In recent years, Demi Lovato has shared her struggle with bulimia. Reflecting on her own battle to stop worrying about weight loss and achieve a positive body image, she feels that Beyonce and Kim Kardashian both helped to change the world's views on what constitutes the ideal physique, reported the Huffington Post on Aug. 29.
"When I was growing up and when I was a pre-teen, the people that I had to look up to [for] body image [were] extremely underweight," Lovato reflected. "[They] were all very bony at that time and that was the in thing."
Now women with curvy bodies have become the new standard for beauty. Lovato expressed her appreciation to those women for ending her focus on weight loss.
"I really credit women like Beyonce and Kim Kardashian. [They] completely revolutionized our generation's view...of what beautiful is," Lovato said. "You can think whatever you want about the Kardashians, but they really did help tons of women feel comfortable in their own skin, and I like to carry that message on."
In 2010, Lovato went to a rehab facility specializing in eating disorders. Since then, she has made an effort to serve as a role model for girls. She's even authored a book of affirmations: "Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year."
"There was nobody out there for me to look at and say, maybe this is unhealthy. Maybe starving myself isn't the answer," she said to Ellen DeGeneres in a recent appearance on her talk show. "So I want to be that for a 13-year-old girl at home deciding whether or not to eat dinner, or an 18-year-old deciding whether or not to keep her breakfast down. There needs to be a role model out there, and for the first time in my life, I actually feel like one."
Demi hopes that her honesty about her war with her weight can make a difference. The young singer recalls how she felt and looked frail as a teenager because at the time, female celebrities all sought to achieve a size zero.
"The very first time that I ever went to the VMAs, I just looked so bony and fragile and unhappy," said Demi. "Yes, I was at the VMAs, and I was 16 and I was having an incredible time, but at the same time I was miserable," reported Us Weekly on Aug. 29.
Now Demi has achieved a healthy weight and feels proud of how far she has come in regaining her health. She emphasizes that her standards of beauty have changed.
"I look back at that and I think, 'You know what? I may have been thinner, but I am so happy that I am healthy today and I have curves, which are a lot sexier than what I was aiming for,'" she admitted. "I think curves are beautiful and I feel great."
But millions of women and men still struggle with eating disorders. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) reports that 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their lives in the United States.
NEDA cautions that eating disorders should be regarded as life-threatening, impacting both the physical and emotional health of sufferers. Damage can range from heart problems to dental issues to severe depression.
Eating disorders can occur in even young children. Demi appeared on Katie Couric's talk show and said that she feels her body image problems began when she was just three years old.
"When I started having body image issues I remember being three years old in a diaper and rubbing my hand over my stomach...and I remember thinking in my head 'I wonder if one day this will ever be flat?'" she said. After suffering from bullying in school, Demi began to use food for comfort .
"I was compulsively overeating when I was eight years old. So, I guess, for the past 10 years, I've had a really unhealthy relationship with food," she added. Her eating disorder included purging, which could have threatened her career.