Camila Mendes details struggles with eating disorder: 'I was really afraid of eating carbs'

Camila Mendes opens up about recovering from an eating disorder. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Camila Mendes opens up about recovering from an eating disorder. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Camila Mendes is opening up about getting help for her eating disorder.

The Riverdale star, 28, sat down with Eileen Kelly for her Dear Media podcast Going Mental, where she spoke about struggling with body image issues while filming the first season of her long-running CW series.

"I would watch every episode and be like, 'Oh my God, my stomach there…' I was so insecure and it really fueled my eating disorder," she said. "I had one at various points in my life. A little bit in high school, towards the end of senior year, and then a little bit in college, and then it came back [during] Season 1 of Riverdale."

She added, "When you're in your early 20s, your body is fluctuating, my body hadn't settled into itself yet. I was looking at myself, taking myself apart, my stomach, you know, my arms, my chin, anything — I would obsess over [it]. It got in the way of my acting, because when I was acting on camera … it really f****s with your process."

The Do Revenge actress said she started seeing a therapist for the first time during this point in her life in order to "heal" her eating disorder, as well as a nutritionist who "helped me overcome my fear of bread."

"I was really afraid of eating carbs," Mendes said. "And what would happen is I would avoid it for a long period of time and then I would binge and eat a bunch and then purge. So it was this terrible cycle, and she helped me overcome that by reintroducing bread into my life to be like, 'See, it's not going to kill you.' Now, it's something that rarely comes up in therapy."

Mendes also shared that it was difficult overcoming her eating issues because when she would lose weight, she was told, “You look so good."

"When I don’t hear that, I think I look terrible — when nobody's commenting on how thin I look," she added.

Mendes has long been open about struggling with self-esteem issues. In 2017, she started working with the organization Project HEAL, a nonprofit that raises money for treatment of eating disorders. At the time, she shared on Instagram that her passion for the organization stemmed from seeing her older sister struggle with eating disorders, as well as suffering from "symptoms" of disordered eating as well.

In 2018, she declared she was "done with dieting" in an Instagram post.

"I'm done believing in the idea that there's a thinner, happier version of me on the other side of all the tireless effort," she said at the time. "Your body type is subject to genetics, and while eating nutrient-dense foods and exercising regularly will make you healthier, it will not necessarily make you thinner, and the current system fails to make that distinction."

Later that year, she shared more about her personal experiences with an eating disorder to Shape, revealing that she "struggled with bulimia" while in high school and college, describing it as an "emotional relationship with food and anxiety about everything I put into my body."

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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