Lauren Alaina Acknowledges Struggle With Bulimia

American Idol Alum "Desperately Wanted to Be Thin"

Right after Lauren Alaina was named the American Idol runner-up in 2011, here’s what happened:

Her parents got divorced.

Her dad went to rehab to battle alcoholism.

She had vocal cord surgery.

She recorded her debut album, Wildflower.

All that, and she was only 16. So it’s no wonder Alaina admits to some pretty heavy-duty insecurities.

In a recent video interview with Time magazine, she talks openly about how she is just now overcoming the eating disorder she’s had for the past five years.

“I struggled with weight really bad,” she says. “I’m not a heavy person. I’m just super insecure about it, for whatever reason. I struggled with eating disorders and severe problems for the past five years. I had bulimia for a few years. I was really sick. I feel like I don’t even know that person. I got really thin, and I still wasn’t happy.”

She adds, “I just desperately wanted to be thin. I was obsessed with it, which it was ridiculous because I had everything going for me. I was following my dream. Everything I wanted at the time, I was getting. But I was obsessed with this other thing that was making me unhappy.”

Being on TV every week is where Alaina’s problem most likely started.

“I used to read what people said about me, and people are mean,” she says. “It hurts my heart sometimes. It’s hard to see that about yourself. It’s hard enough to hear your own thoughts.”

Her mother, who traveled with her when she was on tour the first few years after Idol, was the one who turned things around for Alaina.

“My mom made me look in the mirror every day and say three things that I loved about myself,” she says. “Which is hard to do. It really helped me. At first, I couldn’t name anything. It was so sad. When my mom made me do that, I looked in the mirror and I literally couldn’t name one thing that I loved about myself. And now I have lots of things I love about myself.”

It sounds like Alaina finally sees herself like her mother does.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.