At just twenty-years-old Alexis Ren appears to lead the perfect life, well, on Instagram at least. Last year her breakup with ex-boyfriend Jay Alvarez played out publicly, and the star hinted at something we all know, that social media isn't a reflection of 'real-life'.
"I would look at my profile and be like, 'Look at this girl! She has, like, the most perfect life!' and I would feel so guilty for not feeling blessed all the time," the Californian told Cosmopolitan.
Ren went on to share that her struggle with disordered eating and over-exercising began after her mother passed away from breast cancer, around the same time she met Alvarez and their #couplegoals youtube videos went viral receiving 25 million views.
If that wasn’t enough pressure, Alexis’ modeling agency made everything worse. “They were like, 'you did gain weight and if you could start working out a little bit more…'" she confessed. "I just felt so out of control."
Alexis then went against everything her nutritionist mother had taught her and began restricting her food intake. Jay and Alexis’ traveling lifestyle only intensified her disorder, "I was my worst critic ever," she says. "The only sense of relief I had was to be able to monitor my eating and my workouts."
"It was a vicious cycle where when I did eat, I just felt worse, so I didn't want to eat, and ate less and less and less," she says. "I was scared of food."
Alexis also upped her workouts to compensate for her food guilt. "Everyone around me was like, “Alexis, what are you doing?'" she says. "But I felt like my body was the only reason why people liked me."
"I knew I was letting my mum down by doing everything that she wouldn’t have wanted me to do."
After she split with her boyfriend-of-two-years, Alexis took eight-months-off from traveling. She sought professional help, working on her relationship with food, and most importantly her relationship with herself. Ren's recovery aided by nutritionist and certified life-coach Maggie Tanielian, who took her supermarket shopping and was always on call to help her through her food guilt.
Now Alexis works out about every other day, yoga and Pilates are her favourites, "it's not obsessive, it's just something I do now," she says. She also eats a well-rounded diet that includes carbs, lean proteins, and veggies.