Jameela Jamil Says She 'Destroyed' Her Body by Taking Laxatives During Her Eating Disorder: 'I Jeopardized My Future'

“I can blame society for what it encouraged me to do, but ultimately this one's on me,” the actress said of her past struggle with disordered eating

Rachel Luna/Getty Jameela Jamil
Rachel Luna/Getty Jameela Jamil
  • Jameela Jamil said she developed anorexia and body dysmorphia at age 14

  • The actress said she’s dealt with long-term health problems from taking laxatives to lose weight

  • She said that’s why she’s so vocal about the dangers of eating disorders and unhealthy diet culture

Jameela Jamil is opening up about how her eating disorder has impacted her body.

On the May 29 episode of the Let’s Talk off Camera with Kelly Ripa podcast, The Good Place actress, 38, revealed the many health issues she’s had as a result of her early struggle with anorexia.

“Yeah, I took so many laxatives, I'm amazed I even still have an a**hole, to be perfectly honest. It's a real trooper. It's a survivor. I took any pill or drink or diet that Oprah recommended. I did it. I took it. You know, any very low calorie supermodel diet,” she said. “I f—ed up my kidney, my liver, my digestive system, my heart, and most recently, I found out that I have destroyed my bone density.”

Jamil admitted that although she sometimes blames other people for her body image issues, she can’t blame anyone but herself for her actions.

“I can blame society for what it encouraged me to do, but ultimately this one's on me,” she said. “And I'm so sorry to my body that I have jeopardized my future so severely for a beauty standard and to try to fit in with other people.”

“That's why I'm so annoying publicly about eating disorders and diets because there's so much talk about the dangers of being in a bigger body and there's no talk almost about the dangers of not eating enough, only eating too much,” she continued. “And I think that's really dangerous because we really have no idea the way that people's fertility is f—ed, the way their long-term health is f—ed. We just don't talk about it and it's an inconvenient truth that the diet industry kind of squashes. So I want to be someone who reminds people: don't eat for your waistline now, eat for your longevity later.”

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<p>David Fisher/Shutterstock</p> Jameela Jamil

David Fisher/Shutterstock

Jameela Jamil

Jamil has long spoken openly about her history of anorexia and dysmorphia, which started at age 14 after she had to weigh herself in front of her class for a school project. She told PEOPLE in August 2019 that she believes her loneliness as a teen contributed to her disorder.

“I was really unhappy and I think it contributed to my ability to have an eating disorder for so long, because there was no one kind of monitoring me and I had no one to turn to with my sadness and bad feelings, so I just had a really rough time as a teenager,” she said.

A car accident at age 17 was a wake-up call for Jamil, she said, and taught her not to take her body “for granted.” Now, Jamil does not even look in the mirror.

“The only time I look in the mirror is when I put on my eyeliner in the morning and when I take it off at night,” she said at the time. “I’m not interested in my appearance. I still suffer from body dysmorphia so it can be very distracting for me. Doing that has helped me concentrate on progressing and doing things that enrich my life, like watching my career grow and my relationships grow.”

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Jon Kopaloff/WireImage Jameela Jamil
Jon Kopaloff/WireImage Jameela Jamil

Jamil also reflected on her difficult struggle with anorexia and body dysmorphia, sharing a photo on social media from 10 years earlier when she was “so weak” from the lack of nutrients.

“This was a sad day 10 years ago,” she wrote. “I didn’t want to go to the event because I was convinced that I was ‘too fat’ and that I would be publicly fat shamed the next day. I was so weak, I only managed to stay for 10 mins.”

At the time, Jamil was the co-host of Freshly Squeezed, an entertainment morning show in the U.K., and working as a model. “Eating disorders/dysmorphia are so wild,” she said. “I missed my teens/20s.”

Jamil said she was able to recover from her disorders with EDMR therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, where people think back to a traumatic event and then use their eyes to track a therapist’s hand movements, which helps patients reprocess their trauma.

“The therapy I used to help me was called EMDR, it works faster so it was much cheaper,” she said. “CBT [Cognitive Behavioral Therapy] didn’t work for me personally. So if it doesn’t work for you, try EMDR. It’s free in some countries.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.

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