LOS ANGELES - APR 7:  Lauren Alaina at the American Idol FINALELauren Alaina was considered one of America’s Sweethearts when she competed on American Idol as a teenager. Today, at 22 years old, she has had to overcome some challenges, is loving being in her own skin, and has committed to living a healthy life.

Battle with Bulimia

In a discussion with the Tennessean recently, Alaina opened up about her battle with bulimia in her teens. After gaining weight in 2012, she really struggled to feel good about her body.

She explained: “This body is new to me, so I’m still trying to get used to it. I’m still learning to love myself. I want to be the girl who has a positive influence on people’s lifestyle. I don’t want to be the girl who has an eating disorder and that’s why she looks the way she does.”

It’s interesting because stopping any behavior, whether it’s binge-eating, smoking, or drinking alcohol, is not the end of the journal. It’s the beginning of learning to live a different life and that’s what can be so challenging.

Changed Habits

Rather than give in to negative thinking, Alaina chose to improve her diet. She gave up fast-food and pizza for a high-protein, high-carb diet. To stick to her plan, she opted to have her meals delivered by a service. She also hired a personal trainer to focus on fitness.

Of her new routine, she explained: “Now my low speed is what my high speed used to be. I went from not working out at all to working out six days a week. The most rewarding thing, it’s not looking in the mirror because that’s hard for me. The most rewarding part is that I have people asking me to help them.”

To bring the point home even further, Alaina posted a picture of her strong, athletic body on Instagram along with the caption: “I could stare at this picture and cry. My 17-year-old self who was riddled with insecurities and suffered with eating disorders is so proud right now.”

The Georgia native released her second full-length album, Road Less Traveled, on January 27, 2017.