The former Disney star has been very open about concurring her demons. From early on in her career Demi struggled with her mental health after being diagnosed bipolar, paired with drug and alcohol abuse and an eating disorder. Demi admits in her new documentary, Simply Complicated, that her struggles with food came first, dating back to when she was 8-years old, when she idolized skinny singers and movie stars.
When she was young, Demi created a collage of famous thin women she aspired to be - some of whom were drastically underweight, like Amy Winehouse. Demi from a very young age associated success and beauty with thinness and always saw it as her goal to be thin, beautiful and successful. Her mom, a former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, blames herself for not condemning the images of skinny women as beautiful women, saying her own perspective of beauty was warped.
Demi thought back to when her problem with food started, saying, "When I was 8 years old and my little sister was born, a lot of the attention was taken off me and onto my little sister. I had started working at that time and was under a lot of stress so I would bake cookies for my family and I would eat all of them and nobody would have any to eat. That was my first memory of food being that medicine for me.”
Demi also details that she was severely bullied growing up and that girls would target insults around her weight, calling her fat. She admits that food has a power over her unlike anything else, saying, "it's something I constantly think about. Body image, what I wish I could be eating, what I wish I could be eating next, what I wish I didn’t eat, you know it’s just constant. I get envious towards people who don’t struggle with an eating disorder because I think my life would be so much easier."
Though Lovato has been substance and alcohol-free for over 5 years now, her relationship with food is something that still needs work. When she was with ex-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama, Demi abstained from relapsing with binging and purging, but once they broke up she lost control.
"When I was in a relationship with Wilmer I went three years without purging and when we broke up that’s one of the first things I did,” she admitted to both her manager and the cameras. “The less I have to think about food, the easier it is to go about having a normal life and I don’t want to let anybody down so when I do have moments when I slip up, I feel very ashamed. What started the relapse was missing Wilmer. And when I feel lonely my heart feels hungry and I end up binging." Though Demi admits that life with a recovering eating disorder is not easy, she's working very hard to exercise her demons and continue on a path to health.