People “feel like I am lying,” said the model, who was recently diagnosed with the eating disorder

By Julie Mazziotta
May 07, 2021 04:18 PM
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11 Honore - Front Row - February 2019 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows
Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday is taking a social media break after dealing with "livid and angry" messages from people who questioned her anorexia diagnosis.

The model, who shared over the weekend that she is "anorexic and in recovery," said on Instagram Thursday that "the last few days have been some of my toughest to date since becoming a public figure."  

Holliday, 35, explained that she's "had a lot of messages from folks that are anorexic that are livid and angry because they feel like I am lying," she said in an interview with Good Morning America. "I am plus-size but advocating for diversity in larger bodies, and so I think, for people hearing me saying I'm anorexic was really jarring."

The mom of two was recently diagnosed with anorexia by a psychologist, but has struggled with disordered eating for most of her life.

"I always thought that I overate. But then people in my life would say, 'Oh yeah, I eat more than Tess,' and it was almost like I wore it as a badge of honor," she said.

Holliday is now working with a dietitian who helps her focus on eating three meals a day, and has taken up Pilates. She said over the weekend that she's "feeding my body regularly for the first time in my entire life," which caused her to lose some weight. That led to comments on her changing size from followers on social media, which is what pushed Holliday to share her eating disorder diagnosis and ask that people refrain from commenting on her body.

The disconnect in peoples' minds about the possibility that she would have anorexia is part of a bigger issue with society's understanding of eating disorders, Holliday said.

"I understand that people look at me and I don't fit what we have seen presented as the diagnosis for anorexia, but then for me, that tells me that there's a larger problem which I've actually been saying for years, which is that we have a lack of diversity and representation in the world," she said on GMA.

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The #EffYourBeautyStandards founder acknowledged, though, that along with an "overwhelming" amount of hate, "the messages from those of you that felt seen, validated and loved far outweigh the critics," she wrote on Instagram.

And Holliday said that she's in a far better place than she was even a year ago, and sees a world of opportunities moving forward.

"I mean, the sky is the limit," she said on GMA. "I actually feel like I can take on the things that life is throwing my way, and I have been happier in the last six months, through my recovery, than I've been in my entire life. I feel whole. I feel at peace. I really feel in my power."

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.