Bruce Willis’ daughter Tallulah applauded for 'important' eating disorder recovery pictures

We outline how to spot the signs of an eating disorder and where to get help.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: Tallulah Willis attends the 2022 GQ Men Of The Year Party at The West Hollywood EDITION on November 17, 2022 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/WireImage)
Tallulah Willis, the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, has shared body images depicting her eating disorder journey on Instagram. (Getty Images)

Bruce Willis' daughter Tallulah has been applauded by fans for documenting her eating disorder recovery.

Making sure to include a trigger warning within her post, the 29-year-old uploaded a series of photos to Instagram of herself before and during her recovery.

In the accompanying caption, Tallulah, who is one of the three daughters 68-year-old Willis shares with ex-wife and fellow actor Demi Moore, gave a brief update on her journey.

"TW [trigger warning]: ED [eating disorder] pre-recovery image," she wrote. "I love her. And I love her, and I see how courageous she’s been. Steady on the course my bbs."

Tallulah's followers were quick to offer praise for her honesty in sharing her journey.

"This is so important," one user wrote. "Thank you for being honest and real with this topic. Means a lot for the ED support network to know there is help. Our loved ones can truly have a full life in recovery."

‘Your story is important. Thank you for sharing it,’ another added.

Others shared their own experiences. "I love this!! I’ve had my own struggles here so I know the difficulty. Keep it up!" one fan commented.

Her post comes after she spoke earlier this year about her eating disorder battle in a Vogue article.

A woman battling eating disorders
Eating disorders are rising among young women. (Getty Images)

What is an eating disorder?

The NHS defines an eating disorder as a mental health condition where a person uses the control of food to help to cope with difficult feelings and other situations.

While anyone can develop an eating disorder, the most common age group to be affected is teenagers aged 13 to 17.

What are the different types of eating disorders?

The most common eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia nervosa: Controlling weight by either not eating enough food, exercising too much or both.

  • Bulimia: Controlling weight often via secretive bouts of overeating followed by purging.

  • Binge eating disorder: Feeling out of control and eating large portions of food until you are uncomfortably full.

If an eating disorder doesn’t fit into these limitations, it might be classified as being an ‘other specified feeding or eating disorder’ (OSFED). This is an umbrella term but can include other eating disorders such as atypical anorexia (all the symptoms of anorexia but the person's weight remains in healthy range), night eating syndrome (eating a lot of food at night or after evening meal), or purging disorder (where laxatives/being sick is used as a method to affect someone's shape, but it isn’t a part of the binge/purge cycle).

Young multiracial woman eating breakfast feeling very bored and unmotivated. Lack of appetite. Copy space. Lifestyle concept.
It is very possible to treat an eating disorder, so it's important to seek help early on. (Getty Images)

Potential eating disorder symptoms

Anorexia symptoms:

  • Missing meals and eating very little

  • Avoiding any foods seen as ‘fattening’

  • Lying about what you’ve eaten

  • Taking medicine such as appetite suppressants

  • Exercising excessively

  • Fear of gaining weight

  • Strict eating rituals

  • Signs of body dysmorphia (seeing yourself as bigger than you are)

  • Periods may stop

  • Bloating, constipation, abdominal pain

  • Hair loss

Bulimia symptoms:

  • Binge eating followed by purging (making yourself vomit or using laxatives)

  • Exercising excessively

  • Fear of putting on weight

  • Being critical about your body

  • Mood changes

  • Thinking about food constantly

Binge eating disorder symptoms:

  • Eating a lot of food in a short period of time and not being able to stop when full

  • Eating when not hungry

  • Eating very fast during a binge

  • Eating alone or secretly

  • Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after binge eating

Watch: Charity urges govt to tackle rise in eating disorder cases

Eating disorder causes

While the causes of eating disorders are complex and often unknown, the NHS says you are more likely to get an eating disorder if:

  • someone in your family has a history of eating disorders

  • if you have anxiety, low self-esteem and an obsessive personality

  • if you are worried about being slim and if you have been criticised for your eating habits or body shape in the past

Eating disorder treatments

It is possible to recover from an eating disorder, but it will take time and the recovery process will look different for everyone. If you are worried that you might be suffering from an eating disorder, you can contact the charity Beat.

You can also make an appointment with your GP, who may refer you to an eating disorder specialist to come up with a treatment plan. You may also be offered therapy with a psychologist.

Female feet weighing scale
People with anorexia or bulimia often fear putting on weight. (Getty Images)

How to spot an eating disorder in a loved one

The NHS says the main signs that someone could be suffering from an eating disorder could be:

  • if they have gained or lost weight

  • if they are lying about what they are eating

  • going to the bathroom after eating

  • exercising a lot

  • eating a lot of food very fast

  • cutting food into small pieces

  • eating slowly

  • avoiding eating with others

How to help a loved one with an eating disorder

If you are concerned that a friend or family member may have an eating disorder, Beat recommends speaking to them about it in a place where you both feel safe and won’t be disturbed.

The charity also recommends mentioning things that have concerned you, but not making the person feel watched, and trying not to centre the conversation around weight specifically, instead focussing on their behaviour and attitude/emotions around food.

Beat also recommends taking resources with you to give to the person as they may not be accepting of the conversation at the time but may want to look into help later on. Make sure you reassure them and have a follow-up conversation at a later date.

Help with eating disorders

  • The charity Beat has plenty of advice for both those battling eating disorders and for people who think their loved ones may be facing an eating disorder. It also has a web chat that you can contact them on, or several helplines to call.

  • Mental health charity Mind

  • The NHS has information on eating disorders

Eating disorders: Read more