Lily Collins Opens Up About Overcoming Eating Disorders: 'Healthy Now Is How Strong I Feel'
The actress opens up about how she overcame eating disorders and learned to love her body
Lily Collins continues to get candid about her body.
“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”