Hoda Hajirnia felt helpless.
“I was in high school when my mom got diagnosed with a life-threatening illness,” the Real Estate Wars star, 30, tells PEOPLE. “My older brother was off at college and my little sister was a newborn, so I felt responsible for helping take care of the family — but I felt useless.”
Hajirnia has decided to keep the specifics of her mother’s illness private but the Bravo reality show personality says watching her mother suffer led her to find a way to control at least one aspect of her life: what she ate.
“I turned to anorexia,” the Southern California native says of developing the eating disorder during her senior year of high school.
“I tried to hide it because I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, but everyone knew,” explains Hajirnia. “Everyone nominated me for homecoming queen thinking it would make me feel beautiful. It was sweet, but it didn’t help.”
“I was 5’5″ and I was down to 87 lbs.,” she says. “I was so fragile.”
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But as she graduated high school, Hajirnia says she realized how much she was “hurting” her …read more