Alix Earle opens up about overcoming eating disorder

‘I was just so obsessed with this dieting culture. I went down such a bad path with myself and my body and my image,’ she says

Kaleigh Werner
New York
Friday 06 October 2023 20:39 BST
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(Getty Images for Tory Burch)

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TikTok influencer Alix Earle has spoken candidly about her former struggle with an eating disorder.

The 22-year-old creator recently partnered with media mogul Alex Cooper to launch a new podcast titled Hot Mess to offer the inside scoop on her private life. In her recent episode, Earle opened up about how an unhealthy mindset in high school led her to develop a binge eating disorder.

As a young girl, the University of Miami graduate exercised a positive relationship with food. However, as she got older, she noticed some of her peers dieting regularly.

“They were paying thousands of dollars for these diets,” Earle recalled. “And in my mind, I knew that this wasn’t normal at first but after watching their habits and watching them lose weight and watching them be so satisfied over this, it became more normalised for me.”

“It was a very, very toxic environment when it came to girls’ relationship with food. I went from someone who had a very healthy relationship with food very quickly to someone who did not,” she continued.

As her exposure to the culture of unhealthy eating habits furthered, Earle began cutting back on her food intake. She said she would eat less during the day and forego meals ahead of events. Earle explained that her condition developed into bulimia.

Earle supposedly battled feelings of body dysmorphia, shaming her figure and comparing it to others.

She recalled: “I was just so obsessed with this dieting culture. I went down such a bad path with myself and my body and my image. And I started to have this sort of body dysmorphia. I would look in the mirror and I would see someone way bigger than the person that I was, and I couldn’t grasp why I was never happy with the image that I saw.”

The influencer went on to describe her eventual recovery and the mindset she assumed. “I thought: ‘Okay well maybe if I can’t say this out loud, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this,’” she noted.

“So I knew I needed to stop, and I did. I stopped making myself throw up,” Earle continued.

According to Earle, that didn’t necessarily halt her dieting tendencies, however, as she said she would still cut back during meals and go without eating for periods of the day if she knew she had an activity to attend.

But when the internet celebrity left New Jersey to go to college in Florida, she slowly overcame these habits. Earle admitted she wouldn’t have been able to ditch the negative mindset surrounding food if it weren’t for the friends she made in Miami.

“They were like: ‘Alix, you know that’s not healthy, that’s not okay,’” she recalled. “‘That’s not normal for you to think that or do that or restrict yourself from those foods, like, that’s not healthy.’ And I was just so appreciative at the fact that I had girls telling me that like it was okay to eat, and we weren’t all going to be competing with our bodies.”

Surrounding herself with the group of women she often refers to as her family did more for her than she could’ve imagined before college.

Earle added: “I started to just kind of follow these new girls in college [and] over time those thoughts went away.

“Not completely but you know over time I would think about it less and less. I’ve seen how much healthier and happier I am, and I’m so so grateful for the girls that I’m friends with who helped me get over this and who let me talk about it openly with them without them judging me.”

Now, having slowly mended her relationship with food, she’s not overthinking what she’s consuming or counting calories, according to Earle, who said she’s eating what she wants to eat and believes herself to be in “much better shape”.

Her only hope in sharing her story is to help other individuals who may be struggling like she was.

For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677. NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040.

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