Kelsea Ballerini reveals she struggled with an eating disorder as a teenager.
In her new poetry book Feel Your Way Through, the singer confesses her issues with bulimia began in high school.
In the poem titled “Kangaroo”, Ballerini writes that a boy called her “Kangaroo” due to her “belly and little legs”. She went on to battle bulimia for years, using diet pills and excessively working out to the point of exhaustion multiple times. She sought help when she turned 18.
“My parents had just gotten divorced, and I think for me, it was a source of control,” she tells People magazine in the new issue.
Despite getting help with the disorder, it has been a lifelong struggle dealing with body image issues.
In 2015, she performed on “The Today Show”, and discovered an article mentioning her “baby bump” on the show.
“I reverted back to that 12-year-old version of me but thought: Either you’re going to get triggered by this all the time, or you’re going to get to a point where you’re okay enough to look past it,” she admits.
After putting in a lot of work, the country star now feels more comfortable in her own skin.
“I’m in a much healthier spot, and I’m much more gentle with how I talk to myself and my body,” Ballerini reveals to People. “There are still days where I revert back to being that 12-year-old, and I have to catch myself, and hold myself accountable to the work I’ve done.”
She explains a lot of that work involved rewiring the way her brain thinks.
“I don’t work out to get skinny, I work out to be healthy. I don’t eat a salad to be skinny, I eat a salad to be healthy,” she continues. “I’ve re-calibrated what it means to me to just look in the mirror and just be like, ‘Man, I’m healthy. I’m strong. I have good breath support to do my job well.’ Those are things that matter to me now, rather than: ‘I look skinny in a dress.'”
By opening up about her own experiences, the artist hopes that it will give others comfort and feel less alone.
“When you’re able to talk about things, you either are going to feel shame about it and you’re going to keep it hidden, or you’re going to air it out and be vulnerable and connect with people and take the sting away from it and heal together,” Ballerini says. “And I think that’s just the better option for me at this point in my life. So that’s why I air out a couple of my dark secrets in this book.”