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Demi Lovato is opening up about the “extreme” behavior that she applied to exercise and dieting after having gone to rehab in 2010. But while she thought she was actively in recovery, she now says that she was actually leaning further into her addiction and illness.
“I’m tired of running myself into the ground with workouts and extreme dieting,” the singer-songwriter told Ashley Graham during an episode of her podcast, Pretty Big Deal. “I thought the past few years was recovery from an eating disorder when it actually was just completely falling into it. And I just realized that maybe my symptoms weren’t as obvious as before, but it was definitely an eating issue.”
An eating disorder and self-harm are what led Lovato to her first treatment center when she was just 18 years old. After that, she admittedly struggled with her sobriety but thought that she had overcome unhealthy habits when it came to taking care of her body. “It was just like me thinking I found recovery when I didn’t.” Instead, she fell into a dangerous pattern of exercise that she believed to be self-care, while those around her were still encouraging the star to push herself to look a certain way.
“I had to work my ass off every day in the gym six days a week to like maintain that figure and it’s just like, that led me only one way,” Lovato explained. “I think what I really needed was someone to come in saying like, ‘Hey I think you might want to take a look at how much you’re working out. Or maybe three times a day is excessive for working out.’”
Lovato noted that at the time she was still striving to love her body, before more recently coming to terms with the idea that it’s more important to just accept it. “I would love to be in a place where I could say I’m super confident in my body. But the reality is I’m not. I just am not,” she said. Now coming from a place of body acceptance, however, she feels freer.
“I was just running myself into the ground and I honestly think that’s kind of what led to everything happening over the past year...I’m not willing to destroy my mental health to look a certain way anymore,” she said. “Now I finally feel like I have freedom from it because I literally don’t know my weight and it’s the most free that I’ve ever felt in my whole life.”
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