Former Disney star Alyson Stoner, now 30 years old, opens up about her struggle with an eating disorder on the podcast “Dear Hollywood: Becoming a Product.” Stoner discusses her early years growing up in Ohio and recalls a time when their self-esteem was undeniably high. But when they came into the spotlight at the juvenile age of 9, life took an unexpected turn, sending them on a path of celebrity and internal struggles.
Alyson Stoner’s life story began in Ohio, marked by the innocence and self-confidence they possessed as a young child. However, this early self-assuredness would eventually clash with the challenges they’d face.
A Meteoric Rise to Fame
At the age of 9, Alyson Stoner skyrocketed to fame, becoming a recognizable face in Hollywood. Their journey included dancing alongside Missy Elliot in “Work It” and starring in films like “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Step Up,” and Disney Channel’s “Camp Rock.” With fame came both adoration and criticism of their body, a subject of much attention.
Struggles with Body Image
Stoner candidly shared the impact of puberty on their self-image, recounting the measures they took, such as laser hair removal, braces, and layering bras to conform to societal beauty standards.
The Onset of Perfectionism
Stoner reflected on how the 6-year-old comfortable in their skin was replaced by a pre-teen wrestling with perfectionism. This relentless pursuit of perfection took a toll on their mental and physical well-being.
Challenges at Home
Compounding their struggles, Stoner faced adversity at home. An abusive stepfather and a mother battling alcoholism added to their challenges. Initially, they turned to faith for solace, but when that proved insufficient, they resorted to “extremely obsessive behaviors” related to food and exercise.
The Evolution of an Eating Disorder
Alyson Stoner’s struggle began as orthorexia, an obsession with healthy eating. It later escalated into severe restriction, exercise bulimia, and binge eating. Industry pressures and their tumultuous home life exacerbated these behaviors.
By the age of 13, Stoner’s life was dominated by the compulsion to meticulously track every bite of food, repeated up to 12 times a day. This took a toll on their health, leading to various issues like hair loss, malnourishment, low bone density, anemia, loss of sexual desire, body acne, and cessation of their menstrual cycle.
A Battle for Identity
Alyson Stoner’s battle with an eating disorder became entwined with their identity, making it hard to break free. They attempted to regain control by experimenting with larger food portions and reintroducing restricted foods, but self-control remained elusive, leading to episodes of binge eating. Their darkest moment came at 17 when they were hospitalized and entered rehab for their eating disorders, where treatment addressed both their disordered eating and their mental well-being.
A Path to Healing
Today, Alyson Stoner serves as a symbol of resilience. They have successfully navigated the challenging journey of recovery, embracing a balanced diet and adopting a plant-based lifestyle. They’ve abandoned the scale and now focus on individualized wellness from within.
Alyson Stoner’s honest account of their battle with an eating disorder underscores how societal pressures and personal challenges can profoundly affect an individual’s mental and physical well-being. Their journey from the depths of their disorder to recovery serves as an inspiration for those facing similar struggles.