Demi Lovato says she's 'been through a lot' in first interview in over a year

Demi Lovato opened up about her struggles with eating disorders and self-esteem in her first interview in over a year.

"I think it's been a very introspective year for me. I've learned a lot, been through a lot," Lovato, 27, said at the Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles over the weekend. The "Confident" singer confessed that she's still struggling at times to accept her body, an idea she said was much different from the concept of body positivity.

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"We hear the term body positivity all the time. To be honest, I don't always feel positive about my body," she said. 
"Sometimes I do not like what I see. I don't sit there and dwell on it. I also don't lie to myself," she said. "I used to look in the mirror if I was having a bad body image day and say 'I love my body, you're beautifully and wonderfully made.' But I didn't believe it. I don't have to lie to myself and tell myself I have an amazing body. All I have to say is 'I'm healthy.' In that statement, I express gratitude. I am grateful for my strength and things I can do with my body. I am saying I'm healthy and I accept the way my body is today without changing anything."

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Lovato, who has been open about her struggles with bulimia, says she took the entire month of October off from the gym because she realized her relationship with exercise wasn't healthy.

Demi Lovato opening up at the Teen Vogue Summit 2019 at Goya Studios in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Demi Lovato opening up at the Teen Vogue Summit 2019 at Goya Studios in Los Angeles on Saturday. (Getty)

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"For so many years I dealt with an eating disorder. What I wasn't ever open with myself about was, whenever I was in the gym I was doing it to an unhealthy extreme," she admitted. "I think that's what led me down a darker path — I was still engaging in these behaviors. Embracing my body as it is naturally is why I took the month of October off the gym."

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The former Disney star, who's a blue belt in jiu-jitsu, explained, "What I see in the mirror [is] someone that's overcome a lot. I've been through a lot and I genuinely see a fighter. I don't see a championship winner, but I see a fighter and someone who is going to continue to fight no matter what is thrown their way. I have a lot of confidence now because I have said the things I believe in. I know I can hold my own on a first date with someone, in a conversation with someone. That's what I see when I look in the mirror — a strong woman."

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Lovato overcame a near-fatal drug overdose in July 2018, and while the world was largely supportive of the star, not everyone was so kind. Her battles with bipolar disorder, self-harm and other issues occasionally have made her a target for cruel online trolls and cyberbullying, and it hurt her, she said.

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"What people don't realize is I'm an extremely sensitive person. When someone says something mean about me or makes a meme making fun of me, I have a good sense of humor. But when it's a very serious subject it can be hurtful," she said. "Even if you have an account thats like 'ImaDemiFan,' that's the name, and you leave one comment that said 'You look like Lord Farquaad with that hair,' I'm like, 'Damn, that kind of sucks.' I'm so tired of pretending I'm not human. When you say stuff, it affects me. I try not to look, but I see it."

As a result, Lovato said she actively has been trying to put less stock into social media and more into loving her own life.

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"Over the past five years I've learned life is not worth living unless you're living for yourself. If you're trying to be someone you're not, or you're trying to please other people, it's not going to work out in the long run. If you want to dye your hair purple, dye your hair purple," she said. If you want to love someone of the same sex, love someone of the same sex. Be yourself and don't be afraid of what people think."