‘It gave me a greater appreciation for my body’

Teresa Palmer is a talented actress (you may know her from I Am Number Four, 2:22, The Choice and A Discovery of Witches), podcast host, author, businesswoman and mother. That sounds like success is smiling at her, but the actress has also had to overcome her struggles.


In 2020, Teresa Palmer revealed that she suffered from orthorexia. With this (not yet officially recognized) eating disorder, someone is extremely obsessed with healthy food. Some symptoms are that someone compulsively checks ingredient lists of food and that someone spends hours thinking about what to eat. Teresa shared in the podcast at the time Mamamia Me Before You that she had “a very unhealthy relationship with food” and that motherhood helped her heal from it.

In a recent interview with Body and Soul the actress shares how motherhood helped her get over her disorder. “Motherhood gave me a much greater appreciation for my body – not just the ability to have four babies, but the idea of ​​my kids later criticizing their beautiful bodies hurt me,” she says. Together with her husband Mark Weber she had four children and she is the bonus mother of a son her husband and his ex-partner had.

Appreciation for body

Many people still think that eating disorders mainly affect young teenagers. Teresa shares that this was not the case for her. “I valued my body for most of my life, except for those few years in my twenties. The perceived flaws of my body then became my focus.”

Teresa is thankful that her eating disorder didn’t take over. “Fortunately it was a short period of time and I was able to recognize that behind my obsessive clean eating there was a deeper turmoil that I could address.”

How her orthorexia came about

On the podcast Mamamia Me Before You Teresa told me three years ago that she suffered from orthorexia from 2009 to 2012. “Not many people have heard of it, but it is an eating disorder. I was very focused on whole foods, so I didn’t have anorexia or bulimia, but I had something else where I was obsessed with the amount of calories I was eating, and everything had to be of the best quality. I ate nothing that had been stripped of its nutritional value.”

For the author, her disorder started when paparazzi started taking more bikini photos of her in 2008. It was her agent who then told her that she should exercise more. “She said, you should start exercising, it’s part of your job. You have to make sure you look really good’, and I just thought, ‘Oh, I thought I looked good already’.”

The worst thing according to Teresa? That she was already thin when her agent pointed this out to her. “When I look back at the photos she is talking about, I see that I was thin. Yes, I wasn’t perfectly sculpted, but that caused this hugely unhealthy food obsession.”

Source: Body + Soul, Mamamia Me Before You | Image: NL Image/BrunoPress

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