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."

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."

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.