Parents know best? Growing up, Maria Menounos was raised on a Mediterranean diet by her parents, Greek immigrants Costas and Litsa. But once she got a taste of freedom -- and sugar -- Menounos stated packing on the pounds. In the April issue of Ladies' Home Journal, the 35-year-old Extra host opens up about her weight ups and downs, and how she now maintains a healthy diet.
At age 13, Menounos got a job working at a doughnut shop and "couldn't resist" eating what she was selling. "In my freshman year of high school I was a size 3, and I grew a size every day," she told the magazine. "Things got worse in college: I didn't gain the Freshman 15 -- I gained the Freshman 40 . . . I grew to a size 14 and kept growing."
Feeling "sick and lethargic," Menounos got fed up in her early 20s and created her own diet plan. "Within a year I lost 40 pounds," she told LHJ. But after she started working as a correspondent on Channel One News in California, her eating habits suffered again from eating too much fast food.
"My weight didn't fluctuate -- I knew enough to keep my portions small," she explained. "But there were consequences to eating so much junk. I was in and out of the hospital multiple times for exhaustion, malnutrition and dehydration."
Now, Menounos has found a healthy way to control her weight and lives by the motto: "Just because you're thinner doesn't mean you're healthier."
Ironically, Menounos is now living with her Mediterranean diet-eating parents again. Her new reality show, Chasing Maria Menounos, will follow her life living in the same house in L.A. as her parents and Kevin Undergaro, her boyfriend of 15 years.
Chasing Maria Menounos will premiere on Oxygen Network on Tuesday, March 18. Menounos' second book, The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet & Fitness, will also be released on June 3. The book helps readers conquer their weight, fitness, diet and lifestyle goals -- all while living the busy lifestyle of a modern, working woman.
For more of Menounos' interview with Ladies' Home Journal -- and her diet plan -- pick up the April issue.