The actress opens up about how she overcame eating disorders and learned to love her body

By Michelle Ward Trainor
June 22, 2017 10:30 AM
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Credit: Adam Franzino/SHAPE

Lily Collins continues to get candid about her body.

The actress, who shared how she overcame eating disorders in her book, Unfiltered, opened up to the July/August issue of Shape about her reveal.

“I did consider that talking about my struggles with an eating disorder would overshadow my accomplishments as an actor, but I also knew this was something I needed to do to move forward as a human and an actress. I needed to let go,” said Collins, 28, who plays a woman struggling with anorexia in her new film To The Bone.

“I’ve always strived to start conversations about taboo subjects with young women … having suffered from an eating disorder does not define me, I’m not ashamed of my past.”

Credit: Adam Franzino/SHAPE

The self-described “clean eater” now has a healthy relationship with food. “I love chicken, fish and vegetables and grains like quinoa, but I don’t eat red meat.” she said. She also shuns processed foods. “I’m very farm-to-table; growing up in the English countryside it was a way of life, not a trend.”

Not that Collins deprives herself entirely. She’ll have “the occasional dessert” when out with friends.

“When I splurge, it’s usually on things I’ve baked, because it’s satisfying physically and emotionally,” she explained. “I’m not gluten-free or vegan, but I love baking things because of the sense of accomplishment I get from creating something that’s yummy and healthy.”

While the star can be known to whip up “everything from doughnuts to birthday cakes and banana-walnut bread,” she does admit, “there was a time when I wouldn’t let myself taste those foods, let alone make them.”

Credit: Adam Franzino/SHAPE

Now, the star takes pride in her shape.

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“I used to see healthy as this image of what I thought perfect looked like — the perfect muscle definition, etc,” said Collins. “But healthy now is how strong I feel. It’s a beautiful change, because if you’re strong and confident, it doesn’t matter what muscles are showing. Today I love my shape. My body is the shape it is because it holds my heart.”

Credit: Adam Franzino/SHAPE

Exercise also plays a big part in keeping her body and mind strong.

“I try to be active in some way everyday: It’s my time to disappear and be in my own world,” said Collins, who loves swimming and counts Body by Simone as her favorite workout. ” I can also push myself past what I thought I was capable of.”

Credit: Adam Franzino/SHAPE

And Collins doesn’t sweat it if she doesn’t make it to the gym.

“Of course, if I’m traveling or tired I give my body a rest,” she said. “I used to feel guilty if I skipped a workout in the past, but now it just means life is offering up things that I want to do instead. Those ellipticals will always be there but experiences won’t.”