12 Celebrities Talking About Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are, unfortunately, far too common. It has been estimated that up to 24 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. Those numbers are terrifying. What’s also terrifying is that some people out there continue to throw these words around like they’re no big deal. One example is something singer Meghan Trainor (of “All About That Bass” fame) said when she was talking about being “chubby” when she was younger: “I wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder… I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that’s not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, ‘Ma, can you make me a sandwich? Like, immediately.'”

A lot of people took offense to Meghan’s words, and for good reason. I know she didn’t mean anything bad by her quote, but, well… it came out that way. Meghan was basically throwing around the word “anorexia” as if it’s no big deal. She was acting like having anorexia means you’re strong and disciplined – like it’s a positive thing to have, as if it’s the only way to lose weight. This is so false, and it’s not something that anyone should put into a girl’s head.

demi lovato gif

Demi Lovato, who has always been outspoken about her eating disorder struggles from the past, had a response. She said: “Having an eating disorder doesn’t show ‘strength.’ Strength is when are able to overcome your demons after being sick and tired for so long. There’s a wide misconception that anorexia and/or bulimia is a choice and you often hear people say things like ‘why doesn’t she just start eating?’ Or even ‘just stop throwing up.’ It’s the ignorance and lack of education on mental illnesses that continues to put mental health care on the back burner to Congress even though this is an epidemic that is sweeping our nation, and causing more and more tragedy every day. Starving is not a ‘diet’ and throwing up isn’t something that only extremely thin men or women do. Eating disorders do not discriminate..Neither does any other mental illness. These are deadly diseases that are taking lives daily. So please, let’s be cautious of the words we use when discussing ED’s and other mental illnesses. <3″

Demi hit the nail on the head. Let’s stop throwing around words like “anorexia” and “bulimia” as if they are something you should aspire to have. They aren’t. Reading Demi’s words were so inspiring that I wanted to round up some more celebs talking about their struggles with eating disorders. For anyone suffering from something like this, read these words so you can see that you CAN get through it. Here are 12 celebrities talking about eating disorders:


Lucy Hale

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Lucy Hale admitted to suffering from an eating disorder in the past. She said, "I've never really talked about this, but I would go days without eating. Or maybe I'd have some fruit, and then go to the gym for three hours. I knew I had a problem... it was a gradual process, but I changed myself." Today, Lucy (seems) happy and healthy, so this is proof that you can move past an eating disorder!

Source: Judy Eddy/WENN.com

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato always has inspiring words about her struggles with food and weight in the past. In an open letter in Seventeen, she wrote: "I started compulsively overeating at a very young age. And then I almost stopped eating altogether at the age of 12, after being harassed by kids at school, for being 'fat.' My eating disorder will continue to affect me for the rest of my life, but I'm proud to say that I got the help I needed, and am now the happiest and healthiest I have ever been!

Eating disorders are serious and complex problems that affect millions of young men and women all over the world. But so many people don’t actually understand them. For example, it's a common misconception that eating disorders are just about food. But they’re actually about so much more than that. Eating disorders often stem from feelings of low self esteem, depression, anxiety, or in my case, being teased and ridiculed for my weight. I also believe that a big contributing factor to these feelings is the pressure that’s out there to meet impossible standards." Demi continues to be a strong role model for girls with these issues everywhere.

Source: Brian To/WENN.com

Troian Bellisario

Lucy Hale isn't the only star of Pretty Little Liars to deal with body image problems. Troian Bellisario opened up about her own eating disorder struggles and the pressure she felt to be perfect, saying: "I started self-harming when I was a junior. I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school. She added, "Being a teenager is chaotic because you’re kind of coming into your own. I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, so I think I created this bizarre system of checks and balances to create order in my world. But it really backfired. It was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody. I just thought if I ever expressed [to my parents] any sadness or anger or anything that’s going on with me, they would disown me. I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behavior."

She added, "I felt this sadness, and I thought if people really knew what was going on inside me, they wouldn’t want to hang out with me. So I tried to keep it light and funny. I became imprisoned [by my eating disorder and self-harm]. And it was something I fought with."

She talked about her friends stepped in to save her, saying, "They got a hold of my journal and basically said, 'We don’t trust you, and we’re gonna tell your parents.' That was when my world kind of exploded. It was kind of like an intervention. It made me ask myself, "What do I really want to be doing? What would make me happy?"

She adds, 'Honestly, it’s an ongoing struggle. Especially for a woman on a show that has the word "pretty" in it! Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I don’t belong. I just look around at [co-stars] Lucy [Hale], Shay [Mitchell], and Ashley [Benson], and I’m just like, 'Why am I on this show?' Sometimes I’ve felt like a fraud. I’m not like these other girls – I don’t dress like that and I don’t know how to do my hair. The minute I’m off that stage, I try to get as "me" as possible. I do that by piling on my black eyeliner, and I put on my ripped tights. Dressing like myself again helps."

Source: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com

Kesha

A few months ago, Kesha checked herself into rehab for bulimia. She didn't try to hide it or disguise it as something else - she was honest, which was refreshing. She wrote a really inspiring post about it in Elle (you can read it here). She said, "I felt like part of my job was to be as skinny as possible and, to make that happen, I had been abusing my body. I just wasn't giving it the energy it needed to keep me healthy and strong." She added, "the music industry has set unrealistic expectations for what a body is supposed to look like, and I started becoming overly critical of my own body because of that. I felt like people were always lurking, trying to take pictures of me with the intention of putting them up online or printing them in magazines and making me look terrible. I became scared to go in public, or even use the Internet. I may have been paranoid but I also saw and heard enough hateful things to fuel that paranoia."

Source: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com

Ashlee Simpson

Ashlee Simpson struggled with an eating disorder a few years ago. At her worst point, she weighed 70 pounds at the height of only 5'2. She told Cosmopolitan: "I was around a lot of girls with eating disorders, and I actually had a minor one myself. My parents stepped in and made me eat. (It) was about six months of not eating too much at all." The inspiring part? Ashlee got through it, and can now even say that she loves her body: "I think I have good curves, and they're womanly. I hate it when girls lose their curves." She says her best physical attribute is her breasts. "I have amazing boobs. I do, I know it. They're not too big, not too small. They're just perfect." It's really great to hear that much confidence from her now!

Source: FayesVision/WENN.com

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga has always been very open about her body struggles. Besides launching a whole campaign around body acceptance and posting pictures of herself in a bikini when she was at a heavier weight, she has talked about her eating disorder. On Instagram, she said she had "bulimia and anorexia since I was 15." In one interview, she said: "I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina, but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night. I used to come home and say, 'Dad, why do you always give us this food? I need to be thin.' And he'd say, 'Eat your spaghetti.'"

Source: IPA/WENN.com

Lindsay Lohan

A few years ago, at the height of her fame, we all noticed that Lindsay Lohan was looking painfully thin. After denying anything was wrong for a while, she finally spoke candidly about her problems in an interview with Vanity Fair saying, "I was sick, and I was scared too. I had people sit me down and say, 'You’re going to die if you don’t take of yourself.'" In May 2005, Lindsay's castmates from Mean Girls, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, had a small intervention with her. Tina Fey told Vanity Fair: "Amy was good and tough on her saying, ‘You’re too skinny … I’m not going to ask you why, but you’re too skinny and I don’t like it.’"

Lindsay added, "They sat me down literally before I was going to do the show, and they said, ‘You need to take care of yourself. We care about you too much, and we’ve seen too many people do this,’ and I just started bawling. I knew I had a problem and I couldn’t admit it." When she saw herself on SNL, she realized she really did have a problem. She said, "My arms were disgusting. I had no arms. My sister, she was scared. My brother called me, crying."

She added, "You have to learn for yourself and you have to hit rock bottom sometimes to get yourself back up to the top. Going through sh– makes me that much stronger. [And] I’m in a place where I can really make an impact on people and really help … people with anorexia. I can change that a little bit. I’m not encouraging going out and getting a fake ID and going off the deep end and having an eating disorder. I’m saying, if you at least admit those kinds of things, that that might happen, then they don’t feel the urge to go out and do that.”

Source: Joe/WENN.com

Katharine McPhee

Katharine McPhee struggled with eating disorders in the past, and she has said that American Idol saved her. In an essay she wrote for People, she said: "When I made it onto American Idol, I knew that food - my eating disorder - was the one thing really holding me back. I was bingeing my whole life away for days at a time - I mean, here I am, this singer, and it was so horrible on my vocal cords. So when I got on the show, I said, "You know what? I can do well in this competition. Let me give myself a chance and just get ahold of this thing. I knew I had put off going to a treatment center long enough - I'd been struggling with bulimia since I was 17!"

"Growing up in Los Angeles and spending all those years in dance class, I'd been conscious of body image at a young age, and I went through phases of exercising compulsively and starving myself - I'd do all that stuff. But my junior year of high school, that's when I really started bingeing and purging. Food was my crutch; it was how I dealt with emotions and uncomfortable situations. As soon as I would feel something, I would eat over it so that I didn't have to feel anything I didn't want to. It was literally a drug—you know, these sensations would come over my whole body and it would be urgent, like nothing else mattered but getting to that food. I couldn't have one slice of pizza, I had to have the whole pizza."

"I hid my bulimia for about five or six months. When I finally told my mom, she reacted probably the best way a parent could. She didn't make me feel guilty or that I was a bad daughter. She just embraced me and said, "It's okay." The day after, she did all this research but I didn't want to go into a program. There was this whole denial factor: "No, I'm not that sick. It's fine."

"When I made it onto American Idol, I knew that food - my eating disorder - was the one thing really holding me back." She also discussed her recovery, saying, "But I'm not spending my life bingeing, and I'm much happier about the way I look now. I've also learned to deal with emotions in a different way—to deal with them, instead of with food. I still chew on my cheeks, you know. I still bite my nails. These little things we do. I'm not a perfect human being. I am just the person who didn't want to settle for not having everything I dreamed of."

Source: FayesVision/WENN.com

Jamie-LynnSigler

After Jamie-Lynn Sigler suffered from an eating disorder when she was younger, she became a passionate advocate to get girls in similar situations help. She told People magazine: "It was hard for me to even recognize who I was. My reality was so warped. . . I knew I had a problem and wanted to get better, but I was not able to let go of my habit." She remembered her dad begging her to eat a piece of cake once: "I remember rationalizing that if I had that one piece of dessert, the next morning I would wake up and weigh 400 pounds. It sounds so wild, but for me it was true." In another interview, she said, "I seriously contemplated suicide. I felt that no one in this world would ever understand the constant battle I had in my head every day." She added, "I really wanted to just be comfortable and be happy, but I didn't think it was possible ever again. And I just didn't know how to get past it." She did get past it, and she's now happy and healthy.

Source: FayesVision/WENN.com

Jessica Alba

You may not have known this, but Jessica Alba also suffered from an eating disorder. She talked about it with Glamour, saying, "Everyone in my family is overweight. I wanted to be healthier, so I started cooking for myself when I was 12." Things got worse when she was on Dark Angel - she stopped eating and started exercising three hours a day and lost a lot of weight. She said, "A lot of girls have eating disorders and I did too. I became obsessed with it. When I went from a girl's body to a woman's body with natural fat in places, I freaked out. It makes you feel weird, like you're not ready for that."

Source: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com

Snooki

In Jersey Shore, Snooki dealt with a lot of harsh comments about her weight, something that must have been extremely difficult for her considering she had an eating disorder in high school. She has said, "In high school, I really wouldn’t eat. It got so crazy that I would only eat a cracker or a cucumber a day and I would feel full." When she got down to 80 pounds, things got worse. She said, "I had an eating disorder and it got really, really bad. There were these little girls coming up, like freshmen, who were literally, like, 70 pounds. And I was, like, my spot as a flier is going to get taken away. So I ended up starving myself." She added, "I started eating one salad a day, and then it became, like, one cracker a day, and then it became just one grape a day. And then.. just not eating at all for three days. It was a really, really bad time for me."

Source: Derrick Salters/WENN.com

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway has also discussed her body issues. In an interview with Glamour, she said, “There’s no magic bullet; there’s no pill that you take that makes everything great and makes you happy all the time. I’m letting go of those expectations, and that’s opening me up to moments of transcendent bliss. But I still feel the stress over ‘Am I thin enough? Am I too thin? Is my body the right shape?'" When asked if it's still an everyday obsession, she said: "If I’m honest, yes. There’s an obsessive quality to it that I thought I would’ve grown out of by now. It’s an ongoing source of shame for me."

Source: Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN.com

Do you suffer from an eating disorder or have you ever had one? How did you deal? Which quote inspires you the most? Tell me in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

 

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