Globes party in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Young Alexa Vega made her big-screen debut in 2001's Spy Kids.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

In 2000, J.K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter series hit the big screen with young Emma Watson as leading lady Hermione Granger.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

In January 2013, the 22-year-old actress won a People's Choice Award for her work in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and looked amazing in her Peter Pilotto Minidress.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dakota Fanning blew audience's away in 2001's I Am Sam alongside Hollywood heavyweights Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer at just 7-years-old.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Pictured here with her dark 'do in November 2012, Dakota has already solidifed herself as a top Hollywood actress and style maven at just 18.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Though once just Dakota's younger sister, Elle Fanning has become a star - and fashionista - in her own right. We did love her 2003 yellow clog look though -- so cute!

Photo Credit: WireImage

In 2013, 14-year-old Elle is following in her fashionable sister's footsteps with more than 25 films under her belt.

Photo Credit: WireImage

We hardly think of Natalie Portman as a former child star but she got her start - and rave reviews for her part - in 1994's The Professional at the tender age of 13.

Photo Credit: Ron Galella Collection

Natalie works it in a very interesting print and a plastered tendril a la J. Lo during her Fly Girls days. Very 90's!

Photo Credit: Ron Galella Collection

Dakota Fanning blew audience

Emma moved to the small screen in 2004 to star in Nickolodeon's Unfabulous. Here, at age 13, she takes on the orange carpet this time for the 2004 Kids Choice Awards.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Victoria Justice's name sure seems to be everywhere these days. Back in 2005, she was just another girl in cowboy books at the Teen People Young Hollywood party.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Chloe Grace Moretz got her start in 2005's The Amityville Horror alongside Ryan Reynolds. Pictured here on her first red carpet at age 8, she was cute as a button in her pink floral dress.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic

This pink poofy prom style in 2009 is a far cry from Chloe's upcoming title role in the 2013 remake of Carrie.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic

It's hard to believe that Chloe Grace Moretz is just 15, pictured here at the Peoples Choice awards in January 2013.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Abigail Breslin's film career began in 2002 with her role as Mel Gibson's daughter in Signs, picutred here at the premiere with her favorite stuffed animal!

Photo Credit: WireImage

2006 was Breslin's breakout year in Little Miss Sunshine as Olive Hooper. The role garnered Abigail 9 awards and 9 additional nominations.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic

In 2008, Abigail starred in Kit Kitteredge: An American Girl, taking the beloved books and dolls to the big screen.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

In 2009, Miranda was gearing up to release her first album, Sparks Fly, and working the orange carpet at the 2009 Kids' Choice Awards.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Maude looks chic in white at the December 2012 premiere of This is 40, with her sister, Iris, once again. These days, she's also known for her large Twitter following and self-proclaimed addiction to technology.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Drew Barrymore grew up in a family of Hollywood royalty but made a name for herself as Gertie in 1982's ET.

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In the late 80's, Drew's most noted work was as a party girl - though we adore her curly side pony at the American Cinema Awards in 1987.

Photo Credit: Ron Galella Collection

At the 1993 Billboard Music Awards, Drew's style was quintessential 90's, from the short curly bob to the mauve lip.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Today, Drew's style is laid-back chic - from her tousled waves to her blue suede shoes.

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal

Later, Anna appear in 90's films such as Fly Away Home, She's All That and A Walk on the Moon. In 2000, she appeared in several films and is seen here at a Harper's Bazaar dinner to celebrate their July issue.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Throughout the 2000's, Anna began her recurring role in the X-Men series as Rogue. Paquin is pictured here in 2004 at the premiere of Stage Beauty in NYC.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Before her starring role in 1996's Harriet the Spy, Michelle Trachtenberg was on the cult classic The Adventures of Pete & Pete at age 9.

Photo Credit: Ron Galella Collection

In 2000, Michelle joined the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Sarah Michelle Gellar's sister, Dawn. She's seen here on the 2000 red carpet for the LA Premiere of The Kid.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Oh my 7th Heaven! Jessica Biel joined the cast of the WB hit at age 16 - pictured here in every 90's trend imaginable for the 1998 press tour.

Photo Credit: Ron Galella Collection

Chloe Grace Moretz got her start in 2005

Look at that sass! Chloe worked the red carpet in sparkles and flats back in 2007.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic

This pink poofy prom style in 2009 is a far cry from Chloe

It

Abigail Breslin

2006 was Breslin

In 2008, Abigail starred in Kit Kitteredge: An American Girl, taking the beloved books and dolls to the big screen.

Photo Credit: Getty

Abigail is just 14 but has already shown her penchant for fashion. In September 2012, she attended the Alice Olivia show during Fashion week with long blonde locks, bright red lips and some killer pumps.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Young Miranda Cosgrove attends the premiere of her first film, The School of Rock with makeup by Chanel. Just your average 10-year-old!

Photo Credit: WireImage

Miranda went on to appear in various Nickelodeon series, including Unfabulous with Emma Roberts. In 2007, she starred in her own series, iCarly, which made her a household name.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

In 2009, Miranda was gearing up to release her first album, Sparks Fly, and working the orange carpet at the 2009 Kids

Today, 19-year-old Miranda looks sleek and fashionable at all of her red carpet events.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Daughter of star director Judd Apatow, a young Maude appeared with her sister, Iris, and mother, Leslie Mann, in Knocked Up back in 2007.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Maude appears again with sister Iris at the 2009 premiere of Funny People.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

3 years later, Maude poses with her father Judd Apatow at a red carpet event.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Maude looks chic in white at the December 2012 premiere of This is 40, with her sister, Iris, once again. These days, she

Scarlett Johansson got into the business at age age 9, pictured here at the premiere for Manny and Lo, for which she was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead at age 12.

Photo Credit: Ron Galella Collection

In 2001, Scarlett attended the premiere for her movie An American Rhapsody in a daring black lace top.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Scarlett cropped her hair and wore an interesting blend of fabrics and colors, including her plastic and metallic wedges for the 2003 Independent Spirit Awards.

Photo Credit: WireImage

In 2012, Scarlet looked stunning in a Rodarte mini dress and Gucci booties at the Hitchcock premiere.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Drew Barrymore grew up in a family of Hollywood royalty but made a name for herself as Gertie in 1982

In the late 80

At the 1993 Billboard Music Awards, Drew

Today, Drew

A pint-sized Anna Paquin won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Acress at the age of eleven for her role in The Piano, her first film.

Photo Credit: Ron Galella Collection

Later, Anna appear in 90

Throughout the 2000

Paquin looked stunning at and Academy Awards Viewing Party in 2012, just a few months before giving birth to twins with her husband and True Blood co-star, Stephen Moyer.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic​

Kristen Stewart starred in the Panic Room in 2002 at age 12, seen here at the premiere.

Photo Credit: WireImage

K. Stew keeps it really, really casual at Sundance in 2004 for the premiere of her film, Speak. (Note the promotional beanie.)

Photo Credit: WireImages

Kristen attends the premiere of The Cake Eaters at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007 with another casual look.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic

In 2012, Kristen Stewart rocked plenty of minidresses but one of our favorite looks was this leather pants and red Louboutins ensemble at the Vanity Fair screening of On the Road.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Before her starring role in 1996

In 2000, Michelle joined the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Sarah Michelle Gellar

Who could forget her appearance in the 2004 classic EuroTrip? She looks all grown up here at the Glamour Golden Globes After Party that year.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Michelle was the portrait of chic at the Marchesa Spring 2013 show at Fashion Week in a sleek low bun, black and white dress and blue pumps.

Photo Credit: WireImage

Oh my 7th Heaven! Jessica Biel joined the cast of the WB hit at age 16 - pictured here in every 90

Jessica looks much more grown up on the red carpet in 2000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jessica Biel goes blonde and off the shoulder with some questionable accessories and eye makeup at the 2004 MTV Movie Awards.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jessica looks absolutely stunning at the Playing for Keeps premiere in December 2012. These days, Mrs. Timberlake is one of our favorite fashionistas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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While in college, she was also diagnosed with endometriosis after experiencing serious pain in her abdomen. Her doctor suggested that she change her diet or risk having to deal with major issues, like infertility, for the rest of her life.

"It had never even occurred to me that something I had always eaten (so innocently) could be causing me such harm," Mowry revealed. "Now here was a well-respected doctor telling me that my problem -- my big, you-may-never-get-pregnant problem -- came down to my favorite foods: butter, cheese, and gelato. It was like a slap in the face."

It was these life experiences that inspired the the host of the Cooking Channel's "Tia Mowry at Home" to create a cookbook.

The actress, now 38, is a mother to a beautiful young boy, Cree. Tia gave birth to her son in 2011, and she credits her diet (which she shares in her new book) for the greatest gift she and her husband, Cory Hardrict, could've ever received.

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