Camila Mendes isn’t afraid to be vocal about her personal struggles with body image. Nearly a year ago, the 24-year-old star announced her decision to get involved with Project HEAL, a nonprofit that helps those suffering with eating disorders, after admitting that she had dealt with symptoms of the “serious mental illness.” Then, a few months later, she vulnerably opened up to her 12 million Instagram followers to proudly proclaim that she was officially done with dieting, writing, “I’m done believing in the idea that there’s a thinner, happier version of me on the other side of all the tireless effort.”
Now, the Riverdale actress is speaking out again about the importance of focusing on one’s mental and physical health. She recently sat down with Shape magazine to chat about her former “addiction to dieting” and how she found the strength to get through it. Read on for some of her empowering quotes from the interview.
On Her Struggle With Bulimia
“I’ve struggled with bulimia. It happened a little bit in high school and again when I was in college. Then it came back when I started working in this industry with fittings all the time and watching myself on camera. I had such an emotional relationship with food and anxiety about everything I put into my body. I was so scared of carbs that I wouldn’t let myself eat bread or rice ever. I’d go a week without eating them, then I would binge on them, and that would make me want to purge.”
“If I ate a sweet, I would be like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to eat for five hours now.’ I was always punishing myself. I was even anxious about healthy food: ‘Did I eat too much of the avocado? Did I have too many fats for one day?’ I was consumed with the details of what I was eating, and I always felt as if I was doing something wrong.”
On the Importance of Seeking Help
“So much of the anxiety I had about food went away when I started learning more about nutrition.”
“About a year ago, I got to a point when I realized I needed to see someone. So I went to a therapist, and she recommended a nutritionist as well, and seeing both of them changed my life. So much of the anxiety I had about food went away when I started learning more about nutrition.
“My nutritionist completely cured my fear of carbs. She was like, ‘You need a balanced amount of good, healthy carbs in your life. Have a piece of toast in the morning; have some quinoa at lunch. When you’re eating a little of them all the time, you won’t have this crazy urge to binge. You won’t be scared of carbs anymore because you’re going to realize that eating them isn’t going to make you gain weight.’ She also cured my addiction to dieting. I was always on some kind of weird diet, but I haven’t been on one since. I’m very proud of myself.”
On Her Go-To Workouts
“Working out sets the tone for my day. It puts me immediately in a great mood and makes me feel as if I’ve done something for myself. I try a lot of different classes, but I always come back to yoga and Pilates. Those are the workouts that bring me joy. At this point in my life, exercise is the one time when I’m not working. My phone is in a locker, and it’s just my trainer and me, or me in a class. I can completely focus and meditate in an active way. It’s about dedicating time to me and making myself stronger, healthier, and happier.”
On How She’s Learned to Love Herself
“This body-positivity movement we’re having right now is so amazing, and it’s helping me so much. I’m seeing all these people who I look up to, like Rihanna, open up about their weight fluctuations and loving themselves the way they are. That makes me love myself more too.”