Demi Lovato – Authenticity in Struggle to Recover from Bulimia

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Nearly a decade after Demi Lovato first opened up about her struggles with bulimia, self-harm, and other mental health issues, the now-28-year-old singer has once again used her platform to speak up about her struggle to recover from bulimia.

Relapse for Demi Lovato During Eating Disorder Recovery

In a February 2020 interview on Ashley Graham’s “Pretty Big Deal” podcast, Demi Lovato talks openly about her relapse into eating disorder behaviors. “I thought the past few years was recovery from an eating disorder when it actually was just [me] completely falling into it,” Lovato says [1].

Lovato’s journey with relapses during eating disorder recovery is a common one for many people. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that 35 percent of women with bulimia nervosa experience at least one relapse [2]. And as Lovato’s recent relapse illustrates, eating disorders often resurface in a different form. In the past, her eating disorder typically involved episodes of binge eating and purging, but her recent ED struggles looked a little different.

In the “Pretty Big Deal” podcast episode, Lovato shares that over the last few years, she started to compulsively overexercise, sometimes working out as many as three times a day. “There were times where I like lived at the gym and would take business meetings at the gym on my breaks from my workout.” She goes on to say, “I’d eat a meal, go workout. Eat a meal, go workout” [3].

In 2018, things finally came to a head when Lovato suffered from a drug overdose and had to be hospitalized. At this point, Lovato was finally able to see the truth hiding behind her obsession with exercise: her eating disorder had once again resurfaced. “I just realized maybe my symptoms weren’t as obvious as before, but it was definitely an eating issue” [4].

The Journey to Recovery

Demi LovatoLovato started working with mental health and eating disorder professionals to once again fight her eating disorder and restore a healthy and balanced relationship with food, eating, and exercise. Looking back on her recent ED relapse and the time she spent obsessing over body image and exercise, Lovato states, “That’s not happiness to me, that’s not freedom, and that’s not everything I’d worked for and preached to people, so why live that life […]?” [5].

As Demi Lovato’s story illustrates, recovering from an eating disorder is not always a straightforward journey. Rather, the road to recovery is often filled with twists, turns, and detours. But as long as you get back up and keep going, despite the setbacks and struggles, you’ll continue to make progress and will eventually find freedom and healing.

If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder or have experienced a relapse in recovery, reach out and seek professional help right away. Although it’s not always easy to admit you’ve relapsed in eating disorder recovery, seeking help is the first step towards getting back on the recovery track.


[1] “Demi Lovato on practicing self care – pretty big deal. YouTube, uploaded by AshleyGraham, February 18, 2020,

[2] Keel, P. K., Dorer, D. J., Franko, D. L., Jackson, S. C., & Herzog, D. B. (2005). Postremission predictors of relapse in women with eating disorders. The American journal of psychiatry, 162(12), 2263–2268.

[3] “Demi Lovato on practicing self care – pretty big deal. YouTube, uploaded by AshleyGraham, February 18, 2020,

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid.

About the Author:

Sarah Musick PhotoSarah Musick is a freelance writer who specializes in eating disorder awareness and education. After battling with a 4-years long eating disorder, she made it her mission to help others find hope and healing in recovery.

Her work has been featured on numerous eating disorder blogs and websites. When she’s not writing, Sarah is off traveling the world with her husband.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published February 17, 2021, on
Reviewed & Approved on February 17, 2021, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC