You battled body-image problems for a long time. How did you finally conquer them?
I've learned to appreciate my body for what it is. It helps to remind myself how far I've come. I recently saw pictures from my first tour, and I spent that whole summer performing in the heat in a red leather jacket because I was ashamed to show my arms. And that was when I was 105 pounds! This tour, I've had the confidence to show my arms at every single concert. It may seem like a small thing, but for me, that's huge.
Why did you decide to be so open about your bipolar disorder?
They say it takes the average person 10 years to get the right diagnosis and treatment. That statistic was very true for me, but I'm lucky to have the resources I need. Not everyone does. Sharing my story felt important if it meant that I'd be helping people get access to better care or showing that it's still possible to live a normal life.
Has honesty helped you stay healthy?
I don't have a lot of yes-people around me, and most people in this business do. It's good to surround myself with those who aren't afraid to tell it like it is, because sometimes they see things before I do. It also creates an environment where I'm not ashamed to ask for help.
What's your trick for staying positive even on tough days?
My trainer will make me look in the mirror while I'm lifting weights or doing squats so I can watch my muscles forming. It's encouraging to see myself getting stronger. Now I get excited about seeing muscles instead of bones.
How do you eat healthy when you're on tour?
It's been difficult. I almost went back to rehab for my eating disorder last summer. I was obsessing over food and terrified of it at the same time. Wilmer [Valderrama, her boyfriend] noticed and called me out on it, which was a relief. I was done being afraid of food and so tired of overeating and not knowing why I did it. Now I'm on a structured meal plan. I eat four small meals and two snacks a day. It's teaching me portion control.
Who inspires you?
My current life motto: "If Beyoncé can do it, I can do it." If she can work out, have the incredible body she has, have a kid, and be as successful as she is, then I sure as hell can, too. I'm also really inspired by other women in the spotlight right now who are embracing their curves. Say what you will about the Kardashians, but they've really helped make curvy bodies beautiful again. It's so nice to look around and see women with hips and a butt, like Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Lopez. They have great figures, but you know they also work really hard for them and don't try to hide their curviness.
What advice would you give other women struggling with body image?
We all have problem areas. I'm always going to have thick thighs. I can't change that, and obsessing over it will only make me miserable. Learning to be grateful for our bodies and taking care of them are the best ways for us to empower ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I'm not a huge fan of Wilmer, but it's good to hear that he's looking out for her health.