The Girls writer and star, 33, said that she started keeping a food diary to stop herself from overeating.
“If I write down what I eat, I’ll have to hold myself accountable and accountable people don’t gain thirty pounds in a single month,” she told Elle UK. “Yes, I am body positive but I am also a young single woman working in Hollywood and I can’t just pretend that weight is not a thing. It’s a thing.”
Dunham’s weight gain came after months of struggling — with both her split from ex-boyfriend Jack Antonoff and her endometriosis pain, which required a total hysterectomy. At that point, Dunham was losing a significant amount of weight and felt unhappy.
“Sadness is the only thing that’s ever made me lose weight,” she said. ��Two years ago, during the last gasps of my six-year relationship, I lost weight. Not a little weight. Not the kind of weight where your bras feel kind of generous and you marvel at your subtle but oh-wow-it’s-definitely-there-now clavicle. No, it was a lot of weight.”
Dunham said that her weight loss initially started because of a stomach infection, but her minimal eating habits continued as she mourned the relationship.
“At the end of that relationship, the weight was falling off in double digits but, as I explained to my closest friends, I experienced none of the heady triumph of the women showing off their formerly-huge jeans in a full page add for weight-loss pills,” she said.
At the same time, Dunham had formed a “dependency” to prescription drugs. Her addiction reached a point where she went to rehab, and it was there that she regained her hunger.
“I had also completed in-patient treatment, known to the public as rehab for trauma and prescription drug dependency or, as I like to call it, a five-star hotel where they take away your razors,” she said. “It took a week, but as the drugs left my body and I made peace with the fact that I was here to heal, not just to cut my own bangs and weep (just kidding: you can’t cut your own bangs because they won’t give you scissors). I got real hungry, real fast. If it wasn’t nailed down, I ate it.”
Dunham is now sober and working on a new project in England, where she’s fallen for their traditional meat pies.
“After one bite I am in ecstasy. After the second, I miss my mom, the only person or thing that can rival this pie for comfort. After the third I shed a tear. For all the bad bites I’ve ever taken. For all the things I’ve ever hated and finished anyway and all the delicious things I haven’t allowed myself to finish. Loving this meat pie means I’m alive.”
The November issue of ELLE UK hits newsstands on Oct. 3.