Content warning: This story discusses eating disorders.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, who has detailed her experience on the Bravo reality TV series, spoke with E! News about her journey to healing and helping others by sharing her story. Although Jackie has made great strides, she wants her fans to know that she "would not call myself recovered yet."
"It's been about a full year that I've been in active recovery," she told E! News. "My relationship with food is so much better, but not nearly where I need it to be."
The Bravolebrity explained that while she eats almost everything now, with minor exceptions like fried food and cream sauce, she still has "rules that make me feel secure and safe when I'm eating."
"Both my therapist and nutritionist always say to me," she continued, "'It's amazing that you're eating all these things and it's great that you're eating so much more and that they're real foods, but we want to get you to a place where you're not thinking about rules when you're eating them and you're really eating intuitively.'"
"I'm not there yet," Jackie admitted, adding, "I try to recognize my hunger cues and eat according to them and stop when I'm not hungry anymore, but I'm not to the point where I feel comfortable honoring hunger cues all day without a set limit."
According to Jackie, "The bigger issue for me is how I feel about my body. I have to get to a much better place with that."
In particular, the summertime can stir up a range of emotions for Jackie, who explained, "I was filming and I was wearing a little tank top and all I kept thinking, 'What about this area here and this area here?' And, you know...who cares? It's just skin."
Being transparent is important to Jackie, who said she wants to be honest about her challenges, "because I don't want people to think that it's a really quick process of recovery and it's easy, because it's not."
The star noted that "it's definitely possible" to heal from an eating disorder and celebrated some of her recent milestones, including the feeling of having "more freedom."
"We were filming and then when wrapped, a bunch of us were going to go get dinner," she recalled, "and in the past, if that wasn't a designated night out, I would have gone home. I would have made an excuse and gone home. But I just went out and had dinner."
Jackie explained that the outpouring of love from fans has made her road to recovery all the more special.
"The amount of people who have reached out and told me it helped them was amazing," she said. "It is clearly my purpose on the show."
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237.