The 'Hills' alum says she had her first session with a nutrition expert who suspects she has neurovegetative depression
Whitney Port addressed ongoing concerns about her weight, saying she’s seen an expert who suspects the Hills alum is struggling with depression — not an eating disorder.
On Tuesday’s episode of her podcast, With Whit, Port, 38, said that she had her first session with a “nutritionist/psychiatrist” that was recommended by her best friend.
“My best friend, Andrea, was concerned about me, but she didn’t say anything until I said something on my social media,” Port said, referring to an Instagram post where she acknowledged that commenters — and her husband Tim Rosenman — shared concerns that she was “too thin.”
Port said her friend told her, “I’ve been worried about you,” so Port made an appointment to speak to the expert.
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Instead of an eating disorder, however, Port says the therapist thinks her challenges may stem from “neurovegetative depression” which manifests with lethargy, and “not necessarily making things a priority when they actually are.”
The National Institute of Health says neurovegetative symptoms relate to “sleep and appetite/weight.”
The mom of Sonny, 6, says that she does take antidepressants and said that she suspects depression runs in her family.
“People in my family weren’t technically diagnosed, but I have heard and seen behaviors that exhibit some depression so I feel like that is a little bit innately in me.”
She also added that “environmental” factors could be contributing to her challenges.
The therapist said “there’s being on TV at a young age, your dad passing, your aunt committing suicide, dealing with mom’s depression and sadness since dad passing, multiple miscarriages. There’s a lot of environmental challenges that I think have made me feel the way I feel: just a little bit depressed, just a little bit down.”
Port was 21 when she first appeared on The Hills — and has remained open about personal issues she’s experienced herself and with her family, discussing exploring surrogacy after experiencing multiple pregnancy losses to expand their family.
The therapist’s initial diagnosis, Port says, “really made sense to me.”
“I feel like on paper everything is great,” the designer said. “I’m so happy, I really am. I have a beautiful marriage, a beautiful son, a beautiful house, like, food on my table, I get to travel, I mostly love my job.”
“I’m like, ‘What is the issue?’ And I think it’s just all these underlying things that have slowly chipped away at some self-confidence, added to a little bit of what is in me [with my family’s history]. And I think that’s what’s affecting my weight, and my food intake, and I feel empowered, because I don’t think that I have an eating disorder, and she didn’t think that I had an eating disorder.”
The expert did, however, say “there may be some disordered eating, due to some emotional stuff, but I do not think that you have an eating disorder.”
The difference between an eating disorder and disordered eating, according to Verywell Mind, is the “severity and degree of the symptoms. Disordered eating frequently involves many of the same behaviors that occur in eating disorders, but such symptoms occur less frequently or less intensely.”
The therapist's initial opinion, Port says, “felt really validating. I felt like I could trust myself, I felt like I could trust my gut. Like, I wasn’t crazy. I was really scared that I was in denial about how I viewed myself, or what was actually going on,” said Port, who did say she was “underweight” and “not getting the nutrients I need.”
“It was hard for me, because I was like, 'S—, am I not getting it?' But I feel like I am,” said Port, who has said in the past she thinks she struggles with “disordered eating.”
“This stuff is serious,” Port says. “I am taking control. I am seeing the situation for what it is, and I don’t want people to worry about me…I am working on it, and I don’t believe it to be as big of an issue as it was made to be.”
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