Kelsea Ballerini on How She Learned to Stop 'Shaming' Herself for Her Diet

The 27-year-old country star opens up about putting out an album during a pandemic, prioritizing her mental health, and supporting other women.

I had all these plans for how this year was going to help me grow as a human and in my career. I put out an album at the beginning of the pandemic. I went through the sad phase, then the scared phase, then the mad phase. And then I got to the place where you realize that everyone is struggling and grieving something. That has given me perspective and reminds me that we are all walking through this together.

I got a little catapult in my career because other female artists reached out their arms to me and pulled me up. Taylor [Swift] did that in the very beginning—she was the first artist that ever championed me, and it changed my life. Even though I don’t have a platform anywhere near as big, I see it as my responsibility to do what she did for me. So if I see someone I think is wonderful, I make sure people know about them.

Peggy Sirota

I definitely went through a phase of shaming myself if I ate something “bad.” Now, I find what works for me is an 80/20 lifestyle. So 80 percent of the time I eat really healthy—my husband is a vegetarian, so I eat with him. Then 20 percent of the time I just have grace for myself. I will never not have chicken nuggets in my life—or a few glasses of wine. I don’t ever want to feel guilty for having those things in my life.

For a long time, I felt like I couldn’t have a bad day because I had my dream job. I had to learn to let myself have those emotions—and accept that I am human, no matter what my life looks like. Now, I look at having a therapist as having a trainer for my emotions and feelings.

This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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