In her new book, The Living Clearly Method, Hilaria Baldwin opens up about the anorexia and bulimia she developed as a professional dancer
“Without realizing it, I started drifting away from the playful connection to movement I’d enjoyed as a young child and into a different and darker kind of dynamic: pushing my body to its limits and commanding it to perform through pain or fatigue,” Baldwin, 32, writes.
Her body had already reached its limits by the time Baldwin started college at New York University.
“A long simmering struggle with anorexia and bulimia began to hold me firmly in its grip,” she says. “By the time I was 20 years old, my 5-foot-3 frame was at least 20 lbs. under a healthy weight. My nails were brittle, my hair was falling out, my period was MIA, and my energy had tanked. I was miserable and desperate to feel better.”
Thankfully Baldwin discovered yoga, which helped pull her out of her funk. But while the practice initially reduced Baldwin’s stress, she flew through the ranks to become a yoga instructor and open her own studio — and once again found herself taking on too much.
“I wish I could say that it was smooth sailing from this point on, but sometimes things have to get a whole lot worse before they get better,” Baldwin says. “Even while I was helping so many others, I still didn’t listen to my body. Extraordinarily long days became my reality; skipping meals was par for the course.”
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She hit a breaking point — literally — in 2009, when a nagging hip pain combined with a bad fall on pavement left her leg bone severed from her hip. Her year in recovery was the “rude awakening” that Baldwin needed.
“My year of recovery turned out to be a year of waking up, in which I healed my two-decade-long eating struggle and began to treat myself right,” she says. “I started to find pleasure in engaging fully with the whole process of eating, instead of checking out or avoiding it.”
“The imbalances that had been there for much of my life returned to balance, and I looked and felt a hundred times better as a result.”