According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), eating disorders affect at least 9% of the population worldwide, and 9% of the U.S. population, or 28.8 million Americans, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.
Eating disorders are among the deadliest mental illnesses, second only to opioid overdose; therefore, having celebrities like Camila Mendes that use their platform to share their struggles with body dissatisfaction and negative attitudes toward obesity is essential to spark the conversation, get help, recover, and getting involved in aiding others.
Mendes recently opened up about dealing with an eating disorder while filming the first season of The CW’s teen drama series Riverdale. During an episode of the Going Mental podcast, the 28-year-old actress known for portraying Veronica Lodge revealed to host Eileen Kelly she has been dealing with body image issues since childhood, but seeing herself on TV added a layer of insecurities.
“I would watch every episode and be like, ‘Oh my God, my stomach there…’” she said. “I was, like, so insecure, and it really fueled my eating disorder.”
“When you’re in your early 20s, like, your body is fluctuating...my body hadn’t settled into itself yet,” she added. “I was looking at myself, taking myself apart. My stomach, you know, my arms, my chin, anything — I would obsess over.”
Mendes said she was so preoccupied with how she looked on camera that it affected her performance as an actor. “It kind of got in the way of my acting because when I was acting on camera … it really f---s with your process,” she said.
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Camila revealed she had fears of foods such as bread; therefore, she decided to seek the help of a nutritionist. “I was really afraid of eating carbs, and what would happen is I would avoid it for a long period of time, and then I would binge and eat a bunch and then purge,” she recalled. “So it was this, like, terrible cycle. She helped me overcome that by reintroducing bread into my life to be like, ‘See, it’s not going to kill you.’”
The actress said that when people praised how she looked after weight loss, it made her fall into her old habits. “When I don’t hear that, I think I look terrible,” she confessed. “When no one’s commenting on how thin I look.”
If you are struggling with an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating, ANAD is here to help. The non-profit provides free peer support services to those struggling with eating disorders, including a helpline, treatment directory, support groups, and mentorship program. Call the Helpline: 888.375.7767