After years of struggling with an eating disorder, Camila Mendes is in a happier and healthier place. The 23-year-old actress, who stars on “Riverdale” as the bold-browed Veronica Lodge, recently opened up about her decision to no longer diet, and the “fear” and “loss of control” that came with it.
In an interview with People, Mendes, who announced on Instagram that she quit dieting in February, explained that it hasn’t been easy since she has stopped restricting her food. Still, despite the obstacles, Mendes assures that she remains dedicated to her diet-free lifestyle. “I was really obsessed with dieting,”Mendes said. “I don’t know if it was psychological but [when I quit dieting], I felt like I was gaining weight. Just that fear of ‘oh my god I’m gaining weight now,’ but I’ve really made this promise to myself that I’m gonna stick to this.”
As an eating disorder survivor, Mendes explained that she experienced a “fear of losing control” when she first stopped dieting. It wasn’t until she learned to “let loose” that she started developing a healthy relationship with her food. “It’s fine to eat dessert when I want to eat dessert, because that will give me the peace of mind I need. I’ll know that if I ate chocolate cake, maybe I won’t the next day,” Mendes said. “I’ve learned to trust myself that I’m going to make healthy choices because I care about my health.”
To keep her on track, Mendes said that she has friends whom she texts when she experiences guilt with food. “I feel like I know I have enough friends who support me through those times, like I’ll call a friend and be like, ‘I really don’t feel good about what I ate today,’ and she’ll be like ‘Dude, it’s fine,’” she said.
Like many people, Mendes’s perspective on her body was inspired by the images that she saw in the fashion industry. Now that the industry is expanding to highlight diverse sizes, Mendes feels less of a pressure to conform her body to its standards. “I think we’re getting to that point where there are different types of beauty and we just need to understand that,” Mendes said. “I know I eat healthy and I know I work out and I know I lead a healthy lifestyle. So why try to push myself to look a certain way because the fashion industry has told me that that’s the way you should look?”
Everyone experiences body insecurities, and though it’s hard to talk about something so personal as an eating disorder, we appreciate Mendes’s candidness and the influence she has over people who might be dealing with similar struggles.