“I didn’t feel like I could stop exercising,” she wrote. “It was my job to fit into that unforgiving military uniform I’d be wearing in two months in A Few Good Men. Getting in shape for that movie launched the obsession with working out that would consume me over the next five years. I never dared let up.”
This “excessive exercising” lead to a decrease in the fat content of her breastmilk, which soon began affecting Scout’s growth. Demi recalls being “crushed” when she was told by her doctor she would need to supplement with formula. Still, she continued to push her body to its limits and after she landed a role in Indecent Proposal, her mental (and physical state) only got worse.
“I would be on display again, and all I could think about was my body, my body, my body,” she wrote. “I doubled down on my already over-the-top exercise routine. I cut out carbs, I ran and I biked and I worked out on every machine imaginable.”
It wasn’t long before she began restricting other areas of her diet too.
“When I was making Striptease, for breakfast I would measure out a half cup of oatmeal and prepare it with water, then for the rest of the day I would have only protein and some vegetables — and that was it,” she said. If all this obsessing about my body sounds crazy to you, you’re not wrong: eating disorders are crazy, they are a sickness. But that doesn’t make them less real.”
Demi only learned to embrace her natural bodyweight after being forced to bulk up to play a naval officer in G.I Jane a year later.
“My usual reaction would have been to start starving myself again, to begin an exercise regime designed to reduce the bulk, but I did neither. I had reached my limit,” she wrote. “When I got home to Idaho, I had an epiphany in the shower one day: I just need to be my natural size.”
Meditation was also an instrumental part of her mental and physical recovery.
“I added into my daily prayer a new mantra: to have the courage to be seen without padding or protection,” she said. I couldn’t go on fighting my body and my weight; I had to make peace. I started by giving up hard exercise. I never went back into the gym in the house. Never. … The room it occupied is now my office.”
If you are worried about yourself or someone in your care, the best thing you can do is talk to someone. Please contact the Butterfly Foundation 1800 33 4673 or chat online.