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Tess Holliday has opened up about her private struggle with anorexia.
On Saturday, the model and activist took to Twitter to reveal to that she is "anorexic and in recovery" after many years of struggling with her body image.
The 35-year-old told her more than 91,000 followers that her eating disorder was the product of society's obsession with thinness.
"I’m anorexic and in recovery. I’m not ashamed to say it out loud anymore," she wrote. "I’m the result of a culture that celebrates thinness and equates that to worth, but I get to write my own narrative now. I’m finally able to care for a body that I’ve punished my entire life and I am finally free."
I’m anorexic & in recovery. I’m not ashamed to say it out loud anymore. I’m the result of a culture that celebrates thinness & equates that to worth, but I get to write my own narrative now. I’m finally able to care for a body that I’ve punished my entire life & I am finally free
— Tess H🍒lliday (@Tess_Holliday) May 1, 2021
Following her announcement, Holliday shared another tweet addressing some confusion from her fans. Many questioned how it was possible for her to be an advocate for self-love while simultaneously suffering from an eating disorder.
"To everyone saying that I can’t possibly love myself and have an eating disorder, that is the actual definition of loving myself — being able to prioritize myself and to be in recovery," Holliday wrote. "I’m more self-aware than any of my critics. But, you know, y’all go off.
Following her brave admission, there were some online trolls who questioned her diagnosis, prompting Holliday to address the false assumption that a person can't be plus-sized and also anorexic.
"Not the 'But you're fat how are you anorexic?' comments," she wrote. "Y’all don’t know how science and bodies work, huh? My technical diagnosis is anorexia nervosa, and yes, I’m still not ashamed. I’m too damn happy for y’all to even come close to dimming my shine."
The model's tweets were immediately met with support from her followers — many of whom personally related to her struggles.
"I've struggled with eating disorders my whole life as well and would rather be overweight than starve or purge ever again," one person wrote Holliday. "I'm proud of you for all the work you've put towards yourself and so happy to see you happy."
"I really wish my younger self had you to look up to," another tweeted. "I remember always thinking I couldn’t be anorexic because I was still fat. Thank you for speaking your truth- you are amazing."
"Thank you for speaking out honestly. It is so important to change the narrative around what anorexia represents and it takes such courage to speak out about it," wrote another.
"Thank you for being so brave and telling your story. It’s important for people to understand that no matter what size you are you can struggle with anorexia," someone added.
The mother of two doubled down with a follow-up statement via Instagram, slamming diet culture.
"To everyone that keeps saying 'you’re looking healthy lately' or 'You're losing weight, keep it up!' Stop," she wrote. "Don't comment on my weight or perceived health. Keep it to yourself, thanks."
Holliday explained to her 2.1 million followers that she has lost weight while in recovery but has been learning to eat and nourish her body "regularly for the first time" in her life.
"When you equate weight loss with 'health' and place value and worth on someone’s size, you are basically saying that we are more valuable now because we are smaller and perpetuating diet culture," she went on. "For folks like me that are trying to reframe our relationships with our bodies and heal, hearing comments about weight is triggering as hell. It sets us back in our progress — and when people working on themselves see you commenting to me that way, it hurts them, not just me."
For more information on eating disorders or to find a treatment provider near you, visit the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) or the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) for information outside of Canada.