Demi Lovato has had body image problems for as long as she can remember.
The singer, 23, grew up with a mother who suffered from bulimia, and says seeing her mom struggle with an eating disorder affected her relationship with her own body from an extremely young age.
“Even though I was 2 or 3 years old, being around somebody who was 80 lbs. and had an active eating disorder it’s hard not to grow up like that,” Lovato told American Way magazine.
Despite her insecurities, Lovato began competing in beauty pageants at age 7 – which she said made her body image issues even worse.
“My body-image awareness started way before that, but I do attribute a little of my insecurities to being onstage and judged for my beauty,” she said.
The former Disney star began binge eating when she was 9, and began cutting her arms and purging at age 12 after obsessively comparing herself to the super-skinny models she saw in magazines.
“When I was gaining weight because I was becoming a woman, I would look at those images and say to myself, Wait, this is not what I look like. I m getting fat on the hips and on my butt,’ ” she told the mag.
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As her celebrity grew, Lovato began using alcohol, cocaine and OxyContin as a way to self-medicate.
“I lived fast and I was going to die young,” she said. “I didn t think I would make it to 21.”
Lovato eventually checked into rehab at age 18 to deal with her eating disorder, cutting and substance abuse issues. While she says she is now “proud of my body,” she does worry she will pass on her bulimia to her future children.
“I’m nowhere near having children, but already I ask myself questions,” she said. “My grandma had bulimia, my mom had it, I had it, and hopefully my kids won’t have it, but it’s kind of like addiction. It’s hereditary.”