This article has been updated with new information.
Lena Dunham opened up about the intense toll her mental and physical health took on her body in a candid interview.
In an October 2019 chat with ElleUK, Dunham — who's known for her body positive activism — talked about how she had lost a large amount of weight after undergoing a hysterectomy and breaking up with her boyfriend of six years, Jack Antonoff.
"Yes, I am body positive, but I am also a young single woman working in Hollywood, and I can't just pretend that weight is not a thing. It's a thing," Dunham told the publication, before revealing that by the tail-end of her relationship with Antonoff, she had lost a worrying amount of weight "in double digits."
"Sadness is the only thing that's ever made me lose weight," she explained. "Two years ago, during the last gasps of my six-year relationship, I lost weight. Not a little weight. Not the kind of weight where your bras feel kind of generous and you marvel at your subtle but oh-wow-it's-definitely-there-now clavicle. No, it was a lot of weight."
Later in her interview with Elle, Dunham also revealed that her weight loss was partially driven by an addiction to prescription drugs — something she went to rehab for. That said, she said that she's doing a lot better now and uses a food diary to maintain a healthy weight and hold herself accountable, as "accountable people don't gain thirty pounds in a single month."
Dunham has previously touched on the topic of her dramatic weight loss via a powerful side-by-side Instagram post that showed her at 138 pounds and 162 pounds.
While she wrote that she was "complimented all day and propositioned by men and on the cover of a tabloid about diets that work," she was also, "sick in the tissue and in the head and subsisting only on small amounts of sugar, tons of caffeine and a purse pharmacy."
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On the left: 138 pounds, complimented all day and propositioned by men and on the cover of a tabloid about diets that work. Also, sick in the tissue and in the head and subsisting only on small amounts of sugar, tons of caffeine and a purse pharmacy. On the right: 162 pounds, happy joyous & free, complimented only by people that matter for reasons that matter, subsisting on a steady flow of fun/healthy snacks and apps and entrees, strong from lifting dogs and spirits. Even this OG body positivity warrior sometimes looks at the left picture longingly, until I remember the impossible pain that brought me there and onto my proverbial knees. As I type I can feel my back fat rolling up under my shoulder blades. I lean in.
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"Even this OG body positivity warrior sometimes looks at the left picture longingly, until I remember the impossible pain that brought me there and onto my proverbial knees," she concluded. "As I type I can feel my back fat rolling up under my shoulder blades. I lean in."
However, Dunham returned to Instagram several months after her Elle UK interview to say that while she supports the larger movement, she's "never" actually called her "body positive."
"Because my relationship with my curves and scars isn't overtly political — it's wildly personal," she wrote in March 2020. "And it isn't always positive. I take enormous comfort in the body positivity movement, but I think of myself as something more like 'body tolerant.'"
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