Fitness queen Cassey Ho opens up about her eating disorder

Cassey Ho, the creator of uber-successful fitness channel Blogilates, is known for helping millions of people achieve a more healthy and active lifestyle. While meant to have a positive impact, the online fitness scene is not without its negative aspects, particularly the pressure put upon its stars. At the #GirlLove panel at VidCon on Thursday, Cassey Ho described her experience with orthorexia — a disorder that focuses on the obsession with “right” and “wrong” foods.

According to People, Cassey openly discussed the kind of impact body-shaming comments had on her. “I used to have an eating disorder and a body image disorder because I thought I had to be super skinny and super toned and all of that kind of stuff, and compared myself with other fitness people and Instagrammers,” Cassey said. “Your body is not what you’re about. You’re about what inside your body, inside your brain, your heart, your character, your talent.”

At the beginning of this year, Cassey talked about her struggles with the disorder in a video called “Why I Will NEVER Diet Again.”

“I wasn’t prepared for it, but I got myself in a really bad situation,” she said at the time. “I was scared to eat apples. I was frightened of bananas and I just didn’t want to touch a grape because I thought it would make me fat.”

Now, Cassey is determined to help her followers overcome online bullying and the pressures of being perfect while still managing to live in a more healthy way — both physically and mentally. “Once you realize there’s so much more than your abs and your booty, then you can really thrive in life,” she explained in her VidCon panel. “There is so much more to life than your body.”

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. This is why it is so important that Cassey has opened up about her experience in such a real way. By using her platform to speak openly about something affecting so many people, it might make people them feel less alone. Orthorexia is a very deceptive eating disorder, and Cassey’s honesty might help another sufferer find a path to recovery.