“Beautiful bodies — weight loss and toning up has been a byproduct of inner work … Cooking, moving, sleeping, accepting where I am and still getting back up,” the actress, 26, captioned a before and after picture of herself via Instagram on Thursday, September 28.
She noted that her progress was “not an overnight thing,” writing, “It took months for me to completely surrender to my lifestyle adaptations with the aim to better my physical, spiritual and emotional health; small changes quickly became big wins.”
The actress recalled having “panic attacks at the thought of stepping foot in a gym.”
“I would pretend I wasn’t out of breathe [sic] after climbing stairs and run to the bathroom to catch it back, I would starve myself all day, then binge, binge, binge, feel like crap then do it all over again,” she shared.
Barker wrote that in the photo on the left side, she was “not happy” and “felt like I’d lost not only my mind, but my will to take care of my inner child and cook for her, clean for her, work for her, get out and live for her.”
With the help of a fitness coach and friends, Barker said she’s “in love with being more active and self-caring than ever before.” She wrapped up her message by stating, “Health is wealth.”
Barker — who portrayed Marina Thompson in seasons 1 and 2 of Bridgerton — previously credited the show’s executive producer Shonda Rhimes for helping her with her mental health after she was hospitalized last year.
“I just want to be honest with everybody, I have been struggling,” she said in a since-deleted Instagram video in May 2022. “So, I’m in the hospital at the minute, I’m gonna get discharged soon and hopefully get to continue with my life and I’m gonna take a little bit of a break from myself.”
She went on to thank Rhimes, 53, and Netflix “for giving me an opportunity, for saving me,” as well as her best friends for their support.
At the time, Barker had recently dropped out of a West End production of Running with Lions due to her mental health and contracting COVID-19. “I cannot wait to fulfill all of my engagements and to have a good career and a good life,” she continued. “Because I do not want my diagnosis to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I want to survive and I will survive, and I’m going to. And so are you. That’s the beauty of it, so are you. If you’re with me, you’re in good hands. Thank you.”
After only appearing in one Bridgerton season 2 episode, it is unknown whether Barker will return as Marina for the show’s upcoming third season. However, season 3’s love story will center on characters related to Marina, as her cousin Penelope Featherington’s (Nicola Coughlan) friendship with her former fiancé, Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) will turn into a romance.