Confessions of a Celebrity…

The hottest news lines this past week weren’t necessarily about the latest election polls or international news, but rather, of the celebrities who have revealed their own struggles with eating disorders.  At a time where pressure to reflect a certain body type is higher than ever, many celebrities are standing up in protest against the Hollywood stigma to be “thin”.  Some celebrities, such as Demi Lovato, have made an effort to vocalize the importance of helping girls with eating disorders.  But Lovato hasn’t been the only celebrity to reveal a dangerous battle with an eating disorder.

Last week, Katie Couric opened up about her battle to stay thin on her daytime talk show, Katie.   “I wrestled with bulimia all through college and for two years after that.  And I know this rigidity, this feeling that if you eat one thing that’s wrong, you’re full of self-loathing and then you punish yourself, whether it’s one cookie or a stick of gum that isn’t sugarless, that I would sometimes beat myself up for that.” Couric shared.  Through the sharing of her experiences, Couric was able to provide much needed information for girls and woman struggling with an eating disorder.

On the heels of Couric’s testament, Lady Gaga also revealed that she has suffered from bulimia and anorexia since the age of 15.  After being the object of much scrutiny in recent weeks for her fuller figure, Lady Gaga created a movement on her website in an attempt to begin what she’s calling a “body revolution.”  Gaga has encouraged followers to “be brave and post a photo of you that celebrates your triumph over insecurities.”  Many have found hope in this outlet to share their own insecurities as thousands have already commented on her newly launched initiative.

As celebrities like Demi Lovato, Katie Couric, and Lady Gaga become open and transparent about their own personal struggles with an eating disorder, it often helps bring awareness to a topic that can be greatly misunderstood.  There is a fine line to be aware of however, as these disorders are not something to take lightly.  Celebrities are more than just famous individuals; to some, they are role models, people to be idolized or even become obsessive with.  Having an eating disorder can easily become something skewed, and the personal sharing of their disorder or story can do more to “glamorize” this devastating illness. Across a widespread of sources on the internet, many are questioning whether or not it is helpful when a celebrity reveals their own eating disorder, or does it simply reinforce vulnerabilities that millions of men and women may be struggling with daily?  A good way to approach this would be to ask if these celebrities are playing an important role in raising awareness about eating disorders, or rather, does the personal sharing of their disorder do more to “embellish” these deadly diseases?

The encouraging thing is that no matter what celebrities’ intentions are when revealing personal struggles, such as a battle with an eating disorder, they may instill hope in the life of someone who otherwise could not understand how recovery is possible.  At Eating Disorder Hope, we applaud the efforts of celebrities who are using their journeys and life lessons to touch the lives of millions of people who may be struggling with a similar issue and hope that all individuals will find a way to seek help when needed, finding inspiration in the darkest of times.

What are your thoughts on the latest celebrities who revealed a personal struggle with an Eating Disorder?

About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Eating Disorder Hope in 2005, driven by a profound desire to help those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This passion resulted from her battle with, and recovery from, an eating disorder. As president, Jacquelyn manages Ekern Enterprises, Inc. and the Eating Disorder Hope website.