American pop star and actress, Demi Lovato, recently opened up to the media about having recovered from anorexia nervosa and self-mutilation. Demi was bullied at school for being overweight, a factor that is fairly common in the lives of individuals who become anorexic.
The bullying became so bad that after a horrible day at middle school, Demi asked to be homeschooled. Her mother agreed to the request and in April 2009 she gained her high school diploma through homeschooling.
Her acting career began at the age of seven when she starred in a few episodes of "Barney", the children’s program about a purple dinosaur. She shot to fame in 2008 after bagging the lead role in a Disney film called "Camp Rock".
It has been a brave and courageous move for her to talk about her anorexia when she is under public scrutiny and just starting out on her already successful career, but she did it, she says, to help other teenagers.
"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 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."
Some other famous people who have successfully beaten eating disorders are:
Jane Fonda (actress) – she recovered from binge eating.
Lucy Lawless (Zena Warrior Princess actress) – recovered from bulimia.
Kate Beckinsale (actress in films such as ‘Pearl Harbor’) – recovered from anorexia.
Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice from the "Spice Girls") – recovered from anorexia. When asked what advice she would give teens, she said “I got better because someone before me taught me how to eat properly. She put her hand in mine and, equally, for someone watching, I'm putting my hand in theirs. Learning from others is important when it's not working for yourself.”
Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice from the "Spice Girls") – recovered from anorexia and bulimia. She blamed the media for her illnesses after they called her "Sumo Spice" when she was only a U.S. size 6.
John Prescott (Former British Deputy Prime Minister) – recovered from bulimia and has supported an NHS campaign to raise awareness of eating disorders.
Elton John (Singer) – recovered from drug addiction and bulimia. He said “I had to change because I was frightened. I didn’t want to die angry and bitter and sad, and that’s what I had become.”
Kate Winslet (Actress in films such as "Titanic") – recovered from anorexia and went on to embrace her curvy figure. She said “It seems to me that (Hollywood) is breeding a whole new generation of anorexics. I look at people and I want to say ‘Look, it’s alright you can eat something’.”
Princess Diana – recovered from bulimia and during the 1990’s helped other women to have the courage to seek help.
Demi Lovato: My Battle with Eating Disorders, Teen Daily. Web. 27 September 2011.
Disney Demi-Goddess, The Washington Post. June 21, 2008. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/20/AR2008062003077_pf.html
Demi Lovato Graduates High School, Disney Dreaming. Web. 27 September 2011. http://www.disneydreaming.com/2009/04/23/demi-lovato-graduates-high-school
Celebrities with Eating Disorders, Eating Disorder Institute. Web. 27 September 2011.
Candid Talk from Jane Fonda about her Eating Disorder, Eating Disorders Blogs. Web. 27 September 2011. http://www.eatingdisordersblogs.com/nutrition/2008/11/-candid-talk-from-jane-fonda-about-her-eating-disorder.html
Sporty Spice’s Battles with Eating Disorders and Depression, Contact Music. Web. 27 September 2011.
Full Interview: Geri Halliwell, Newsround. Web. 27 September 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/uk/newsid_3136000/3136594.stm
‘I took Refuge in Stuffing my Face’ – John Prescott Admits Bulimia’, The Guardian, 21 April 2008. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/apr/21/health.johnprescott
Elton John went to Rehab to Battle Drug Abuse and Bulimia, Celebrities with Diseases. Web. 27 September 2011.
Kate Winslet Speaks out Against Anorexic Role Models, World of Psychology. Web. 27 September 2011. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2007/02/12/kate-winslet-speaks-out-against-anorexic-role-models
Bulimia: The Princess Diana Eating Disorder, Mirror-Mirror. Wen. 27 September 2011.
Reviewed September 27, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith