AceShowbiz - Kelsea Ballerini couldn't be more grateful after battling her eating disorder. Revealing that she took diet pills and struggled with bulimia as a teenager, the "Miss Me More" singer said she's now in a "much healthier spot."
"I'm in a much healthier spot, and I'm much more gentle with how I talk to myself and my body," the 28-year-old musician said when speaking to PEOPLE. "There are still days where I revert back to being that 12-year-old, and I have to catch myself, and hold myself accountable to the work I've done."
"I don't work out to get skinny, I work out to be healthy. I don't eat a salad to be skinny, I eat a salad to be healthy," she shared. "I've re-calibrated what it means to me to just look in the mirror and just be like, 'Man, I'm healthy. I'm strong. I have good breath support to do my job well.' Those are things that matter to me now, rather than: 'I look skinny in a dress.' "
Kelsea went on to note that it took years for her to feel comfortable to talk about her eating disorder publicly. "I've always presented myself as a very happy-go-lucky, glittery person... but there's more," she pointed out. "It took me some time to feel bold enough and confident enough to share my true self."
The country pop singer hopes that she'll feel less alone by sharing her story. "When you're able to talk about things, you either are going to feel shame about it and you're going to keep it hidden, or you're going to air it out and be vulnerable and connect with people and take the sting away from it and heal together," she stated. "And I think that's just the better option for me at this point in my life."
Kelsea got candid about her "dark secrets" in her newly-released poetry collection, "Feel Your Way Through". In a poem titled "Kangaroo", she wrote, "A boy named Jackson called me 'kangaroo' when I was a freshman in high school ... he explained this new nickname because of my belly and little legs."