Bebe Rexha Shared a Heartbreaking TikTok That'll Hit Hard for Anyone Who's Struggled with Body Image

The star's honest message will hit home for anyone who's ever felt discontent with their body.

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Photo: Getty Images

In a recent TikTok video, Bebe Rexha got real and raw with millions of viewers about why she hasn't been posting quite as much as she once did. The 32-year-old singer's posts this year have been few and far between, she says, because of an inner struggle with which all too many people can likely empathize: body image issues. (Yup, even Shape editors.)

"I think I am the heaviest I've ever been," the bare-faced "Baby, I'm Jealous" singer admitted with a shaky voice. "I weighed myself just now, and I don't feel comfortable sharing the weight 'cause I feel embarrassed. Not just about that. I just feel, like, disgusting, you know, like in my own body."

"I don't feel good in my skin," she said, which speaks volumes from the lips of a celebrity who's always pushing body positivity.

Bebe Rexha had just captioned another TikTok on December 7, "Who says curvy girls can't wear lingerie?" flaunting a holiday red bra in front of a Christmas tree. She's also captioned videos with "thick booty" and "thick thighs," calling herself a "bad b*tch no matter [her] weight" and admitting that she thinks she looks good for her age. (FTR, good is an understatement, and her age is irrelevant, but ageism is a story for another time.) The singer spreads the love, too. She once did a duet TikTok post with weight-loss and lifting influencer, Shelly (@HappyHealthyBabe), captioned, "F*** your negative opinions."

But, despite anyone's best efforts, it's often easier said than done to take your own body-image advice — especially in a photoshopped social media landscape that perpetuates unattainable beauty standards. An endless wealth of research suggests that social media usage is strongly correlated with poor body image and disordered eating, largely thanks to "the filtered effect" of manipulated images. From celebrities' glamorized photos to your own retouched selfies, it's no secret that social media takes a toll on your mental health.

"Even if you believe deeply in the messages of body positivity, it can be hard to apply it to ourselves," says Cassandra Lange, L.C.S.W., M.Ed., owner of Queer City Therapy in Buffalo, New York. "Many of us have been soaking in a fatphobic culture since birth, surrounded by fatphobic messages repeated over and over by the media and many people around us. Americans have long been taught that it's not okay to be fat and, even if we disagree, that message sinks in deep."

A few weeks ago, Bebe Rexha hinted at her personal struggle with self-esteem with a workout video, captioned: "​​Gained weight y'all. It's always been a struggle for me. So I'm trying to get back into my fitness routine. I wanna feel good again."

In her most recent vulnerable video, Rexha explained that she thinks "all of the body positivity" that she shares is "probably from a place of hurt and confusion."

"Sometimes it's easier to extend body positivity to others than it is to ourselves," says Ashera DeRosa, L.M.F.T., of Whole Stories Therapy. "Acknowledging that we don't necessarily have complete control over the functioning of our body, the vehicle through which we experience the world, is deeply unsettling. However, only offering kindness, empathy and understanding to others is half the battle." The other half of is offering that same kindness to yourself. But closing her confession, the singer-songwriter chokes up: "I don't know how to help myself anymore — or how to love myself." (

Thousands of comments are pouring in to support the star with both empathy and admiration. They're calling her a "beautiful soul inside and out," a "goddess," a "queen," an "idol," and dealing all sorts of deserving praise, thanking her for being open and honest about a tough topic that, frankly, hits hard for too many.

After all, upwards of 10 million people battle body dysmorphia, a debilitating disorder characterized by incessant, intrusive thoughts about perceived defects in appearance. (Even Megan Fox says she suffers from BD.) And even more people are plagued by body dissatisfaction (yes, there's a line between obsessive flaw-finding and low self-esteem). One survey done by Glamour purports that an alarming 97 percent of womxn have at least one "I hate my body" moment a day.

But just because Rexha is struggling at the moment doesn't discount her previous body-positive messages or mean that prior moments of pride and acceptance were fake. "Our bodies are often at a physical crossroads of dysfunctional messages, and unlearning them is a difficult process," says DeRosa. "I don't think anyone is ever truly 'healed' and done with this work; it will come in waves. Sometimes a person can really embrace their body and what it can do, while other times inhabiting it is uncomfortable and even painful. When this struggle is occurring, I've found gratefulness to be a poignant place to foster healing."

Ashera DeRosa, L.M.F.T., Whole Stories Therapy

"Our bodies are often at a physical crossroads of dysfunctional messages, and unlearning them is a difficult process. I don't think anyone is ever truly 'healed' and done with this work; it will come in waves."

— Ashera DeRosa, L.M.F.T., Whole Stories Therapy

Practicing gratitude disrupts the often deeply entrenched and invasive narrative that your body is "not enough" or "too [enter criticism]," explains DeRosa. But, of course, you can't simply stop having those thoughts overnight. Instead, you can try noticing them, allowing them to move through and away, and then extending gratitude to the body part at play.

"For example, if the thought is, 'I hate my thighs; they're too big, and they have cellulite; I'm so gross,' you would notice with kindness that the thought is happening," says DeRosa. "Try to let it float by. Then say thank you to your thighs for what they do and for being a part of your body as a whole. Finding a couple deep breaths while extending yourself some compassion can begin to disrupt the difficult thought pattern." (See: 12 Things You Can Do to Feel Good In Your Body Right Now)

For Rexha and the countless others with their own body image struggles, DeRosa has some more advice: Acknowledge that the work to build a more positive relationship with yourself will be ongoing, and there's nothing wrong with that. "It's okay to have regressions and difficult days; every difficult thought is an opportunity to try again," she says.

Expanding your "visual diet" and tossing the actual diet can help, too, says Lange. "If you look through your social media feeds and only see straight-sized individuals, I highly recommend seeking out accounts to follow that show a diverse array of bodies," she says. "When your brain only sees one type of body, that becomes 'normal' in your mind, and you need to actively work to break that paradigm."

Meanwhile, she say that it's extremely difficult to succeed at accepting your body if you're actively trying to change it.

"It's been shown time and time again that diets don't work and can be actively harmful to your body, depending on the intensity of the diet," she says. "Eating disorders also aren't just for teenagers; intense dieting and similar behaviors can lead to eating disorders at any age. Diets also have a significant negative impact on mental health, including alienating us from foods that give us pleasure and telling us to ignore our body's hunger cues." (

In order to be truly body positive, you have to work on embracing your body as it presently is, she explains. And if that isn't a realistic goal, which she admits is not for many of us, she suggests aiming for "body neutrality" instead — the idea that you can exist without thinking too much about your body, regardless of whether those thoughts are positive or negative. After all, "your body is a magnificent thing, and there's so much more to it than its size."

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