Demi Lovato Had an Eating Disorder, But That Doesn't Make Her an Expert

x factor judges

Everyone always drools over the perks of fame -- money, pimped out cars, sweet houses. But there are just as many pitfalls. Just ask Demi Lovato. The new X-Factor judge has battled an eating disorder, cutting, and been in a treatment facility for "emotional and physical issues."

Now the onetime Disney star is speaking out about one of the biggest contributing factors to her downward spiral.

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During the X-Factor panel at the Television Critics Association, Demi was open about how dangerous the pressures of fame can be.

I definitely take that into consideration when I judge or even just for instance my little sister is in the industry and I worry about her all the time. You can't prevent anyone from going down the wrong road. If they're going to have an eating disorder, they're going to have an eating disorder.

While I appreciate her openness, I have to disagree. I think parents can prevent their daughters from developing eating disorders. It's difficult, yes, but certainly not impossible. It starts by 1) understanding the signs and 2) paying close attention to your child's behavior. Among the warnings signs: drastic changes in eating habits, change in personality, and, probably most telling, developing a negative body image.

In fact, addressing body image issues before they start could be a parent's best defense against an eating disorder. Our daughters are bombarded with photos of "perfect" stars and models who are grossly underweight. It's impossible to meet that plastic surgery and Photoshop enhanced standard of beauty.

So ideally, we would start telling our girls early on that beauty takes on different sizes, shapes, colors, etc. That means talking openly about what words like "pretty", "beautiful", and "gorgeous" mean.

Saving our daughters from diseases like anorexia and bulimia also requires us to be aware of the things that are affecting and influencing them on a daily basis -- not just play catch-up on the drive to school or during Saturday morning breakfast. And one thing I appreciate my mom always telling me, "You are beautiful, Ericka." I may have always rolled my eyes each and every time, but it meant a lot. Protecting girls from a bad body image and eating disorders isn't always easy, but parents have more power than Demi may think.

Do you think parents can help prevent a child's eating disorder?

 

Image via thexfactorusa.com

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