In her upcoming movie, To The Bone, Lily Collins plays a young woman who suffers from anorexia. It turns out, Collins also previously suffered from an eating disorder, and the role prompted her to open up about the condition, and how she overcame it. People reports that in an interview with Shape, the 28-year-old talked about her relationship with food and how she treats her body now that she's recovered.
Deciding to come forward about her past was a huge decision, but Collins decided it was ultimately the right move.
"I did consider that talking about my struggles with an eating disorder would overshadow my accomplishments as an actor, but I also knew this was something I needed to do to move forward as a human and an actress," she told the magazine. "I needed to let go."
She added, "I’ve always strived to start conversations about taboo subjects with young women … having suffered from an eating disorder does not define me, I’m not ashamed of my past."
Her whole outlook on food has changed, as well as her idea of a healthy body. Healthy doesn't mean perfect — it means happy.
"I used to see healthy as this image of what I thought perfect looked like — the perfect muscle definition, etc," she continued. "But healthy now is how strong I feel. It’s a beautiful change, because if you’re strong and confident, it doesn’t matter what muscles are showing. Today I love my shape. My body is the shape it is because it holds my heart."
As for getting into character for To The Bone, Collins was definitely nervous about the subject matter triggering some unhealthy habits, especially considering she had to lose weight for the part.
"It was something that I thought is risky, because there’s a fine line between facing something head-on and succeeding, or falling back into it," she told Refinery29 in an interview last month. "But I knew that, this time, I would be held accountable for it."
The actress worked with a nutritionist, who gave her a schedule as well as supplements. While she did lose weight, it was important that things never got unhealthy.
"I didn’t crash diet," she emphasized. "We really ate clean, no sauces, oils, it was just very clean eating but in no way crash dieting. That would not have done good for my body and I wanted to treat this as specifically and as healthily as possible."
To The Bones comes to Netflix on July 14.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.