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Image / Editorial

‘I get triggered’: Taylor Swift admits she struggled with an eating disorder


by Grace McGettigan
24th Jan 2020

Taylor Swift via Instagram

‘I get triggered’: Taylor Swift admits she struggled with an eating disorder

Taylor Swift via Instagram

In a new documentary about her life, pop star Taylor Swift has revealed she struggled to overcome an eating disorder – admitting she would starve herself and exercise constantly


Taylor Swift’s new documentary Miss Americana premiered at the Sundance film festival on Thursday night, during which she said she recently struggled to overcome disordered eating.

“There’s always some standard of beauty that you’re not meeting,” the 30-year-old told director Lana Wilson. “Because if you’re thin enough, then you don’t have that ass that everybody wants, but if you have enough weight on you to have an ass, then your stomach isn’t flat enough. It’s all just f*cking impossible.” With all the pressure to ‘look the right way’, Swift said she would exercise constantly and track everything she ate until she was as low as a “size double-zero” – or a UK size 2.

Nowadays, the Pennsylvania-born singer says she tries to avoid looking at photos of herself. “I tend to get triggered by something,” she explains in the documentary. “Whether it’s a picture of me where I feel like my tummy looked too big, or someone said that I looked pregnant or something… that will trigger me to just starve a little bit, just stop eating.”

Praise or punishment

In a new interview with Variety magazine, the publication of which coincided with the premiere of Miss Americana, Swift said, “My relationship with food was exactly the same psychology that I applied to everything else in my life: If I was given a pat on the head, I registered that as good. If I was given a punishment, I registered that as bad.

“I remember how when I was 18, that was the first time I was on the cover of a magazine, and the headline was like, ‘Pregnant at 18?’ And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat. So I just registered that as a punishment.

“And then I’d walk into a photoshoot and be in the dressing room and somebody who worked at a magazine would say, ‘Oh, wow, this is so amazing that you can fit into the sample sizes. Usually we have to make alterations to the dresses, but we can take them right off the runway and put them on you!’ And I looked at that as a pat on the head,” she explained. “You register that enough times, and you just start to accommodate everything towards praise and punishment, including your own body.”

Swift goes on to say she is in a much better place nowadays, and that she focuses on ensuring her body is healthy, rather than slim. “I work on accepting my body every day.”

If you would like information or advice about eating disorders in Ireland, visit bodywhys.ie or call (01) 210 7906.


Taylor Swift: Miss Americana will be available to stream on Netflix from Friday, January 31.

Photo: Taylor Swift, Instagram


Read more: ‘My internal organs were failing. Doctors said if I didn’t eat I would be dead in two weeks’

Read more: During her recovery from an eating disorder, Vicky hired a personal trainer to rebuild

Read more: Good food versus bad food: the dirty side of so-called ‘clean eating’

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