'This Is Us' Star Chrissy Metz: I Was in Weight Watchers When I Was 11

Chrissy Metz has a deep connection to Kate Pearson, the character she plays on This Is Us.

She has always struggled with her weight, even at a young age, PEOPLE reports.

Metz said her size “was always something I was cognizant of. I’ve had pictures of when I was 3 and 4 years old, and I’ve always been chubby.”

The actress, 36, says that many of the scenes “really resonate” with her especially the ones showing mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and younger Kate.

“I remember being at Weight Watchers at, like, 11 years old and my mom just trying to figure it out for me,” Metz told PEOPLE. “It’s one of those things where it’s heartbreaking because, as a parent, you want your child to have the best life possible and you want them to be protected and in this little bubble where everybody finds them to be beautiful and perfect and their lives to be amazing. But that’s not always the case.”

When she was younger, Metz was active, but also had some unhealthy eating patterns.

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“I would not eat,” she admits. “And then of course I would get so hungry I would binge … and it was difficult because my parents were like, ‘I don’t understand, if you’re not really eating, why are you gaining weight?’ I would be at one of my good friend’s house and her mom would literally make us a tray of brownies and split it down the middle, and we would go to town.”

At the age of 30, she decided to take control of her life and went on “a bit of a spiritual journey.” She focused on herself “and things just kind of started falling into place.”