Getting candid with fans once again, Demi Lovato opened up eating disorder recovery and how certain comments can be very damaging or triggering. The singer, who recently came out as nonbinary, posted a message on their Instagram story on Sunday, May 23, explaining how even well-intentioned compliments might be detrimental to someone struggling with an eating disorder. The “moral of the story” was that they don’t need reminders that their body is “all people see” of them sometimes.
“Idk who needs to hear this but complimenting someone on their weight loss can be as harmful as complimenting someone on their weight gain in regards to talking to someone in recovery from an eating disorder,” the star wrote in part. “If you don’t know someone’s history with food, please don’t comment on their body. Because even if your intention is pure, it might leave that person awake at 2 am overthinking that statement…”
Lovato continued, explaining that while compliments can feel great, there’s a huge downside: It does so “only to the loud ass eating disorder voice inside [their] head that says ‘See, people like a thinner you’ or ‘If you eat less you’ll lose even more weight.’” It also makes Lovato question what people thought of their body before.
The “Dancing With the Devil” singer laid out the crux of their message even more clearly, writing, “I am more than the shell for my soul that is my body.” They also noted they have to fight to remind themself of that every day and indicated those aforementioned compliments can make that harder. “I’m asking you to please not remind me that that is all people see of me sometimes,” Lovato concluded.
Discussing the challenges of recovery is not new for the star. In a February 2020 episode of the Pretty Big Deal podcast, Lovato spoke to host Ashley Graham about how outside influences can be a problem. “I think when you have certain people around you that are telling you certain things that you should look a certain way, it makes it harder,” they said. “I was in that situation, and I was just running myself into the ground.”
Later, in December 2020, the Disney vet chose to show off their stretch marks while discussing the progress they’ve made in their recovery journey. They posted an Instagram photo in which they’d thrown “a lil glitter on ’em” and explained that they “wanted to celebrate [their] stretch marks instead of being ashamed of them.”
“I used to genuinely believe recovery from an eating disorder wasn’t real,” they wrote in the caption, in part. “That everyone was faking or secretly relapsing behind closed doors. … I’m so grateful that I can honestly say for the first time in my life - my dietitian looked at me and said ‘This is what eating disorder recovery looks like.’”
More recently, on May 5, Lovato went into greater detail about what recovery looks like for them. “I still struggle. Daily. There are periods of time where I forget about my food struggles and other times it’s all I think about,” they wrote in part. “But that is what ED recovery looks like for some people and I still have hope that someday I won’t think about it anymore.”
As they continue on their journey, Lovato keeps a special message in mind: “I am worth it.”
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237, text 741741, or chat online with a Helpline volunteer here.