Here’s a very sad-but-true fact: 20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. And with social media usage being linked to negative body image in young people today, this issue is something we really need to be talking about.
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Over the past week, some of the biggest names in music and television have been vocal about their personal struggles with body image and disordered eating.
In Demi Lovato’s YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated, she discusses the chilling moment she developed an eating disorder after being bullied by other kids at her high school.
“One day, this girl who was popular starting saying, ‘Demi should kill herself’ and it resulted in a suicide petition that got passed around and she had other classmates sign it,” Lovato explained.
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“I called my mom on my cell phone and I said ‘I’m done, I can’t do this anymore. Pick me up.’ She picked me up from school, and that’s when my eating disorder developed.”
It prompted Lovato to share a side-by-side photo comparing what she looked like when she was suffering from an eating disorder to the healthy, recovered Lovato we now know.
On Instagram this week, Riverdale star Camila Mendes announced that she would be teaming up with Project HEAL, a nonprofit that helps those suffering with eating disorders to pay for treatment. In this announcement she also revealed that both she and her sister had struggled with eating disorders.
“Growing up, I watched my big sister suffer from one for many years, and I’ve experienced periods of my life when I’ve suffered symptoms as well,” Mendes said.
Singer Kelly Clarkson is the latest star to open up about her struggles. Today, she clarified an incorrect comment attributed to her by Attitude magazine. She tweeted, “I wasn’t ever miserable because I had to be thin. I was miserable and as a result I became thin.”
She added, “People had no idea I was unhappy oddly enough because I appeared healthy.”
Clarkson has spoken in the past about her struggles with bulimia. Back in 2007, she opened up to CosmoGirl magazine about a time in high school when she lost a part in a school musical and attributed the loss to her weight.
“I thought if I came back and I was cuter and thinner — then I’ll get the role,” Clarkson explained. “The lesson I took from that was purely superficial, but that’s what I grew up thinking for a long time. It wasn’t smart, and I headed straight into an eating disorder and became bulimic for the next six months.”
These women remind us that struggling with one’s body image and developing eating disorders can affect anyone — and we commend them for raising awareness about something so many of us struggle with.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237.