Tess Holliday Says Weight-Bias Led to Delayed Anorexia Diagnosis: 'I Could Have Gotten Help Sooner'

The model and body activist opened up about how it felt to hear she had anorexia: "I had no idea that it could be me"

Tess Holliday is sharing more about her anorexia battle — and the weight-bias that played a role in her late diagnosis.

"When you think of the term anorexia, you associate it with emaciated bodies," Holliday says in an exclusive clip from Tamron Hall airing today. "I had no idea that it could be me."

The model and body activist, 36, was diagnosed last year after taking time to explore her relationship with food. "During the pandemic, it caused me to slow down — like it did most of us — and I started really examining how I was feeding my body or the lack thereof," she says.

Realizing she needed help, she started working closely with a dietician.

"When I reached out to her, I thought that I was overeating, I thought that I was binge eating," Holliday says. "About five months into our [virtual] sessions, she said, 'I can't diagnose you properly, but if I could I would diagnose you as anorexia nervosa.' "

Tess Holliday, Tamron Hall
Courtesy Tamron Hall show

It was something Holliday had never expected to hear.

"I was sitting on the kitchen counter and I remember her saying it and I just laughed," she says. "I went, 'No, look at me — I'm fat.' "

After that initial realization, she was left to process confusing emotions.

"I just was flooded with all kinds of feelings. If I would have known that this was a possibility, I could have gotten help sooner. If there wasn't so much weight-bias stigma in the medical industry, someone could have helped me before I got to his point."

Since then, she has been open about her recovery and how she struggles with allowing herself to eat, posting on Instagram about her successes as well as the occasional "intrusive thought" that pops in her head.

"Of course I have a hard time feeding my body. I literally have been told my entire life that I don't deserve to feed my body," she said in a recent Instagram caption.. "Like, everyone in my life has always said, 'Are you sure you want to eat that?' 'Don't eat that.' That's just been constant, from the moment that I was plus size, which was 11."

"When you have been told your entire life that you don't deserve to feed your body and you are taught to restrict food to not be 'fat,' of course you struggle with feeding your body," she added.

Tess Holliday's daytime exclusive interview will air today on Tamron Hall.

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