Body positivity is an outlook that many strive for. But adopting the “My body is beautiful” approach doesn’t come easy for everyone––and that includes pop icon Demi Lovato.
The singer opened up to Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner (in her first interview in more than a year) at the 2019 Teen Vogue Summit, revealing that she favors body acceptance over body positivity.
“To be honest, I don’t always feel positive about my body,” Lovato, 27, said. “Sometimes I do not like what I see.”
But rather than dwell on any negativity, Lovato chooses to express gratitude for what she has. “I used to look in the mirror if I was having a bad body image day and say ‘I love my body, you’re beautifully and wonderfully made.’ But I didn’t believe it,” she revealed. “I don’t have to lie to myself and tell myself I have an amazing body. All I have to say is ‘I’m healthy.’”
With these two words, Lovato explained, she expresses gratitude for her strength and for the things her body is capable of doing. “I am saying I’m healthy and I accept the way my body is today without changing anything,” she said.
Lovato’s work on self image is part of her recovery from substance abuse. In July 2018, after six years of sobriety, she was rushed to hospital following a reported drug overdose. Only a few weeks previously, she’d released her single “Sober,” in which she revealed that she’d started drinking alcohol again earlier that year.
After her hospitalization Lovato took time out of the spotlight to focus on her recovery, and it seems she’s gained a different perspective on how to deal with her mental health issues, including disordered eating.
“For so many years I dealt with an eating disorder. What I wasn’t ever open with myself about was, whenever I was in the gym I was doing it to an unhealthy extreme,” she told Teen Vogue. “I think that’s what led me down a darker path––I was still engaging in these behaviors. Embracing my body as it is naturally is why I took the month of October off the gym.”
As well as being more accepting of her body, Lovato says she’s learned to embrace every part of herself, which has helped her overcome her personal struggles.
"Over the past five years I've learned life is not worth living unless you're living for yourself. If you're trying to be someone you're not, or you're trying to please other people, it's not going to work out in the long run," she said. "If you want to dye your hair purple, dye your hair purple. If you want to love someone of the same sex, love someone of the same sex. Be yourself and don't be afraid of what people think."
With new music on the way—although she didn’t say when her next record would drop—and a healthy attitude to life, Lovato’s self image is stronger than ever.
"What I see in the mirror [is] someone that's overcome a lot. I've been through a lot and I genuinely see a fighter," she said. "I don't see a championship winner, but I see a fighter and someone who is going to continue to fight no matter what is thrown their way. I have a lot of confidence now because I have said the things I believe in. I know I can hold my own on a first date with someone, in a conversation with someone. That's what I see when I look in the mirror—a strong woman."
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