Lena Dunham Says Letting Go and Gaining Weight Made Her the ‘Happiest I’ve Ever Been’

Lena Dunham is putting less pressure on herself and reaping the mental health benefits.

The Girls star, 32, said that she spent too much of her life worrying about what people thought of her, and she decided to let go of that need.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in this life feeling like too much. Too hungry. Too anxious. Too loud. Too needy. Too sick. Too dramatic. Too honest. Too sexy (jk lol.) I was always sent the message, in insidious ways, that I took up too much room and demanded too much from life and sometimes gave too much to people who didn’t want any at all,” she wrote on Instagram.

Dunham said she now focuses more on what she wants.

“But something has changed, and it started when I realized: I don’t have to be *for* everybody, and that for the right people, my too much is just enough,” she continued. “My too much also means I have room for their too much and we can take turns too muching all over each other.”

And as a result, Dunham said that her body changed.

“At 32: I weigh the most I ever have. I love the most I ever have. I read and write and laugh the most I ever have. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” she said. “Not the frail, precarious happiness of ‘things are going perfectly.’ The big, generous, jiggly happiness of ‘I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of this.’ Not too much… Just enough.”

The Camping writer had a tumultuous few years between major health problems that eventually led to a total hysterectomy, a split from her longtime boyfriend, singer Jack Antonoff, and a few social media firestorms.

Dunham’s body in particular has long been a public focus, to her frustration. At the height of her endometriosis problems, she lost a significant amount of weight and suddenly dealt with people shaming her for it.

“I was frustrated by it, because it really was evidence that as a woman in Hollywood, you just can’t win,” Dunham said in 2017. “It’s just so crazy because I spent six years of my career being called things like ‘bag of milk’ on the internet, baby cow, aging cow … I had all these people being like, ‘you’re a hypocrite, I thought you were body-positive, I thought you embrace bodies of all sizes.’ And I was like, I do, I just understand that bodies change.”

A year later, Dunham said that she was too sick at the time to realize that she harming her body. She posted before and after photos of herself from April 2017 and July 2018 to show the difference in her mental health.

“On the left: 138 pounds, complimented all day and propositioned by men and on the cover of a tabloid about diets that work,” Dunham captioned the post. “Also, sick in the tissue and in the head and subsisting only on small amounts of sugar, tons of caffeine and a purse pharmacy.”

She continued: “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.”

Dunham realized that she was “very sick but fetishizing my own body,” and that she’s now “happy, proud and healing.”

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