Shawn Mendes used to put so much pressure on himself to seem like a "pinnacle of fitness" that he would sacrifice sleep for the sake of a workout.
In an interview with GQ magazine, the There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back singer admitted that since finding fame five years ago, he’s felt he had to be perfect - to not do or say anything wrong and to look in peak physical shape.
Shawn knew deep down that he didn't have to be perfect as his loved ones would tell him "You are not your body. You are not your voice. You are not your songs. You are you and people love you because of you", but the voice in his head told him otherwise.
"Some days I would have three hours of sleep, (because) I'd get up two hours early just to be able to work out," he confessed, adding that the voice in his head would convince him, "If you don't work out, you're going to lose fans."
The 22-year-old shared that starring in a Calvin Klein campaign in just his underpants in early 2019 didn't help because he connected his identity with being a "pinnacle of fitness" and the struggle for perfection started to take its toll.
Shawn took up meditation and journaling to help with the pressure, and watching his girlfriend, Havana singer Camila Cabello, stand up to critics of her body shifted his perspective about his appearance.
"(She's) so strong, so clear and confident with her (body) and so articulate and empathetic about other people's," he praised. "And it really changed my view of mine. It really changed my life."
Shawn slowly realised that "taking that extra few hours of sleep, instead of waking up to pump iron, is a better choice sometimes".