Kelsea Ballerini Bravely Opens Up About Past Eating Disorder

Kelsea Ballerini is opening up about one of her biggest, and most personal, struggles. The Tennessee native reveals she struggled with an eating disorder, which she details in a poem, “Kangaroo,” from her new poetry book, Feel Your Way Through.

“A boy named Jackson called me ‘kangaroo’ when I was a freshman in high school … he explained this new nickname because of my belly and little legs,” she explains (via People).

Ballerini’s parents were recently divorced, and in what she sees now as a way to gain some form of control, Ballerini resorted to bulimia and diet pills, along with excessive exercise, until she sought medical help, after passing out numerous times.

Now, the 28-year-old works hard to be fit, although tries not to worry about her size.

“It’s a journey, and it’s never-ending,” she admits to People, adding that she has come a long way since her younger years.

“I don’t work out to get skinny, I work out to be healthy. I don’t eat a salad to be skinny, I eat a salad to be healthy,”  Ballerini explains. “I’ve re-calibrated what it means to me to just look in the mirror and just be like, ‘Man, I’m healthy. I’m strong. I have good breath support to do my job well.’ Those are things that matter to me now, rather than: ‘I look skinny in a dress.'”

Still, the singer acknowledges that she can still have setbacks, especially since so much of her life is in the public eye.

“I saw an article pop up, and it said, ‘Ballerini debuts baby bump,'” Ballerini recalls, following a 2015 performance on the Today Show. “I reverted back to that 12-year-old version of me but thought: Either you’re going to get triggered by this all the time, or you’re going to get to a point where you’re okay enough to look past it.”

Fortunately, Ballerini has plenty more good days than hard ones, at least when it comes to her body acceptance.

“I’m in a much healthier spot, and I’m much more gentle with how I talk to myself and my body,” she says. “There are still days where I revert back to being that 12-year-old, and I have to catch myself, and hold myself accountable to the work I’ve done.”

Feel Your Way Through is available for purchase here.*

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