Lindsay Ell Finds Her 'Sweet Spot' While Recovering from Eating Disorder: 'I Can't Do This Anymore' (Exclusive)

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"I remember sitting on my kitchen floor bawling my eyes out," the guitarist tells PEOPLE. "I wasn't able to control it anymore"

Taylor Kelly Lindsay Ell
Taylor Kelly Lindsay Ell

It was just another day in the seemingly sweet life of Lindsay Ell.

The Canadian country music hitmaker of No. 1 songs such as "Criminal" and "Want Me Back" had just finished a much-anticipated photo shoot to kick off a year full of new music and new adventures when she returned home, walked into her kitchen, and proceeded to fall apart physically and emotionally.

"I remember sitting on my kitchen floor bawling my eyes out," Ell, 34, tells PEOPLE from her home in Nashville. "I wasn't able to control it anymore, whether it was me eating something or me not eating anything. And I was just like, I can't do this anymore. This is exhausting and I can't do this alone."

And it was at this point earlier this year that the Canada's Got Talent host made the decision to get help for an eating disorder that she now suspects she has battled with for many years.

"Specifically in the entertainment industry, I think it's so easy to slough it off," she admits. "For the longest time, I was just like, 'I'm an artist and this is just the way of life. This is what we do.' It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I may have a problem that needs to be addressed."

Related:Lindsay Ell Was Recently Diagnosed with an Eating Disorder; Has Hopes Her Story Will 'Inspire' Others

Taylor Kelly Lindsay Ell
Taylor Kelly Lindsay Ell

And address it Ell did, meeting with a long list of doctors and therapists who listened as she told them about the times she would restrict her eating in preparation for an event or a day she would be on camera.

"I essentially wouldn't eat much at all beforehand," explains Ell, who scored a top 10 hit in the States in 2019 courtesy of her collaboration with Brantley Gilbert on "What Happens in a Small Town." "But I would do the thing, and then I would binge eat in a way that was completely uncontrollable."

In February, much like she has done so many other times throughout the entirety of her 20-year career, the guitarist headed to her Instagram page to share her struggles with her loyal legion of fans.

"I really feel like, for the past year of my life, I've been challenged to just be real and not put on any façade of what I'm feeling or who I'm being," Ell, who first opened up about her eating disorder during an appearance on Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe, tells PEOPLE. "I feel like through vulnerability and through being open, we are definitely able to make these tough places in our life so much easier. The more I share my heart and the things I'm going through, it causes me to just to be real and not sit in denial of my own self."

Related:Lindsay Ell Says She Celebrated with Little Big Town After Passing Her American Citizenship Test

She suddenly draws in a deep breath.

"I can't look in the mirror and B.S. myself and pretend like I'm feeling something I'm not," she adds. "It's almost like this weird accountability thing. The more vulnerable I get, it causes me to be more real with myself."

And it's this realness that Ell is now singing about in her new single "Sweet Spot." "It's not until you can feel some of the highs and some of the lows that you can find that spot in the middle that is, in essence, the sweet spot," explains Ell, who will soon join Shania Twain as her special guest on her North American Queen of Me Tour. "With perspective, you can reach this 'sweet spot' mentality about your reality every day if you want."

Taylor Kelly Lindsay Ell
Taylor Kelly Lindsay Ell

Related:Lindsay Ell Is on a Shania High After Getting Tapped for Twain's World Tour: 'It's So Surreal'

It is this sweet spot that Ell continues to seek — but it hasn't been easy.

"This whole recovery process — I mean it doesn't feel great, to be honest," Ell admits. "It's harder because the behaviors you were doing were to cope with how s---ty everything feels. So when you take away those coping behaviors, it honestly feels worse for the first little bit, which is the moment I'm sitting in right now."

But she sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I know that there's a more balanced and more realistic life that I can live," Ell concludes. "I'm really excited about the music I feel is going to come from it."

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