Hilary Duff Shocked By Memories Of Her Eating Disorder As a Teenager

"I was too skinny," the 'Lizzie McGuire' star admits, reflecting on her weight at age 17.

Warning: The below story discusses eating disorders. If you are struggling, reach out to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) helpline. You can also join the free, therapist-led, virtual support groups hosted by The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness.

Hilary Duff may have been working in Hollywood since she was a teenager, but that doesn’t mean whole her experience has been a complete fairy tale.

In a revealing profile found in Women’s Health, Duff shares shocking details of her time as a rising child star — including her very personal struggles with eating disorders and anxiety from working in the entertainment industry.

“Because of my career path, I can’t help but be like, ‘I am on camera and actresses are skinny,’” she explained in the interview. “It was horrifying.”

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Her troubles with body dysmorphia began shortly after she finished the series finale of Lizzie McGuire, the Disney Channel teen hit that skyrocketed her career into the spotlight.

Duff’s talent landed her movies like A Cinderella Story and Cheaper By the Dozen, along with a pretty successful solo singing career. Still, the pressures of competing for roles alongside other Hollywood ingenues became too much, impacting her health.

“When I was 17, I weighed, like, 98 pounds,” she confessed in a 2014 interview for Health magazine. Duff vigilantly watched everything she ate, admits that she was “way too skinny,” and that felt like she was not in control of her body at all.

“My hands would cramp up a lot because I wasn’t getting the nutrition I needed,” she added in the Health interview. “That constant pressure of wanting something different than I had? I regret that.”

According to research from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, 95 percent of people with eating disorders are between the ages 12 and 25. Social media apps like TikTok are also increasing access to harmful stereotypes associated with body dysmorphia.

Since the birth of her three children, Duff has constantly faced scrutiny over losing the baby weight as quickly as possible. While her body has naturally fluctuated in shape and size, the former child actress is working towards loving her body in the most healthy way possible.

She credits her personal trainer, Dominic Leeder, with playing a huge role in getting her back into a body and mindset that works. Setting realistic goals, finding appropriate fitness plans, and acknowledging the challenges of weight loss, are all part of her methodology, which is helping this mom of three find a body she is comfortable with.

“[I’m] appreciating my health,” she concludes in the latest Women’s Health profile, “doing activities that make me feel strong instead of just bettering the outside of my body.”

Katka Lapelosova
Kat is a born and raised New Yorker exploring the world as she writes, eats, and everything in between. Read more