But in her new memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, and in an interview with People about the book, Dunham reveals that the road to body acceptance was not an easy one.
"When I got out of college I thought, 'What am I gonna do? No one's gonna hire me, I'm a fat girl,'" she says.
In her book, Dunham spends a whole chapter talking about the obsessive food journal she kept when Girls started filming its first season.
"My food intake was a hard thing to share publicly," she says. "A lot of my life and work is sort of about not succumbing to [those pressures], so it's a little painful to go, 'Oh but look, there was a time where this dominated every moment of every day.'"
It turns out, Dunham restricted her eating so much, she ended up hospitalized.
"It was basically revealed that I'd been just drinking laxative tea and coffee and smoking cigarettes and then eating weird foods at weird hours. I really messed myself up," she says, adding that she had "crazy stomach pains" before finally seeking medical help.
It was that scary instance, plus "getting busy and realizing that food was fuel" and her "incredibly supportive boyfriend," Jack Antonoff, from the bands, Fun and Bleachers, that led to the super-comfortable Dunham we know and love.
"I really feel good with my size now," she says. "I know when I say that people are like, 'mm hmm', but I just do! It used to be when I went into a room with all thin women I felt like, what's wrong with me? Now I just feel special."
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