Jan. 3, 2011 -- Former Playboy Playmate-turned-reality-TV star Kendra Wilkinson has built her career around her voluptuous figure. But the constant focus on her body caused her to struggle with her weight, Wilkinson said.
Her toughest weight battle occurred when she tried to lose the weight she gained, following the birth of her son, Hank Jr., now one year old. The 5'4" mom said she went from 105 pounds to 165 pounds, a dramatic change which was played out on her latest reality show, "Kendra."
"My pregnancy was a free for all," Wilkinson said. "I had no boundaries. I just ate, ate, ate. I just said, 'This is my time, these are my nine months, I can just have fun, how big can I really get?' Sixty pounds! I gained 60 pounds!"
"Primetime: Celebrity Weight Loss -- What Really Happens" is an hour-long special airing on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 10 p.m. ET.
After giving birth, Wilkinson said she was "shocked" when her money-making body didn't instantly bounce back from the pregnancy.
"I looked in the mirror and I said, 'I'm fat,'" Wilkinson said. "I blew up like a blowfish."
She tried ramping up her daily workout routine in the gym and running outside in the heat while wearing sweats, but Wilkinson said she still couldn't lose the baby weight like other celebrity moms had.
"I didn't lose one pound," she said. "I will admit, I was jealous after giving birth to my baby and I started seeing Kourtney Kardashian losing all that weight really fast."
Comments about Wilkinson's weight gain flooded the Internet, and a Chicago radio personality told her during an interview that she had lost her sex symbol status. Her frustration and admitted depression grew as the she failed to shed the pounds, and her fight with her weight became the focus of her reality show.
In one episode, Wilkinson broke down and said, "I don't feel pretty anymore. I just feel so ugly."
"I asked for the cameras to be there," she said of that episode. "I wanted the world to see what I really went through and it was hard. What perfect timing to invite my three gorgeous friends into town when I felt my lowest."
Wilkinson Says Airbrushing Makes Her 'Look Like a Hypocrite'
Although Wilkinson admitted she contemplated having liposuction and a breast reduction, she never went through with any cosmetic surgery procedures.
"After baby number two I am getting all that work done," she said. "I feel I deserve to look good. ... I feel I could look better."
However, some of Wilkinson's post-baby body magazine covers have been under scrutiny because the former Playmate looks thinner than she actually is.
"I can't say they weren't airbrushed or they weren't touched up," she said. "When I do see a picture of myself that has been touched up too much, I do get a bit sad ... it makes me look like a hypocrite. It breaks my heart. I would rather shoot a magazine and shoot my flaws but that's not up to me."
This hasn't been the only time in Wilkinson's life when her weight has been an issue. While living in the Playboy mansion, Wilkinson's curves not only earned her countless Playboy magazine covers, but also a spot on Hugh Heffner's arm and the hit reality TV show, "The Girls Next Door." But maintaining that perfect 10 figure was stressful and intense.
"My body back at the Playboy mansion was the most important thing in life back then because we were in the spotlight every minute," Wilkinson said. "We had to look good. The girls who gained the weight, those were the girls who didn't get the work."
Staying beautiful and thin meant a successful career for the Playboy Bunnies, and Wilkinson said some of the girls at the mansion were on extreme diets. Others had eating disorders.
"There were girls who were bulimic," she said. "Girls just became perfectionists. I said, 'You know I am not going to end up like some of these girls do and stick my finger down my throat and throw up after every meal.' That's just not me."
But behind the cameras, Wilkinson said she secretly struggled with her weight even then.
"I went crazy with the food," she said, referring to when she lived in the mansion. "We had personal chefs so, of course, I used and abused that opportunity. I was like, 'give me nachos, steak every night.'"
Wilkinson on Her Weight: 'Hef Called Me Out'
Wilkinson said she got into a horrible routine of overeating and oversleeping, staying in bed sometimes until two in the afternoon. Eventually it caught up with her.
"Actually Hef called me out on it," she said. "I'm like, 'I think I'm gaining weight,' and Hef said, 'ya, I can see it.' It's not like he was being mean, he was just being honest, and I was like, 'thank you, that's what I needed!'"
It was a wake-up call. Wilkinson said she started working out daily and eating healthier meals, trading those nachos for salads and giving up chocolate and soda. When she became pregnant, she slipped back into her old eating habits.
But now Wilkinson said she is finally happy with her body again. Weighing 120 pounds, she is just 15 pounds shy of her pre-baby weight. Her exercise routine includes taking regular walks and trips to the gym in Minneapolis, Minn., where her husband, Hank Baskett, plays football for the Minnesota Vikings. She added that she has cut out nearly all junk food from her diet and sticks to healthier food choices like smoothies, and even her son's baby food.
Wilkinson said she was even asked to pose for Playboy recently, but turned down the offer because she's now a mother.
Her career has gone above and beyond the pages of the magazine but her body remains at the center of it all. Wilkinson said she earns $2 million a year from her reality show. She is now also the paid spokesperson for Abcuts, a dietary supplement and has a workout DVD.
Her most important piece of advice: don't let weight consume your life.
"I stopped obsessing," she said. "I put the scale away, I turned the lights off in the bathroom. The second I stopped obsessing was the second I started to see results. I started to look good and feel good."