Model Tess Holliday says she’s been met with a lot of love, but also a shocking number of hurtful messages, after revealing she’s in recovery from anorexia
Content warning: This article discusses eating disorders, weight loss, and anorexia.
Tess Holliday is a model and body-positive activist and has always been candid and transparent about her life on social media. Last week, after being frustrated by the number of people wondering about her recent weight loss, she revealed that she’s “healing from an eating disorder,” specifically, anorexia. Many applauded her transparency and sent her love and well-wishes, but Holliday revealed on May 6, 2021 episode of Good Morning America that she has been overwhelmed by “hate” after speaking out about struggling with disordered eating.
Holliday first took to Twitter last Friday, April 30th, to address speculation about her weight and it was the first time she publicly stated that she was in recovery.
“Healing from my eating disorder & everyone is out here thinking it’s okay to comment on my weight loss,” she tweeted.
She went on to specifically say that she’s in recovery from anorexia, writing on Twitter, “I’m anorexic and in recovery. I’m not ashamed to say it out loud anymore…I’m the result of a culture that celebrates thinness and equates that to worth, but I get to write my own narrative now. I’m finally able to care for a body that I’ve punished my entire life and I am finally free.”
She continued to speak on the subject earlier this week, posting the following message and writing, “This [post] is for every person that has never had a chance to have a healthy relationship to food because the worlds condemnation, judgement and constant vigilance of their every move made that damn near impossible.”
It’s important to point out that Holliday was met with tons of support from fans online, however, she shared in a post on May 6, 2021, that “the last few days have been some of my toughest to date since becoming a public figure. The hate has been overwhelming.”
Holliday shared on Good Morning America that most of the hate came from from people who are unable to comprehend that people of all sizes can struggle with disordered eating and was questioned by some as to how she could be a body-positive activist while having an eating disorder.
“I’ve had a lot of messages from folks that are anorexic that are livid and angry because they feel like I’m lying,” she explained. “I am plus size, but advocating for diversity and larger bodies, and so I think for people hearing me say I’m anorexic was really jarring and hard and confusing.”
There is a myth that anorexia only affects teenage girls, but anorexia does not discriminate. “If you think that most eating disorders are visible, you’re wrong, eating disorders don’t have to look a certain way,” Holliday’s dietician Anna Sweeney shared with GMA.
However, Holliday is focusing on the positive. “Messages from those of you that felt seen, validated, & loved far outweigh the critics,” she added. “I’m responding to as many of y’all as I can, but I will be taking a little social break after this to focus on my own mental health. Just remember that having an ED isn’t shameful & you deserve respect & love regardless of where you’re at in your journey with your body. Love y’all.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders (NEDA) Helpline toll-free at (800)-931-2237, chat with someone at NEDA’s Helpline Chat, or text NEDA to 741-741 for 24/7 crisis support.