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Read an excerpt from ‘Real Housewife’ Jackie Goldschneider’s 'The Weight of Beautiful'

The star of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" released her memoir, "The Weight of Beautiful," on Sept. 26, 2023, and shared a preview with
/ Source: TODAY

"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Jackie Goldschneider has been candid about her decadeslong battle with anorexia during her time on the reality show, but she's going into even more detail about what it's like to live with and try to recover from an eating disorder with her new book, out Sept. 26, titled, "The Weight of Beautiful."

Jackie Goldschneider's first book hit stands Sept. 26, 2023.
Jackie Goldschneider's first book hit stands Sept. 26, 2023.Courtesy Simon & Schuster

The memoir touches on her childhood, law school, marriage to Evan Goldschneider, two pregnancies and, of course, her time on one of Bravo's most popular shows. Goldschneider joined the series in 2018 after practicing law in New York City.

The excerpt provided to by publisher Simon & Schuster describes the "lowest point" in Goldschneider's health journey, as she calls it. It contains detailed descriptions of disordered eating habits and their mental and physical effects, so please read with care.

"The Weight of Beautiful" by Jackie Goldschneider excerpt

In 2007: “Let’s go to Mexico,” Evan said at the start of the year. We were newlyweds, crazy in love and eager to leave the cold of New York City. The cold had become unbearable, penetrating my skin and cutting through the layers of blood and minuscule flesh that covered my bones, chilling my insides. I quivered uncontrollably in anything below 50 degrees. My lips would turn blue, like those of a little girl leaving a pool, and my fingers would go numb. The sides of my face and back now had a slightly noticeable layer of blond hair called lanugo, a soft feathery hair that covers newborn babies and malnourished adults to insulate their bodies and keep them warm. When I got cold, those fine blond hairs would stand on end. “Yes, let’s go away,” I replied.

Goldschneider and her husband, Evan, on their 2007 trip to Mexico.
Goldschneider and her husband, Evan, on their 2007 trip to Mexico.Courtesy Simon & Schuster

I wanted Evan to be happy, and I wanted to say yes to every adventure, but traveling was torture. Leaving home for more than a night meant eating every meal out, for any number of days, and there was so much planning, so many numbers, and so much hunger. I spent the next week obsessing over how and what to eat, and made a plan to cover my meals and exercise. I always made a plan.

As I always did before I dined out, I called the hotel to make sure the restaurants would accommodate my extensive dietary requests, but I was told that at an all-inclusive resort, the restaurants wouldn’t change the style of cooking. That meant they wouldn’t steam anything for me, and unless I figured this out, I couldn’t eat anything at all.

I’d never gone on a vacation like that before, where the food was already paid for and you couldn’t make changes. Usually, if I had to go to a restaurant — a painful experience to begin with — I changed everything when I ordered my food. No oil touched my fish, no marinade touched my sides, and no sauce touched my plate. I couldn’t do any of that here — that control was taken away from me — and it was gut-wrenching. But Evan wanted to go to Mexico, and I so badly wanted to try to be normal on vacation. I wanted to be normal for him because he deserved a normal wife.

“Do you care if I just get two appetizers?” I asked Evan as we opened the menu during our first dinner of the trip. I wore a long green dress with palm prints and a black wool sweater, despite the tropical weather. “Get whatever you want,” he said with a gentle smile. I didn’t expect him to fight me. Ever since I had bitten his head off at the sushi place years before, Evan tried not to comment on what I ate or how I ate. I ordered two appetizer salads with dressing on the side. The waiter didn’t understand my order or why I didn’t want any actual food, but I didn’t give a shit.

We held hands and talked as the waiter brought our first course, and instantly, my mind flipped. Evan’s voice became background noise as I counted how much lettuce and shredded carrot was on my plate and how much crouton dust was touching my tomatoes. I removed the almonds and the orange slices and the precariously placed container of dressing, and searched the salad for any traces of oil. I reached for the thin stack of Post-its in my bag with my running tally of calorie counts for the day, added the calories in the salad, resumed eye contact with my husband, and continued the conversation. I repeated the whole routine when they brought the second salad. As we talked about plans for future trips, I thought about what I could eat for breakfast. “Can you order me tea for dessert?” I asked before excusing myself to use the bathroom.

I walked into the restroom, shut the door on the farthest stall, and quietly closed the cover of the toilet. I placed toilet paper over my lap, pulled a white plastic spoon from my purse, and quickly opened the first of two small cans of premixed 70-calorie StarKist tuna salad I had brought for dinner. I stared at the palm leaves on my dress as I shoveled the tuna into my mouth, letting the food fall deep into my empty stomach, and I felt the hunger start to lift. I tried not to think about anything, letting my mind go blank so I wouldn’t cry, so Evan wouldn’t suspect anything. If he smelled the tuna or saw running makeup under my eyes, he might try to save me. I wasn’t ready for him to save me.

Day after day and night after night, I tried not to cry as I hid in a stall and ate tuna in the different bathrooms of our hotel. I had brought 36 cans of premixed tuna salad, packed neatly underneath my clothing in my suitcase and covered in tissue paper, for my four-night trip to Mexico. My plan was simple: tuna for breakfast, and again for lunch, and again for dinner. At some points, I felt like a cat, eating dry meat from a can, which was almost funny in the face of how not funny it all was.

Is this rock bottom? And if so, how long can I stay here? Because I don’t think I’ll ever know how to leave.

I call that trip my lowest point, not because anything changed after that but because when I got home and stood on my scale, I realized for the very first time that I was actually on the way to killing myself. I stared at the number on the scale, well over 100 pounds thinner than I’d been in high school, and I suddenly understood what I was doing to myself. I also understood that I couldn’t stop myself. If someone started to tell me I was too thin, I cut the conversation off before it could even start, because I felt incapable of finding my way back. I wasn’t sure I wanted to find my way back because of the life that might be waiting for me when I got there. I was on a dead-end road, and I didn’t know what to do.

I’m going to die. Please somebody make it stop.