June 14, 2018 10:00 AM

After publicly giving up dieting in January, Demi Lovato still deals with body shamers — but she doesn’t let their comments get her down.

The singer, 25, says she felt “a lot more free” after declaring her body-positive stance, and that the decision was motivated by her past history of eating disorders.

“I had been on a really strict, regimented diet for so many years, and it felt like I didn’t have a lot of freedom with food,” Lovato tells PEOPLE ahead of her new campaign launch with CORE Hydration. “It would cause me to overindulge whenever I did get the opportunity, and I just felt like it was an unhealthy behavior. I just thought to myself, why am I doing this? I’d rather live in freedom from any eating disordered behaviors or thoughts, and so I decided to just let myself enjoy certain things without feeling guilt or shame.”

Demi Lovato
CORE Hydration

And Lovato, whom fans love for her real and honest social media posts, made a point to share her anti-dieting plan on Twitter.

“It was important to me to share that with my followers because there are so many people in the world who feel pressured by society and the diet culture, and I feel like someone has to speak out and say that you don’t have to force yourself to lose weight, or to look a certain way,” she says.

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Lovato was happy to see that her fans were supportive of her lifestyle change — minus a few negative people.

“The reaction has been great,” she says. “There are some people who body shame me, and sometimes it’s difficult, but I say to myself, am I happy? and that’s the most important thing. And I want my fans to be happy too.”

Now that she’s dieting-free, Lovato says the key to living well is finding balance.

“Balance is so important, and it kind of represents my life today and where I’m at right now,” she says. “Moderation is key, and I work really hard but it’s important to stay active and take time for yourself, and take that time off.”

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