Demi Lovato Shares on Eating Disorder, Unhealthy Relationships: “I Was So Afraid of Being Alone”

6 02 2013

Few will argue that Demi Lovato has been a positive influence on youngsters after speaking honestly and refreshingly about her struggles with an eating disorder and her own body image.

So it’s only fitting that the X Factor mentor shares her thoughts on the challenges her young fans go through—self-esteem, health, relationships—in the latest issue of British Cosmo on Campus, Cosmopolitan‘s spin-off mag geared toward students.

And in true Demi fashion, she’s keeping it pretty real.

“I was about 12 or 13 when I developed my eating disorder, and at that time nobody in the public eye talked about their body issues,” the now-20-year-old tells the magazine.

“I feel that if someone had admitted they had a problem, then I wouldn’t have gone down that route myself,” she explains. “That’s my goal in talking about my problems: I want to be the person for other girls that I needed to admire when I was looking for help and strength.”

Part of that strength, she says, comes from accepting who you are, no matter what your shape or how other people perceive you.

“It’s OK to love your body the way it is,” she shares, “and it’s OK to reach out for help if you have drug and alcohol problems, or if you’re self-harming or being bullied.”

The star also opens up about her own past romantic dalliances and how she may have jumped in for the wrong reasons.

“It is very unhealthy when girls devote all of their time to a guy and forget their friends and family,” she says. “I did that. I was always looking for distractions because I was so afraid of being alone.”

Lovato admits she’s in a better place these days “where I can finally trust and love and be a better person for the man I am in a relationship with, instead of being a clingy girlfriend or getting jealous.”

That security, she offers, comes from one place: “Taking care of myself and not focusing on guys.”

She’s doing just that: Lovato shocked celeb watchers when it was revealed last month that’s she’s been living in a sober house in Los Angeles in order to stay the course.

With that kind of grit and resolve, she’s certainly on her way.

ALSO, ‘Maybe I should have waited’: Demi Lovato admits she ‘dived into work really quickly’ with X Factor USA job after rehab:

She made an impact on X Factor USA due to her feisty opinions and arguments with her boss Simon Cowell.

However, despite being a determined mentor on the talent TV show, Demi Lovato admits perhaps she should have waited to accept such a high-profile job following a difficult few years.

The 20-year-old singer spent time in treatment in 2011 for bulimia and self-harming, which she has openly spoken about in a bid to help others.

She was offered the job to join Simon, LA Reid and Britney Spears on the X Factor USA panel in autumn 2012 and jumped at the chance.

Speaking to the new Spring term issue of Cosmo On Campus, Demi concedes she wasn’t ready for the role.

She said: ‘I don’t think I was ready when I started on The X Factor. In an ideal situation I would have maybe waited a year or more.

‘I dived into work really quickly and maybe that wasn’t the best idea at the time, but the place I am in today is so much better than I could have ever imagined, so I’m really glad.’

After conquering her demons, the Camp Rock star is now in healthier state of mind and admits she’s finally ready to start dating again.

She explained: ‘It is very unhealthy when girls devote all of their time to a guy and forget their friends and family. I did that. I was always looking for distractions because I was so afraid of being alone.

‘I have spent the last year focusing on myself and it’s been incredible. More has come out of the past year than in my entire career so far, and I truly believe it was because I was taking care of myself and not focusing on guys.’

In the past, the young star admitted she used to ‘self-sabotage’ her romantic relationships.

However, now she insists: ‘I’m in a place where I can finally trust and love and be a better person for the man I am in a relationship with, instead of being a clingy girlfriend or getting jealous.’

The full interview appears in the Spring 2013 issue of Cosmo on Campus, available from 6th February across universities in the UK.

Cosmo on Campus is also available to purchase on Apple Newsstand (download the Cosmo UK app to access).

Scans HERE + read the full article below.

Happiness Is A Choice
She’s the former Disney star whose albums have sold millions and who spent the first months of her twenties sandwiched between Britney Spears and Simon Cowell on the U X Factor udging panel. But Demi Lovato is no cookie-cutter star. What sets her apart from the pack is her strength. She’s not afraid to admit there have been dark times and that they weren’t easy to get through.

Demi, 20, was bullied and called fat at school— she’s battled an eating disorder since she was in her early teens. On tour in 2010 she was in a really bad way. She was starving herself before she went on stage, making herself sick six times a day, cutting herself and using alcohol and drugs to numb her emotional pain. But hitting rock bottom made her seek professional help; she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and she spent time in rehab working through her issues. Today Demi is a strong, stylish, and sorted woman who puts campaigning to help other young women above anything else. She’s the spokesperson for anti-bullying organizations, and, as the woman who had the guts to call Simon Cowell “a bit of an asshole”, we had to find out her secrets to coming back from the brink…

The Glass Is Half Full
“My teens were years of experimenting and hitting rock bottom. I had to pick myself up and try to make it through. Yes, I had a lot of success, but mostly it was me and my disease. I was very sick and I did not enjoy the opportunities and rewards of my hard work. You can have all the number-one songs in the world, or Grammys, or whatever, but I don’t believe they alone make you happy. I could be twice as happy on a Sunday, running errands and spending time with my friends and family.

The thing I’ve learnt over the last couple of years is that happiness is a choice. I read a quote that said ‘Pain is inevitable but optimism and happiness is an option.’ I could look at any day and think, ‘I have so much to do, I have back-to-back meetings and I’m so tired.’ Or I could think, ‘Wow, I have this incredible opportunity to meet these people who could potentially further my career.”

Talk About It
“I was about 12 or 13 when I developed my eating disorder, and at the time nobody in the public eye talked about their body issues. I looked up to these very, very skinny girls in the tabloids— they were seen as the cool girls. But that was never my natural body type. It was was frustrating. I feel that if someone had admitted they had a problem, then I wouldn’t have gone down that route myself. That’s my goal in talking about my problems.

I want to be the person for other girls wh needed to admire when was looking for help and strength. It’s OK to love your body the way it is and it’s OK to reach out for help if you have drug and alcohol problems, or if you’re self-harming or being bullied.”

Put Men Last On Your List
“It is very unhealthy when girls devote all of their time to a guy and forget their friends and family. I did that. I was always looking for distractions because I was so afraid of being alone. I was too busy focusing on trying to get a boyfriend, but I have spent the last year focusing on myself and it’s been incredible. More has come out of the past year than in my entire career so far, and I truly believe it was because I was taking care of myself and not focusing on guys.”

Everyone Deserves Love
“I am totally fine being single, but if I did meet someone I would take things slow. Before, I was the type of person who didn’t feel I deserved a lot from the relationships I was in, so I self-sabotaged them. I broke up with the guy first or messed up the relationship. I would get so afraid of falling in love and then being hurt that I would just run away and move on to the next guy, when the real reason I was trying to find a relationship so many times was because I was not happy with myself. Now I’m in a place where I can finally trust and love and be a better person for the man I am in a relationship with, instead of being a clingy girlfriend or being jealous.

Be Nice To Yourself
“Taking care of yourself is so important; it builds your self-esteem. It’s the little things— even something like cleaning your room. You feel better about yourself when you are good to yourself. I eat six small meals a day, I love juices and I eat tons of fruit and vegetables, I have to follow a meal plan because I’m in recovery. When I exercise I don’t overdo it— I just do enough to give me energy and so I feel happy with myself.”

Stand Up For Yourself
“I’m a southern Texas girl. I have a really strong personality— I speak my mind and I don’t hold back. You have to find a guy who isn’t afraid or intimidated by you and your opinions. I’m the type of woman who doesn’t put up with bullshit, so when I date I have to find someone who won’t either. I don’t think any woman shoul ever hold back what she’s really thinking.”

Work Hard
“I don’t think I was ready when I started o The X Factor in autumn 2012]. In an ideal situation I would have maybe waited a year or more [after coming out of treatment]. But everything happens for a reason. I’m a working woman, I have bills to pay, I have a house… if I don’t continue to work I won’t be able to afford the house and all the luxuries that come with this life. I dove into work really quickly and maybe that wasn’t the best idea at the time, but the place I am in today is so much better than I could have ever imagined, so I’m really glad.”

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