Ariel Winter opened up to Shape about suffering from depression and anxiety after crash dieting following years of body-shaming by cyberbullies. The actress found it difficult to grow up in the spotlight and felt pressure to be a certain size before changing her outlook and embracing her natural figure.
Ariel, 21, was just 11 when she she scored a starring role on Modern Family. As she matured and her body changed, Internet trolls relentlessly criticized her over her physique, which led to insecurity and self-esteem issues.
"I've faced body-shaming and cyberbullies for about seven or eight years now that I've been in the spotlight. At 11 years old, I started working on the show and I was super flat and had no curves and was getting hate for that. Then overnight, my body changed and I was this curvy woman. I didn't know how to navigate that and got so much hate for it. It was really hurtful, and I struggled a lot," she admitted to the magazine.
She continued, "I tried to crash diet to lose weight to try to fit the standard of what I thought everyone wanted me to look like, and it just never worked — I wasn't making anyone else happier, and I definitely wasn't making myself any happier. It led to a lot of depression and anxiety. But now I'm at the point where I've stopped reading Instagram comments. I do what I want, I post what I want, and I say what I want. I don't focus on pleasing anyone else but myself."
The TV star got breast reduction surgery in June 2015 and has lost a lot of weight over the past year, but she has an issue with people thinking that just because she's made changes to her body it must mean she doesn't have a positive body image.
"I think it's ridiculous that because I've had breast reduction surgery or because someone is losing weight that they don't love their body. People should be able to love their bodies at all stages, whatever their body looks like. I got a lot of confused people after my surgery being like, 'Well, you're trying to tell people to love their bodies just the way they are, but you got a breast reduction,' and you know, the thing is, my body was great back then but I did something because I felt it was better for me. I had back problems, and I felt I wasn't right in my own skin, so I made the change for me," she explained.
Ariel divulged in April 2019 that she lost a significant amount of weight when she switched her antidepressant medication. "I was able to find a great combination of medication that works for me. The change in medication instantly made me drop all of the weight I couldn’t lose before by just giving me back a metabolism. That was very unexpected," she wrote on Instagram after a fan asked why she was so "thin."
What do you think about Ariel's crash diet confession? Sound off in the comments below!