Lili Reinhart struggled with body dysmorphia: ‘every thought was about my weight’

Lili Reinhart talks a lot about body image and mental health. She’s an advocate for body positivity and hits back at the unrealistic expectations of women’s bodies that permeate the media. But, she’s still not immune to negative thoughts about her own body, and in a recent interview Lili again discussed her struggles with body dysmorphia and how she’s been affected by seeing her body change on camera.

Lili Reinhart said she experienced a recent mental health “spiral” from dealing with body dysmorphia while filming the latest season of Riverdale.

The 26-year-old actress has been open about her struggle with body image throughout her career. However, she shared in conversation with Dr. Daniel Amen for his interview series Scan My Brain that she had recently been in a “negative headspace” as she witnessed her figure changing on camera.

“I’m constantly exposed to pictures of myself all the time on social media, on my show, pictures of me on my show, which started when I was 19. So I’m sort of constantly comparing what I look like now to what I looked like when I was 19, a child,” she said. “So I’m comparing my body to my own body, basically, and afraid of the changes that have been happening.”

Reinhart went on to say that she’s been in “a battle” with herself as a result of that comparison to her younger self. “It’s me vs. me. Me from a couple years ago vs. me now and thinking how do I get back to that? How can I look like that again?” she explained.

As she gets older and faces more changes with her body, it becomes more difficult for her to deal with.

“It has been really hard the last couple months, specifically dealing with more noticeable weight gain than I ever have in my life while also being on film while it was happening. So shooting my show [Riverdale] and having that weight gain basically documented on camera, episode by episode, week by week of my life, my weight fluctuation,” she said. “It felt very much like this massive problem, this thing that was taking up truly 90% of my brain capacity, I was barely thinking about anything else. Every thought was about my weight, was about what I was eating, how I could lose weight, how I don’t look how I used to look, how everyone looks around me, how I don’t look like them. All of my thoughts were about my body and it was very overwhelming and a very negative headspace that I was in.”

Reinhart said that although she’s “coming out” of that most difficult time, she continues to deal with negative body image on a regular basis after developing body dysmorphia by the time that she was 13 years old.

[From Yahoo! Entertainment]

Lili makes the point that she is looking at images of her body at 19, when she was still in her teens, and comparing it to her body as it changes as she matures throughout her 20s. Despite being out of puberty, people continue to develop during those years and it’s tough on everyone when your body continues to change and you think it should have stopped at that point. It’s especially tough when you’re confronted with images of yourself every day. Often when people talk about looking back at old images of themselves, they say they wish they knew back then how great they looked. And this is like an extreme version of that where she knows how great she looked and is comparing it to her current reality. It sucks to compare yourself to yourself as opposed to someone else because it’s you, so you feel like it should be attainable again. It sounds like the weight thoughts she was dealing with were tough and it was even tougher to have it immortalized on camera. I’m glad she’s coming out of that difficult time right now and hopefully she feels better on future projects.

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8 Responses to “Lili Reinhart struggled with body dysmorphia: ‘every thought was about my weight’”

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  1. Lucy says:

    Our culture’s obsession with thinness and weight as a measure of “health” is so, so damaging and harmful. Glad she is another voice talking about this.

  2. Dss says:

    I wish she could just enjoy her youth and not fret about her body. Unfortunately that goes part and parcel with being in the entertainment industry. Then menopause hits. That’s when your body goes into full revolt. Losing wait then becomes the equivalent of chipping away at a boulder

  3. Lucía says:

    Last night I watched her Netflix movie, Look Both Ways. Last week I watched Do Revenge. I know Riverdale put Lili and Camila Mendes in the spotlight, but I’m glad they’re finally getting to do other things. I loved both movies!

  4. KASalvy says:

    I’ve always appreciated that Lili talks about mental illness, body dysmorphia, etc to her audience and others and that it’s all normal to have these thoughts. She’s self aware she’s not perfect and that being constantly photoshopped is not normal or reality. Also that speaking up about these thoughts shouldn’t be taboo or hidden away.

    I love that she talks about these things and even though she’s young and gorgeous, it’s not just in her industry that you compare yourself to a teenage version of what we saw. So many of us still try to look like what e did in our 20s and it’s still hard to accept changes, when no one talks about it in a healthy way.

  5. AnneL says:

    My daughter has body dysmorphia. She’s gotten past the worst part of the struggle but it’s still with her. The thing is, she was overweight as a teenager (she’s 25 now). She wasn’t imagining it. The doctor told her she was at an unhealthy weight and needed to take some off. She had insulin resistance so it was just hard for her to do that.

    Now, she’s figured out how to stay at a healthy weight through diet and exercise without obsessing about it. But she still looks at herself sometimes and sees the overweight kid she used to be. Yesterday she picked up a pair of vintage jeans I was getting ready to sell on line and said “Oh, cute! Could I try these?” I told her there was no way they would fit her, they’d be about three sizes too big for her. But that’s what happens to people with body dysmorphia. They often have a warped sense of what they look like, what size they are.

    I like Lili a lot. I like that she talks openly about these things. A lot of teenagers watch her show so it’s good for them to know an actress (a beautiful one at that) is dealing with this and knows it’s unhealthy, knows that she shouldn’t be so hard on herself. Lili is the kind of woman who will always be pretty I think, even if she puts on weight as she ages. I wish more women would understand that while it’s important to be mindful of what you eat and to exercise, you don’t have to be a size 6 to look attractive and be healthy.

  6. Kate says:

    It must be really hard to keep a healthy perspective of body image as an actor or actress. One of the things that helped me on my own body image issues recovery was writing a letter to myself from my 80 year old self about what I wish I knew (or something like that). It’s about gaining perspective of this moment as just a moment in your whole life. No matter how you looked at 19 and how you look at 26, your 80 year old self is going to see both of those versions as beautiful.

    It also helped me to kind of prioritize what I want my life to be about and what I don’t want to regret in my old age. Like, am I going to wish I just played on the beach more instead of avoiding it because of being in a swimsuit. Am I going to wish I just ate and enjoyed the damn slice of cake instead of counting calories and feeling guilt and yearning.

    It’s not like knowing what you want makes your current struggles disappear but it was a practice that slowly helped me move away from focusing so much on how skinny I am or am not. Something I don’t know if I could have done in an industry so focused on looks!

  7. Valerie says:

    BDD is hell. I couldn’t imagine trying to navigate it in the public eye.

  8. Onomo says:

    Thanks for the psa about how women’s bodies change Peridot. I was a kid when I heard of adults trying to diet back to their high school weight, and it never occurred to me to question if that was good – physically or mentally health wise.