Almost exactly one year ago, Riverdale star Camila Mendes talked publicly for the first time on social media about her past experiences with disordered eating. She shared this personal experience while also announcing her collaboration with Project HEAL, a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources and funding to young people seeking treatment for eating disorders. Since then, the actor has continued to speak candidly about her experiences with bulimia, as well as her decision to stop dieting once and for all.
In her cover interview for the November 2018 issue of Shape, Mendes spoke about how she’s recovering from years of disordered eating, and what made her decide to share this process with her millions of fans and followers.
“I’ve struggled with bulimia,” she said. “It happened a little bit in high school and again when I was in college. Then it came back when I started working in this industry with fittings all the time and watching myself on camera. I had such an emotional relationship with food and anxiety about everything I put into my body.”
Mendes explained that she was “so scared of carbs” and wouldn’t let herself eat rice and bread. “I was always punishing myself. I was even anxious about healthy food: Did I eat too much of the avocado? Did I have too many fats for one day?” she went on. “I was consumed with the details of what I was eating, and I always felt as if I was doing something wrong.”
About a year ago, the 24-year-old decided it was time to seek help.
“I went to a therapist, and she recommended a nutritionist as well, and seeing both of them changed my life. So much of the anxiety I had about food went away when I started learning more about nutrition,” Mendes said.
For instance, she explained that her nutritionist “completely cured my fear of carbs. She was like, ‘You need a balanced amount of good, healthy carbs in your life. Have a piece of toast in the morning; have some quinoa at lunch.'” Mendes also said her nutritionist helped her tackle her “addiction” to dieting. “I was always on some kind of weird diet, but I haven’t been on one since. I’m very proud of myself,” she shared.
And while the actor said she still faces some of the same insecurities she did before, she’s found ways to help shut them down. “The voices in my head never completely go away. They’re just way quieter now. Every once in a while I’ll look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘Ugh, I don’t like the way that looks.’ But then I’ll just drop it. I don’t let it consume me,” she said. “I think it’s natural to judge or be critical of yourself. Everyone does it. But you can make the decision on the spot that you’re going to conquer it.”
If you or someone you know is at risk or experiencing an eating disorder, resources are available through NEDA or contact their phone helpline at 800-931-2237 or their text crisis line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.