Content warning: This story mentions eating disorders and discussion of weight. Alix Earle has taken TikTok by storm with her viral GRWM videos. Though a majority of her most popular posts are of her getting ready for A-list parties or Miami Dolphins games (you can’t convince me she and Braxton Berrios are “just friends”), Earle has also made videos where she gets candid about certain details of her personal life. Now that she has her new podcast, Hot Mess With Alix Earle, TikTok’s It Girl is opening up about her life even more. On Oct. 5, Earle released her third podcast episode, titled “Overcoming My Eating Disorder.”
Though the episode started out pretty lighthearted, the episode turned serious when the TikToker opened up about her relationship with food during her teenage years.
When she was growing up, Earle said she wasn’t surrounded by diet culture. “That was never really a talked-about thing in my family. I had never thought women had to diet or that women needed to eat healthy,” Earle said. “I just kind of thought it was like: eat what you want, eat what you love. My family was super good about that.”
It wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school that Earle said she was first introduced to dieting. “Girls in my friend group had started to go on these extreme diets, and this was more the diet of, ’You can’t eat this, you can’t eat that.’ They were paying thousands of dollars for these diets,” she said. “In my mind, I knew that this wasn’t normal at first, but after watching their habits and watching them lose weight, and watching them be so satisfied over this, it became more normalized for me.”
Earle admitted that though it was “a very, very toxic environment,” she still fell victim to thinking it was normal. “[The girls] would come to lunch and they would bring a little salad and that little salad turned into them just bringing an apple to lunch,” Earle explained. “I used to bring a full 10-course meal to lunch: pasta, sandwiches, salads, everything under the sun. For me, it turned into, I’m just going to start bringing one meal. Then I saw that they weren’t touching bread or carbs, so I would just start bringing salad. I would have the salad and then I remember thinking, ‘Oh gosh, this salad is too much. I can’t put dressing on this salad, like, that’s too fatty.’”
Earle revealed that she started picking up on “bad habits” and eventually went down a harmful path. “I would start to track my calories. I would get stressed out if the numbers went too high. I would buy juice cleanses, I was just so obsessed with this dieting culture,” she said. “I just went down such a bad path with myself and my body and my image that I started to have this body dysmorphia. I would look in the mirror and I would see someone way bigger than the person that I was.”
She added, “It makes me so sad. I wish I could go back and hug myself because all that started to run through my mind was food, calories, when I was going to work out next, what’s my next meal going to be.”
From there, Earle said she developed an eating disorder that no one knew she had. “After every meal, I would run away from whoever I was with and I would find the nearest bathroom and I would purge.”
The TikToker went on to share that her eating disorder was at its worst during prom season. “The day before prom, I didn’t eat anything. I was strictly on a water diet and the only thing I would eat was ginger. I wanted my stomach to be as flat as possible for prom in my skintight dress. I remember being at the pre-prom feeling so lightheaded because I had not eaten in 24 hours and being content because I thought I was doing something right. It just blows my mind that that thought went through my head.”
Earle said her relationship with food didn’t get better until she entered college. She credited the friends she met there for helping her overcome her struggle. “I told them I was shocked by how they ate and what they ate and they were like, ‘Alix, you know that’s not healthy, that’s not OK. That’s not normal for you to restrict yourself from food,’” she recalled. “I was so appreciative that I had girls telling me it was OK to eat. I was so enamored by this and it was so nice and refreshing.”
Though the toxic thoughts about food didn’t go away completely, Earle said she started to see how much happier and healthier she was after her college friends helped her get over her eating disorder. “I’m at this great place now with food,” she said. “I eat what I want to eat and that has me at a much better place.”
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237, text 741741, or chat online with a Helpline volunteer here.