Nancy Kerrigan talks eating disorder she developed after 1994 attack: 'I didn't realize what I was doing'

The Olympian said she felt food was the one thing she could "control."

April 12, 2017, 11:45 AM

— -- Olympian and "Dancing With The Stars" contestant Nancy Kerrigan revealed she developed an eating disorder following the attack she suffered in 1994. In an interview with People magazine, the figure skater said she felt like everything was "really out of control."

"I would avoid food because it was something I could do. I felt like I could control that and nothing else," she said. "I don't know why, but that seemed like an accomplishment."

Kerrigan came under massive scrutiny after the incident, in which she was clubbed in the knee, an attack organized by a skating rival's ex-husband. Though her injury didn't affect her next bout at the Olympics, it did affect her in other ways.

"I didn't realize what I was doing," she said. "I lost a whole bunch of weight before competing because I was working out for hours."

The National Eating Disorder Association estimates that in the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a "clinically significant eating disorder" at some point in their lives.

Kerrigan, 47, also said she would try to alter her appearance to disguise that her body was changing.

"I just started shrinking," she said. "I'd put on makeup differently to sort of hide that I was wasting away. Strangers would say, 'Oh, that's not enough food on your plate.'"

Though the struggle began to affect her energy levels, she said her manager, Jerry Solomon, would sit with her while she ate and encourage her to "Just eat two more bites." She said that with Solomon's help, "it slowly became easier and easier."

One of the final straws came when Kerrigan noticed her son developing similar eating habits.

"I saw my son doing the same thing," she said. "He was like, 'No, no, no. I'm not hungry. I'm fine. I'm fine.' I was like, 'Oh. Give me a piece of that pizza. I better eat that because he's watching me and watching what I'm doing. I'm doing that again.' I'm so thankful for a logical brain because it could've gone such a different route."

Now, Kerrigan is producing a documentary called "Why Don't You Lose 5 Pounds" which highlights the prevalence of eating disorders in athletes.

“I think a lot of times people see it as something they can control," she said. "But frankly, the eating disorder starts to control you.”

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events