Riverdale Star Camila Mendes Shares Her Struggle With Body Positivity

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Riverdale star Camila Mendes has a new mission: to stop obsessing over thinness, and start focusing on the things that she really loves.
In October of 2017, Mendes revealed on Instagram that she watched her older sister battle an eating disorder for years, and experienced disordered eating herself as well. She also announced her partnership with the organisation Project HEAL in order to help break the stigma associated with eating disorders.
Attempting to change your body to fit into society's narrow definitions is exhausting — and for many, obsessing over thinness is just the norm. Mendes took to social media to remind fans that it doesn't have to be that way, and that there is a lot more to explore when you take slimming down out of the equation. In an Instagram post Mendes penned in conjunction with Project HEAL's new initiative #DoneWithDieting, which aims to show how dieting culture has harmed mental health, the TV star explained:
Advertisement
"When did being thin become more important than being healthy? I recently went to a naturopath for the first time in my life. I told her about my anxiety around food and my obsession with dieting. She phrased a pivotal question in such a way that struck a chord with me: what other things could you be thinking about if you didn't spend all your time thinking about your diet? I suddenly remembered all the activities I love that used to occupy my time. At some point in my life, I allowed my obsession with being thin to consume me, and I refused to make room in my mind for any other concerns. Somehow I had stripped myself of all the pastimes that brought me joy, and all that was left of me was my anxiety around food. My passion for education, cinema, music, etc. — all the interests that used to occupy my mind — had been eaten away by my desire to be thin, and it made me miserable."
She added:
"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. 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. I’m sick of the toxic narrative that the media consistently feeds us: that being thin is the ideal body type. A healthy body is the ideal body type, and that will look different for every person. I’m #donewithdieting — join me in this movement and share your story!"
Advertisement

When did being thin become more important than being healthy? I recently went to a naturopath for the first time in my life. I told her about my anxiety around food and my obsession with dieting. She phrased a pivotal question in such a way that struck a chord with me: what other things could you be thinking about if you didn't spend all your time thinking about your diet? I suddenly remembered all the activities I love that used to occupy my time. At some point in my life, I allowed my obsession with being thin to consume me, and I refused to make room in my mind for any other concerns. Somehow I had stripped myself of all the pastimes that brought me joy, and all that was left of me was my anxiety around food. My passion for education, cinema, music, etc. — all the interests that used to occupy my mind — had been eaten away by my desire to be thin, and it made me miserable. 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. 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. I’m sick of the toxic narrative that the media consistently feeds us: that being thin is the ideal body type. A healthy body is the ideal body type, and that will look different for every person. I’m #donewithdieting - join me in this movement and share your story!

A post shared by Camila Mendes (@camimendes) on

Fans shared their support in the comments section:
"PREACH, sis!," one fan wrote. "You are an inspiration and you’re helping pave the way for the rest of us gals who’s frames will never be a size 2 and shouldn’t have to be!! Together we CAN make change happen in the industry!"
"Exactly what I needed to hear," another added.
"Yes! The diet culture our society reinforces is so toxic. Thanks for sharing your personal struggle + for speaking out," wrote a third.
Here's hoping that everyone hears Mendes' message loud and clear. Life's too short to focus on fitting into one narrow size.
Advertisement