Demi Lovato: Body Image Issues Began When I Was Three Years Old

demi lovato body image

Demi Lovato has revealed that she felt the pressure of body image issues from the shocking age of three.

The former Disney star and current X Factor judge opened up to Katie Couric — herself a sufferer of bulimia — on Katie, describing how she faced physical abuse in school and consequently had a difficult relationship with food. She told Couric:

“When I started having body image issues I remember being three years old in a diaper and rubbing my hand over my stomach … and I remember thinking in my head ‘I wonder if one day this will ever be flat?'”

Lovato also talked about her school years, revealing what many people already know to be true: words are often more damaging than physical actions. She described how:

“[Words] played more of a toll on me than if I was physically abused in school. I’ve always said I wished that they had just hit me in the face and gotten it over with because what they said to me sticks to me to this day and it affected me, (turned) me into the person I am today. I was bullied and they called me fat and they called me horrible things.”

As well as struggling with bullies, Demi Lovato suffered from bulimia as a young girl, and this led to cutting, which in turn triggered her exit from a 2010 tour with the Jonas Brothers to seek professional help. It was as this point she was diagnosed as bipolar. This period of her life was revisited in a 2010 interview with ABC’s 20/20 (via the Huffington Post):

“I was compulsively overeating when I was eight years old. So, I guess, for the past 10 years, I’ve had a really unhealthy relationship with food. [Cutting] was a way of expressing my own shame, of myself, on my own body. I was matching the inside to the outside. And there were some times where my emotions were just so built up, I didn’t know what to do. The only way that I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself.”

Lovato’s issues even affected her performances, with the star revealing in the same 2010 interview:

“I was performing concerts on an empty stomach. I was losing my voice from purging. I was self-medicating. I was not taking medication for depression, and I literally was so emotionally whacked out that I took it out on someone that meant a lot to me.”

Now no longer a teenager, Lovato has recently signed up to lead an anti-bullying campaign that aims to be a positive source of support for young women.